Cambodia is situated in Southeast Asia and is a relatively new travel destination that’s tourists are exploring. Nicknamed ‘Kingdom of Wonder’ Cambodia is the perfect holiday destination for all ages as it is a fascinating country where it is easy to step back in time whilst exploring ancient cities, temples and colourful markets. Cambodia has beautiful beaches and tropical islands and large areas of lush jungle with rich wildlife including elephants.
Cambodia is the land of temples and the best-known and most visited one is Angkor Wat which dates from the 11th century when it was the capital of the Angkor empire. It is situated in an archaeological park that covers 400 square kilometres and is well worth a visit.
Phnom Penh is the country’s sprawling capital, which is interesting to visit. The Royal Palace is the official residence of the King so some of it is often closed to the public, but its immaculately maintained gardens are beautiful.
If you are planning a family holiday, the great news is that the Cambodians love children and places a high emphasis on the family and family life. Children are welcomed in all restaurants many hotels and resorts offer family sized rooms and inter connecting room. If you do book on some excursions, you will find that the guides will have the children constantly in mind as they whizz up a fun treasure hunt at Angkar Wat to help make the history ‘come alive’.
If you want to get off the beaten track, there are plenty of places to visit, but one of the best is Mondulkiri, which has rolling hills and jungle, waterfalls and valleys and is home to many rare and endangered species including leopards, water buffalo, and elephants. The E.L.I.E (Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment) is well worth seeing and children can actively get involved with the valuable conservation work to try and halt the decline in the number of elephants and to care for abused elephants.
There are many other activities to enjoy as a family including kayaking which can be an extra special experience early in the evening when it is common to be surrounded by fireflies. Hiking is popular with trails available for all the family to enjoy. Exploring the towns in a tuk tuk is fun and the buzz of the roads with numerous elephant’s appeals to all. In Siem Reap, the floating villages on the lake of Tonie Sap are fascinating with everyone living on boats and barges and even the animals have floating fields! You can certainly acquire a taste for such specialties as mocktails and having a regular foot massage performed by fish during their time in Cambodia.
Which local foods to try?
Rice is the staple food in Cambodia and is eaten at every meal. There are more than 2,000 different varieties cultivated. Rice dishes can be bought as street foods including delicious deep fried rice and spinach cakes and rice noodles. There is fish, salted fish, pork and chicken. The Cambodians cook with a variety of fermented sauces and a rich variety of vegetables leaves and spices. There is an amazing range of fruit available, many types are familiar but an equal number are not! Durian and mangosteen are the most popular fruits and well worth trying. If you are an adventurous family, then why not try crocodile meat and snake?
Many of the dishes are vegetarian so that they can be eaten by devout Buddhists. One amusing discovery to make is that French style baguettes are widely available as a lasting reminder of French colonial days.
When is the best time to visit Cambodia?
Cambodia has a year round average temperature of 20ºC and two seasons – wet and dry. November till March is the dry season when the days are hot and dry and this is the most popular time to visit the country. If you prefer avoiding the crowds, why not consider visiting between May and early October? This is the wet season – which is known by the locals as ‘the green season’ as all the plants and flowers spring into life.
What is the currency in Cambodia?
The US dollar is widely used in Cambodia, as is the Cambodian riel.
How long does it take to fly to Cambodia?
The flight time from London to Phnom Penh, the capital, is 14 hours 20 minutes with one stop.
What is the time difference in Cambodia?
Cambodia is six hours ahead of London UK.
What language is spoken in Cambodia?
Khmer is the official language in Cambodia. Many public signs are bi-lingual in Khmer and English. Young Cambodians are learning English at school. Limited English is spoken in hotels and travel businesses, but there can be problems if you ask questions outside the usual range! Cambodians love it if you attempt a few words in their language.
Do I need a visa to visit Cambodia?
Yes, a visa is required for a maximum stay of one month. A tourist visa can be obtained from the Cambodian Embassy in London, on arrival in Cambodia or an e-visa can be bought online.