A collection of Cambodia travel and backpacking resources including Cambodia travel, entry visa requirements, and employment for backpackers.

Backpacking Cambodia

Looking for important travel information while backpacking around Cambodia? Here you will find information on working in Cambodia, entry visas, Cambodia hostels, and much more.

Table of Contents

A guide for backpacking around Cambodia. Get important travelers information when it comes to Cambodia including visa requirements, employment opportunities,as well as Cambodia hostels.

Facts About Cambodia

Peace and stability has slowly started to return to Cambodia and the steady influx of aid has been building up the infrastructure and clearing away land mines and other remnants of fighting. This means the Cambodia is gradually becoming a viable mainstream tourist destination. For now it is best to stick to the well travelled tourist trails to avoid the banditry and land mines that are present in some of the more rural areas. That being said, sticking within these areas still offers enough to make Cambodia a good stop off point on any tour of South East Asia.

  • Currency: Riel (CRI) = 100 sen
  • Time Zone: GMT + 7
  • Language: Khmer, Chinese and Vietnamese, English is spoken by younger generations
  • Telephone Services: Country Code +855, International calls must go through an operator
  • Emergency Numbers: In Phnom Penh only: 722-353 Police, 723-555 Ambulance

Climate

Cambodia’s weather is governed by its typical tropical monsoon climate. Temperatures are hot with the monsoon season running from May to November and the more pleasant dry season running from November to April. The northern part of the country experiences slightly colder winters but you won’t need any special clothing with temperatures rarely dropping below 15 degrees Celsius except in the highest altitude regions.

Cambodia climate map including average rainfall and temperature by month. Find the best time to backpack Cambodia based on your climate preferences.

Things to see and do

The country’s capital is the city of Phnom Penh, much of this city was built during French colonial occupation and despite being somewhat dilapidated in places, the city retains a lively and busy atmosphere. By far the most magnificent sight is the Silver Pagoda, its floor is tiled with over 500 silver slabs, each weighing about a kilogram. The impressive temple is also home to a 90kg solid gold Buddha and a baccarant crystal Buddha as well as many other smaller artefacts. Many tourists also make a pilgrimage to the Choeung Ek killing fields just 20 minutes south of the city. This somewhat grisly memorial is the site where the Khmer Rouge killed over 17,000 people. The Memorial Stupa is a display of about 8000 skulls catalogued by sex and age serving as a reminder of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. The onsite Tuol Sleng Museum is dedicated to educating the world about the crimes committed by the oppressive Khmer Rouge.

Most travellers come to Cambodia solely to visit the much celebrated temples of Angkor. The nearest town is Siem Reap which is only a few km from the temples and is primely situated to offer tourists food and accommodation. Angkor itself was a former religious centre with most of the temples having been built between the 9th and 13th centuries and was subsequently abandoned around the 1400s and the site was gradually lost ot the encroaching forest. Today restoration work still continues and many of the temples have been beautifully restored. The highlights are undoubtedly the Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm temples.

Battambang is Cambodia’s second largest city and is situated right on the banks of the river and boasts and airport of its own. The town boasts the best-preserved French Colonial architecture in the country and recent improvements in facilities makes this town an ideal base for visiting the surrounding temple sites. As well as the numerous Wats the town also boasts a nearby lake and a museum of 9th century artefacts.

Travel

There are some rail services operating in the country, which although cheap tend to be much slower than buses due to the state of disrepair plaguing the rail network. There are plans to re-establish the international link to Bangkok but there is still a lot of work to be done before this can become a reality.

The best way to travel is by bus or share-taxi, these are normally run by enterprising locals and are incredibly cheap. It is worth noting however that despite being faster than the trains you will still not have a comfortable ride in store. The countries roads are in an absolutely appalling state making for very bumpy trips indeed. It is also worth reiterating that travel outside of the main tourist routes is not advised as there are still areas of minefields and isolated reports of banditry in more rural areas.

Accommodation

Phnom Penh and Siem Reap now boast numerous international standard hotels including everything from cheap backpacker style accommodation right up to luxury 5-star hotels. Throughout the rest of the country small hostels and guest-houses are available but the standards tend to be quite basic. For more information you should contact the Ministry of Tourism, you can find the address in our “Useful Addresses” Section.

Entry requirements

All visitors must hold a valid passport with at least 3 months validity from time of entering Cambodia. All visitors require a visa, tourist visas are available from your local Cambodian Embassy or Consulate. A tourist visa which allows 1 months stay normally costs about CRI15.

Health

The standard of emergency healthcare is quite basic and doctors will require cash payments before treatment. This coupled with the fact that airbourne evacuation may be required means that you should have a fully comprehensive travel insurance policy before embarking for Cambodia.

There is a risk of Cholera in Cambodia and you should consult your GP for up to date information, particularly on if a vaccination is required. Vaccinations for polio and typhoid are recommended and can be obtained from your GP for around CRI40. Malaria is present all year round outside the capital including strains resistant to chloroquine, you should consult your GP for the most appropriate anti-malaria treatment to carry with you.

Water is not safe to drink and water used for washing or consumption should have been boiled or sterilised first. Where possible it is best to stick to bottled water. Dairy products are un-pasteurised and should be avoided in all parts of Cambodia. Vegetables should be peeled and washed before consumption and meat should be thoroughly cooked and eaten hot.

Addresses

There isn’t any Cambodian representation in the UK so visa/immigration related enquiries should be directed towards;

Royal Embassy of Cambodia 
4 rue Adolphe Yvon 
75116 
Paris 
France
Tel: (1) 4503 4720 
Fax: (1) 4503 4740.

If you require UK representation whilst in Cambodia you should contact the British Embassy;

British Embassy 
29 Street 75 
Phnom Penh 
Cambodia 
Tel: (23) 427124 
Fax: (23) 427125 

Local tourist information is available from the Ministry of Tourism;

Ministry of Tourism 
Boulevard Preah Monivong 
Corner Rue 232 
Phnom Penh 
Cambodia 
Tel: (23) 26107 
Fax: (23) 24607. 

Useful Links

The Ministry of Tourism provides travel advice for visitors to Cambodia.

Amazon.co.uk carries a variety of guides to Cambodia including the excellent rough guides series.

Entry Visas for Cambodia

All visitors must hold a valid passport with at least 3 months validity from time of entering Cambodia. All visitors require a visa, tourist visas are available from your local Cambodian Embassy or Consulate. A tourist visa which allows 1 months stay normally costs about CRI15.

You can now apply for a visa directly through Cambodia e-Visa.

Addresses

There isn’t any Cambodian representation in the UK so visa/immigration related enquiries should be directed towards:

Royal Embassy of Cambodia 
4 rue Adolphe Yvon 
75116 
Paris 
France
Tel: (1) 4503 4720 
Fax: (1) 4503 4740.

If you require UK representation whilst in Cambodia you should contact the British Embassy:

British Embassy 
29 Street 75 
Phnom Penh 
Cambodia 
Tel: (23) 427124 
Fax: (23) 427125 

Local tourist information is available from the Ministry of Tourism:

Ministry of Tourism 
Boulevard Preah Monivong 
Corner Rue 232 
Phnom Penh 
Cambodia 
Tel: (23) 26107 
Fax: (23) 24607.

Foreigner Work Permits in Cambodia

In developing countries such as Cambodia it is often difficult for foreign nationals to find work given the state of the economy. Most who visit Cambodia and other Asian countries on gap years do so once having built up enough resources to fund the trip by working in the UK or in Europe beforehand, or take part in volunteer projects to feel part of the development process of this country. As is the case with other Asian countries job and volunteer opportunities are mainly focused on teaching English, usually in schools. Cambodia is still picking up the pieces after its devastation by civil war and so a lot of programmes also concentrate on rehabilitation and orphanage strategies. The organisations below are just a handful of companies who welcome volunteers every year to take part in their projects.

Outreach International

Volunteers with Outreach can work in a number of fields. Landmine and polio victims, street-children, and orphanages are some main focuses of aid, as well as teaching English, music, and sport in schools. The opportunities to show support are endless and volunteers gain an enormous sense of well being from helping those who have been less privileged than those growing up in the West. Volunteers are provided with accommodation with other members of staff on the projects in or around Phnom Penh, which is the main area for volunteer projects in Cambodia. As with most volunteer organisations of this kind, volunteers are expected to raise their own money to fund the projects. For a three month project with Outreach you will need CRI3100 and CRI400 for every month thereafter, which covers travel, insurance, food, accommodation, and support etc.

Outreach International

VentureCo

VentureCo’s 16-week programme combines aid projects with expeditions from Cambodia, through Vietnam, to Laos, and finally China. The first three weeks are spent in what is known as ‘cultural orientation’ consisting of visiting various places guided by a team who introduce you to the culture and traditions of the country, and learning the Khmer language. The following four weeks consist of community aid work in Koh Kong, involving teaching and food distribution to underprivileged children. A 9-week expedition then follows taking you through Vietnam: Saigon, HoiAn, China Beach, and Hue City; Laos: Vientiane, Luang Prabang, and the Mekong River, and finally China: Kunming, Lijiang, the Yangtze, Xi’an, Beijing, and finishing with a trek on the Great Wall of China. Programmes with VentureCo are self-funded and can cost you up to CRI5000, which includes travel, food, accommodation, transport, and fees for the activities themselves.

Ventureco Worldwide

i-to-i

Volunteer projects with i-to-i take place in Phnom Penh and involve the teaching of English in high schools and agricultural universities. Once you arrive in Cambodia you will be given orientation and basic language classes. An eight week project will cost you CRI1295 and a nine to twelve week project amounts to CRI1395. Accommodation is provided by the organisation but varies; usually you will be placed in university dorms or homestays. Volunteers are also given a weekly budget for food.

i-to-i

Volunteer in Cambodia

Experience life in Cambodia while volunteering your time to teach conversational English. Living as part of a group of international volunteers in Phnom Penh for 13 weeks, you’ll be part of a new project providing affordable English language courses for local students to raise money for the Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT), a local organisation working to improve the living conditions of rural communities. The cost is US$850 for 13 weeks to cover accommodation and meals, and includes cultural orientation, language sessions, and support from experienced staff. Join us for an invaluable learning experience!

Volunteer in Cambodia

vMaD – Volunteers Making a Difference

Other Useful Links

Frontier Wildlife Conservation Expeditions

Cambodia Hostels

Hostels are a cheap form of accomodation, and so they are essential to backpackers and other budget travellers.

Sorry, no hostels have been registered for this country yet.

There you have it, the ultimate Cambodia backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Cambodia.

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