Cambodia is gaining recognition for its beauty and friendly, welcoming people. However, its tragic history is perhaps its most significant legacy.
From 1975 to 1979, the Khmer Rouge regime, led by the infamous Pol Pot, killed an estimated one and a half million educated Cambodians (about one fifth of the country’s population at the time) in an effort to create an agrarian society. Thousands more were either tortured, killed or fled the country. The Khmer Rouge was finally ousted by the Vietnamese in 1978. In 1979, Cambodia was gripped by civil war, which lasted until the mid 1990s.
Although this tragic story is still immortalized in museums and tourist spots, Cambodia’s most magnificent cultural destination, Angkor Wat, is once again becoming a top destination to explore in the country. This towering ancient complex is the largest religious structure on the globe, is at the heart of Cambodian cultural pride and heritage. Featured on its flag even today, this ancient structure was once the epicenter of the Khmer Empire, which ruled most of the Indochinese peninsula during the 11th through 14th centuries.
Passport and visa
A passport with at least six months validity from the date of entry into Cambodia is required. We recommend you make a photocopy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate, or scan your passport and keep the scan in an accessible email account.
A visa is required for most nationalities. There are two types of visa: Upon arrival visa and E-visa. Upon arrival visa can be obtained at any international land and water border, and 2 international airports of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. E-visa is accepted only at these international airports, and 3 following land borders:
Bavet (Svay Rieng) – Cambodia & Vietnam land border
Poi Pet (Banteay Meanchey) – Cambodia & Thailand land border
Cham Yeam (Koh Kong) – Cambodia & Thailand land border
A tourist visa costs US$30 and is valid for 30 days. One passport-sized photograph is also required.
The official currency is Riel. However, US dollars are also widely accepted and sometimes preferred. Riel is used for items where the price is less than US$1 and can be used in conjunction with USD. ATMs are widely available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Sihanoukville; they distribute US dollars. There are not many ATMs outside these areas. It is recommended that you always carry cash in small notes with you. These notes should be clean, and free from rips and tears where possible.
Please note while there are many gem shops in Cambodia, we advise against any purchase as the majority of gems are fake. Our guides are not permitted to take our guests to these shops and any purchase is at your own risk.