Cambodia is Asia’s new “it” destination, according to Forbes. For Millennials who want to experience a new culture, Cambodia is a budget-friendly destination with hostels, fair trade shops and beautiful, untouched beaches. For the baby boomers looking to expand their knowledge of different countries and cultures, Cambodia offers attentive tour guides, as well as Mekong River cruises and cooking or weaving classes.
According to the Bangkok Post Cambodia is expected to attract seven million foreign tourists (two million from China) by 2020.
The small country — bordered by Thailand, Gulf of Thailand and Vietnam — offers jungles, beaches, towns and villages with options for backpacking, fishing, paddle boarding, sightseeing and wildlife viewing.
The Khmer cuisine is flavorful and unique. Visitors can find food vendors on the streets and in small open-front restaurants. Not only is the food budget friendly, so are accommodations and transportation.
Most travelers take a vacation to Cambodia between November and March. There’s a water festival, marking the change in the flow of the Tonle Sap and Mekong River, held in October or November (depends on the year).
If you prefer traveling off season, try visiting between May to October. The beginning of May is when the rice planting season begins, marked by the Royal Ploughing Ceremony.
If you are planning a vacation to Cambodia, here are a few ideas of places to visit:
- The ancient temples of Angkor Wat
- Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River in Phnom Penh
- Ride the bamboo train or visit the bat caves in Battambang
- Stand-up paddleboarding or fishing in Kampot
- Visit an elephant sanctuary in Mondulkiri
Travel and Safety Tips
There are a few things to know before traveling to Cambodia. First, check the advisories from your home government. For example, Cambodia merits a Level 1 travel advisory (Exercise Normal Precautions) from the State Department and is a moderate risk based on Global Rescue’s destination report.
Most vacations to Cambodia are trouble free, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the British Government advises that some areas require increased caution, such as Phnom Penh, one of the largest cities in Cambodia. Street crime, particularly cell phone and bag snatchings, occur frequently in areas where tourists gather. UK health authorities have also classified Cambodia as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. Global Rescue rates Cambodia as a high risk for insect-borne diseases.
Other Cambodia travel advice includes:
- Consult with a travel medicine professional about necessary precautions: vaccines and other medications.
- Minimize the items you carry with you — make use of the hotel safe for your valuables.
- Using a local guide when walking in forested areas or dry rice paddies in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Pursat,
- Siem Reap, Pailin and Kampong Thom. Very remote areas may have land mines.
- Follow Cambodia’s official code of conduct for visitors to Angkor Wat and other religious sites. This includes a dress code.
- Follow visa requirements for visiting Cambodia. Some nationalities are required to get visas in advance in their countries.
- The Kingdom of Cambodia Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers visas online.
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