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KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA

 

Stone Gate of Angkor Thom in Siem Reap, Cambodia



Cambodia is emerging as a major destination for adventure travelers seeking an exotic destination with well preserved 12th century architecture.  Thirteen million population; Angkor Wat is one of the world’s must see major tourist sights.  Buddhism is the official religion in Cambodia and is central to Cambodian life.

DOCUMENTATION:  Valid in-force Passport, expiration must be at least six months from arrival date, and Visa (good for 30 day visit).  Tourist visas can be secured on air arrival at Phnom Pehn or Siem Reap airports.  You weill need two ID sized photos.  Other arrival locations require visa in hand prior to entry. 

SAFETY:  Peace and relative tranquility prevail after decades of unrest.  Avoid areas bordering on Thailand, Laos and the Cardamons.  Some countryside areas should also be avoided:  check latest security advisories. 

LANGUAGE:  Khmer,English is widely spoken in Phnom Pehn and Sien Reap. 

CURRENCY:  Riels. 
 

HEALTH:  Do not drink tap water.  Bring insect repellent for mosquitoes.  Plan your sightseeing for early mornings to escape the mid-day and afternoon heat and crowds. 

ETIQUETTE:  Never point your finger or point the soles of your feet toward a statue of Buddha.  Dress with respect when visiting a Temple.  Remove hat and shoes when entering a temple.    


Banteav Srei Temple, Cambodia



BEST TIME TO VACATION IN CAMBODIA:  December, January (coolest month), until mid-February, September, October (Fall and Winter months) - slightly cooler temperatures than the steam bath Spring and Summer months!  Cambodia is a tropical -monsoon climate, hot and humid, with an average temperature of 80 degrees. 

AVOID:  April, the hottest month, May, June:  steambath hot and humid.  August, September, October and November is the rainy season.  Winter monsoon rains last November through March.  Summer monsoons are May through October. 

MAJOR HOLIDAYS: *Public Holidays.   
Please note that actual holiday dates vary based on the lunar calendar.   
*January 1:  New Years Day. 
*January 7:  Victory from Genocide Day. 
*February 2:  Meak Bochea. 
*March 8:  International Women’s Day - observed with colorful parades. 
*April 14 - 16:  Cambodian New Year - marks the end of the harvest season.  City streets are decorated and brightly lit in the evening.  Special cultural and sports events.  May 1:  Visaka Day - nationwide observance of Buddha’s birth, enlightment and death. Held the sixth full moon of the lunar calendar. 
*May 1:  Labour Day.
*May 5 (varies):  Royal Ploughing Ceremony - observed in late May, beginning of ploughing season. 
*May 13 - 15:  King’s Birthday. 
*May 19:  Visak Bochea Day - Buddha’s Birthday. 
*June 18:  Queen Mother’s Birthday. 
*September 24:  Constitution Day. 
*October 1 - 15:  Pchum Ben - religious holiday.      
*October 29:  Coronation Day.   
*October 31:  King Father’s Day.
*November 9:  Independence Day. 
*November 23 - 25:  Water Festival - boat races, fairs, shows, parades, fireworks, music. 
*December 10:  Human Rights Day.  

MAJOR EVENTS AND FESTIVALS: 
Mid April:  Bonn Chaui Chham-Khmer New Year.   
Mid August:  Mid Autumn Festival - Celebrated by the Chinese and Vietnamese Communities.   
October - November (30 days):  Bonn Kathen - End of Buddhist Lent.   
October 23:  Paris Peace Accord.     


BAYON

Site of huge stone statues of Buddha.  The three story temple has over two hundred large faces adorning the 54 towers.  After Angkor Wat, Bayon is the second largest temple.
    




Bayon in Angkor

 

CHOEUNG EK:

Gruesome sites that commemorate the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge regime include a monument filled with human skulls and the Genocie Museum at Tuol Sleng Prison.
 


KEP

Seaside resort area.
 


PHNOM PENH



 

Central Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is an elegant capital city of two million residents with luxurious resorts. 

TIME ON YOUR HANDS IN PHNOM PENH: 
Visit the famous Silver Pagoda in the Royal Palace.  


The National Museum is a major depository of Khmer history and artifacts.  
Travel 10 miles outside Phnom Pehn for an unforgetable-chilling experience, by visiting the infamous Killing Fields and the skull-lined Choeng Elk Monument and Museum of Genocide. 

WINDOW SHOPPING IN PHNOM PENH: 
Check out the waterfront and its trendy boutiques and cafes. 
Downtown Phnom Penh is a series of crowded markets. 


ANGKOR WAT:
“THE GREAT CITY”:


Angkor Wat



Nothing will prepare you for the size and magnificence you will encounter at Angkor Wat.   The sensory overload is intense.  Plan on spending several hours if not at least two days exploring.  The world’s largest religious monument is immense:  570 feet wide and 4 miles long!  Angkor Wat was built during the 9th - 13th centuries.  Angkor Wat was, in it’s heyday, one of the world’s most modern cities.  The Khner architecture was truly a unique style of building.  It is the principal reason to visit Cambodia:   The Hindu temple is the world’s largest religious building.  Easily, one of the world’s most incredible wonders - an inspiring sight not easily forgotten. 

Savvy Travel Tip:  Entrance Procedures to Angkor Wat:  A one day Pass is inadequate for most visitors to visit the huge complex of over 100 temples.  Instead, opt for a two day pass (two ID-sized photos, one for Cambodian Visa and the other for Temple pass are required:  photos can be arranged at checkpoint for free; separate Admission fee charged for Angkor Wat complex).  Shorts and tee-shirts are acceptable dress for touring Angkor Wat.  Over two million tourists visit Angkor annually. 


Angkor Wat



BEST TIME TO VISIT ANGKOR:  May, June, July, August, September, October: least crowded time. 


SIEM REAP:

City of 900,000 residents is accessible by air from Phnom Penh (192 miles distance) or a one hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam.  Choice of several luxurious resorts and modern hotels;  over one million annual tourists.  Site of 12th century Angkor Wat temple.  Good tour basing locale for several regional excursions. 

BEST TIME TO VACATION IN SIEM REAP: 
Peak Season is Late October to mid-March-reserve far in advance.  If you do not mind the rainy season, September is a good time to visit, as the crowds are fewer and the hotel rates less expensive.   


Banteav Srei Temple of Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia



In addition to Angkor Wat (see alphabeticallisting) more than thirty other Hindu temples are located within 30 miles of Siem Reap.  


IN SEARCH OF A GOOD NIGHTS REST IN SIEM REAP:  Considering its proximity to and volume of visitors to Angkor Wat, there is no shortage of nice lodging in Siem Reap.


TONIE SAP: 

The flooded forest, flooded ten months of the year from June to March, and a wild bird habitat, is worthwhile short boat excursion from Sien Reap. 


BATTAMBANG: 

Battambang is an interesting four hour boat cruise from Siem Reap.
   

 


Wat Jong Klang

 

Wat Chaiwatthanaram