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Cambodia Country Information


General Information:


Formal Name: Kingdom of Cambodia

CountryCapital City: Phnom Penh

Main Cities: Battambang, Riem Reap, Sihanouk Ville

Population: 14,000,000 (2007)

Area: 181,040 km2

Currency: Riel (4,100 riel to 1 US dollar in August 2010)

Languages: Khmer

Religions: Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu

Calling Code: 855

Time Zone: GMT+7

 

National Flag of Cambodia




Proportions: 2:3Cambodian Flag Description: The flag of Cambodia consists of three horizontal stripes - the top and bottom stripes are blue and of equal size; and the center stripe is a larger red one with a white emblem representing the towers of Angkor Wat in the middle of it.
Cambodian Flag Meaning: The blue color symbolizes the country's royalty. The red represents the nation and the white represents the religion, beginning with Brahmanism, and the current major religion - Buddhism. The emblem of the temple represents the structure of the universe.
Cambodian Flag History: The Cambodian flag was adopted on June 30, 1993. It was originally adopted on October 29, 1948 and remained until October 1970. The Cambodian flag once again resurfaced in 1993 with the reestablishment of the Cambodian monarchy. Cambodia declared independence from France on November 9, 1953.

Interesting Cambodian Flag Facts:
The first Cambodian flag came into existence around 1863. It was quite similar to the Cambodian flag currently used.


Practicalities

 Electricity:  220V AC circuitry; flat 2 pins or sometimes round 2 pins

Weights & measures: Cambodia follows international metric system.

Internet Access: Service Providers include OnlineCOM. There are numerous Internet cafes available in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Laptop travelers should buy a universal AC adapter, which will enable you to plug it in anywhere without frying the innards

Telephone & Fax: International calls can be made from most main post office. Internet shops and hotels offer fax service.
Post:
General post office hours: Mon-Fri 7.30 am - 12.00 pm and 2.30 - 5.00 pm.

Exchange Money, Credit cards, Traveler Checks and ATM:Thai Baht and US Dollars are widely accepted and exchanged; most other currencies are normally not recognized.VISA and JCB are the most widely accepted credit cards; MasterCard and American Express cards are slowly becoming more widely accepted. Traveler’s checks, like credit cards, are accepted in major business establishments, such as large hotels, some restaurants, travel agencies and some souvenir shops.  ATMs can be found in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville; both debit card withdrawals (Maestro) and cash advances on credit cards are possible. ANZ Bank has multiple ATM locations.  For the rest of the country it's best to stick to cash or traveler’s checks (in US$).

Visas and Visa Extensions: Single 30 day tourist visas are available on arrival at all international airports (Phnom Penh and Siem Reap) and several international land border crossings (contact us for more detail).Extensions of one additional month can be obtained. Visas are valid for stays of up to 1 month only (for extensions possible between 2 to 3 months. Visa can be applied in advance at most Royal Cambodia Embassies

Insurance: We highly recommend traveler to have travel insurance prior to departure. Cambodia is generally considered a high-risk area.


Airport Tax: US$25 for international departures and US$6 for domestic flights

 

When To Go 

The ideal months to be in Cambodia are December and January, when humidity is bearable, temperatures are cooler and it's unlikely to rain. From early February temperatures start to rise until the killer month, April, when temperatures often exceed 40°C (104°F). Come May and June, the southwestern monsoon brings rain and high humidity, cooking up a sweat for all but the hardiest of visitors. 

The wet season (May-Oct), though very soggy, can be a good time to visit Angkor, as the moats will be full and the foliage lush - but steer clear of the northeast regions during those months, as the going gets pretty tough when the tracks are waterlogged

The country's biggest festival, Bon Om Tuk, is held in early November, and is well worth catching. Others you might like to plan around include the water festival in Phnom Penh, or Khmer New Year.

Security Issues

Some street crime and bandits are around.

This is still the world's most land mine infested country with around 5 million mines and a half million tons of UXOs [unexploded ordnance] around the countryside. Thanks to international organizations, de-mining efforts continue, but always travel with a local guide and never stray off paths.

 

Weather Overview

From December to April the climate in Cambodia is at its driest with abundant sunshine and temperatures often reaching 40ºC (104ºF) in April, the hottest month.

The humid southwestern monsoon from May to November sees rain fall mostly in the afternoon, accounting for 70-80% of annual rainfall. The highest temperatures around this time average just above the 30ºC mark (around 88ºF).

 

Events Overview

 Most legal holidays fall on the same dates every year. Some holidays such as Khmer New Year, Visakhaboja, Royal Ploughing Ceremony, Prachum Ben and the Water Festival follow the lunar calendar and move a few days forward or back each year. Some holidays which are not legal holidays in Cambodia such as Chinese New Year receive almost as much attention and celebration as legal holidays. Some of the highlights include:

Chaul Chnam Chen (Lunar New Year/ Chinese new Year) is celebrated by ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese in late January or early February.

 

Bonn Chaul Chhnam (Khmer New Year) celebrations bring the country to a standstill for three days in mid-April (13 – 15) following the end of the harvest season - a fair amount of water and talcum powder gets thrown around at this time, so it's a lively but non-contemplative time to visit. Khmer clean and decorate their house with altar for offering.

Bonn Chroat  Preah Nongkoal (the Royal Ploughing Festival) takes place near the RoyalPalace in Phnom Penh in early May. It is the inauguration of the planting season. The ceremony is performed by a man, King of Meakh, who leads the yoke and plough, followed by a woman, Queen Me Hour, who sows seeds. Sacred cows are led to trays containing rice, corn, beans and other foods. Based on their choices, crop predictions are made for the coming year.

The Khmer calendar's most important festival is Bonn Om Tuk (the Water Festival)in November (24 – 26). A three-day festival celebrates the reversing of the current in the Tonle SapRiver and marks the beginning of the fishing season. The highlight of this event is the boat races on the Tonle SapRiver in front of the RoyalPalace area, firework and lighted flotilla of boats under the full moon.

 Health

Proof of a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required by travelers arriving from infected areas. Cholera still presents a serious risk in this country and precautions are essential. Cholera outbreaks occur occasionally. Immunization against typhoid fever is recommended. Polio vaccination should be current. The risk of contracting malaria exists all year outside the capital. The malignant falciparum strain predominates and is highly resistant to chloroquine. Resistance to mefloquine has been reported from the western provinces. Consult your health expert.

Food and drink: All water should be regarded as contaminated. Water for drinking, making ice or brushing teeth should first be boiled or sterilized. Milk is usually un-pasteurized and must be boiled. Powdered or canned milk is available, but must be sure that it is reconstituted with pure water. Avoid dairy products that have been made from un-boiled milk. Only eat well-cooked fish, pork and meat, preferably served hot. Salads and mayonnaise may carry increased risks. Fruits should be peeled and vegetables cooked.


Other risks: Bilharzia (schistosomiasis) is present. Avoid swimming and paddling in fresh water. Swimming pools which are well chlorinated and maintained are considered safe. Dysentery, typhoid fever, giardiasis and dengue fever are common throughout Cambodia. Hepatitis A is also common and hepatitis B is hyper endemic. Japanese encephalitis usually occurs in the rural areas from the months of May to October and is also common in the highlands. Rabies,or those at high risk a vaccination before arrival to Cambodia should be considered. If you are bitten, seek immediate medical advice.