Cambodia: Destination Asia
Destination Asia is the Far East’s leading Diversified Travel Organisation with 27 offices in 11 Asia countries.
Destination Asia was formed in 1996 when experienced travel executives and managers saw a niche market opportunity for a travel firm that, being owned by its staff, could provide travel services solely responsive to the needs of the client and not the whims of any international corporate conglomerate.
Destination Asia Thailand and Destination Asia Vietnam were the first units of the Destination Asia group to be formed. From these two initial successes Destination Asia Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Myanmar and Laos have evolved, further strengthening our association within the region. In 2010 we opened in Singapore & Malaysia and in 2011 we launched our Japan operation.
We offer specialist services for all areas of the corporate Incentive, Meeting and Exhibition business, with particular expertise in the UK markets. Destination Asia prides itself in creating unique and cost effective programs, with the highest levels of professional operation and delivery, which has resulted in the Company providing services to many of the Fortune 500 companies using incentive travel as a core sales motivation device.
Yi Lynol, Managing Director
Yeang Sokhon (Khon), Operations Manager & Director (Siem Reap)
Cambodia – Destination Factfile
Flying Time from UK London Currently no direct UK flights are operating to Cambodia.
Typical flight connection - London to Bangkok 12 hours / Bangkok to Siem Reap 1 hour
Phnom Penh International Airport
Siem Reap International Airport
There is also an airport in Sihanoukville for domestic flights to/from Siem Reap.
For further information visit www.cambodia-airports.com
Phnom Penh International Airport is located approximately 9 km from the city center. Transfer time ranges between 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on traffic.
Siem Reap International Airport is located approximately 6 km from the city center. Transfer time is approx 20 minutes depending on traffic conditions.
Immigration Most nationalities as well as residents of the United Kingdom will require a visa to visit Cambodia, this can either be obtained in advance or on arrival for US$20.00(current cost) and one passport photograph is needed. Visitors require a current passport valid for 6 months beyond the departure date from Cambodia and it must have at least two blank pages.
For further advice contact the Cambodian Embassy in the UK as follows:
Royal Embassy of Cambodia
64 Brondesbury Park
London, NW6 7AT
Tel. 020 8451 7850 (Mon-Fri: 9.00am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 4.30pm)
Fax. 020 8451 7594
Email (General enquiries): firstname.lastname@example.org
Email (Visa enquiries): email@example.com
Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am to 12.30pm excluding public holidays.
Official Currency Khmer Riel KHR / USD - US Dollars are used as commonly as Riel.
Khmer Riel (KHR) = 100 Sen.
Bank notes: 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000 and 100000 denominations.
US dollars are the most favoured and easily exchangeable currency. It is advisable to take at least some of your spending money in US dollar cash, some of which needs to be in small denominations. Hotels accept most credit cards.
There are ATM machines in most major cities (which dispense US dollars).
Climate Cambodia has two distinctive seasons that are driven by the South-West Monsoon; the ‘Wet Season’ from June to October and the ‘Dry Season’ from November to May but anytime of the year is a great time to visit. There is also a short period between March and May that is particularly hot.
November – February
The cool dry season with no rain, morning and evening temperatures are very pleasant but can still rise to 30 C (86F) during the afternoons. This is the ideal period to be touring the temples of Angkor, however, is considered to be the ‘peak season’ of travel.
Average Min/Max: 21C (70) F / 31C (88F)
March – May
Can be hot and dry with humidity building up in April; the weather at this time can be particularly uncomfortable for some visitors with temperatures rising to 35C/95F and above. The moist humid air that precedes the wet season can be particularly oppressive when walking around the Angkor temples.
If travelling at this time we recommend doing what the locals do and maximise sightseeing time in the relative coolness of the early mornings and late afternoons.
Average Min/Max: 26C (79F) / 34C (93F)
June – October
May can be very hot if the rains come late, however once into June the parched earth suddenly becomes green and lush from the sudden abundance of water. The air is refreshed for short periods and it can be a great time to travel if you wish to avoid the crowds of the high season. The air remains very humid however, and days are still hot. This period offers magical photographic opportunities at the temples of Angkor as the moats and reflection pools are full, and the jungle and countryside are fresh and offer shades of vivid green. The tropical storms are often spectacular and special moments can be had wandering the stone temples in solitude during and after afternoon tropical downpour. The rain in general, comes in the form of a predictable 2-3 hour afternoon of refreshing bursts.
Average Min/Max: 24C (75F) / (32C (90F)
Clothing The emphasis should be on smart casual wear. We would suggest lightweight cottons, avoiding synthetic materials as much as possible. In the 'cool' season, long sleeves and jumpers (or similar) may be needed when it will be cold in the early morning and evening. Most hotels in Cambodia have swimming pools so it is wise to pack a swimming costume.
During the wetter months a lightweight raincoat and umbrella would be useful. Comfortable shoes are recommended, especially for the sightseeing at the Angkor temples, where the ground can be uneven; it should also be noted that some of these visits involve steep ascents up stone steps. Shoes that can be slipped on and off easier and are useful for temple visits where local custom dictates that shoes should be removed. There are good laundry facilities.
Local Time GMT +7 hours
1 January - New Year's Day
7 January - Victory over Genocide Day
February or March: Meak Bochea Day
8 March - International Women Day
April: Khmer New Year
1 May - International Labour Day
May: Visak Bochea Day
May: Royal Plowing Ceremony
13, 14, 15 May King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday
1 June - International / Cambodian Children Day
18 June - Queen Norodom Monineath Sihanouk’s Birthday
24 September - Constitution Day
September or October: Phcum Ben Day
29 October - Coronation Day
October 31: King Norodom Sihanouk’s Birthday
9 November - Independence Day
November: Water Festival Ceremony
10 December - International Human Rights Day
Note - Exact dates of some public holidays vary from year to year.
Geography Despite a ravaged past the Kingdom of Cambodia remains one of Asia’s most enthralling destinations. A country deeply enriched by history and culture that never fails to impress. Today it excites even the most seasoned traveller, just as it once did French explorers of a bygone time...
From the deserted beaches on the Gulf of Thailand to city streets of Phnom Penh where emotive senses are heightened, from the deep jungles and minorities of the northwest, to the final mystique and grandeur of the Angkorian period in all its glory near Siem Reap, Cambodia is a land as yet untouched by commercialism and the foreboding hammer of development. In its place lies a warm, enigmatic race of people maintaining the richness of their culture, now for all the world to see.
Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia, on the Indochinese peninsula. It is bordered in the north-west by Thailand, in the southeast by Vietnam and in the north by Laos. The coastline of about 450 km in the south borders the gulf of Thailand. The terrain is mostly low and flat plains with mountains in the southwest and north, partly being natural borders to Thailand and Laos.
With a total landmass of about 180,000 sq.km Cambodia’s size can be compared to the size of Switzerland being one of the smaller countries in Southeast Asia with a population of around 14 million. The Mekong River, one of the largest rivers in the world is flowing all the way from the Himalaya through Cambodia and Vietnam into the South Chinese Sea.
Lake Tonle Sap located almost in the middle of the country is the largest freshwater floodplain lake in the world, increasing and decreasing in size annually from 3000 sq.km in the dry season to 12,000 sq.km in the wet season, creating a very productive environment for both wildlife and people.
The capital city is Phnom Penh.
Cusine Due to the history of Cambodia with many different influences of the Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese and French it is hardly possible to identify the typical Khmer cuisine as it is more a mixture of different flavours which have been established in Cambodia. However, without a doubt rice is the staple food and to be served with every meal even for breakfast.
Due to the great rivers, Lake Tonle Sap and the coastline in the south, fish is also a very important dish for Cambodians. It is prepared and served in every possible way; raw, fried, dried, smoked, grilled, and in the soup. Furthermore where ever you will go being close to the water means you will be able to purchase fresh seafood. From crab to squid and from fish to shrimps, everything is sold on the market and or freshly prepared in the streets and restaurants.
Popular and delicious dishes are everywhere – either chicken or fish cooked in coconut milk with curry and herbs, all kind of soups and obviously fish in every possible way.
Language The Khmer people are very receptive to foreigners and will welcome you warmly. There is rarely any animosity and Cambodian people are pleasantly graceful in their mannerisms. Whilst Khmer is the official language, many people speak a certain level of English and are more than willing to engage in conversation. There is always time to stop and be friendly to the visitor. English is widely spoken in business.
The international code for Cambodia is +855. When dialing an international call from Cambodia, precede the phone number with 001, 177, 153 or 163 instead of +.
The Cambodian mobile network is compatible with most overseas networks, but it is important to check this with your phone company prior to arrival should you wish to use your mobile phone whilst in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap etc.
Dialling code from the UK to Phnom Penh: 00 855 23
Electricity 220V AC. As the type of sockets vary, an 'International plug adapter set’ is recommended. Voltage sometimes fluctuates and whilst power cuts are rare they do occur occasionaly.
Please note that some of the electrical wiring in some of the hotels in Cambodia is poorly installed. It is not uncommon to find exposed wires and therefore great care must be taken.
Hours of Business
Offices: Usually open from 08:00 - 12:00 and 14:00 - 17:00 Monday to Saturday.
Shops: Shops in general are open between 08:00 - 20:00 from Monday to Sunday.
Banks: Commercial banks are open 08:30 - 15:00 Monday to Friday. Banks are closed on Saturday and Sunday but ATM cash machines are widespread in the cities.
Shopping Both the variety and the quality of locally produced handicrafts is improving, take some time to explore some of the many boutiques that are opening everywhere. Wherever you make your purchases, please remember that the majority of items are handmade and may contain imperfections which are natural in goods that have not been mass-produced. It is worth taking time to check each item that you wish to buy in order to avoid disappointment. Some bargaining is expected and is a part of the cultural experience.
Tax VAT is charged at 10%. Accommodation tax is 2%.
Gratuities Tipping is very much part of the local way of life – not something imposed only on visitors. A small tip is a traditional way of expressing one’s appreciation and will be highly esteemed by the recipient, particularly if it is accompanied by a few words of thanks.
To help you budget the following is given as a guideline only and rates are per person. If you are travelling as a group please check with your tour leader for further guidance:
Driver: (per half day) US$ 2 / (per full day) US$ 4
Guide: (per half day) US$ 5 / (per full day) US$ 10
Hotel Porters: (per bag) US$ 0.50 - 1