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Backpacking Cambodia Travel Guide (BUDGET TIPS • 2022)

Backpacking Cambodia Travel Guide (BUDGET TIPS • 2022)

Why Go Backpacking in Cambodia?

Filled with many vibrant areas and locations to remain, Cambodia is an extremely numerous nation for its landmass. Absolute highlights embrace the world surprise, Angkor Wat, island hopping round Koh Rong, and exploring Cambodia’s cities on two wheels. Make certain to get out within the countryside to get a style of the native, rural life!

We’ve included a pair off the overwhelmed path locations, small villages, and distant hikes in our information! Read on!

The itinerary beneath depicts a number of the finest spots you can discover while backpacking Cambodia. If you need to save time and lodging, I’d suggest getting an evening bus to journey lengthy distances, like Sihanoukville to Siem Reap.

There are loads of backpacker routes, which generally embrace Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, and Kampot. However, there are numerous extra superior locations to take a look at when backpacking Cambodia.

Follow our Cambodia journey information to search out these secret hidden gems!

Backpacking Cambodia 3-Week Itinerary: The Highlights

This itinerary will cowl Cambodia’s hottest locations, in addition to a number of of my favorite hidden gems. It is feasible to finish this backpacker route in both route! Many individuals begin in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap relying on their flight.

You also can mix this itinerary with a visit to Vietnam or Thailand!

We’re going to start out with a visit to Phnom Penh – the capital metropolis – nonetheless, it’s with a little bit of a low. If you’re going to be backpacking Cambodia, it is best to know in regards to the darkish and turbulent current historical past, so go to the S-21 Prison & the Killing Fields when you’re right here. You also can shoot an AK47, M16, RPG at a firing vary. Not precisely uplifting, however positively a singular expertise.

Afterward, head to Kampot is a quaint riverside city situated on the base of the Elephant Mountains. You can discover the city by bicycle, take a look at the French colonial structure and take pleasure in scrumptious meals.

Next, head to the coast and discover a place to remain in Sihanoukville. Sihanoukville is a celebration space and gateway to discover the breathtaking islands. While Koh Rong has develop into extra developed, Koh Rong Samloem stays a laidback getaway.

After some enjoyable within the solar, head to Battambang to get a style of real Cambodian life. Visit the crumbling temples, caves, the bamboo prepare and quaint little villages. Finally, finish your journey in Siem Reap. While touristy, there may be a lot to do right here, like visiting the legendary Angkor Wat and Banteay Chhmar.

Below are my favourite locations in Cambodia, full with useful data on what to see, do, and the place to remain!

Backpacking Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is a busy, taking place metropolis, residence to the spectacular Royal Palace and nestled proper on the Mekong River. The metropolis is splendidly inexpensive; you could find the most affordable lodging within the southern and central areas of Phnom Penh.

The metropolis has risen from the ashes of the Khmer Rouge, led by tyrant Pol Pot. It’s necessary to go to S-21 Prison and the Killing Fields when you’re in Phnom Penh, to get a correct understanding of the nation you might be travelling by. For these of you who glimpse the proof of genocide and mutter “this would never happen back home” you will need to notice that each the US and UK governments supported the Khmer Rouge with weapons and provides in an effort to destabilise neighbouring Vietnam.

Both S-21 Prison & the Killing Fields have a somber really feel, be ready for a singular, heavy and heartbreaking expertise and please keep in mind to be respectful! A tuk tuk to the S-21 jail, killing fields and again to town ought to value round $8, which will be cut up between 4 individuals.

It can be value visiting the National Museum, Independence monument, and the Silver Pagoda should you’re in Phnom Penh while backpacking Cambodia. For procuring head to the Central Market to browse (to not purchase, costs listed here are inflated!) and the Russian Market for pirated DVDs, CDs and faux designer garments.

Whilst in Phnom Penh you may as well go to one of many many firings ranges to shoot an AK47, M16, RPG or anything that takes your fancy. You can shoot heavy machine weapons, throw a grenade or blow a goal away with a desert eagle; all for a worth.

If you’re backpacking Cambodia in November, attempt to tie in visiting Phnom Penh with the Water Festival. It’s one of many largest festivals in Cambodia and town comes alive with a carnival environment throughout this era. It does get busy throughout this era, nonetheless, so just be sure you ebook a hostel in Phnom Penh upfront.

Backpacking Kampot and Kep

Kampot is a quaint riverside city situated on the base of the Elephant Mountains. You can discover the city by bicycle, take a look at the French colonial structure and take pleasure in scrumptious meals. If you’re keen on Italian meals you have to go to the country avenue meals restaurant ‘Ciao’. It’s low-cost, genuine and constituted of scratch!

The sundown cruise is an effective way to spend the night, cruising alongside the river with the fireflies & watching the sundown. Nearby is the Arcadia waterpark, the place you’ll be able to spend the day getting drunk, sliding into the river, leaping off inflatables and kayaking. Entry is $5 every or free should you keep at Arcadia Hostel.

Drive previous and cease on the pepper plantations and salt fields earlier than travelling to Kep. It’s a 35-minute drive and you’ll have a dip within the ocean as quickly as you arrive! Kep is residence to an exquisite nationwide park with a trek often known as the “Stairway to Heaven”. The path results in an unbelievable view and pagoda on the high of the hill.

Backpacking Sihanoukville and Otres Beach

Sihanoukville is a celebration city and gateway to discover the breathtaking islands when backpacking Cambodia. The shoreline is dominated by lengthy stretches of seaside and a surprising waterfall close by. Otres Beach is way south of city and is the principle hangout for backpackers who need to chill out on the seaside throughout the day and occasion at night time.

There’s a combination of low-cost bungalows, chill guesthouses, fancy resorts, and funky backpacker hostels in Sihanoukville in addition to the Otres space. Otres has a fantastic backpacker vibe, so should you’re sticking round for a number of days both earlier than or after visiting the islands, I’d suggest staying across the Otres space.

Backpacking Koh Rong

If you’re seeking to discover the most effective events in Cambodia, then Koh Rong is the place for you. Development of the island has negatively impacted the allure and chilled out vibe of Koh Rong, significantly across the Koh Touch space. Although some components of the island are extraordinarily touristic, a big space remains to be lined by dense forest and you’ll nonetheless discover secluded laid again spots on the island.

The backpacking scene in Koh Rong is residence to the most effective events in Cambodia, significantly round Koh Touch. Here you’ll discover DJs, reside music, BBQs, and one hell of a celebration. Nights are likely to escalate right here, subsequent minute you’re 3 buckets deep, skinny dipping within the ocean and must run again to your hostel half-naked as a result of somebody stole your garments…

That’s a traditional night time out, so you’ll be able to solely think about the craziness throughout the full moon events. This is a superb occasion space when backpacking Cambodia, nonetheless, it’s not the most effective place on the island to sit back throughout the day.

You shouldn’t swim at some seashores, because it’s not secure because of the wastewater being pumped out into the ocean. If you go to the toilet at a restaurant on some seashores, you’ll be able to actually see the pipes that run from the restaurant into the ocean. Although increasingly guesthouses, hostels, bars and eating places proceed to pop up, they’ve but to unravel the islands waste administration.

You can nonetheless discover laid again and considerably secluded space’s on Koh Rong, like Sok San Beach, Coconut Beach and Palm Beach. The seashores listed here are completely breathtaking, crammed with coral reefs, marine life and the fluorescent plankton at night time. It’s a fantastic place to chill out, sunbake, snorkel and a poplar dive spot too.

Ferries to Koh Rong run usually from Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Samloem every day. Make certain you go to an ATM previous to arriving, as there’s no ATMs on the island. If you do get caught & run out of cash, you’ll be able to borrow cash towards your passport from Bong’s bar, nonetheless you must pay an additional 10% on high of what you borrowed.

Backpacking Koh Rong Sanloem

Koh Rong Sanloem (or generally Koh Rong Samloem) is what Koh Rong was about 10 years in the past, earlier than the destructive impression of tourism and improvement. This is the one place I’d suggest everybody go after they journey to Cambodia.

The island remains to be pretty untouched, with just a few resort choices on the island. Majority of the island is roofed by dense jungle, so there are not any roads and the one choice to discover the island is by climbing. You can get a ship to different seashores across the island should you don’t really feel like climbing.

Ferry’s often run to Koh Rong Samloem from Sihanoukville and Koh Rong. They drop you off at Saracen Bay, it’s probably the most touristic a part of the island and so I’d suggest leaving there as quickly as potential. However it’s one of many solely components of the island that has Wi-Fi.

Make certain you take a look at Lazy Beach and Sunset Beach when you’re on the island. They’re two of my favorite spots that make you are feeling such as you’re dwelling completely off the grid, in a tropical paradise. There isn’t a lot of a social backpacking scene on these components of the island, so should you’re seeking to chill out, socialize and occasion at night time, then go to Mad Monkey Hostel. They have a free boat, which coincides with the ferry dropping you off at Saracen Bay.

You can fish, swim, snorkel, island hop, and dive on Koh Rong Samloem. At night time be mesmerised by the luminous trails the phytoplankton depart behind. This island is pure bliss and I’d come again in a heartbeat!

Backpacking Battambang

Battambang is an superior place to go to while backpacking Cambodia. You get a real style of real Cambodian life by visiting the crumbling temples, caves, bamboo prepare, and quaint little villages.

It’s slightly bit extra touristic than I imagined, nonetheless, the countryside is totally lovely. This is a superb ‘off the beaten path’ vacation spot and it is sensible to go right here, rent a motorcycle, after which simply discover.

The major attraction right here is the bamboo prepare, which takes you alongside a railway to a small village. Be conscious of the kids from the village. You suppose they’re simply being pleasant after they let you know details about the place (with out asking); they are going to demand cash from you while you depart for his or her “service”.

Backpacking Siem Reap

If you’re backpacking Cambodia you then’ll almost definitely be stopping off in Siem Reap, the most effective locations to remain in Cambodia. It’s the principle vacationer vacation spot and is visited by over a million individuals who’re travelling to Cambodia yearly.

Majority of people that journey to Cambodia come to go to the world’s largest non secular monument, Angkor Wat dubbed probably the most unbelievable man-made piece of structure. The ruins listed here are actually spectacular, nonetheless, I personally favor the temples and environment in Bagan, Myanmar, and Hampi, India.

The entrance payment could be very costly as you pay relying on what number of days you need to spend on the positioning. The ticket worth has doubled because the 1st of February 2017 as an effort to discourage potential vacationers from visiting.

If you’re on a broke backpacker’s funds, I’d suggest skipping Angkor Wat to go to Banteay Chhmar. It’s corresponding to Angkor Wat, however with out the million vacationers. This hidden but huge temple advanced is situated simply two hours from Siem Reap.

If you might have your coronary heart set on visiting Angkor Wat, I’d rent a tuk-tuk for the day to discover the large temple complexes. Nina was lately in Siem Reap exploring Angkor Wat and was proven round by Mr. Phal – A pleasant knowledgable information who made her keep further particular. You can attain him on Whatsapp: +85587854593.

If you might have 4 individuals in a tuk-tuk then the worth is comparatively low-cost. You can both do the small loop that hit’s all the foremost websites, like Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm and 4+ extra temples.

The huge loop consists of the small loop plus six different temples. I did the one-day small loop tour of the Angkor advanced, beginning at dawn over Angkor Wat. By the top of the day, I used to be all temple-d out! It’s completely unbelievable there, nonetheless there’s solely so many temples you’ll be able to see in in the future.

I extremely suggest visiting the Landmine Museum, which makes for a extremely attention-grabbing and fairly poignant aspect journey when you’re in Siem Reap and backpacking Cambodia. There can be a floating village in Siem Reap, nonetheless I wouldn’t suggest it.

Read more: Travel guide to Cambodia – the Luxury Travel Expert

The stilt huts over the river and loopy floating boat constructions are cool, nonetheless, there are loads of scams throughout the space. A man tried to con me into paying 80,000 riel to feed the “orphan” youngsters. Instead of giving cash, I truly purchased them fruit which they threw on the ground in entrance of me… If you actually need to make a distinction, choose your battles.

Siem Riep has a very loopy nightlife and is full of backpackers searching for an excellent time, you’ll want to take a look at a number of the finest bars in Siem Riep while you’re there. Pub Street is the principle place to exit and is full of bars all in a detailed proximity.

Getting Off the Beaten Path in Cambodia

I may have simply spent months backpacking Cambodia; there many issues to discover and uncover right here, therefore why I over-stayed my visa by every week. I simply didn’t need to depart!

The longest time frame you’ll be able to keep in Cambodia is 90 days, (120 days for some international locations) with a 30-day visa extension. If you might have the time to completely backpack Cambodia, I’d positively discover extra of the islands and backpack across the northwest area of Cambodia.

Koh Rong Samloem was by far my spotlight of Cambodia. I’ve by no means seen an island prefer it! There are not any roads wherever on the island; every thing is accessible both by boat or climbing. Only a number of locations on the island have Wi-Fi, energy is proscribed, and it really feels such as you’re dwelling off the grid. Sure there are a number of fancy resorts, however the majority of the island is undeveloped and it boasts a number of the finest seashores in Cambodia.

The water is crystal clear turquoise blue, and the sand is powdery and white! Koh Rong Samloem is well-known for its unbelievable diving websites and nature. Watch the solar set over the ocean from Sunset Beach and the ocean come alive at night time with the bioluminescent plankton. There are not any ATM’s in any respect on the island, so you’ll want to go to an ATM previous to getting caught right here in paradise.

Kulien Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary is the most important protected space in Cambodia & is residence to many critically endangered animals. If you really need to discover off the overwhelmed path and be amongst nature you then’ll love this space.

Near the area is one in every of Cambodia’s best-kept secrets and techniques, Bantey Chhmar. It’s corresponding to Angkor Wat however with out the million vacationers, this hidden but huge temple advanced is situated simply two hours from Siem Reap. Bantey Chhmar is Cambodia’s 4th largest Angkorian temple, however attributable to its distant location tourism has hardly affected the area.

Below is a fast checklist of the highest 6 issues you must do when backpacking Cambodia!

1. Explore the Angor Wat and Banteay Chhmar Temples

Okay, I do know I discussed it’s costly and crowded, however there’s a motive why. This is among the most spectacular temples on this planet! As I discussed earlier, skip the crowds by heading to Banteay Chhmar as nicely.

2. Beach Bum Koh Rong Samloem

No roads and all seaside. This is the island to go to to get away from all of it.

3. See Glowing Planktons on Koh Rong

Koh Rong’s seashores mild up at night time! For a very thrilling expertise, attempt snorkeling amongst the glowing plankton.

4. Explore the Country by Bike

The trails in Cambodia will be fairly difficult, but it surely’s completely value it to discover the countryside, escape the crowds, and uncover breathtaking waterfalls. As for the cities, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are superb to discover on wheels.

5. Bathe Elephants

Make certain to go over to the Mondulkiri Project, 5 hours from Phnom Penh, the place you’ll be able to trek, bathe, and look after the free-roaming elephants. They’re an superior sanctuary doing good work with their elephants.

Whatever you do, don’t help companies that mistreat the elephants through chains, using, circus acts, and so forth. Do your analysis to make sure you’re not supporting cruelty within the elephant tourism business.

6. Go on a Yoga Retreat

If you’re a travelling yogi and seeking to up your recreation, take a look at Blue Indigo Yoga Retreat in Siem Reap – Nina spent every week right here getting robust and versatile in Summer 2018 and located it to be a completely wonderful expertise. With nice instructors, a difficult however progressive program and funky hangout areas, Blue Indigo yoga programs are pretty priced and nicely value dropping in to.

Cambodia is residence to a number of the finest hostels in Southeast Asia and has a depraved backpacking scene. You’ll have little bother discovering low-cost backpacker lodging in Cambodia. Phnom Penh, Kampot, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong, and Siem Reap have an enormous number of hostels, residence stays, and visitor homes at an inexpensive worth.

Hostels in Cambodia begin from $3 per night time and you’ll snag a personal fan room from simply $8 for two individuals. If you need to splash out and keep in a lodge room with TV, air conditioning, and connected rest room, store round and you could find a spot for as little as $15.

Make certain you ebook forward if you wish to keep on the well-liked occasion hostels, particularly in peak season. I don’t often endorse reserving forward actually far upfront; nonetheless, it’s essential to ebook a number of days prior should you don’t need to be disillusioned.

There are a number of cool guesthouses round which might be cheaper than some hostels in Cambodia. If you’re backpacking Cambodia as a pair, generally it’s cheaper to go for a personal room in a visitor home opposed to 2 dorm beds. You can at all times hang around on the well-liked hostels throughout the day & retreat to your guesthouse at night time for a quiet sleep.

Below are a number of of my favorite hostels & funds lodging choices when backpacking Cambodia.

The Best Places to Stay in Cambodia

Your funds for backpacking Cambodia relies upon solely on what kind of traveller you might be. Are you a flash-packer who wants to remain in the most effective hostels with air-conditioning and a pool? Or are you a broke backpacker who eats, lives and travels just like the locals, is at all times eager to search out the most affordable possibility potential, and doesn’t thoughts roughing it slightly?

If you’re a broke backpacker like myself and can sleep in a conveyable hammock over a dorm as a result of it’s cheaper, then you’ll be able to simply journey with a funds of $20-$25 USD per day, assuming that you just keep in low-cost lodging, eat native meals and journey cheaply.

Rather than flying internally, take an evening bus to your subsequent vacation spot, it saves you paying for an evening’s lodging.

Typically, it will possibly truly be cheaper backpacking Cambodia as a pair. Often a personal room in guesthouses can truly be cheaper than two dorm beds in a hostel. I attempt to keep in an inexpensive guesthouse near a hostel and simply dangle on the market for the social scene. I’ve discovered the portion sizes to be huge in Cambodia, so as a substitute of paying for one meal and losing meals, I decide to share my meal & get a snack later if I’m nonetheless hungry.

Avoid the vacationer traps! The fancy eating places, VIP buses, air con rooms and shopping for souvenirs – all of it provides up and might blow out your funds huge time should you’re not cautious. Angkor Wat’s entrance will in all probability be your largest “activity” expense: it’s $37 for a 1-day go, $62 for 3 days and $72 for a 7-day go.

If you eat like a neighborhood, hitchhike, catch native buses, or pack tenting gear for outside sleeps, then it’s potential to reside off $10-$15 USD per day. Cambodia is comparatively low-cost in comparison with some South East Asian international locations, nonetheless, it will possibly get actually costly should you’re not cautious and fall into the vacationer lure.

A Daily Budget in Cambodia

Money in Cambodia

As of December 2020, the present change fee is round 4500 riel per USD, however in actuality, the riel is pegged to the US greenback at 4000 riel to $1USD. When altering foreign money the worth of your invoice usually determines the foreign money change fee you’ll obtain. (e.g. A 50gbp invoice is valued greater than 10gbp invoice).

If you need to keep away from the ATM charges then I like to recommend bringing money as a substitute. US Dollars are generally used all through Cambodia and that’s what comes out of the ATM too. If you want change lower than $1 they are going to give it to you within the Cambodian foreign money: Riel. It’s at all times helpful to have a small quantity of Riel on you, particularly if you wish to pay your tuk tuk driver.

Although it’s comparatively simple to search out ATMs round Cambodia, some distant islands like Koh Rong Samloem and small cities would not have money machines. Try to get the utmost of money out allowed in a single transaction on the ATM, as charges will be as a lot as $9 a pop – simply ensure you disguise your cash nicely!

Travel Tips – Cambodia on a Budget

For an inexpensive journey, at all times follow the essential tenets of funds backpacking and thrifty travelling:

  • Hang Your Hammock: My tenting hammock saved my backpacking funds huge time. Wherever you could find two bushes or poles, you’ll be able to at all times have a snug night time’s sleep. Some hostels even allow you to dangle your hammock there (if there’s house) and cost you 1 / 4 the worth of a dorm mattress.
  • Camping: If you bought the fitting backpacking journey gear, tenting on seashores will prevent a lot cash, particularly while you’re visiting the islands. Just ensure you don’t arrange camp close to any resorts or hostels, discover a quiet spot and ensure you clear up after your self.
  • Couchsurfing: Travelling by Couchsurfing is an effective way to save cash on lodging and get native information. It’s 100% free and you might even find yourself with a brand new pal on the finish of your keep.
  • Eat Local Food: If you eat like a neighborhood, you then are likely to pay native costs. Sometimes it could possibly be 1,000 riel further since you’re a foreigner, but it surely’s nonetheless far cheaper than consuming at a vacationer restaurant.
  • Hitchhiking: This is an effective way to get round and save a few {dollars}. The expertise you get hitchhiking in incomparable to a vacationer bus. I’ve been picked up hitchhiking by a neighborhood, who simply needed to indicate me round. He gave me a mini-tour of his hometown the way in which to our vacation spot and simply genuinely needed me to get pleasure from my time in Cambodia.

Why You Should Travel to Cambodia with a Water Bottle

Plastic washes up on even probably the most pristine seashores… so do your half and maintain the Big Blue lovely

You aren’t going to avoid wasting the world in a single day, however you would possibly as nicely be a part of the answer and never the issue. When you journey to a number of the world’s most distant locations, you come to grasp the total extent of the plastic drawback. And I hope you develop into extra impressed to proceed being a accountable traveller.

Plus, now you gained’t be shopping for overpriced bottles of water from the supermarkets both! Travel with a filtered water bottle as a substitute and by no means waste a cent nor a turtle’s life once more.

The finest time of the yr to backpack Cambodia is in peak season (November-February), often known as cool season. The temperature is heat sufficient to sunbake by the seaside, however delicate sufficient to discover Cambodia’s many temples with out dying of warmth stroke. The costs have a tendency to extend throughout peak season; nonetheless, it’s probably the most snug time of the yr to backpack Cambodia.

If you’re planning to backpack Cambodia throughout the moist season (May-September), be ready for the challenges you face forward. Cambodia has many grime roads that rapidly flip to mud throughout the moist season. It will be fairly harmful to drive your motorbike by the mud because it’s slippery and your bike could have much less traction.

It’s additionally not enjoyable trekking and doing day journeys within the moist season. You don’t need the climate to rain in your parade while travelling in Cambodia.

During sizzling season temperatures and humidity rise to an uncomfortable stage. Some travellers discover the warmth insufferable, significantly these from Britain and Scandinavia. I’m fairly used to the warmth since I’m from Australia however some days even examined my tolerance to the warmth. Especially since air con is a luxurious when backpacking Cambodia.

Festivals in Cambodia

There are heaps of superior festivals in Cambodia – each cultual and joyous – however listed here are a number of of my faves:

  • Chaul Chnam Thmey/Khmer New Year (April) – The complete nation stops and everyone events as a substitute. Three days of festivities, meals, temple visits, and a usually crackin’ good time! Come the final day, the water pistols come out for a basic Southeast Asian country-wide water-fight.
  • Vesaka Bochea – The celebration of Buddha’s beginning, enlightenment, and his transition into Nirvana. This is an enormous pageant proper throughout Southeast Asia with loads of temple choices, lights, and a normal air of reverence.
  • Pchum Ben/Festival of the Dead (September) – A cultural pageant by which Cambodians pay respect to their ancestral lifeless. Plenty of traditonal rituals primarily on the temples, and the day takes on an additional particular significance for the descendants of these killed by the Khmer Rouge.
  • Bonn Om Touk/Water Festival (November) – The pageant celebrating the pure phenomenon of the circulation reversal between the Tonle Sap and the Mekong River. Three days of merriment ensue together with music, bands, feasts, fireworks, and boat races galore. Phnom Penh packs out exhausting, so both get in or get out fast relying on the place you need to go in Cambodia for the pageant.

What to Pack for Cambodia

For a correct Southeast Asia backpacking expertise, it’s necessary to know what to take there first! On each journey, there are six issues I by no means go travelling with out:

For a lot extra inspiration on what to pack, take a look at my full backpacking packing checklist.

Generally, Cambodia is a really secure place to journey; Cambodians are heat, open, pleasant, and appreciative of vacationers. You’ve simply received to pay attention to a number of scams right here and there. As at all times, maintain your valuables shut!

Watch for the tuk-tuk scams! This is when the motive force is on a fee to ship you to a specific store/temple/restaurant/lodge/bar. You is likely to be pressured to purchase/eat/keep, however don’t!

For some extra security recommendations on travelling Cambodia, I’d suggest testing our Backpacker Safety 101 put up. It’s crammed with journey suggestions and recommendation to maintain you secure wherever on the planet!

Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll in Cambodia

The intercourse scene in Cambodia is on the rise, nonetheless, it’s primarily within the Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville space. Some locations are fairly discreet – so discreet that my pal naively prompt we get a drink “Helicopter Bar” as a result of she appreciated the title… Little did she know that it was a go-go bar crammed with prostitutes.

Read more: TRAVEL to CAMBODIA – Tips and Information Guide (2022 Edition)

Drugs in Cambodia are available and easy to search out. Weed and opiates are fairly simple to come back throughout, are usually provided to you from tuk-tuk drivers. “Happy” pizza locations are sprawled throughout Cambodia, promoting “happy” lassies and “happy” pizzas at a extremely affordable worth. In normal, good marijuana is extraordinarily simple to search out and can be fairly low-cost in comparison with different Southeast Asian international locations.

It’s surprisingly frequent to be provided opiates like heroin and pure opium while backpacking Cambodia. However, they’re harmful and lots of vacationers have died while taking heroin, mistaking it for cocaine. I’d keep away from taking any type of cocaine, pace or ecstasy whereas travelling Cambodia. It’s not definitely worth the danger and likelihood is you’re in all probability getting heroin.

Acid is kind of simply obtainable on the islands and Sihanoukville/Otres space. Quite usually, they drop the acid on an Oreo or strawberry and it’s usually offered in drops, fairly than tabs. Magic mushrooms are additionally round, nonetheless they’re fairly costly to come back throughout.

By far probably the most generally used medication for travellers backpacking Cambodia is prescribed drugs. You should buy ketamine over-the-counter should you’re a neighborhood, but it surely’s unlawful for foreigners. Valium is an inexpensive, frequent drug amongst travellers backpacking Cambodia. Travellers wanting the same impact of pace buy Ritalin over-the-counter from dodgy pharmacies.

Be cautious earlier than diving into the pharmaceutical scene, it may be very harmful and simple to show your leisure use into an habit attributable to its ease of entry. Don’t carry any type of medication on you. Otherwise, you might find yourself broke making an attempt to bribe your manner out of jail. Check out Blazed Backpackers 101 for recommendations on easy methods to keep secure while partying whereas travelling.

Travel Insurance for Cambodia

Traveling with out insurance coverage can be dangerous so do think about getting good backpacker insurance coverage sorted earlier than you head off on an journey.

It’s good to get misplaced generally, but it surely’s additionally good to not get too misplaced. There are those that need you residence in a single piece.

There’s one journey insurance coverage supplier The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!

Click the button beneath to get a quote in your insurance coverage or learn our in-depth evaluate of World Nomads’ protection. And then… let the shenanigans start. 😉

If you’re undecided that World Nomads is best for you, then I’d suggest studying up extra on the most effective journey insurance coverage suppliers. Just… DO think about journey insurance coverage – it’s tremendous necessary.

If you might be flying into Cambodia, you’ll be able to arrive at both the Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, or Siem Reap airport. Otherwise, for these already backpacking round Southeast Asia and crossing by land…

Entry Requirements for Cambodia

To backpack Cambodia, you want a passport that’s legitimate for not less than six months. Over 100 and fifty nationalities can apply for the Cambodia e-visa on-line by their web site. If you wish to plan forward and never cope with the stress of getting a visa on arrival on the border, then an e-visa is ideal for you. Note although, it will possibly take not less than 3 days to course of the applying so making use of the night time earlier than entry will not be an possibility, additionally the e-visa can solely be used at sure ports of entry into Cambodia.

Your e-visa offers you 3 months (ranging from the date of concern) to enter Cambodia and means that you can keep for as much as 30 days, with the choice of extending your visa. It’s barely costlier than a visa on arrival costing you $37 USD against $35 USD. However, we’ve got current experiences (May 2017) that officers are charging $37 USD for Visa on Arrival as nicely, so be ready for that.

If you might be crossing from Thailand the state of affairs is analogous as with crossing into Laos; you’ll pay extra should you purchase your Visa on Arrival in Thai Baht (fee appears to be about 1600 Baht, approx. $48USD) fairly than US {dollars}. Usually, you could find somebody operating a aspect enterprise exchanging USD, competitors usually dictates the change fee. You’re allowed one 30-day visa extension with out leaving Cambodia which units you again $45 USD.

If you do plan to get your visa on arrival while you journey to Cambodia, ensure you deliver 2x passport sized photographs. You can get your passport-sized photographs taken on the border; nonetheless, you permit your self open to paying what ever worth is about by officers. Be certain to deliver US {dollars} with you when coming into Cambodia, the change charges for different currencies are vastly undervalued and you find yourself paying greater than the precise conversion fee.

If you’re pressed for time or want a visa upfront take a look at iVisa, Ive used them on a number of events for sorting my visas.

It isn’t an enormous deal to overstay your visa in Cambodia, nonetheless, it does get costly rapidly. The nice for overstaying is $20 USD per day. So as an illustration, should you overstay 5 days you can be required to pay $100 USD upon exiting.

Passport holders from ASEAN member international locations don’t require a visa to go to Cambodia.

Travel to Cambodia During COVID Times

It’s actually not an possibility, and I wouldn’t suggest it even when it was. You can journey to Cambodia proper now, nonetheless, they’re entry necessities have been a number of the strictest on this planet proper from the get-go (not less than till Thailand “reopened” to tourism).

Right now, visiting Cambodia is barely potential for diplomatic, official, and sponsored business-related causes. Otherwise, it’s a straight no-go.

In order to enter Cambodia for these causes, you’ll must:

  1. Obtain a (non-tourist) visa from the Cambodian embassy/consulate in your nation
  2. Order a Cambodian medical insurance bundle (sure, then have their very own).
  3. Pay a $2000 deposit upon arrival
  4. Provide a destructive COVID-19 take a look at consequence upon arrival.
  5. Get examined for COVID-19 once more upon arrival on the airport
  6. Self-quarantine for 14 days at your lodge/lodging.

Right now, it doesn’t appear to be Cambodia goes to reopen to tourism any time quickly. If they did, I’d nonetheless be very trepidatious about visiting with entry necessities like that. Cambodia will in all probability have to attend till journey returns to some sense of normalcy.

Backpacking Cambodia is one loopy journey and getting round is surprisingly simple and cheap. There has been an enormous enchancment with regard to roads and infrastructure, with the refurbishment of the National Highway. Unfortunately, not all roads have had the identical enhancements, as there are nonetheless many slim, bumpy & grime roads round.

Travelling by Motorbike in Cambodia

If you need to see what different travellers who backpack Cambodia don’t, then journey by motorbike. It’s the most effective and most cost-effective method to discover Cambodia, simply so long as you might have a dependable bike. In current years, the principle roads and highways have drastically improved making your drive so much simpler. If you intend to go to Vietnam all through your travels in Southeast Asia and Cambodia, I’d suggest shopping for a motorcycle there.

If you need to save on lodging, think about shopping for a bike tent to your journey as nicely. You may pack a daily tent but it surely’s higher to cowl your bike up with you.

If you purchase your motorbike in Vietnam, you then’re capable of take it to Laos and Cambodia while not having a particular allow. However, you’ll be able to’t take your Cambodian purchased bike into Vietnam. Vietnam’s capital, Ho Chi Minh has an abundance of motorbikes you should purchase wherever from $150 USD.

Take notice you can’t transport your motorbike to the islands, so that you’ll want a secure place to retailer it while you get pleasure from island life.

Hitchhiking in Cambodia

Hitchhiking in Cambodia is one other implausible possibility for getting round! You can have each good and unhealthy experiences. I used to be picked up hitchhiking by a neighborhood, who simply needed to indicate me round. He gave me a mini-tour of his hometown on the way in which to our vacation spot and genuinely simply needed me to get pleasure from my time in Cambodia.

Whereas, I had a unique expertise hitchhiking from Phnom Penh to Kampot. One man needed to cost me twice the worth of a bus and fortunately one other type human took me the entire manner with out asking for something.

If you need to hitchhike while backpacking in Cambodia, ensure you have an indication (ideally in Khmer and English), are standing subsequent to the principle street, and there’s loads of house for a automotive to tug over.

Onwards Travel from Cambodia

The similar guidelines for overland journey apply as the doorway. Check out the primary a part of this part for extra data on the overland border crossings. It is kind of simple to get an inexpensive flight or bus throughout to Thailand, Vietnam, or Laos.

Many travellers additionally head to different Southeast Asia international locations, like Indonesia and even onwards to work and backpack in Australia to avoid wasting up for Southeast Asia Round 2!

It’ll be a problem for digital nomads staying in Cambodia. The WiFi in some areas of Cambodia is okay – significantly in main cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. However, step exterior the city areas or onto the islands, and it’s jungle WiFi territory!

Volunteering is way simpler to get into although. All over Cambodia, you’ll discover alternatives for volunteering on farms, with children, or numerous different tasks and organisations.

Teaching English in Cambodia

Heaps of working travellers select to show English in Cambodia for a spell. English is a higly wanted talent by each adults and, significantly, for kids.

In order to show English in Cambodia, there are some things you’ll must receive first:

  1. An “ordinary” E-Class visa – Separate from the vacationer visa, an E-Class visa is for individuals intending to remain in Cambodia for an prolonged time frame. It’s $35 for the preliminary 30 days and you then’ll must get a visa extension.
  2. EB visa extension and work allow – You’ll want the work allow to get the visa extension first. It’s round $100 for the allow and might solely be obtained by an employer ONCE you might have discovered a job.Once you might have your work allow, you’ll be able to apply for the EB visa extension – the extension relevant to most expats working in Cambodia. EB visa extensions will be taken in intervals of 1, 3, 6, and 12 months at $50/$80/$160/$290 respectively, and also you’ll want a stamped letter verifying your employment to qualify.
  3. A TEFL certificates – Now, you could find a job instructing English in Cambodia with no TEFL certificates. However, a TEFL certificates goes to open up loads of doorways with each obtainable jobs and the relative payscale you’ll be able to count on. It’s a powerful advice that anybody who needs to work as an English trainer overseas ought to get one.

There are loads of selections for buying a TEFL diploma, nonetheless, I like to recommend operating the course by MyTEFL. Not solely are they a extremely respected and efficient firm, however Broke Backpacker readers (utilizing the code BACKPKR) get a 35% low cost!

Then, you’ll be capable of keep in Cambodia… endlessly.

Volunteer in Cambodia

Volunteering abroad is an effective way to expertise a tradition while doing a little good on this planet. There are a number of completely different volunteer tasks in Cambodia which you’ll be a part of starting from instructing, to animal care, to agriculture to just about something!

As one of many poorest international locations on this planet, Cambodia welcomes 1000’s of volunteers to assist out in a lot of areas. English instructing and social employees are in excessive demand all through the nation, however you’ll additionally discover alternatives in hospitality, adorning, and digital advertising and marketing. Keep in thoughts you’ll want to use for a ‘Type E – Ordinary Visa’ and a piece allow so as to volunteer in Cambodia.

If you need to discover volunteering alternatives in Cambodia, then we suggest that you just Signup for Worldpackers – a volunteer platform that connects native hosts instantly with touring volunteers. As a Broke Backpacker reader, you’ll additionally get a particular low cost of $10 while you enroll. Just use the low cost code BROKEBACKPACKER and your membership is discounted from $49 a yr to solely $39.

Volunteer applications run by respected work change applications like Worldpackers are often very well-managed and respected. However, every time you might be volunteering, do keep vigilant particularly when working with animals or youngsters.

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The Khmer meals in Cambodia is totally scrumptious. Many Khmer dishes originate or are impressed by their neighbouring Asian international locations. You will fall in love with the meals while backpacking Cambodia.

Khmer delicacies has a concentrate on recent elements that create a concord of flavours. Unlike neighbouring Thailand and different international locations within the area, nonetheless, Cambodian dishes are usually milder in warmth with extra weight given to tangy and pickled flavours. Much like different international locations within the area although, you’ll be able to count on loads of rice.

Popular Cambodian Dishes

Read more: Cambodia Travel Guide | Places to Visit in Cambodia – Rough Guides

You may additionally attempt reserving a Cambodian Cooking class to get the insider scoop on how the Khmer get their dishes so rattling scrumptious!

Cambodian individuals are pleasant and inquisitive. You can count on to be greeted with huge smiles!

90-95 % of the individuals are Khmer ethnic.

The Khmer Loeu are the non-Khmer highland tribes in Cambodia, and the Cham individuals in Cambodia descend from refugees of the Kingdom of Champa, which as soon as dominated a lot of Vietnam between Gao Ha within the north and Bien Hao within the south.

Useful Travel Phrases for Cambodian

Here are some Khmer journey phrases for travelling round Cambodia. The locals will admire your makes an attempt to study the native language with an enormous smile on their faces.

Dating in Cambodia

Cambodia is usually a really conservative society and can not often present any public show of affection (PDA). Chatting up ladies will not be actually a factor in Cambodian tradition, nonetheless, it’s regular to happen in main cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap the place there are loads of bar ladies seeking to make associates with foreigners.

Watch your pockets and keep in mind that all people need to be handled with respect. Don’t get drunk and do something you’ll be ashamed to inform your Mum.

The individuals in main cities are usually much less conservative and are open to PDA. Although Cambodia is a conservative society, it’s sarcastically simple for a foreigner to attain a “date”. You do should be very cautious although as sexually transmitted ailments, particularly, HIV and AIDS are fairly frequent.

Books to Read About Cambodia

Below are my favorite books set in Cambodia:

  • A Cambodian Prison Portrait – There are many myths in regards to the Khmer Rouge’s bloodthirstiness and brutality, however there was not less than one place the place all of them have been actual: Security Prison 21, the key police’s killing machine. Of the 14,000 or so prisoners who have been introduced there for questioning, solely a handful survived. One of them was the artist Vann Nath (1946-2011). In this skinny little ebook, he describes his horrifying yr behind the barbed wired partitions of S-21.
  • The Lost Executioner – The head of S-21, Kang Kek Iew, AKA Comrade Duch, is central on this outstanding ebook. In 1997, the photographer and journalist Nic Dunlop roughly stumbled upon Duch, who had been hiding because the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979.
  • Phnom Penh: A Cultural History – This ebook gives a vibrant account of the troubled historical past and interesting tradition of Cambodia’s capital metropolis. It sheds mild on Phnom Penh’s early historical past when first Iberian missionaries and freebooters after which French colonists held Cambodia’s destiny of their palms.

A Brief History of Cambodia

Cambodia has a turbulent historical past with quite a few invasions and battles all through the years. If you’re backpacking Cambodia, It’s necessary to have information of their historical past & how they’ve progressed to be the nation they’re immediately.

During the 18th century, Cambodia discovered itself squeezed between two highly effective neighbours, Thailand and Vietnam. The Thais invaded Cambodia a number of instances throughout this era. In the final years of the 18th century, the Vietnamese additionally invaded Cambodia. The Cambodian king was compelled to look to the Thais for cover; in return, Thailand took north-west Cambodia.

Cambodia quickly turned to France as a protectorate from each Thailand and Vietnam. They have been beneath French rule for the following 90 years, the place some financial improvement occurred. They constructed roads, railways and helped develop the rubber business. Cambodian nationalism grew throughout the Thirties because the French imposed heavy taxes on the Cambodian individuals.

During the early Nineteen Forties (WWII) the Japanese invaded and occupied Cambodia till 1945 when the French returned as a protectorate. A brand new structure was shaped permitting Cambodia to have political events, which led to communist guerrillas to marketing campaign towards the French. In 1949 Cambodia grew to become semi-independent and shortly after King Sihanouk took private management of the nation. Cambodia grew to become absolutely impartial in 1953 and was renamed the Khmer Republic in 1970.

During 1969 the US started a secret bombing campaign towards the North of Vietnam on Cambodian soil. Prime Minister Lon Nol then overthrew King Sihanouk in a coup to proclaim the Khmer Republic. Cambodian troopers have been despatched to combat the North Vietnamese on residence soil. However, the guerrilla/communist motion slowly made progress, resulting in the US commencing bombing campaigns towards the communist Khmer Rouge guerrillas.

The Khmer Rouge Regime and the Cambodian Genocide

On the seventeenth of April 1975, the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, captured Phnom Penh and renamed the nation Kampuchea. This was the start of the world’s worst mass killings of the twentieth century. Pol Pot needed to wipe historical past clear and begin from ‘Year Zero’.

Everyone was compelled to desert their homes, jobs, and possession, and transfer to the countryside to work in agriculture on collective farms. Pol Pot had a very unrealistic goal of double its agricultural output, to supply 3 tones of rice per hectare, which was actually not possible. Everyone needed to work lengthy hours of little meals, which led to many falling unwell or dying from exhaustion or malnutrition.

Everyone from the intellectuals to the uneducated was imprisoned, tortured, killed and dumped in mass graves. People, who spoke a overseas language, wore glasses, or had any type of greater training have been executed. Religion was banned, punishable by demise, and household relationships have been forbidden. People have been executed for the smallest infringements, like foraging for meals, being too lazy and complaining.

How many individuals have been killed throughout the Khmer Rouge is unknown, but it surely’s estimated that between 1.5 – 3 million individuals perished.

The Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1978 to terminate the Pol Pot regime. The Khmer Rouge fled to the border of Thailand, to re-establish The People’s Republic of Kampuchea. They have been welcomed with open arms by Thailand, who additionally feared a Vietnamese invasion. However the guerrilla conflict continued, the occasion was nonetheless formally internationally acknowledged and retained their seat within the United Nations.

In 1989 Vietnam withdrew from Cambodia and communism was deserted. A provisional authorities took energy till the 1993 elections the place they framed a structure. In 1991 the Paris Peace Agreement was signed, reinstating Sihanouk to be head of state. The monarchy was quickly restored, Buddhism was acknowledged because the nationwide faith and Sihanouk grew to become king as soon as once more. The nation was renamed “The Kingdom of Cambodia” and the Khmer Rouge clearly misplaced their seat within the UN.

Thousands of guerrillas concerned within the Khmer Rouge surrendered to the federal government, in a bid for amnesty. Those concerned within the Khmer Rouge have been placed on trial and Pol Pot was sentenced to life in jail attributable to his horrendous conflict crimes. Pol Pot died shortly after in 1998, returning peace to the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Cambodia has progressed and developed significantly in a brief period of time. Although it’s nonetheless a comparatively poor nation, the financial system is rising quickly. The textiles and tourism business is booming, oil was found off the Cambodian shoreline, which assures Cambodia a affluent future.

Are you searching for some further fast information about visiting Cambodia? Then listed here are some cool actions it is best to think about doing!

Trekking in Cambodia

Trekking will not be usually well-liked in Cambodia, due to this fact they are usually fairly costly. The are two major treks when backpacking Cambodia is Virachey and Phnom Samkos.

Virachey is a standard trek when backpacking Cambodia. It’s an environmentally pleasant 7-day Ecotour. You trek by distant villages, by the Yak Yeuk Grasslands as much as Mera Mountain, ending proper close to the Laos border.

Veal Thom Grasslands boats probably the most spectacular views of the wild, unexplored mountainous border of Laos and Vietnam. Throughout your trek you’ll be recognizing gibbons, hornbills, exploring grasslands and swimming in rivers. It’ll be a very genuine and unbelievable Cambodian expertise.

If you’re searching for a world-class trek that’s utterly off the overwhelmed path, then head to Phnom Samkos, Cambodia’s second highest peak. Instead of choosing a tour, organize it your self with rangers in Promouy city. It’ll be costly however one hell of an journey!

There are not any outlined trails, so that you’ll have to make use of machetes to make your individual path as much as the mountain peak. It’s fairly a harmful trek because it’s extraordinarily distant and there are potential landmines. You’ll be uncovered to every thing the jungle provides together with leeches and wild animals like elephants.

My pal truly woke as much as elephants congregating round their campsite while doing the Phnom Samkos trek. The nationwide park insists on you taking two rangers armed with AK47’s in your 3-day trek to the summit. Sounds like a as soon as in a lifetime expertise proper?

Joining an Organised Tour in Cambodia

For most international locations, Cambodia included, solo journey is the secret. That mentioned, if you’re brief on time, vitality, or simply need to be a part of an superior group of travellers you’ll be able to decide to hitch an organized tour. Joining a tour is an effective way to see a majority of the nation rapidly and with out the hassle that goes into planning a backpacking journey. However—not all tour operators are created equal—that’s for certain.

G Adventures is a strong down-to-earth tour firm catering to backpackers similar to you, and their costs and itineraries replicate the pursuits of the backpacker crowd. You can rating some fairly candy offers on epic journeys in Cambodia for a fraction of the worth of what different tour operators cost.

Check out a few of their superior itineraries for Cambodia right here…

Cambodia is an exquisite nation to journey. There are just some belongings you want to remember earlier than visiting.

Political Issues to be Aware of in Cambodia

Cambodia remains to be within the midst of political uncertainty as the federal government campaigns for a 2018 election. The authorities has misused the justice system to harass and punish civil society and silence critics.

Human proper advocates, public intellectuals, NGOs and the opposition have lately been focused by this autocratic authorities. Although the political system is corrupt, it shouldn’t have an effect on or impression your travels to Cambodia. Just keep up to date on the present political state of affairs in Cambodia.

Be Good to Cambodia

Writing your title in black marker on temples, chugging beer whereas shirtless and swearing loudly, visiting unethical animal sights? You, Sir, are a twat. Luckily, most backpackers don’t fall into this class however, while you’re out and about and have had a number of too many drinks, it may be simple to embarrass your self.

It’s simple to get carried away in Southeast Asia, every thing is so rattling low-cost and a lot enjoyable. I’m under no circumstances the proper traveller; I’ve been the drunken fool on the road. I do know first hand simply how exhausting it’s to be the one particular person in a gaggle to say no when any individual comes up with a silly concept that, for some motive, everyone is down for.

By no means am I telling you to not drink, smoke, and occasion. Do it and find it irresistible. Just don’t get so drunk you flip into an imbecile your mum can be ashamed of.

Wear a helmet while you hop on a motorcycle in Asia. The native individuals are sick of scraping foreigners off the street and, belief me, you don’t look cool for not carrying a helmet.

Humans are people; deal with individuals you meet alongside the way in which with the identical respect you’ll present your family and friends again residence. You should not superior to anybody together with the ladies/guys strolling the streets. Luck of the draw is the one true distinction separating you and them.

Go to Asia and have the time of your life, do the belongings you’ve dreamed of however be respectful alongside the way in which. Travelling is a privilege many don’t get to get pleasure from – use it for good.

Cambodia has a tragic, turbulent previous, however as they recuperate and transfer on, they’re welcoming vacationers with open arms and large smiles. Beautiful seashores, temples, and undiscovered hikes are motive sufficient to journey to Cambodia! A slice of completely happy pizza and a bombastic sundown to accompany is simply the icing on the cake.

Thanks for studying – that was enjoyable! 😀

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Read more Where to go in cambodia travel – Indochina Airlines

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