Cambodia

OVERVIEW
You will be amazed to see and hear about 4000 years of history of this little-known kingdom, which kept its doors closed to international tourism till a few years back. After about 35 years of non-stop war, this beautiful country is finally re-emerging from the darkness. Since the time of the Vietnam war in the sixties followed by the reign of terror of the Khmer Rouge, a Vietnamese takeover, and a further 20 years of civil war. War of late 60’s destroyed much of the already-struggling economy but it stabilized after a new regime took power in 1979. A series of reforms started in 1992 have seen the country make a steady progress to catch up with times. Cambodia is among the fastest growing economies in the region.

Cambodia conjures up images of a glorious and mysterious history and rich cultural heritage. For most, Cambodia will be synonymous with the great ancient temple city of Seam Riep. Besides the marvellous temple complexes of Angkor Wat and Bantay Srei, a trip to Cambodia is incomplete with a visit to Phnom Penh.

All arrangements are provided with private air-conditioned vehicles and local English speaking guides. Our local operators are leading inbound tours company in Cambodia with years of faultless operations and maintain a very high service standard with attention to details.

From the following packages, you could either choose any one of them or combine two or more or modify any one of them to suit your requirement or let us create a tailor-made program for you. We sell what we know the best….nothing is too much or too little for us….


DESTINATION INFO
This information has been compiled for your reference in good faith but please use this only as a general guide. We advise you to check with relevant authorities with regard to the latest requirement for passport, visa, travel advisory, entry restrictions, health requirements, local currency etc. as these are subjected to change with without prior notice and our information given below may not be as updated.

Best time to go: Cambodia is year round destination. It is generally warm and humid all the time and it rains, generally in the afternoons in short-spells between May and October. December to February is a bit more pleasant when temperatures drop down a bit.

Visa: New Zealand passport holders need a Visa to enter Cambodia. Visa can be obtained on arrival at the airport or a land border costing USD20.00 pp and you also require one passport size photo. This process may take at least 20 minutes. If you are arriving in Cambodia by flight, you can get a prior E-Visa through their official website : http://mfaic.gov.kh/mofa/ . E-Visa costs USD25.00 pp and you will need to attach a digital photo. Confirmation of E-Visa can take anything from one hour to two working days and this Visa is valid for a stay up to 30 days.

Currency: Main currency in Cambodia is Riel but US Dollars is also considered as alternate currency and is accepted everywhere. It is difficult to exchange New Zealand Dollars in Cambodia, hence it is advisable to carry US Dollars from here, preferably notes of small denominations. If you wish to change US Dollars into Riels, you can change at your Hotel. All major credit cards are accepted by Hotels and big stores but you will need to carry cash for tuk-tuks and for bargains on the streets and markets. ATMs are located in town centre in Siem Reap and main shopping areas of Phnom Penh.

Health: A reasonably good health is required to visit Cambodia since it involves a fair amount of walking and climbing big steps during sightseeing programs. Cambodia does not have any particular health risk but general hygienic conditions are not the same as in New Zealand. There are a few precautions recommended – avoid eating food exposed to natural elements, ensure that mineral water bottle is properly sealed when you buy it, cover arms and legs in the evening to avoid mosquito bites. Carry your general medication with you and consult your doctor well in advance to prepare for the trip.

Food and drinks: Cambodian or Khmer cuisine is generally influenced by Thai though a few dishes are traditionally Khmer. The menu mainly comprises chicken, beef, fish and fresh seasonal vegetables. Khmer food is always freshly cooked using very little oil. Excellent meat dishes, rice noodles, fried rice dishes as well as vegetarian dishes are all very reasonably priced. You could try out local Khmer restaurants in the cities. Beer is the main alcoholic beverage and is good – local beer is almost half the price as international brands. Local beers – especially Angkor is highly recommended.

Avoid drinking tap water in your Hotels. Always drink mineral water and ensure that bottles are properly sealed when you buy it. Most Hotels provide complimentary mineral water bottles in the room, replenished daily.

Safety & security: Like in any other part of the world, a few precautions need to be taken to avoid any problems. Please do not leave your bags unattended at any times. Please use safe deposit in your hotel room or Reception to keep your money or valuables including passport. When you leave the room, it is recommended that you lock your suitcase. It is also recommended to carry a copy of your passport including the visa page.

Clothing: Casual and light clothes are recommended. Expect a tropical weather most of the times and therefore shorts and t-shirts are advisable. In the evening, you can wear smart casuals for dinner. Please take good walking shoes with non-slip sole as you will be required to walk frequently during your sightseeing programs and sometimes on uneven surface. Most of the tourist vehicles keep umbrellas in case of downpours, so you do not need to carry one from home.

Language: Official language in Cambodia is Khmer but English is fast becoming popular. Most people understand and can speak English in cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap though older generation may be comfortable with French as Cambodians were taught French in schools till early 70’s.

Gratuities: As one of the poorest countries of the world, salary levels are extremely low in Cambodia and people of hospitality industry rely mainly on tips. Tipping is not mandatory but it is highly appreciated by the people who serve you. Before you tip, please check if the service charge has been added in the bill. If not, we can recommend 8%-10% of the total bill as tip. For your local guide and the driver, we can recommend a tip of USD2.00 per person each per half day of service. To the Hotel Bell Boys, USD1.00 on arrival or departure is sufficient.

Airport tax: Domestic airport tax is included in the air tickets but for international departures, there is an airport tax of USD25.00 pp for adults and USD13.00 pp for children payable directly.

Internet: Internet is common in hotel rooms and a lot of hotels also have internet facilities at their Reception or Business Centre for use by guests at a small fee. Cyber cafes are popular and can be found near your Hotel.

Telephone: Mobile network covers main cities but quite erratic in the country-side. Calling from Cambodia is cheap but Hotels generally charge 8-10 times the general call cost. Dialling code for Cambodia is +855 and if you are calling New Zealand from Cambodia, the code is +64. Telephone numbers of Hotels arranged by us will be supplied to you in your itinerary. It is recommended to buy a mobile SIM card on arrival if you need to be in touch with people back home.

Time Difference: Cambodia is 6 hours behind New Zealand from April to September and 5 hours from October to March.

Photography: Taking photos of airports, government buildings and military establishments are prohibited. If you are taking photos of local ladies, please politely ask for prior permission.

Electricity: Voltage supply in Cambodia is 220 volts and round 2-pin plugs are used. Few Hotels have adapters available which you could borrow free of charge during your stay but it might be a good idea to carry one from home. It is advisable to carry a small torch as power cuts are frequent in Cambodia though all Hotels have their own stand-by generators. Please visit this website for more information on plugs: http://kropla.com/electric2.htm

Postage: Postal system in Vietnam is rather slow and you mail can take 2-3 weeks to reach. Postage is cheap and the Hotel staff will be happy to direct you to the nearest post-office.


CITIES OF INTEREST
Phnom Penh 
Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital retains an undeniable charm despite its tumultuous and often violent past. The crumbling colonial architecture makes an attractive backdrop to bustling street-side cafes and the redeveloped riverfront precinct – a particularly lively part of town on Friday and Saturday nights. The city has several impressive wats (temple-monasteries), including Wat Ounalom, Wat Phnom and Wat Moha Montrei. Pride of place goes to the spectacular Silver Pagoda, one of the few places in Cambodia where artefacts embodying the richness of Khmer culture were preserved by the Khmer Rouge.


Siem Reap
Siem Reap is a small colonial town just north of Southeast Asia’s largest lake, Tonle Sap. The town itself is charming and pleasant to roam around, with some fine examples of French colonial architecture, though modern developments have been swift here in recent years since the demise of the Khmer Rouge. Now that the town is safe again, visitors have been flocking in, using it as a base for visits to nearby Angkor ruins. The most famous of the entire temple complex must be Angkor Wat. It was built under King Suryavarman II, who reigned from 1113 to 1150, who intended the temple to present him to his people as the incarnation of Vishnu, an Indian god. When most of Angkor was abandoned in the 15th century, the temples were gradually cloaked by forest until they were uncovered by French naturalist Henri Mouhot in 1861. The jungle setting and silence enhance the mystery of the temples and many of them remain in good condition. Some are under restoration and visitors can get a first-hand look at the painstaking efforts underway to preserve the relics.


Rattanakiri
Ratanakiri is located, 636Kms from Phnom Penh. A sparsely populated province, it is renowned for its unique natural beauty and wealth of natural resources. The physical and environmental characteristic of the province forms an impressive range including undulating hills and mountains, a level plateau, watershed lowlands, crater lakes, rivers and waterfalls. Forest cover varies from area to area, from the dense impenetrable forest in the northern reaches, which are still rich in wildlife, to the drier and sparser forest, found in the southwest.


Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville is an inspiring beach destination in Cambodia. Bearing a history of a little more than half a century, the small but fascinating city holds a charm of its own which leaves the visitors absolutely enticed. The port city had become a much sought after destination since day one with its pristine beaches and unexplored terrains. Sihanoukville now witnesses hordes of visitors who are attracted to the tranquil ambience and serene beauty of this Asian city. Moreover the city falls short of nothing that you would find in any other tourist destination like hotels, resorts, beaches, mountains, waterfalls, National parks, pulsating nightlife and of course friendly people.

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Comprehensive Cambodia

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Introduction to Cambodia

A brief insight into the best of Cambodia, the busy capital Phnom Penh showcasing beautiful temples and palaces and Siem Reap, a charming town, showing fine examples of French colonial architecture.
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SHORT TOURS

Selection of 2-3 day tours
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Vietnam & Cambodia Explorer

This is the most popular trip to visit two diversified neighbours – Vietnam and Cambodia – each one with its share horror and glory.
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