How to go to Cambodia?

There are two clear options available for traveler and people who want to know how to go to Cambodia and it depends upon their current location and also their finances:

1) First option is via Tour Bus. 

Especially for people already in South East Asia (e.g. Thailand, Laos or Vietnam) who like the simple option to cross the border to go into Cambodia since this is a cheap option and favored highly by the backpacking community or those on a budget. However this is the longer option and depending on the route taken it can be uncomfortable for some legs of the journey. Night bus is not recommended under any option due to the high level of accidents at night. 

2) Second option is via Airplane. 


This can be direct from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar, Taiwan and several other countries (long-haul travellers will also transit at one of these country's airports when visiting Cambodia as well). Air travel is not necessarily so expensive with great deals by the likes of Air Asia, Jet Star and other economy focused airlines while those with extra budget to spend may prefer to travel with Thai or Bangkok Air, Malaysian Air or Eva Air instead.

When are the Cambodian Public Holidays in 2015?

In any given year Cambodia has some of the most public holidays in the world and 2015 is no different with a total of 27 individual days off.

Not to mention that any holidays that overlap with Sundays also have the next working day substituted as well....

The following is a list taken from the Prakas NÂș 248 Kor.Bor/Bror.Kor, issued on October 22, 2014 by Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training concerning Paid Public Holiday for 2015:

January 01 International New Year Day

January 07 Victory over Genocide Day

February 03 Meak Bochea Day

March 08 International Women Day

April 14, 15, 16 Khmer New Year Day

May 01 International Labor Day

May 02 Visak Bochea Day

May 06 Royal Plowing Ceremony

May 13, 14, 15 King's Birthday, Norodom Sihamoni

June 01 International Children Day

June 18 King's Mother Birthday, Norodom Monineath Sihanouk

September 24 Constitutional Day

October 11, 12, 13 Pchum Ben Day

October 15 Commemoration Day of King's Father, Norodom Sihanouk

October 23 Paris Peace Agreements Day

October 29 King's Coronation Day, Norodom Sihamoni

November 09 Independence Day

November 24, 25, 26 Water Festival Ceremony

December 10 International Human Rights Day



How many New Years does Cambodia celebrate?

Cambodia is unique in terms of New Year celebrations with a total of three separate events.

The Phnom Penh crowds celebrating the ringing in of International New Year at 12am on the 1st of January were safe in the knowledge that it was only the first new year of 2015 for Cambodia, with two more still to come!

The second will be Chinese New Year during February, which although is not officially a public holiday does mean that anybody with any amount of Chinese blood or relatives will take a week off to make offerings to the spirits and ancestors followed by a feast of food and sharing red envelopes between family and colleagues.

The third, final and most important New Year for Cambodia is held in April and is another week long celebration known as Khmer New Year when most Cambodians return to their home province for traditional ceremony, games, feasts and drinks - the whole country stops for nearly 1.5 weeks to allow travel time while many foreign expats take the chance to go overseas since Phnom Penh turns into a ghost town.

Sousadey Chhnam Thmey!

(Welcome the New Year!)

Christmas Time & Christmas Trees in Cambodia

Christmas time in Cambodia is an interesting thing to witness develop over the past decade.

One of the most visible sign of its growth are the numerous segment of Khmer businesses in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville that decorate their premises with glitter and Christmas trees to attract customers and entice them with promotional offers or discounts.

While most shops selling trees continued offering only the plastic version Lucky Market began selling live trees imported from the USA with a price tag of nearly $70.
So far plastic trees remain the dominant seller based on the displays around Phnom Penh.
Most rural Khmers don't celebrate Christmas so this is being led by the richer, growing middle class in the cities.
Many admit little knowledge of the Christmas story but are attracted by the festivities and gift giving.
As with any celebration in Phnom Penh the young Khmer revellers filled the streets by the riverside on their motos while families gathered opposite the Royal Palace to eat local food and buy their kids Christmas balloons from gathering street vendors.

All in all it was another "Happy Merry Christmas" in Cambodia this year!


How hot is the temperature in Cambodia & what are the different weather seasons?

As of 23rd May the temperature in Phnom Penh is reaching heights of up to 37 degrees Celsius with heat index of 41 Celsius (in Fahrenheit this equals 95 degrees temperature and 99 on the heat index).

The reason for this is because of Cambodia's seasonal changes from cool season back in November to February when the weather is slightly cool and dry before becoming outrageously hot and dry from March to May (i.e. right now).

Looking forward to July and August everything remains hot but has the benefits of the monsoon rains to bring the temperature down but also flooding everywhere.

September to beginning of November sees a cooling off period with the heat being dampened by the rains until around October when the seasons change back around again.


How many Cambodian Public Holidays are there in 2014?

Cambodia has much more recognised public holidays than almost very country in the world,

The example of the sheer number and duration of public holidays in Cambodia can be seen for the year 2014 as follows:

  • January 01 International New Year Day
  • January 07 Victory over Genocide Day
  • February 14 Meak Bochea Day
  • March 08 International Women Day
  • April 14, 15, 16 Khmer New Year Day
  • May 01 International Labor Day
  • May 13 Visak Bochea Day
  • May 13, 14, 15 King's Birthday, Norodom Sihamoni
  • May 17 Royal Plowing Ceremony
  • June 01 International Children Day
  • June 18 King's Mother Birthday, Norodom Monineath Sihanouk
  • September 22, 23, 24 Pchum Ben Day
  • September 24 Constitutional Day
  • October 15 Commemoration Day of King's Father, Norodom Sihanouk
  • October 23 Paris Peace Agreements Day
  • October 29 King's Coronation Day, Norodom Sihamoni
  • November 05, 06, 07 Water Festival Ceremony
  • November 09 Independence Day
  • December 10 International Human Rights Day

So for 2014 Cambodia has 26 days of public holidays with April and May being the most excessive plus Chinese New Year is an unofficial holiday that everybody in Phnom Peng seem to claim some Chinese lineage to take time off to celebrate in February.

Also if any holidays fall upon Saturday or Sunday then those days are moved to the following Mondays and Tuesdays if you work for the government or certain institutions.

Employees can additionally have up to 18 days holiday and/or sick leave according to Cambodian Labour Law.

For Industrial Business Owners it can be madness having staff disappearing to the provinces constantly but tourist areas do get a big boost and other commercial business's do okay.

You just have to work out in advance your travel plans and business plans based on the Cambodian Public Holiday Roulette announced each year.

    What currency does Cambodia use? Khmer Riel, US Dollars and Gold?

    Cambodian currency has been in a unique position compared with other ASEAN States and for the last 20+ years has been operating under a dual-currency status.

    This is due to the influence of UNTAC period when large amounts of United States Dollars were pumped into the country as well as from foreign investors, NGO's and charities.

    The general consensus is that Khmer Riel is used as change for smaller purchases and for anything over USD$10-20 upwards the payment will be made in US Dollars 90% of the time.

    In the provinces and outside of urban areas the KHR is used more frequently while in the big cities USD reigns supreme.

    However if a person is trying to build their savings it is common for them to collect up enough Khmer Riel to change into US Dollars and then as they continue to save they will highly likely convert their USD into 22 or 23k gold jewellery to diversify their savings.

    Considering past history it is understandable why more trust is found in strong foreign currency and then gold as the ultimate store of wealth.

    The National Bank of Cambodia is gently pushing towards longer term single currency using the Khmer Riel but Dollars and gold jewellry will surely retain their premium cache for some time to come.

    The NBC has worked hard to create stability with the Riel by linking to the US Dollar with which it hovers at around 4,000 KHR for 1 USD and rarely changes more than a few percent.

    Is Burger King available in Cambodia?

    Since 2012/2013 there has been one Burger King franchise operating at Pochentong Airport which was testing the market and serving as a training point for future operations.

    As of February 2014 there is now one new outlet based in the centre of the city in Bong Keng Kong 1 (BKK1) between streets 51 and 310 which has so far been popular with local Khmers, Expats and tourists alike.

    Prices remain (relatively) reasonable with most Whopper Meal Deals costing $4-5 as well as smaller items selling for $1-2 like Chicken Wings, French Fries etc.

    The Burger King franchise for Cambodia is operated under the same company which successfully introduced "The Pizza Company", "Swensens Ice Cream", "BBQ Chicken" and "Dairy Queen" into the mainstream over the past ten years.

    It is expected that Burger King will expand across Phnom Penh and then into key Provincial Cities like Siem Reap, Kampong Cham, Sihanoukville and Battambang.

    It's main competitors in the market are the well-known Lucky Burger chain and also KFC which has continued to grow their network of outlets in anticipation of future competition.

    McDonalds still has no presence in the country but has just opened their first outlet in Vietnam so the fast food franchise competition in Cambodia might lead to a re-think if all goes well over there.

    I still prefer Lucky Burger for the fried chicken and salty fries but it having Burger King as an option is a good sign for a country previously viewed as a low priority for international brands and investors.