Country Facts


Capital

The Capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia is Phnom Penh.

Size
Inland area: 181,035 Km2

Length: 450 Km

Width: 580 km at the widest point.

Geographical Situation
Located on the eastern coast of the South-East Asian Indochinese Peninsula, Cambodia shares its borders with Thailand to the West, Thailand and Laos to the North, Vietnam to the East and the Gulf of Thailand to the Southeast. The country has a coastline of 435 km and the two dominant topographies vary from coastal plains to mountain ranges.

Population
Cambodia has 13.4 million inhabitants with an average density of 74 inhabitants/Km2. The most populated province and also the largest is Khompong Cham, where 14.1% of Cambodians live.

90% of the population is ethnic Khmer (Cambodian). Vietnamese is the largest non-Khmer ethnic group. The rest of the population is made up of Chinese, Muslim Chams and hill tribe minorities in the Eastern part of the country.

The dominant religion is Theravada Buddhism.

Language
Khmer is the official language while the second language, spoken by many urban citizens of middle age, is French. Today however, English has gained popularity among city dwellers and young people.

A guide is, however duly recommended as language can be a problem outside the main cities for people who have no knowledge of the Khmer language.

Currency
Though Riel (r) is the official currency, US dollar is indeed the common currency in Cambodia. Many businesses, especially hotels, airlines, restaurants, souvenirs shops, set their prices in USD and all the expenses can be paid in USD even the minor ones. In the West of the country, use of Thai Baht is also commonplace.
At the time of writing exchange rate is US$ 1 = 4000 Riel, and 1 Euro = 4800 Riel. You can change Euros into USD, though the exchange rate is not as good as in Europe (click here to check daily exchange rate in all currencies).

There is no need to change your USD into local currency. Small bank notes of 10 or 20 US dollars are enough. Against payment in USD, the change will be given back to you in local currency as there is no USD cents in Cambodia.

Traveller's cheques can be cashed only at major banks and usually incur a 2 to 5% transaction fee.

Visa, Master cards, JCB, CCB and American Express are accepted in top-end hotels, restaurants and shops in the main cities of Cambodia, such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, but can also be subject to 2 to 3% transaction fees.

ATM (cash dispenser) are now available everywhere in the main towns (visa, mastercard). You can withdraw cash in USD only - a transaction fees may apply. Withdrawal can be done everywhere. ATM from the ANZ bank are notably available in souvenir shops and in most of the service stations Caltex.

Banks are usually opened from 08h00 to 15h30 from Monday to Friday. Only a few banks are opened half-day on Saturday.

The best advice is to bring US Dollars in cash. Note that exchange rates for small and big notes vary, however we would recommend you to bring some small notes to cope with the first expenses and then to carry small riel for minor expenses. 500 and 1000 riel are the most useful denominations.

Be careful, banks and foreign exchange offices do not usually take old, scribbled or even stained bank notes.

Climate
Cambodia has a tropical monsoon climate with two seasons: dry from October to May and rainy from June to October. During the rainy season it usually rains only in the evening or very early in the morning. Temperatures are warm all year long.

PNH*

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Min °C

21

22

23

24

24

24

24

25

25

24

23

22

Max °C

31

32

34

35

34

33

32

32

31

30

30

30

Rain mm

8

10

41

77

135

156

170

161

224

258

126

45

*Phnom Penh.

Click here to check the weather forecast.

Local Time
Cambodia is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. It is the same time zone as Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

Electricity
In Cambodia electric current is mostly 220V. Sockets are generally of the round two-pin type. Three-pin plug adaptors can usually be found at local markets in Phnom Penh.

Due to its limited power supply, power cuts are frequent, but most hotels and restaurants in the main cities have their own generators.

Water
It is advisable not to drink water from the tap unless it is boiled properly.

Telecommunications
The telecommunication network includes satellite, landline, mobile, Internet cafes, radios system and GSM (check with you home provider if roaming is permitted). Otherwise you can buy a telephone card via the local telephone provider M-Phone against 15 USD for around 25 minutes of call to a foreign country. International phone calls can be made from the main post offices, private business centres and hotels. Public phone booths can also be found in the main post offices, hotels and restaurants.

Health & Medical Facilities
Inoculation for yellow fever is a legal requirement for entry into Cambodia by people coming from an infected area. There is otherwise no vaccination required, but visitors are advised to receive inoculations against hepatitis A and B, typhoid and tetanus, as to make sure of whether anti malaria treatment is necessary depending on the region they travel to. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have good hospitals staffed with foreign medical personnel, however for life threatening injury it is advisable to be evacuated to Bangkok or Singapore and we therefore strongly recommended to take out medical travel insurance.

Transportation
There are two international airports in Cambodia: Phnom Penh International Airport located 20 minutes from the town centre and Siem Reap airport, 7 km from the heart of the town.

Road networks have improved but still need to be upgraded in some areas. To cover a distance, it is reasonable to count an average speed of 50 km / hour.

By speedboat, it takes 6 hours from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Journey not recommended for elderly persons and group.

Helicopter sightseeing in Angkor has become available using safe helicopters flown by qualified pilots.

Driving
In Cambodia, we drive on the right side.

An International Driving license is not valid. Only owners of a Cambodian driving license are allowed to drive a car.

Renting a motorbike is possible in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville but not in Siem Reap. For security reasons, we not recommend it in Phnom Penh for inexperienced drivers.

Cooking
Cambodian food is closely related to the cuisines of neighbouring Thailand and Laos and, to a lesser extent, Vietnam, but there are however some distinct local dishes. The overall consensus is that Khmer cooking is like Thai without being as spicy.

Curries, stir fried vegetables, rice, noodles and soups are staples of the Khmer diet. Sea food and fish are both abundant and delicious. Cambodia is well known in the region for its Prahok, a strong, fermented fish paste used in a variety of traditional dishes.

Shopping
In Cambodia all sorts of goods and manufactured products can be found. From antiques, silver items, jewellery and gems, to silk Cambodia offers a large range of beautiful handicraft products.

Prices displayed are usually fixed, but in other cases, bargaining is recommended.

Tipping
Tipping is not mandatory although it is appreciated. Note that prices in hotels and restaurants usually include 10% for VAT and 5% for service charges.

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