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MERRY TRAVEL

Cambodia DMC — Since 2009
CAMBODIA TRAVEL TIPS

Cambodia Tours allow you to experience the tragic history, the rich culture, and active travel. The beginning of the tour in Cambodia is visiting the world heritage temples of Angkor in Siem Reap and learning the tragic story of the Killing Field and Tuol Sleng Genocide Musieum in Phnom Penh. Today Cambodia Tours offer much more than temples and war museums: lively markets, traditional villages, colonial architecture, delicious food, peaceful pagodas. These are some of the attractions and active travel that get you away from the typical tourist sights.

We also visit the unspoiled beaches of the Gulf of Thailand, that offer a range of water sports like paddle surfing or diving, as well as the tropical islands where it is possible to see the sunset with a cold beer.

CAMBODIA TRAVEL GUIDES

We help you to get ready

Cambodia Travel Guides will give you clear information of what to bring to Cambodia and how to access a visa upon arrival at the airport at the cost of USD30 for 30 days visit.

Here is a brief guide about the best times to travel to Cambodia:

Nov to Feb: the so-called windy season is the best all-around time to explore the country.

Apr to May: Khmer Year fall in mid-April and the mercury regularly hits 40C.

Jul to Sep:
 the green season, when rice paddies shimmer and downpours bring relief from the humidity.

A few brief facts about Cambodia:

Government: Democracy (Constitutional Monarchy)
King: Norodom Sihamoni, head of state (Born: May 14, 1953)
Prime minister: Hun Manet, head of government (Born: October 20, 1977)
Area: 181,035 square kilometers
Population: 17 million
Bordering countries: Thailand to the west, Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east, Thailand Gulf to the south
Religion: Buddhism (95% of the population), the rest are Christianity, Muslim, and others

Angkor-Wat-drone-footage-Cambodia-Cycling
Koh-Rong-Sanloem-Diving
CAMBODIA EXPERIENCES
Suggested Experiences in Cambodia
CAMBODIA TOUR PACKAGES
Featured Journeys

There are a variety of choices for Cambodia Tour Packages from classic to adventure tours. The classic trips cover culture, history, home stay, family, heritage, culinary, art, UNICCO, tribal. The adventures of Cambodia packages cover cycling, trekking, motorbike, 4WD tours and some more other outdoor activities.

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The Pearl of...

Great 2 days to visit Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The tour will cover all the main tourist sites...

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Stueng Porpok &...

CEasy trekking to admire the nature of mountain ranges from Cardamom to Kirirom, take the boat ride through the mangrove,...

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BMW Motorcycle Cambodia...

Enjoy 5-day adventure by BMW 1200cc motorcycle riding through countryside road to visit cities along the Mekong River and hilly...

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Knong Phsar Mountain...

The longest mountain range in Cambodia in Cardamom, Khnorng Phsar Peak is a part of Cardamom Mountain and it provides...

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Thailand Border (Ban...

Cross the Ban Hat Lek border in the southeast of Thailand to Cambodia, visit the biggest mangrove forest in Southeast...

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Mekong Cities Driving...

With your personal driver drive you to visit the unseen temples and visit the local villages along the Mekong River...

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ABOUT CAMBODIA

LANDSCAPE
Cambodia shares borders in the north with Laos and Thailand, in the east with Vietnam and in the southwest with the Gulf of Thailand. Cambodia’s landscape is a blend of rice paddies, sugar palm plantations and remote jungles. While most visitors come to see the marvels of Angkor Wat, Cambodia offers plenty of natural beauty for those willing to explore. Bordering the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, Cambodia offers some lovely beaches, while to the north and northeast are mountainous. Life in Cambodia has always revolved around two bodies of water: the Mekong River and Tonle Sap Lake. Tonle Sap, the name of which means ‘Great Lake’, is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake and is a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

Siem ReapPhnom PenhSihanouk Ville Koh Kong

PRE-DEPARTURE INFORMATION
Thank you very much for choosing to Travel with Merry Travel. We wish you a memorable trip in Cambodia and offer the information below to help you prepare for your trip.

VISA REQUIREMENTS
Most nationalities are eligible for a one-month visa on arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, and all land borders with neighboring countries. The cost is $30 for a tourist visa and $35 for a business visa. Please bring a passport photo to apply for visa. If you do not have it, customs office will take your photo on spot but charge you extra USD1 to cover their administration fee. Bring payment in cash in US dollars. Please be aware that sometimes there can be long queues at the airport when obtaining a visa on arrival, however in general the queues move fairly quickly and it takes you around 10 to 30 minutes at the queue.

* Cambodia electronic-visa can also be obtained by accessing the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Kingdom of Cambodia at
http://www.mfaic.gov.kh/evisa/ContactInformation.aspx. Please note that some land borders do not accept e-visa so please do check this on the website when you plan to arrive through land border.
* Please make sure your passport is valid more than 6 months from the date of arrival in Cambodia. Also, make sure you have at least two blank pages for Cambodia visa.

ARRIVAL INFORMATION
* After collecting your luggage and completing the immigration and customs procedures, you will walk through the exit gate. Look for our tour guide holding welcome sign with Merry Travel logo and your names. Here is the sample of welcome sign board

* If after some time you are unable to find the Merry Travel welcome signboard, please request the airport taxi stand to call us for immediate assistance on local emergency number listed on your voucher and at bottom of this document.

* Please keep a copy of your completed Immigration and Customs form as you will need to present it at Immigration upon departure from Cambodia.

FAST-TRACK AIRPORT ARRIVAL SERVICE 
If you have booked our fast-track airport arrival service, our immigration officer will meet you as you depart the plane and arrive at terminal gate and help you for immigration formalities. What you need to do it identify your luggage. Our immigration office and porters will escort you to meet your tour guide.  

TRAVEL INSURANCE
We recommend to buy travel insurance all our trips. Your Travel Insurance should cover trip cancellation, medical and helicopter evacuation. Our guide will ask for a copy of your travel insurance information in case of emergency. You can also send it to us in advanced if you like to.  

HEALTH
Please consult your doctor to discuss your particular health or immunization requirements.
If you would like to have a source of further information, please refer to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website at www.cdc.gov. If you have any medical problem, allergy, dietary restriction, please let us know so we can inform our guide and relevant suppliers.

CLIMATE
Like most of Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s climate is hot and warm almost all year round. The climate is dominated by the annual monsoon cycle of rainy and dry seasons. The rainy season lasts from May to October, and the dry season from November to April. December to January are the coolest months, while the hottest period is in April. The average temperature is around 27-28ºC.

AIRLINES
Seat Assignment
For most airlines seat assignment is not always possible in advance. The best way to secure a seat of your choice is to arrive at the airport early and request this at check in.
Airport Security
Due to the current world security climate, you will find Cambodia airport security to be similar to those in your own country.
Luggage allowance
Each airline has its own luggage allowance policy, with most allowing 20kg checked baggage and 5kg carry-on. Excess baggage is charged at a specific rate depending on the route and airline. You are advised to check your airline prior to travel.
Departure airport tax
Airport tax is already included in your air ticket for both domestic flight and international flight.

MONEY
Cambodia’s currency, the Riel, exchanges at a rate of about 4,000 to the US Dollar. However, the US Dollar has become the country’s common currency. You can use US Dollar at all shops but it is advisable to carry some Cambodian Riel for small purchases. Bring clean bills in small denominations ($1 and $5) for making purchases. Credit cards and traveler’s cheques are widely accepted in most shops and restaurants that serve for tourists in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Many banks (open Monday to Friday) issue cash advances for Visa and MasterCard, usually for a small commission. Credit cards and traveler’s checks are accepted in the cities although ATMs are widely available throughout Cambodia and this is the easiest and safest way of accessing money. When traveling to the countryside, VISA card can get you money at ABA or ACLEDA Bank ATM, which is in every provincial town.

TIPPING
Tipping is not compulsory but it is greatly appreciated throughout Southeast Asia, especially in the tourism industry. For reference, we have provided a general guideline for tipping as below.
Tour Guide/Drivers
If you are pleased with the services provided by your tour guide and driver, then a tip for their hard work will be very much appreciated. In general, we recommend around US$5 -10/day/traveler for guides and US$5-7/day/traveler for drivers if less than 4 people in a group. We recommend around US$3-7/day/traveler for guides and US$2-5/day/traveler for drivers if there are 5 people or more.
Hotel & Restaurant Staff
A tipping of 5-10% of the total bill in restaurants is appreciated. For porters, US$1-2/time/room is acceptable.
Boat Cruise
If you travel on a local boat such as in Tonle Sap Lake, a small tip from US$2-5 per boat, depending on the group size, is appreciated.

MOBILE PHONES 
Your guide can assist you to purchase a local tourist simcard and/or hand set at many mobile phone shops. ‘Top up’ credit vouchers are available at most phone shops, particularly ones displaying the network logo. 

CLOTHING
Since the weather is consistently warm throughout the country, it is advisable to bring comfortable lightweight, loose fitting, cotton clothing and long-sleeved items for protection from mosquitoes and the sun. During the rainy season open-toe sandals are recommended. A hat and high-factor sun block is advisable for protection against the hot sun when sightseeing.
T-shirts and knee length shorts are acceptable for visiting temples or pagodas, including those of Angkor Wat. Shoes are generally removed at the entrance to pagodas. For visits to the Silver Pagoda, which is within the Royal Palace grounds, visitors are advised to wear long trousers or long skirts.
At the Angkor Wat complex, you’ll be on your feet and walking a lot, sometimes over rough and slippery surfaces, so choose your footwear carefully. The soles of your shoes should offer good traction.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
You should bring a daypack to safely and conveniently carry your travel documents, camera, cash… Bring photocopies of your passport and visa, plus some extra passport-sized photos if you’re applying for on-arrival visas. We recommend that you keep a copy of your travel documents at home as well as email a copy to yourself in case you or your family needs it. Bring contact numbers of Merry Travel, Insurance company, credit card company, friends and family.

PACKING LIST
Our packing list should be used as a guide only and is not intended to be a complete packing list. Any other items that you wish to pack are at your own discretion; however, you should attempt to follow our suggested luggage weight limit of under 20kg. Some items on this list may not be necessary for your particular trip. What you bring will vary according to the trip style you’ve chosen, the countries you’re visiting and when you’re travelling. We recommend you check the details of your trip when deciding what to pack. Please carefully consider the weather and time of year that you plan to travel. 

o Passport – Ensure that it is valid and in good condition with empty pages available. Make a photocopy as well
o Insurance – Ensure that it will be valid for the whole journey
o Passport Photos – Will always be needed for identification passes and visa
o Emergency contact numbers of Merry Travel, Insurance company, friends and family.
o Debit/credit card cancellation numbers
o Air tickets and Itinerary
o Money belt/daypack – Ensure that it is discrete and comfortable to wear
o First Aid kit – Basic travel kit to cover basic mishaps which may occur along the way
o Personal Medication –with international doctors’ note to ensure easy passage of medication across international borders
o Sun block – High UVA protection ideally
o Sunglasses & sunhat
o Antibacterial gel/wipes
o Comfortable walking shoes
o Mosquito spray & insect repellent
o Long sleeve top and trousers – Useful to protect against mosquitoes at dawn and dusk and the sun through the day
o Camera, battery and charger
o Cash in USD small notes
o Swimming costume
o Shaving equipment
o Mobile phone (for tourist local simcard or international roaming)

CONTACT US
If you have any questions or encounter any problems please contact us immediately at our Cambodia offices so we can provide an immediate solution.
Merry Travel Siem Reap Head Office
Address: 007, Backheng Road, Svay Dangkhum, Siem Reap.
HP/WhatsApp/Line: +855 12 766 971
EMERGENCY CONTACTS:
Operation Manager: Samban THENG (Sam/Mr.) 

VISA REQUIREMENTS
Most nationalities are eligible for a one-month visa on arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, and all land borders with neighboring countries. The cost is $30 for a tourist visa and $35 for a business visa. Please bring a passport photo to apply for visa. If you do not have it, customs office will take your photo on spot but charge you extra USD1 to cover their administration fee. Bring payment in cash in US dollars. Please be aware that sometimes there can be long queues at the airport when obtaining a visa on arrival, however in general the queues move fairly quickly and it takes you around 10 to 30 minutes at the queue.

* Cambodia electronic-visa can also be obtained by accessing the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Kingdom of Cambodia at
http://www.mfaic.gov.kh/evisa/ContactInformation.aspx. Please note that some land borders do not accept e-visa so please do check this on the website when you plan to arrive through land border.
* Please make sure your passport is valid more than 6 months from the date of arrival in Cambodia. Also, make sure you have at least two blank pages for Cambodia visa.

THE FUNAN KINGDOM
The early history of Cambodia is closely associated with the Funan Kingdom, which flourished from the 1st to the 6th centuries AD. Funan was a significant trading power in Southeast Asia, known for its extensive maritime trade network. The kingdom’s influence spread through the Mekong Delta, and its capital was believed to be located near present-day southern Vietnam. Funan is considered the precursor to later Khmer civilizations, laying the foundation for the rise of the Khmer Empire.

ANGKOR EAR & KHMER EMPIRE
The Angkor Era (9th – 15th centuries) marks the zenith of Cambodian history. Founded by King Jayavarman II in 802 AD, the Khmer Empire became a dominant force in Southeast Asia. The empire is renowned for its architectural marvels, especially the Angkor Wat temple complex, constructed in the early 12th century during the reign of Suryavarman II. Under King Jayavarman VII (1181–1218), the empire expanded its territory and built impressive structures like the Bayon temple and Angkor Thom. However, internal strife, overexpansion, and external pressures led to the decline of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century.

CAMBODIA DARK AGE
Following the fall of Angkor, Cambodia entered a period of decline and instability, often referred to as the Dark Age (15th – 19th centuries). The country faced continuous invasions and domination by neighboring Siam (Thailand) and Vietnam. The capital was moved from Angkor to Phnom Penh in the 15th century. This period was marked by frequent conflicts, loss of territory, and reduced influence in the region.

FRENCH RULE IN CAMBODIA
In the mid-19th century, Cambodia sought protection from Siam and Vietnam by becoming a French protectorate in 1863. Under French colonial rule, which lasted until 1953, Cambodia saw improvements in infrastructure, education, and administration. However, the economic benefits were limited for Cambodians, and the colonial administration often suppressed local customs and governance structures. Cambodia gained independence from France on November 9, 1953, under King Norodom Sihanouk.

MODERN STATE
After gaining independence, Cambodia initially experienced a period of relative stability under King Norodom Sihanouk, who promoted a policy of neutrality during the Cold War. However, the 1960s saw increasing political turmoil and involvement in the Vietnam War, leading to internal conflicts. In 1970, General Lon Nol led a coup d’état, establishing the Khmer Republic, which aligned with the United States during the Vietnam War.

KHMER REPUBLIC
The Khmer Republic (1970-1975) was a short-lived government led by General Lon Nol. The regime faced significant challenges, including economic instability, political corruption, and ongoing conflict with the communist Khmer Rouge. Despite support from the United States, the Khmer Republic struggled to maintain control and eventually fell to the Khmer Rouge in April 1975.

THE KHMER ROUGE
The Pol Pot, established Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979) after overthrowing the Khmer Republic. The regime aimed to create an agrarian utopia, resulting in one of the most brutal genocides of the 20th century. Approximately 1.7 million people died due to forced labor, starvation, and executions. The Vietnamese invasion in late 1978 ended the Khmer Rouge’s rule in January 1979.

RECENT DEVELOPMENT
After the fall of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia was governed by the People’s Republic of Kampuchea, a pro-Vietnamese regime. The country endured years of conflict and political instability. The 1991 Paris Peace Agreements marked a turning point, leading to United Nations intervention and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in 1993. Since then, Cambodia has gradually moved towards peace and stability, with significant economic growth driven by tourism and manufacturing. However, the country continues to face challenges such as political tensions, human rights issues, and the legacy of its turbulent past.

Visiting Cambodia offers a rich cultural experience, but understanding local customs and etiquette can enhance your trip.

DO’S
When in Cambodia, it’s respectful to greet people with a slight bow or a “sampeah” (placing your palms together in a prayer-like gesture) and a smile. Modesty in dress is appreciated, especially when visiting religious sites like temples; knees and shoulders should be covered. Removing shoes before entering someone’s home or a temple is customary. It’s polite to use both hands when giving or receiving items, especially money. Bargaining is common in markets but should be done respectfully. Tasting the local cuisine, like fish amok and Khmer noodles, is a must for culinary enthusiasts. Engaging with locals and learning a few words of Khmer, such as greetings and thank-yous, can go a long way in fostering positive interactions.

DON’TS
Avoid public displays of affection, as Cambodian culture tends to be conservative in this regard. Pointing with your feet or touching someone’s head, considered the highest part of the body, is disrespectful. Disrespecting Buddhist customs, such as touching or sitting on religious statues, should be avoided. Criticizing the monarchy or engaging in political discussions may be seen as insensitive or offensive. Taking photographs without permission, especially of monks or religious ceremonies, is considered intrusive. Refrain from touching or feeding wildlife, as this can disrupt local ecosystems. Lastly, it’s advisable to avoid drinking tap water and to handle street food with caution to prevent foodborne illnesses.

By embracing these cultural norms and practices, visitors can show respect for Cambodia’s traditions and enjoy a more enriching travel experience in this captivating country.

Cambodia’s culture is deeply influenced by its long and complex history. The Khmer Empire, which flourished from the 9th to the 15th century, left an indelible mark on the country’s identity. This era saw the construction of magnificent temples like Angkor Wat, a testament to the architectural and cultural achievements of the Khmer people. The subsequent centuries brought periods of foreign domination and colonial rule, particularly by the French from the mid-19th century until Cambodia gained independence in 1953. The traumatic Khmer Rouge regime in the late 20th century also left significant scars, shaping contemporary Cambodian society’s resilience and cultural revival.

ARCHITECTURE AND HOUSING
Cambodian architecture is a blend of ancient grandeur and practical modernity. Traditional Khmer architecture, exemplified by the temples of Angkor, features intricate carvings, symmetrical designs, and symbolic structures reflecting Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. In modern times, urban areas like Phnom Penh showcase a mix of French colonial buildings and contemporary structures. Traditional houses in rural areas are typically wooden stilt houses, designed to protect against flooding, provide ventilation, and accommodate livestock beneath the living quarters.

RELIGION
Religion plays a pivotal role in Cambodian culture, with Theravada Buddhism being the dominant faith practiced by the majority of the population. Buddhism influences various aspects of daily life, including rituals, festivals, and moral values. Pagodas are central to community life, serving as places of worship, education, and social gathering. In addition to Buddhism, animism and ancestor worship are also practiced, particularly in rural areas, where people believe in spirits and protective deities.

WAYS OF LIFE
Birth and Death Rituals: Cambodian birth rituals often involve blessings from monks to ensure the newborn’s health and prosperity. Death rituals are elaborate, with ceremonies designed to ensure the deceased’s smooth transition to the afterlife, often including a Buddhist funeral and cremation.

Childhood and Adolescence: Cambodian children are raised with strong family values and respect for elders. Education is highly valued, though access can vary between urban and rural areas. Adolescence is a time for learning traditional skills, such as weaving and farming, alongside formal education.

Courtship, Marriage, and Divorce: Traditional courtship involves family approval, with marriage ceremonies being significant social events that can last several days, featuring elaborate rituals and celebrations. Divorce is less common but legally permitted and socially accepted under certain circumstances.

Customs: Social customs in Cambodia emphasize respect and hierarchy. The traditional greeting, the Sampeah, involves pressing palms together and bowing slightly, with the depth of the bow indicating the level of respect. Respect for elders, teachers, and monks is deeply ingrained, and public displays of affection are generally discouraged.

CLOTHING
Traditional Cambodian clothing includes the sampot, a long, rectangular cloth worn by both men and women. For formal occasions, women wear the sampot chang kben, a wrap-around skirt, while men wear the sampot chang slong. The krama, a traditional checkered scarf, is a versatile garment used for various purposes, from headwear to carrying goods. Modern clothing often combines traditional elements with Western styles, especially in urban areas.

CUISINE
Cambodian cuisine is characterized by its use of fresh ingredients, balanced flavors, and diverse textures. Rice is the staple food, accompanied by a variety of dishes including curries, soups, and stir-fries. Fish, particularly from the Tonle Sap Lake, is a primary protein source. Popular dishes include amok (a coconut milk curry), lok lak (stir-fried beef), and prahok (fermented fish paste). Tropical fruits like mangoes, bananas, and durians, along with herbs such as lemongrass and basil, are integral to Cambodian cooking.

SPORTS AND GAMES
Sports and games are an integral part of Cambodian culture. Traditional games like “sepak takraw” (kick volleyball) and “chol chhoung” (a game played during Khmer New Year involving throwing and catching a cloth ball) are popular during festivals. Modern sports, such as soccer and volleyball, are widely played and enjoyed. Cambodian martial arts, particularly “Pradal Serey or Kun Khmer” (Khmer kickboxing), have a long tradition and are an important cultural heritage. Today, sports serve as a means of promoting national pride and unity, with increasing support for athletic development and competitions.