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About Cambodia

AREA:

181,035 sq.km. Width=560 km and Length=440 km.

CAMBODIA:

Capital city is Phnom Penh , 3 more municipalities: Sihanouk Ville, Kep and Pailin, and 20 provinces.

POPULATION:

11.76 million. Population in Phnom Penh about 1 million.

LANGUAGE:

The official language is Khmer. It is part of the Mon-Khmer family. English is rapidly gaining popularity, particularly among the young, while the educated older people speak French.

RELIGION:

The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, which is also practised in neighboring Laos, Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka.

CLIMATE:

Tropical monsoon. Rainy season: May-November. Dry season: December-April.

CURRENCY:

The Khmer riel fluctuates regularly. At the time of press it was 4,027 riel to the US dollar, requiring the carrying of large quantities of paper currency. US dollars are widely used, and establishments catering to foreign tourists usually quote prices in US dollars. Denominations are 100,000; 50,000; 20,000; 10,000; 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500; 200; and 100 riel. Foreign currencies can be easily changed at most hotel airport or at markets.

VISAS:

A visas on arrival, valid for 30 days, is issued at Pochentong International Airport, Phnom Penh, and at Siem Reap Airport, The visa cost is US$20 for tourism and US$25 for Business. A photograph is needed. Visas can be extended at the Immigration Department in Phnom Penh. Visas are also issued at Royal Cambodia Embassies or Consulates foreign countries.

AIRPORT TAXES:

For international departures: US$20 from Phnom Penh; US$8 from Siem Reap. For domestic flights: US$10 from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and US$4 from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.

CUSTOMS:

Every passenger has to complete an immigration form and a separate customs declaration form during the arrival flight, for submission upon arrival. Any amount of foreign currency can be brought into Cambodia, but the amount of local currency (Cambodia riel) must not exceed 100,000 riel per person. Tourists and nonresidents carrying more than US$10,000 in cash or its equivalent must declare it - otherwise you may run into problems if you wish to take the same amount out of the country.

TIPPING:

Not obligatory, but is widely practiced in hotels and restaurants in addition to the service charges shown on bills.

AIRPORT TAXIS:

A taxi (of the non-metered variety) from Siem Reap Airport into town, 8km away, costs US$5 and will take 10-15 minutes. A motorbike costs $1. For visitors entering Cambodia through Pochentong International Airport, Phnom Penh, a taxi into the city will cost US$7 and will take approx. a5 minutes. Most hotels and better guesthouses provide airport pickups for booked guests.

LOCAL TRANSPORT:

Cars and mini-uses are readily available for touring the temples at Angkor, or for day trips in and around Phnom Penh. The average cost of a car and driver is approx. US$20-25 per day.

HOTELS & GUESTHOUSES:

There are many of each in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. They range from luxurious 5-star hotels to guesthouses charging from US$5 a night. In Siem Reap, there are several small hotels along the road between the airport and the town. These are peaceful, being set among rice fields and palms, but require a taxi ride for each venture outside.

FOOD & RESTAURANTS:

Local Khmer food is inexpensive and often tasty. Rice and fish, together with a tempting array of herbs, sauces and spices are typical fare. Curries and soups with beef, pork, poultry and seafood can be bought from street vendors at a nominal charge. Hygiene at some street stalls may sometimes be questionable, however.

HEALTH:

It's hot, so drink plenty of water, bur never drink tap water. Good quality bottled water available everywhere. Also remember to wear a high-factor sun block when sightseeing and use an insect repellent as protection against mosquitoes. Although no vaccinations are officially required for entry to Cambodia, they are highly encouraged. And one should always bring essential medications to Cambodia as there is no guarantee they will be available locally.

TELEPHONE:

There are no coin-operated phones (there are no coins) in Cambodia. Phone cards are available, however, and the cars can be purchased at many outlets. There are also several mobile phone systems.