Travel Tips : Before traveling to Cambodia
|Street barber shop in Phanom Penh, Cambodia|
All the standard information about Cambodia is easy to find with a simple google search, so lets skip that mostly.
The official currency is the RIEL but the US$ is accepted almost everywhere and even ATM's will give you US$. In all bigger places there are ATM's and the better restaurants and hotels will also accept your credit-card. Going to local markets and restaurants of course the RIEL is the currency to use. In cash US$ are accepted and on some places also Thai baht. As for exchange you can easily exchange cash US$, Euros and of course Thai baht. Be aware that the RIEL is a currency of low value. Notes are in 50, 100, 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000, 20.000, 50.000 and 100.000. Coins are in 50, 100, 200 and 500. The coins are hardly used, just as the 100.000 Riel note. Currently at April 2018 the exchange rate to the US$ is 4025 Riel for 1 US$. For the Thai baht it is 12.715 Riel for 100 Thai baht.
The official language is Khmer and it is written in Khmer characters. But most educated Cambodian will speak English (and actually good English) and some even French. And along the Thai border most Cambodians will also speak Thai. Please bare in mind that about 30 years ago 80% of the intelligent people have been killed, this is something that still reflects the education and with that the skills of people to speak other language as their native language.
- Traveling by road : Long time Cambodia was famous for the worst roads in SEA. Well that is more or less history now, the roads connecting all the main places are good and that has changed the time & comfort of traveling big times. But be aware of the fact that roads are used by EVERYBODY and that the Cambodians are not used to travel in a safe & speedy way. Try to avoid travelling at night. Road signs are sometimes in English.
- Traveling by train : You can travel by train from Phnom Penh to Kampot and Sihanoukville.
- Traveling by airplane : There are domestic flights from/to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Internationally you can fly to almost all big cities within SEA.
Not only road-wise Cambodia has dramatically changed in the pas years, also hotel-wise. There are actually almost everywhere hotels to find and in places like Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Battambang and SihanoukVille there is plenty of choice from simple guesthouses up to 5 Star hotels & Resorts. Prices are in us$ and per room. In places like Siem Reap, Battambang and Phnom Penh you can find hotels in beautiful old colonial houses, sometimes new but sometimes beautiful renovated.