General Information

Cambodia shares borders with Thailand and Laos (north), Vietnam (east) and Thailand (south-west). Tropical rainforests cover the landscape with a fair share of highlands and rivers. Phnom Penh, the capital city is situated at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Tonle Sap river that flows to the Tonle Sap Lake near Siem Reap. These important rivers carry enormous significance to Cambodians. The Tonle Sap lake and river form a hydrological system acting as a flood mitigator for the great Mekong river during the monsoon season. The Tonle Sap also provides an invaluable natural resource and lifeline to the communities who live along the waterways. It is an enormous aquatic ecosystem and biodiversity hotspot as well as a world class ecotourism destination. The Tonle Sap lake is one of the richest sources of fresh water fish in the world.


181,035 sq km (69,898 sq miles).



90% of the 12 million people are ethnic Khmers. Minorities includes the Chams, Vietnamese and Chinese. Population density 70.6 per sq km.



Phnom Penh. The population is around 1.3 million (2001)


Local Time

7 Hours ahead of GMT.



The official language is Khmer. Second language is French which was widely spoken by elderly Cambodians. However, the younger Cambodians are now pursuing English as their preferred 2nd language and English is widely spoken in tourist areas.



The official religion is Theravada Buddhism which influences about 90% of Khmers. Cambodia has minority religions of about half a million Muslims mainly the Chams and 60,000 Christians.



Riel is the local currency. However, US$ are widely accepted from big to small establishments and stores. In Phnom Penh and other towns most goods and services are priced in dollars and there is a little need to buy riel. Riel is still used in remote rural areas for food and daily consumables but not for hotels and accommodation. In the coastal areas bordering Thailand, particularly Poipet, Pailin and Koh Kong the Thai Baht is widely used.


Exchange rate:

1 $US = 4000 Riel (Year 2010)


Traveller's cheques/Credit Card facilities

Traveler's cheque's in US$ can be changed at most banks in Phnom Penh and major tourist destinations. Credit card facilities are limited to some major hotels. It is best to carry US$ in cash in small denominations.



There are 9 mobile phone systems available in Phnom Penh.  Services here support GSM 900/1800 and you can easily buy a SIM card locally. Most of the service providers offer GPRS connectivity and only a few offer G3. CamGSM (MOBITEL) is one of the first service providers in the country and more information can be obtained here - Other service providers are APPLIFONE CO. LTD. (StarCell) -, Cambodia Advance Communications Co. Ltd (QB) -, and Telekom Malaysia International (Cambodia) Co. Ltd -


Most of the restaurants in the tourist areas like Sisowath Quay (Riverfront area) will provide you with free wi-fi if you are their customer. Alternatively you can purchase On The Line (OTL) prepaid cards from Online (one of the many service providers) to have internet access through their Online Hotspot Network - For US$5, you can get about 8 hours of access.


220 volts/50 Hz, It is available in most cities for 24 hours, but power cuts may be experienced in rural areas especially during the night. A flash light in hand at night will be useful. Plug adapters are 3 square pins.


Post: The Post & Telephone Office (PTT) in Phnom Penh is located across from the Hotel Monorom at the corner of Achar Mean Boulevard and 126 Street and is open 0700-1200 and 1300-2300. The main post office in Phnom Penh is located on the western side of 13 Street between 98 Street and 102 Street, open 0630-2100. General post office hours: Mon-Fri 0730-1200 and 1430-1700.


Press: The Phnom Penh Post (fortnightly), Cambodia Time (weekly) and Cambodia Daily are printed in English..



All foreign nationals entering Cambodia are required to have a visa which is issued on arrival at Pochentong airport in Phnom Penh and at Siem Reap airport. Two passport photos are needed. The price for a tourist visa is US$ 20 & for business US$ 25. For arrival overland, the visa must be issued by one of the Cambodian embassies outside Cambodia. The tourist visa is valid for one month and can be extended for one month.


Airport taxes

International flight from Phnom Penh - US$ 20 - International flight from Siem Reap - US$ 8 - Domestic flight from Phnom Penh - US$ 10 - Domestic flight from all other airports - US$ 4



Cambodia's tropical climate is affected by the monsoon. The cool, dry Northeast Monsoon which brings little rain, is from November to March. From May to October, the south-west Monsoon brings heavy rain and humidity. However, during the rain season, the rain is limited to one or two downpours a day.



Lightweight, loose-fitting, cotton clothing is recommended and long-sleeved items should be included for protection from mosquitoes and the sun. During the rainy season an umbrella is more convenient than a rain coast. A jacket may be needed in hotels and restaurants using excessive air-conditioning.



The Khmer cuisine is closely related to other Asian countries, but not very spicy. The typical Khmer dishes are rice, fish, curries and soups with beef, pork, poultry and tasty sauces. Western style food is provided widely in the major cities although other Asian dishes are available (Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese). Never drink tap water. Purified bottle water is available everywhere. Soft drinks are also widely sold as well as locally brewed and imported beers.


Business hours

Government offices: Monday to Friday: 07:30 - 11:30 & 14:00 - 17:00, Banks: Monday to Friday 08:00 - 15:30. Closed on public holidays. - General offices: Private companies are usually open from 07:30 - 20:00 every day. - National Museum, Silver Pagoda, Kings Palace, Tuol Sleng Museum & Killing Fields: 08:00 - 11:00 & 14:00 - 17:00. The National Museum is closed on Monday and public holidays. -


Health Good hospitals are only available in Phnom Penh. Private doctors and pharmacies are available in most cities. Major tourist destinations, such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, are free of Malaria. However, for the evenings it is recommended to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants and to apply insect repellants to prevent mosquito bites.

Religious sites

For visiting temples or pagodas, shorts and T-shirts are acceptable. However, for visiting the Silver Pagoda and the Royal Palace, visitors are asked to dress more formally.