First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Cambodia

Experience the Bliss of Asia by visiting these amazing tourist attractions in Cambodia! [Featured photo by Dennis Jarvis]

Cambodia takes pride in its enchanting landscapes, well-preserved mountains, and incredible ancient sites. Their temples feature a rich and somewhat dark past but remain to be beautiful. One example is the Angkor Wat, one of the top tourist attractions in Cambodia, which shows the most eccentric glow when the sun is rising. 

Amazing tourist attractions in Cambodia
Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia | Photo by Laika ac under creative commons

Visa Requirements to Cambodia

Most nationalities holding ordinary passports need a visa to enter Cambodia with the exception of nationals of the ASEAN-member countries.

Visa-Exempt Countries: Nationalities of Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam can enter Cambodia with no visa for up to 30 days. Citizens of the Philippines can stay up to 21 days. Meanwhile, nationals of Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, and Thailand can stay in Cambodia for up to 14 days without a visa.

All other nationalities except citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Nigeria can get a visa on arrival or an eVisa. Nationals of the said countries need to apply for a visa in advance at the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia in their country. For eVisa application, you may visit:

Visa Fees to Cambodia

Single entry visa fee for tourist (T) (30 days): US$ 30
Single entry visa fee for business (E) (30 days): US$ 35

How to get to Cambodia?

The main getway to Cambodia is Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Both cities can be accessed by air and land.

By Air: The national flag carrier of Cambodia is Cambodia Angkor Air. It has direct flights to the following cities:

  • Da Nang, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam
  • Beijing, Guangzhou, Haikou, Hangzhou, Nanning, Shanghai, and Zhengzhou in China
  • Melbourne and Sydney in Australia
  • Paris, France
  • Luang Prabang, Pakse, and Vientiane in Laos
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Busan and Seoul in South Korea
  • Bangkok, Thailand

Many airlines from other countries also have direct flights to Cambodia. You can check and book flights to Siem Reap or Phnom Penh now.

By Land: You can visit Cambodia by land from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. You can pass through the borders below.

Cambodia-Vietnam border:

  • Bavet International Check Point (Svay Rieng Province) / Moc Bai,  Tay Ninh, Vietnam
  • Kha Orm Sam Nor International Check Point (Kandal Province) / Ving Xuong, An Giang, Vietnam (“Chau Doc crossing”) 
  • Tropeang Sre International Check Point (Kratie Province) / Hoa Lu, Binh Phuoc Province, Vietnam
  • Prek Chak International Check Point (Kampot Province) / Xa Xia, Kien Giang, Vietnam (Ha Tien crossing)
  • Phnom Den International Check Point (Takeo Province) / Tinh Bien, An Giang, Vietnam 
  • Oyadav International Check Point (Rattankiri Province) / Le Tanh, Gia Lai Province, Vietnam 
  • Tropieng Phlong International Check Point (Kampong Cham Province) / Xa Mat, Vietnam
  • Banteay Chakrey International Border Check Point (Prey Veng Province) / Dinh Ba, Dong Thap, Vietnam
  • Samrong International Check Point (Svay Rieng Province) / My Quy Tay, Long An Province, Vietnam

Cambodia-Lao border:

Cambodia-Thailand border:

  • Cham Yeam International Check Point (Koh Kong Province) / Had Lek, Trat, Thailand
  • Poi Pet International Check Point (Banteay Meanchey Province) / Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo, Thailand
  • Osmach International Check Point (Odor Meanchey Province) / Chong Jom, Surin, Thailand
  • Anglong Veng International Check Point (Banteay Meanchey Province) / Chong Sa Ngam, Sisaket, Thailand
  • Prum International Check Point (Pailin Province) / Ban Pakard, Chantaburi, Thailand
  • Doung International Check Point (Battambang Province) / Ban Laem, Chantaburi, Thailand
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When is the best time to visit Cambodia?

The best time to visit Cambodia is during the dry season from October to April. If you want less crowd, you can visit Cambodia during the lean season from May to early October. This is also the wet season so prepare for heavy rainfalls.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Angkor Wat, Cambodia | Photo by Steven Gitter under creative commons

How to get to the city center from Phnom Penh Airport

The most convenient way to go to the city from Phnom Penh Airport is by taxi. You can reserve a taxi online for a hassle-free journey or get a taxi at the airport.

Another way to get to the city is by taking the train from the airport to Phnom Penh Railway Station which is only about 10 minutes away from the city center. The travel time from the airport to the railway station in Phnom Penh is around 30 minutes and the fare is USD2.5.

There are also airport buses that goes to the city center from the airport. Expect to pay USD5 and you can buy your bus ticket at the counter in the arrival hall.

Aside from the options above, you may also take a public bus or a tuktuk. The public bus is cheaper but it takes a while to get to the city.

How to get to the city center from Siem Reap Airport

Airport transfer to the city center is pretty much easy. You basically have two options – take a taxi or a tuktuk. There is a desk at the airport where you can book a taxi or a tuktuk. The fare is around USD10 for taxi and about USD9 for tuktuk. If you walk through the parking lot towards the exit, you can find cheaper tuktuk for about USD5 or even less.

Where to exchange local currency in Cambodia?

The US Dollar is widely accepted in most establishments in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Just exchange a small amount into local currency in case you need it.

The local currency in Cambodia is Cambodian Riel (KHR). One USD is approximately KHR4,110. There are currency exchange centers in the airport and in the city.

If you plan to withraw cash from your ATM, take note that there is a service charge of around USD5 for every transaction made.

How to get around Cambodia?

Domestic flights make it easier to get around Cambodia. Buses are also available to travel inter-city. When it comes to transportation within a city or town, tuktuk is the easiest way to get around. You can also rent a car in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap so you can move freely within the city and in the countryside.

Where to stay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia?

Finding accommodation in Phnom Penh is easy, here are our suggestions for the best places to stay in Phnom Penh near the city center that will suit your budget and preference.

If the price isn’t an issue then we highly suggest you stay at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra. Room rates start at around USD300. You can book now online via

For a regular hotel, we recommend Le Grand Palais Boutique Hotel. It is a mid-range hotel that offers Khmer-inspired accommodation.

Budget travelers and backpackers can stay at Onederz Hostel Phnom Penh. This hostel is a popular choice for backpackers and budget travelers with its convenient location and good services and amenities. You can get a shared accommodation here at around USD6. Book now to reserve a bed in a dormitory room.

Where to stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia?

Just like in Phnom Penh, it is also easy to find a place to stay in Siem Reap. There are different types of accommodation you can choose ranging from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Here are our recommendation for the best places to stay in Siem Reap.

For a luxury hotel, we recommend Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort. It’s one of the best hotels in Siem Reap. You can check in here for less than USD200 per night.

If you are looking for a mid-range hotel, we highly suggest you stay at Villa Indochine D’angkor. For only around USD30, you can stay in this lovely top-rated resort in Sem Reap.

For budget travelers and backpackers, we highly recommend Onederz Siem Reap. It’s a great place to stay in Siem Reap with its convenient location, friendly staff, and functional amenities. You can get a bed here in a shared room for only USD6!

Must-Try Food in Cambodia

Fish Amok – a classic Khmer dish and is one of the signatures dishes of Cambodia. It’s basically filleted meat of catfish or snakehead cooked in coconut milk.

Kuy teav – a rice noodle soup traditionally served for breakfast in Cambodia.

Lap Khmer – this is like ceviche but it’s made of thinly sliced beef. The beef is marinated in lime juice along with shallots, fish sauce, garlic, mint, basil, and other spices.

Fish Amok in Cambodia
Fish Amok in Cambodia | Photo by Praveen under creative commons

7 Top Tourist Attractions in Cambodia

If you plan to travel to Cambodia, we highly recommend that you visit these seven top tourist attractions in Cambodia. You’ll surely have loads of fun!

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the most visited place in the country and the largest religious monument in the world. It has a perfect composition of balance and proportion, which makes it one of the finest monuments. Inside the temple, you can also see galleries, chambers, and porches that are solely dedicated to Vishnu. You should never leave Cambodia without visiting the Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat Temple | Photo by Dennis Jarvis under creative commons

The entrance fee to the Angkor Thom for a single-day ticket is $37, a three-day pass is $62, and a seven-day pass is $72.

Preah Vihear

The Preah Vihear is primarily built to honor Shiva. The site, despite being in a remote location, contains staircases and pavements that linked to several sanctuaries in the temple. It is also well-preserved and has an exceptional quality of architecture, natural environment, and other carved stone ornaments. 

Preah Vihear Temple
Preah Vihear Temple | Photo by Frank Starmer under creative commons

The Preah Vihear, considered as one of the top tourist attractions in Cambodia, is an outstanding piece of Khmer architecture that features pure details of decoration!


After visiting the temples, going to Sihanoukville is an ultimate breather. It is a beach town in Cambodia with white-sand, fresh seafood, nearby casinos, and hotels. This is the perfect place just to lay back and breathe out the stress. 

Sihanoukville | Photo by Damien @ Flickr under creative commons

But if you want more adventure, you would be enticed to go for water activities in Sihanoukville such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming.  

Tonle Sap

Apart from stopping by the temples, visiting the Tonle Sap Lake is a must. The lake is a floating village in Cambodia. Tourists are allowed to take a boat ride and see the entire village, schools, houses, and markets in the middle of the water. Tonle Sap is a vast lake, in fact, the largest lake in Southeast Asia! It is also one of the country’s famous landmarks. Many tourists love to visit this place as it is the perfect way to engage with the locals. 

Tonle Sap Lake
Tonle Sap Lake | Photo by Juan Antonio Segal under creative commons

Silver Pagoda

The Silver Pagoda, also known as Wat Preah Keo or Temple of the Emerald Buddha, reflects the country’s rich history and thriving present. It has intrinsic and beautiful manicured ornate buildings with drippings of silver and jewels. The walls lined up with golden Buddhas, statues, and ancient arts. Expect a picturesque site!

Silver Pagoda, Cambodia | Photo by Daniel Mennerich under creative commons

Bokor Hill Station

The Historical Bokor Hill Station is a French colonial building atop of the hill. It was constructed in 1920 to serve as a luxury resort and retreat area for colonial residents. However, the said structure has been abandoned for a long time and has now been refurbished into a new hotel. It is more beautiful today and still restores its old majesty. 

Bokor Hill Station
Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia | Photo by Benecee under creative commons

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple, also known as Jayavarman’s Temple, was built to honor the Khmer King who commanded the construction. It is one of the top tourist attractions in Cambodia and is popularly known for its picturesque giant towers of smiling faces. Approximately 200 faces are measuring four meters high. Apart from the serene smile, all the faces also have their eyes closed to symbolize inner peace or Nirvana.

Bayon Temple | Photo by Radek Kucharski under creative commons

Top Tours and Activities to Do in Cambodia

Angkor Temple Tours

Visit the Angkor Thom complex where you will explore the fascinating beauty of Bayon Temple and the world-famous Ta Prohm Temple (Tomb-Raider Temple). Of course, you’ll get to experience the enormous and gorgeous Angkor Wat Temple, one of the largest religious monuments in the world. Book this tour now!

Phnom Penh Hop-On Hop-off Killing Fields Tour and S21 Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

In this deal, you can take a self-guided tour of two harrowing Cambodian sites, each a stark reminder of the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979. Book this tour!

Phnom Penh City Walking Tour

Discover the best of what Phnom Penh City has to offer as you embark on an exciting walking tour along the streets of the city. Book this tour!

Ta Prohm Temple (Tomb-Raider Temple) | Photo by WIL under creative commons

Basic and Useful Phrases in Khmer

YesBah (bah) for men and Jah (chaa) for females
NoOt Teh (ot-tei)
Thank youArkun (Ar-koon)
You’re welcomeMun ay te 
HelloSusadei (Soos-a-day)
GoodbyeLee hi (lee-hi) 
What is your name?Ta neak chhmos ey?
My name is BlissKhnom chhmos Bliss
Nice to meet youKhñom trawk or nah dael bahn skoal lohk
Do you speak English?Neak cheh piasah ongkleh baan teh?
I don’t understandMin yuall the
How much is this?Bo man (bow-man)
Threebai, boum, bram, bram moi, bram bee, bram boum, dop
SixPram moi
SevenPram pee
EightPram bai
NinePram boum
Turn leftBaht schweng (bart-shweng)
Turn rightBaht Saddam (bart-sadam) 
Go StraightDa Trong (da-trong)
Good morningArunn sous-dey
Good afternoonTiveah sous-dey 
Good eveningSayoan sous-dey

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Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post. If you book a tour or accommodation on one of the links, we get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Think of it as a way of supporting our blog!

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