Updated: Jan2013
A mostly flat and forested land, Cambodia is a small, compact country. But for more than 500 years, Angkor (in northwestern Cambodia) was the capital of the Khmer Empire, which controlled mainland Southeast Asia from the 9th to the 13th century. Thailand and Vietnam encroached upon the kingdom until 1863, when France made Cambodia a protectorate. Independence came in 1953.

The Vietnam War spilled into Cambodia, igniting conflict, and in 1970 a pro-Western military government overthrew longtime ruler Prince Norodom Sihanouk. Five years later Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge guerrillas began brutally enforcing radical communism, killing some two million Cambodians. After intense border clashes, Vietnam invaded and occupied Cambodia from 1978 to 1989, with up to 200,000 troops. In 1991 three rebel groups and the Phnom Penh government signed a UN-sponsored peace accord. Returned from exile in 1993, Sihanouk became king, leading the new constitutional monarchy.

Coming into the 21st century, Cambodia enjoys relative stability; but subsistence farming employs 75 percent of the workforce and many live in poverty. Cambodians hope that tourism focused on Angkor Wat, meaning "capital monastery," will bring prosperity; it is the largest temple at Angkor—its image is on Cambodia's flag.


Most nationalitlies can obtain a one month tourist visa upon arrival which costs around $20. At land-border crossings, notbaly the Thai-Cambodian border, the fee can be more expensive as the cost is paid in Thai baht and is sometimes rounded up considerably. It is reccomended that you have two passports photographs available, but as always in Asia you may only need one of them.

Passports must be valid for a at least 6 months before entering and have at least one blank page. 

On-line VIsa Application

You can now apply for a visa online. Pre-order at and your visa will cost a set price of $25. You will need to upload a digital photograph of yourself. Processing takes 3 days and you will be emailed the visa. As with all online visa applications, you will need to print this letter and take it with you when you arrive. 

Note: NOt all border crossings currently support e-visa, so please check before travelling.

Visa extension

These can be obtained at Phnom Penh immigration office, opposite the International airport. TOurist visas can be extended for one month for around $35. Longer extension can be arranged. Penalty for late departure is $5 per day.

Fast Facts

Cambodian Riel and US$

Exchange Rates
$1 = R4,042
€1 = R5,340
£1 = R6,210

Working rate
$1 = R4,000

€1 = $0.75
£1 = $1.53

For free withdrawals use 
Canadia Bank
ATM Locator

Capital City
Phnom Penh

Main Religion
Thereavada Buddhism

Main Language

Telephone Code

Time zone
GMT +7 hours

Emergency Numbers
Ambulance 119
Fire 118
Police 117

Climate: When to go?
There are three seasons in Cambodia. The hot season (November to January), the very hot season (February to May) and the rainy season (June to October).

The average temperature during the hot season is around 32 degrees Celsius, so this is a nice time to visit.
The very hot season is almost unbearable when it gets as high as 39-42 degrees. 

The rainy season is quite a nice time to visit as well, as the rice paddies are very green and lush and the afternoon rainfalls cool the high temperatures down a little bit.

Where to go?
Phnom Penh
The capital. Read Dan Fishers guide for more information.

Far northeastern provincial capital located near some great waterfalls and national parks.

A town between the capital and Sihanoukville and gateway to the Bokor National Park.

Koh Kong
A small border crossing town near the Thai border

Kompong Thom 
Access to less well known (and less crowded) ancient temples and other sites.

Relaxed river town in the north-east on the Mekong, and an excellent place to get a close look at endangered river dolphins.

Siem Reap 
The access point for Angkor Wat.

A seaside town in the south, also known as Kompong Som.

Angkor Archaeological Park 
Home of the imposing ruins of ancient Khmer civilization.

Bokor National Park 
Ghostly former French hill resort.

Kampong Cham 
A nice countryside village on the Mekong river and good place to meet real Cambodia.

A seaside area which predates Sihanoukville as the main beach resort in Cambodia; slowly being re-discovered by travellers.

A small village on the backpacker trail between Kratie and Kampong Cham.

Koh Ker 
More ancient ruins, north of Angkor.

Preah Vihear 
A cliff-top temple pre-dating Angkor.

Tonle Sap Lake 
This huge lake with floating villages houses Southeast Asia's premier bird sanctuary.

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Our Chosen Charities.

There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. That said, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted beneath, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've downloaded, then look into some of these worthy causes.
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Operation Smile

Our Cause: Operation Smile provides free surgery to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities for children around the globe... [more]

Mine Awareness Group

We work with conflict-affected communities to identify their needs, removing land mines and unexploded ordnance, and helping those people in contaminated areas to live more safely. [more]

Animal Asia

Animals Asia Foundation is devoted to the welfare of wild and urban animals in Asia. We also work towards the conservation of endangered species. We have three flagship programmes: End Bear Farming, Cat and Dog Welfare and Action against Cruelty... [more]

Project HOPE

Since 1958, Project HOPE has worked to make health care available for people around the globe. We are committed to long-term sustainable health care. Our work includes educating health professionals and community health workers, strengthening health facilities, fighting diseases such as TB, HIV/AIDS and diabetes and providing humanitarian assistance through donated medicines, medical supplies and volunteer medical help... [more]

The Leaping Lemur

Phnom Penh
Through a teachers eyes.
Dan Fisher teachers in Phnom Penh, so who better to convince us that we should spend more than one night there?