Places in Cambodia

Top events in Cambodia

September
01

A five-day festival of international classical music, centred around a particular theme each year, with concerts taking place at venues across the...

October
14

This religious festival, also known as Ancestor’s Day, takes place at the end of Buddhist lent in September. Believers will pay their respects to...

October
31

King Sihanouk’s birthday is a public holiday so villagers and farmers can make their way to the capital to celebrate in the streets, while shops...

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
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Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Cambodia Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

181,035 sq km (69,900 sq miles).

Population

15.2 million (2013).

Population density

84 per sq km.

Capital

Phnom Penh.

Government

Constitutional monarchy since 1993.

Head of state

King Norodom Sihamoni since 2004.

Head of government

Prime Minister Hun Sen since 1985.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are in use. Power cuts are frequent.

Cambodia might be one of South East Asia’s smallest countries, but it is superlative in stature. Though the nation was brought to its knees under Pol Pot's destructive regime in the 1970s, it has recovered sufficiently to become one of the highlights of South East Asia. It’s a beloved spot for backpackers, who can enjoy 50-cent beers whilst overlooking some of the most awe-inspiring historical remains on the planet. While, the striking magnificence of the Angkor Temples has long been the main draw for budget and luxury travellers alike, as has the country’s ancient Khmer heritage, wild jungles, steamy cities and a past that's equal parts inspiring and saddening.

Approximately 2 million tourists visit the country each year. Uber cool bars and decadent hotels have popped up in Cambodia’s main cities Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to serve this growing industry. Meanwhile, the up and coming beach town Sihanoukville offers a laid back Asian beach vibe, golden sands and opaque waters to those seeking solace, away from the chaotic cities.

Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, is one of the region's most absorbing cities - a laconic waterside feel offset by rampant nightlife and a proud local culture. In recent years the city has evolved into a somewhat arty hub, with its boutique fashion store shops and galleries, yet the authentic buzz remains. A simple street walk offers a unruly, yet beguiling, scene of rickety tuk tuks, wayward moto drivers and vendors selling everything from Balut – fertilised duck egg – to bowls of spiders, both popular street food.

Elsewhere, beaches and lashings of tropical adventure all help keep visitor numbers healthy. The intrepid may seek out the hill tribal region of Mondulkiri or Rantanakiri, the sleepy conservation village of Chi Phat, the isolated temples of Preah Vihear and Banteay Chhmar, and the lesser travelled areas of Kampot or Kep.

Cambodia’s national parks are also a must visit. The country is filled with minerals, exotic fauna and over 240 reptile species, 850 freshwater fish species and 212 mammal species, including 16 globally endangered mammals such as Indochinese tigers, Asian elephants and freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins. Wildlife specialists frequent the region to monitor these incredible creatures, while eco-tourists take part in activities and tours to help maintain funding for various conservation projects.

Other tourist sites include both world-wonder-worthy ancient temples at Angkor Wat and, in stark contrast, the Killing Fields - exhibiting the atrocities that took place under Khmer Rouge. Somehow, through Cambodia’s traumatic history, which included years of torture, colonization, carpet-bombing, pillaging and poverty, Khmer people remain some of most gentle, happy and friendly sorts on earth.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 23 July 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the Preah Vihear (Khaoi Pra Viharn in Thai) temple area and the Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple area located on the Thai-Cambodian border.

National elections took place on 28 July 2013 in a mostly peaceful environment. The main opposition party continues to dispute the results and protests are ongoing in Phnom Penh with frequent roadblocks and congested traffic. While most demonstrations have been peaceful, there have been some clashes which have resulted in a number of deaths and injuries, particularly on 3 January 2014.

On 4 January 2014 the government issued a statement banning any further protests, and demonstrators were forcibly cleared from Freedom Park in central Phnom Penh. On 30 April police blocked access to Freedom Park in Phnom Penh, using barricades and razor wire after the authorities rejected requests to hold gatherings there on Labour Day (1 May). Access remains blocked.

On 15 July 2014, crowds of up to 400 attempted to protest at Freedom Park in Phnom Penh, near the Night Market. The authorities used tear gas and warning gunshots to disperse protestors, resulting in injuries to some protestors and security forces. Crowds of protestors can gather at short notice. You should avoid all public gatherings and monitor local media closely.

There have been a number of security alerts about small explosive devices found around Phnom Penh, the most recent on 13 September 2013 outside the National Assembly building.

120,000 British nationals visited Cambodia in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free but there have been reports of assaults and armed robberies against foreigners.

There is a low threat from terrorism.

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