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Things to know before arriving
The dry season extends from November until May during which time temperatures range from 20°C to 32°C. The southwest monsoon prevails from June till October with stronger breezes and higher humidity. Rainfall is usually limited to the afternoons and is sporadic. Temperatures are warmer during this time, varying from 26°C to 38°C.
Khmer is the official language. English and French are popular second languages.
The local currency is Riel, although the US dollar is widely accepted throughout the country and in all major markets. In recent years the rate of exchange has been floating around USD1= 3,900 Riels. Some popular Riel denominations include: 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000 notes.
Navutu accepts payment by American Express, Visa Card and Mastercard. Elsewhere, use of credit cards is limited to the larger hotels.
For most visitors to the kingdom, visa are obtainable upon arrival at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. At land crossing from Thailand, visas are available at Poipet Banteay Meanchey and Cham Yeam (Koh Kong providence). Visitors who enter from Vietnam through Bavet (VN: Moc Bai) or Ka-Om Samnor (VN: Chao Doc) will need to have already obtained their visas prior to their arrival through a Cambodian Embassy or Consulate overseas.
The border crossing form Laos is also possible through Voeun Kham border checkpoint, but travelers are advised to obtain their Visas prior to arrival at the border. Please note that other border crossing not mentioned above are not classified as international checkpoints therefore we suggest that you secure confirmation before commencing your trip. Various Visa extension options are also available.
Visa Fee: US$20 of tourist Visas & US$25 for business Visas. The fee is payable only in cash.
Electricity is 220 volts/50 cycles. Cambodia is plus seven hours GMT. The country is in the same time zone as neighbouring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Loose, light clothing is recommended. In the dry season, which is a little cooler, a light sweater may be needed during the evening. It is recommended to bring along a comfortable pair of walking shoes, a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen. Bargaining is customary in the local markets.
There are still many state-owned hospitals, where qualified doctors work. There are also a number of private clinics available in the major cities and most of these maintain international standards.
There’s a magic about Cambodia that cast a spell on many who visit this charming yet confounding Kingdom. Ascend to the realm of the gods at the mother of all temples, Angkor Wat, a spettacular fusion of simbolis, symmetry and spiritually. Descend into the hell of Toul Sleng and come face to face with Khmer Rouge and its killing machine. Welcome to the conundrum that is Cambodia : a country with history both inspiring and depressing, an intoxicating place where the future is waiting to be shaped.
The majority (90%) of the population is Khmer. The remaining 10% are comprised of Cham (Khmer Muslims), minority hill tribes, Chinese and Vietnamese. The population is approximately 14 million (estimation of 2008).
Stone sculpting, wood carving, silver work and the weaving of textiles are among the handicrafts produced by Khmer artisans.
Classical Dance of Cambodia The epic poem of Rama (Ramayana) is believed to have been revealed to a Hindu holy man named Valmiki by Brahma, the god of creation. Dancers are dressed in silk tunics and wear golden headdresses that accentuate their slow, elegant movements.
There are two kinds of traditional music: one is the Pin Peath with stringed and percussion instruments and the other the Mohory with only stringed instruments. The different instruments are: Pin Peath is a group of instruments which have Roneath (xylophone in metal or bamboo), Kong (percussion instrument surrounding the player), a pear of Skor Thom (a very big drum, which has two faces, for making the rhythm), Sampho (a big drum,which has two faces, for making the rhythm), Sro Lai (a big recorder),Chhoeng (percussion instrument hitting each other for making rhythm). Today its music is commonly heard during feast days.
Khmer cuisine or more generally, Cambodian cuisine is one of the worlds oldest living cuisines, and is regarded by many as one of the healthiest and most balanced cuisines on the planet. With an emphasis on simplicity, freshness, seasonality and regionalism – Cambodian food has won praise for its elegant and understated use of spice, its harmonious arrangement of contrasting flavours, textures and temperatures within the overall meal rather than a single dish, and its thoughtful and, at times extravagant presentation of dishes with plenty of herbs, leaves, pickles, dipping sauces, edible flowers and other garnishes and condiments. Cambodian or Khmer cuisine is known for its rich flavours. It is often compared to Thai cuisine, but is less spicy. Curries and stir-fries are served alongside rice, the country’s staple food. Noodles are also popular, but are mostly served as a soup for breakfast or as a snack. The aromas of lemongrass, coconut milk and tamarind are ever-present in most Cambodian meals.
Theravada Buddhism is the official religion in Cambodia. The majority of people are Buddhist and 5% are Muslim or Christian.