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Welcome To Cambodia, Cambodia has a land area of 181,035 square kilometers in the southwestern part of the Indochina peninsula, about 20 percent of which is used for agriculture. It lies completely within the tropics with its southern most points slightly more than 10I0 above the Equator.
International borders are shared with Thailand and the Lao People's Democratic Republic on the West and the North, and the Social Republic of Viet Nam on the East and the Southeast. The country is bounded on the Southeast by the Gulf of Thailand. In comparison with neighbors, Cambodia is a geographical contact country administratively composed of 25 provinces,four of which have relatively short maritime boundaries, 2 municipalities, 172 districts, and 1,547 communes. The country has a coastline of 435 km and extensive mangrove stands, some of which are relatively undisturbed. The Kingdom of Cambodia has 25 provinces and 2 cities. The Capital of Cambodia is Phnom Penh, the vibrant bustling capital of Cambodia. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap, what was once considered the 'Gem' of Indochina. The capital city still maintains considerable charming with plenty to see.
Getting There by Air
Welcome to Kingdom of Cambodia, Cambodia can be accessed through the Phnom Penh International Airport and the Siem Reap International Airport; both of which provide full services for passengers on international flights operated by many international airlines. Many international airlines are listed below:
Getting There by Water
Main ports: Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
Phnom Penh can be reached via the Mekong Delta through Vietnam. This route is served by regular passenger ferry services from Chau Doc in Vietnam and can be booked through travel agencies or at the dock. Sihanoukville is reached from Thailand through the border crossing at Hat Lek and the boat from Koh Kong. Tickets can be purchased at the dock in Sihanoukville.
Getting There by Road
The Thai and Vietnamese borders are open for overland access. The main highway links the capital with the Vietnam border. Border checkpoints include Poipet, Cham Yeam, O'Smach, Anlong Veng and Psar Prom (Thailand), Bavet, Kaam Samnor and Phnom Den (Vietnam). The border with Laos, Dam Kralor at Stung Treng province, currently opened so travellers should check the situation as it changes regularly. Cross-border bus services are from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam operated by Phnom Penh Sorya Transport Company ( Tel 023-210359,092-181800) ,Mekong Express Company (023427518,063963662), Capital Guest House(Tel 023 217627),Gian Ibis Transport Company ( Tel 023999333,095 666166),Tep Sokha Express Company ( Tel 023 991414, 017 545151), Virak-Buntan Express & Tour Company (Tel 099 628448,015958 989).
Note: It is possible to drive from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City in a day but there are formalities involved regarding the use of the same vehicle all the way. Right-hand drive vehicles (quite common in Cambodia) are not allowed entry to Vietnam. Vietnamese visas must be obtained in advance but Cambodian visas can be obtained at the border.
Getting Around by Air
Internal flights operate between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap for Angkor (journey time - 45 minutes). The main domestic carriers are Cambodia Angkor Airways International (website:www.cambodiaangkorair.com) and PMT Air (website: www.pmtair.com). PMT Air has suspended internal flights in 2008 while they upgrade their fleet, but continue to fly internationally. Battambang, Sihanoukville, Banlung, Sen Monorom and Stung Treng all have airports, but at the time of writing there are only flights to Banlung from Phnom Penh.
Getting Around by Water
Government-run ferries depart from the Psar Chas Ministry of Transport Ferry Landing between 102 and 104 Streets and go to Siem Reap, a route popular with travellers. Tickets can be bought in person at the dock or through a travel agent. Travel can be difficult in the dry season when the water level is very low and often boat services are suspended.
Getting Around by Rail
Cambodia has only one functioning train service, running once a week from Phnom Penh Railway Station to Battambang on Saturdays and vice-versa on Sundays. Although the carriage is basic and the trip takes longer than going by bus, it's an excellent way of viewing rural Cambodia.
Getting Around by Road
Traffic drives on the right. Roads vary from excellent to very poor and there are numbered routes from Phnom Penh with Route 1 leading to the Vietnamese border. Care should be taken while driving as accidents are relatively frequent. Other vehicles cannot always be relied on to use headlights at night. Given the predominant use of motorcycles for urban public transportation, travellers should ensure that any insurance policies provide coverage for riding as a driver or passenger. Cattle often stray onto the roads. In Siem Reap, the local police have banned rental outlets from hiring motorcycles to tourists because of the high number of accidents.
Coach/bus: Long-distance buses operated by Phnom Penh Sorya Transport Company (tel: (23) 210 359; website: www.ppsoryatransport.com) travel to destinations such as Kampot, Sihanoukville, Battambang and Siem Reap.
Around Towns and Cities
There are no public buses in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Taxis wait outside hotels and restaurants but, as they are unmetered, the fare should be fixed before leaving. Cyclo (tricycles) or Motor dups (motorcycle taxis) are an efficient and inexpensive way to get around and some of the drivers, especially those found outside main hotels, speak a little French or English. Siem Reap also has motorized Remork
Currency Exchange :Currency: Riel (KHR; symbol CR). Notes are in denominations of CR100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200.
Currency Exchange :US Dollars are widely accepted and exchanged as are Thai Baht close to the Thai border, but other currencies are generally only recognized at banks.
Credit/Debit Cards and ATMs
Credit cards are now more widely accepted in up market hotels, shops and restaurants catering to visitors. There are ATMs in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. It is always best to carry cash (US Dollars if necessary) in small denominations.
Food and Drink
All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should first be boiled or otherwise sterilized. Bottled water is widely available. Milk is unpasteurized and should be boiled. Powdered or tinned milk is available and is advised. Avoid dairy products which are likely to have been made from unboiled milk. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled.
Health insurance, including emergency evacuation, is absolutely essential. Doctors and hospitals expect cash payments for any medical treatment. The cost of medical evacuation is high. The hospital in Phnom Penh is reliable. It is suggested that any visitors bring adequate supplies of any essential personal medication, since that medication may not be available in Cambodia.
Hotels: Accommodation standards have improved greatly, especially in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanouk ville, with a variety of hotels and hostels. Elsewhere there is usually one good standard hotel in town, although facilities are limited. There is no official grading of hotels and the prices are the only way to decide the quality of a hotel.
Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have some superb hotels with all the facilities and services expected in international-standard properties, such as air conditioning, satellite TV, room service, restaurants, bars and swimming pool. There is also a good selection of mid-range hotels with many of the same facilities apart from room service and swimming pool.
Guest Houses :There is a variety of good guest houses available in the capital and in most townsaround Cambodia. Facilities are limited but often include air conditioning or a fan and a restaurant. Some have shared bathrooms. Some budget guest houses do not have restaurants so guests have to buy breakfast in a local cafe.
Food and Drink: Eating out is big business Cambodia, with many good restaurants in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Food stalls are also common in all towns and cities, and are a great place to sample Cambodian food. Khmer cuisine is very similar to Thai, but with fewer spices involved and a preponderance for coconut milk.
• Prahok (fermented fish paste) is used to flavor most dishes.
• Succulent fruits include banana, coconut, the durian fruit (known for its distinctive odour), jackfruit, longan fruit, lychee, pineapple and rambutan fruit (which has translucent white flesh).
• Crispy fried spiders are a snack for the adventurous in Northern Cambodia.
• Amok trey (fish in a thick coconut curry sauce, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed).
• Rice noodles proliferate and can be bought covered in curry sauce from street vendors.
• Fresh coconut juice, Green tea, Ice wine, The local beer is called Angkor.The most popular, and refreshing, Khmer drink is soda water with a squeeze of lemon.
Tipping: Tips are appreciated in hotels and restaurants where no service charge has been added, and by tour guides.
Nightlife : The nightlife in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and to a lesser extent in Sihanoukville, is pretty vibrant, mainly because of the large number of visitors and expat residents. There are bars and restaurants but very few clubs and live music venues. Bars and restaurants range from dingy, smoky bars to up market cocktail bars and elegant restaurants. Major tourist areas of Phnom Penh can be pretty seedy, with numerous strip clubs, so make sure you check out a venue before paying the cover charge.
Major hotels offer entertainment, and weekly Apsara (traditional Khmer dance) performances are often held from November to March in hotel gardens, mainly in Siem Reap. Gambling is a major past time in Cambodia and there are several casinos in Sihanouk ville and on the border with Thailand.
Cambodian artisans are very skilled and there is no shortage of handicrafts to buy. Unique to Cambodia is the krama, a checked scarf made of cotton or silk. Silk is still hand woven in Cambodia and is a ‘must buy' either as lengths of material or in the form of scarves, bags or purses. The markets in Cambodia are always a great source of souvenirs. Try the Central Market, in Phnom Penh, which is well worth a visit as it sells clothes, gifts and jewellery. Gems are a particularly good buy but only spend large amounts if you know a bit about what you are buying. The Russian Market (Psar Toul Tom Poung) is crammed with stalls holding a vast selection of bargain souvenirs including clothing, silverware, jewellery, silk, bags, DVDs, CDs and ceramics, as is the Old Market in Siem Reap. Bargaining is expected in the markets, which are open daily from around 0700 to 1700 hours. Look out for shops selling handicrafts to raise money for disadvantaged Cambodians. *** Shopping hours: Daily 0800-2000.
Telephone: Country code:+855. Prepaid telephone cards are available in post offices, hotels and shops for public phones around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in major towns and cities and patchy elsewhere.
Cambodia has a tropical monsoon climate. The monsoon season runs from May to November. The most pleasant season is the dry season, from November/December to April. In the north, winters can be colder, while throughout most of the country temperatures remain fairly constant. There is often seasonal flooding in Phnom Penh and the rest of Cambodia in late July and early August, and travel may be disrupted at these times.
The weather in Cambodia generally falls under two categories: the wet season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April). Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended for the dry season, when the weather is hot and humid. Visitors may wish to pack long pants and long-sleeved shirts for hiking, trekking, or outdoor activities. A hat and sunglasses may be useful for when walking around under the sun.
During the rainy season, visitors may want to bring a light rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased cheaply in Cambodia) or a sturdy umbrella. A light jacket or cardigan will come in handy during the months of December and January, when temperatures are at their coolest.
When visiting outdoor temples, including those :Angkor Wat, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. Shoes and hats are generally removed at the entrance to pagodas.The Silver Pagoda, which is within the Royal Palace grounds. visitors are asked to dress more formally. Gentlemen are required to wear long trousers and ladies should wear long trousers or long skirts and keep their shoulders covered.