Go to Cambodia without visiting Angkor is like go to Venice without seeing the Saint Mark's Basilica. First of all, take a walk between the huge stone faces of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in the Bayon temple. Then, lose your bearings in the labyrinth of Angkor Wat. After having been dazzle by the glorious past of Khmer god-kings, the traveler will be rocked by the today’s Cambodian gentleness.
Cities of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh exude a unique charm with its bar, café terrace overlooking the street and the Asian monsoon’s sensuality. Roads are full of rickshaw, men, women, children carrying heavy wicker basket of fruits and vegetables. Motorbikes backfire, bonzes in saffron dress beg in silence before going to pagoda.
What’s more pleasant than wander Cambodian roads along flooded paddy fields? It would probably be more exotic to go on a cruise on the huge water-supply network of the Mekong River. What is interesting is that the water throughput regulates all aspects of the Cambodia life. And particularly of the Tonle Sap Lake that is scattered over floating village dedicated for fishing.
If you prefer go to sea and tan, beaches around Sihanoukville in the south of the country will please you.
Ethnologists will also be delighted by villages in forests in the Northeast where mountain minorities cultivate rice on burnt land.
A passport with at least six month validity and a Cambodian visa to travel to Cambodia are required. Tourist and business visas are valid for one month beginning with the date of entry into Cambodia. You may apply in person at the Cambodian Embassy (20 €) or by the Internet (HTTP://EVISA.MFAIC.GOV.KH )
Health and security
None vaccinations are required but some may be advisable (for diphtheria, Tetanus, poliomyelitis and Hepatitis A). A risk of malaria is present, so you should protect against mosquito with repellent cream, long sleeve and trouser at night.
It is recommended to only drink encapsulated mineral water, can of soda, or tea (Tia) that are proposed in restaurants and that have been boiled several times. Avoid raw foods as meats and eggs.
A risk of avian flu still exists; don’t get in touch with poultry! And be aware because AIDS cause large numbers of deaths in this country. And as usual don’t forget an antidiarrheal, it’s wiser!
From November to April, during the dry weather. During the rainy season, from June to October, the weather is very humid, very hot (35°) with violent and short period of rain. On September and October, the Mekong experiences important rain flow that cause flood and traffic problems.
Best time of the year
The Khmer New Year that generally begin on April 13th/14th and end on April 15th/16th. It represents the end of gathering. Cambodians clean the house, decorate it, prepare specials meals and bring offering in pagoda.
What you can read
" Un pélerin d'Angkor " of Pierre Loti (1902, reedited in 1997, edition Kailash), " La voie Royale " of André Malraux (Grasset), " La machine Khmère rouge,of R. Panh et C. Chaumeau, (Flammarion, 2003) or " Le Portail " of François Bizot.
What you can watch : " La déchirure " by Roland Joffé (1984), (1994) et " la machine de mort Khmère rouge "(2003) by Rithy Pan.
Call from France
The international code of Cambodia is 855. Dial +855 + dialing code of the city (23 for Phnom Penh) + the number of the person phoning
Airport of Phnom Penh
Airport of Thailand or Vietnam that go to Siem Reap or Sihanoukville/Kompong Som
What to do-what not to do-what not to say
To great each other, Cambodians neither shake hands nor embrace, they lean the head slightly with joint hands in front of chest.
Never touch someone’s head, particularly children’s one, it’s considered as an offence.
Cambodians are very modest and discreet, so take care of your clothes and avoid all effusions in public.
Grab theft become frequent in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, left your passport in the hotel and take a photocopy of it, don’t carry large amounts of cash
Out-of-the-way to do
Rent the service of a motorcyclist to move and discover the city (for 10euros a day). The cask is compulsory for the driver and also for the passenger. Don’t nearly recommend the driver to be careful on the road.
Out-of-the-way to discover
The Beng Meala Temple, in the jungle that is about 40km far away from Siem Reap (take a taxi, negotiate the trip before going). This visit isn’t included in the price of the Angkor access’ ticket.
The average price of a meal: 5€, an hotel room: 10/15€, rickshaw: 1€
What to know on-site
Avoid rent a car: the road network is bad, the traffic is anarchic and there is no traffic rules.
Information about economy
Cambodia stays a poor country. In 1987, the average income was 250€, it has increased at 550€ in 2007, but the crisis of 2008 has extremely affected the country.
Main assets: tourism and confection.
Phone and Internet
To phone from Cambodia to France: dial 001+33+ the number of the person phoning without ‘0’. The mobile phone coverage is available almost everywhere.
There are cybercafé in Phnom Penh and Internet access is available in hotels.
Energy voltage-Socket (outlet)
220 V like in France
Embassy of France in Phnom Penh - Number: 855 23 430 020
Doctors accredited by the embassy - Dr J.Cl. Garen Number: (00) 855 12 767 505