Angkor Wat - Guide to Cambodia

Guide to Cambodia

Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia, is located in Southeast Asia with Thailand to the west, Vietnam to the east, Laos to the North, and the Gulf of Thailand to the south. In this Guide to Cambodia you can read all about it’s famous temples of Angkor Wat.

The capitol of Cambodia is Phnom Penh, located in the southwestern part of the country. Cambodia is most famous for its ancient temples of Angkor Wat located near the city of Siem Reap in the Northwest.

Traveling to Asia? Head over to our Guide to Asia page and read our travel guides for other countries located in Asia.

Guide to Cambodia: Cambodia Influences

Surrounding countries have had an influence on Cambodia, having been a part of India and then China at one time as well as Java, known today as Indonesia. Around 790 AD, Cambodia gained independence and the Khmer Empire began. The building of Angkor Wat began in the 12th century but sometime in the 17th century the complex was neglected and the land began to take over. 

Cambodia has a dark recent history with over 2 million people killed between 1975-1979 by the Khmer Rouge.

Most people visiting Cambodia will need a visa. If you’re arriving by plane at Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, you can obtain one on your arrival. You can also get an e-visa by e-mail before your arrival.

Guide to Cambodia: What you need to know

Currency: The US dollar is the main currency but the Cambodian Riel is also used
Language: Khmer is the official language
Population: Around 17 million
Voltage: 230V 
Religion: 97% of Cambodians practice Buddhism 
Angkor Wat: translates into “City of Temples”
Cambodian Flag: It’s the only flag in the world to have a building, Angkor Wat

The best time to visit Cambodia is between November – February. Temperatures are more mild but still warm. May to October is the monsoon season and it’s also extremely hot with a lot of humidity. I once made the mistake of going in May and while I didn’t see any rain, the humidity was extreme. I’m from Texas and I’ve experienced a lot of humidity but this was like nothing I had experienced before. 

Cambodia has two International Airports, one at its capital of Phnom Penh and one at Siem Reap. But, don’t expect to be able to fly into those airports outside of Asia. There are no direct flights from Europe or the United States. You’ll have to first fly into another International Airport and then continue on to Cambodia. If you’re in Thailand or Vietnam, you can also take a bus or hire a driver.

Cambodia is very inexpensive to visit. From food to hotels, you’ll definitely find something affordable. The most you’ll probably spend is on your ticket to get into Angkor Wat which runs $37 for one day, $62 for 3 days, and $72 for a whole week. Definitely spend more than one day at the Angkor Wat complex. There’s so much to see.

In Siem Reap, you can take part in a group tour, take a taxi, or hire a tuk-tuk. The tuk-tuk is the most common way to get around and you can even hire one for the whole day and even for multiple days. You can also rent a scooter which is probably the best option as long as you’re comfortable doing so. In Phnom Penh, which is a much bigger city than Siem Reap, you can also catch a taxi or a tuk-tuk. To get between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, you can take a bus, hire a private driver, or fly.

There are plenty of hotels and hostals in Siem Reap that are very affordable. You won’t have a problem finding a place to stay to fit your budget. I do suggest finding a place with a pool. You will welcome that time cooling off in the afternoons.

In Siem Reap, I would stay a minimum of 5-7 days. They will be busy days if you want to see everything. If you want to build in some down time, stay a little longer. To see the major sites of Phnom Penh I recommend 2-3 days.

Map of Cambodia with locations to visit -
Cambodia Bucket List - Guide to Cambodia


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