One of the smallest countries in Asia, Cambodia is something of a hidden gem and is still relatively untouched. Tour this little country with its big heart is full of bustling cities where rickshaws and motorbikes are the main modes of transport. It offers exotic cuisine that is quite unique and unknown to the Western palate, and numerous tribal villages are hidden in dense forest areas. And that’s just a sample of what’s in store on holiday in Cambodia.
Cambodia offers visitors a wide selection of enchanting places to visit, from ancient archaeological sites to some of the most beautiful beaches imaginable. The country’s lifeblood is the mighty Mekong River that stretches all the way from the capital, Phnom Penh, to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. Travelling along this river from Phnom Penh to the town of Siem Reap is one of the highlights of a visit to Cambodia, as you will have see the country from a unique vantage point. It also gives you an excuse to combine Vietnam and Cambodia into one trip!
Why we love to travel in Cambodia
- Its vibrant cities with stunning bars, clubs and restaurants beg to be explored.
- The food is sublime, the people are warm and friendly, and the scenery breathtaking.
- Its paradise islands are unspoiled with magnificent white sand beaches.
- It offers a rich culture and heritage.
- It’s home to dense jungle where one can go camping, cycling, kayaking and hiking.
- The country is home to diverse and breathtaking landscapes.
- It boasts legendary archaeological and religious sites.
Bring the kids to experience the local culture, or come with friends to explore this unique, unspoiled country. Make your Cambodia trip a honeymoon to remember or travel solo and enjoy a whole new lifestyle. Let Thompsons Holidays take you there, on a choice of getaways, from beach and family holidays to honeymoon trips.
Things to do in Cambodia
Explore unspoiled Cambodia, a place you will fall in love with because of its friendly people, exquisite sights and fabulous food. A highlight on any Cambodia itinerary is the incredible ruins of the Khmer Empire. Cambodia is home to an extraordinary collection of temple complexes, and the 12th-Century Angkor Wat is the most famous. In fact, it is renowned as the largest religious monument on earth. But that’s not all that Cambodia has to offer.
What to do in Cambodia
- Visit Angkor Wat, one of the most spectacular religious sites in the world.
- Pay tribute to those killed during the war at the historic Choeung Ek Killing Field.
- Enjoy a beach holiday on Cambodia’s picturesque coastline, savouring the legendary fresh seafood.
- Take a spectacular boat trip on the Mekong River to Battambang.
- Enjoy fresh curries and noodles at Phnom Penh’s Central Market.
- Watch a classic Khmer dance display in Siem Reap.
- Enjoy the Cambodian Water Festival in Phnom Penh.
- Shop for silver items, one of Cambodia’s most sought-after souvenirs.
- Visit the National Museum in Phnom Penh to see impressive Khmer artworks.
Let Thompsons Holidays take you on a unique holiday package to the magnificent Asian destination of Cambodia.
Know before you go...
- Cambodia’s climate is temperate with temperatures rarely dropping below 20°C.
- There are 2 seasons – dry and wet. The rainy season is May to October.
- The best time to visit Cambodia is from November to March.
- There are regular flights from South Africa to Cambodia.
- The flight duration from South Africa to Phnom Penh in Cambodia is just under 14 hours.
- You may need to catch a connecting flight from another city or country to reach your final destination.
- South African passport holders do require a visa to enter Cambodia for a period of up to 1 month.
- Passports should be valid for 6 months after travel.
- Cambodia is 5 hours ahead of South Africa.
- The official currency is the Cambodian Riel (KHR).
- The US Dollar is widely accepted throughout Cambodia.
- Major credit cards (Visa and Mastercard) are accepted in hotels, shops and large restaurants.
- ATMs are found in tourist areas.
- Tipping is an accepted custom in Cambodia. Tip restaurant staff, luggage porters, drivers and guides around 10% – at your discretion.
- Food is relatively cheap in Cambodia.
- Cambodia’s official language is Khmer, spoken by 95% of the population.
- English and French are both widely spoken in Cambodia.
- 97% of the Cambodian population is Buddhist.
- When visiting sacred sites and temples, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- Very important: In Cambodian and Buddhist culture, the head is the most sacred part of the body. Do not touch or pat people’s heads, not even children.
- It is not safe to drink tap water in Cambodia. Bottled water is readily available.
- No vaccinations are currently required but check with your travel clinic before you go.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor work places as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
What must I pack?
- Depending on when and where you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warm clothing for winter, rain gear and beachwear if relevant. Choose items that can be layered.
- Dress modestly when visiting sacred sites – no shorts or tank tops. Legs & shoulders must be covered. Long, loose pants and long-sleeved cotton shirts are best.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Buses and minibuses are the most common form of transport.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
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