General Information

Travel Tips
Passport
Your passport must be valid for at least six months following your scheduled return to your country. You will also require blank pages available in your passport. The number of pages you will need varies according to the options you have selected, as we have listed below. These pages must be labeled “Visas” at the top (blank “Amendments and Endorsements” pages are not acceptable). If both of these requirements are not met, you may be refused admittance to a country and, consequently, required by that country’s government to return to your country immediately.

  • To Cambodia: You will need 2 more pages for a total of 4.

Visas Required
 Cambodia visa required. We recommend you obtain this visa in advance. If you are taking your trip to Angkor Wat, you will require a visa for Cambodia. Although this visa can be obtained upon your arrival, we recommend you obtain it in advance. Entry requirements can change at any time; obtaining your visa in advance decreases the likelihood that you will encounter problems at the border and may protect you if entry requirements subsequently change.
If you are staying longer in this country, you should check with our embassy for the applicable regulations:

Cambodia:                     (202) 726-7742                  

Non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. passport holders: If you are not a U.S. citizen or if you possess a passport from a country other than the U.S., it is your responsibility to check with your local consulate, embassy, or a visa services company about possible visa requirements. For your convenience, we recommend the services of PVS International, whose contact information follows. For embassy phone numbers, see previous.

PVS International Passport & Visa Services
1700 N Moore Street Rosslyn Center, Suite 310
Arlington, VA 22209
Telephone: 1-800-556-9990
Website: www.pvsinternational.org

Airport Departure Taxes
Please note that  your Cambodia airport departure taxes is included in your airline ticket price from January 15, 2011 onward

General Health Tips
Wash your hands frequently: before meals, before snacks, when brushing your teeth, after visiting the bathroom. You won’t always find running water, so bring moist towelettes (in a box, not individually wrapped) or anti-bacterial "water-free" hand cleanser. Avoid touching your face, biting your nails, and putting things in your mouth out of habit. Don’t share your water bottle with others.

Don’t Push Too Hard
One of the most important parts of staying healthy on an active trip is to not push yourself too hard if you feel tired. Respect your own limits. Your trip schedule offers some degree of flexibility. If your energy level is low on a certain day, you can sit out a walking tour or a road excursion. Your Trip Leader can tell you about the distance, time, and terrain of our walking excursions in advance, and can usually suggest rewarding alternative activities.

Drink Plenty of Liquids
When you travel, you can easily become dehydrated without knowing it. If your fluid balance is low, you are more susceptible to fatigue and illness. Air travel will dry you out, so drink liquids and avoid alcohol on your flight. During the trip, don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Instead, drink by the clock: drink one to two quarts of water or juice each day, in addition to drinks at meals. If you find yourself tired or unwell, and don’t know why, it may be that you simply need to drink more. Note that tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages are diuretics, and do not help maintain hydration.

Sun and Heat Exposure
It can be very hot at midday. Be sure to wear your hat, and use plenty of sunscreen. Be aware of the signs of heat exposure. Be especially concerned if you feel hot, but are not perspiring. Let your Tour Guide know if you are not feeling well. Most importantly, you must drink plenty of liquids when temperatures are high.

If You Have Stomach Trouble
Despite your best efforts, you may get diarrhea at some point. It is usually limited in duration, and will often go away without medication. Immediately and consistently, drink more liquids to make up for the fluids you are losing. The best initial treatment is to chew two Pepto Bismol tablets; repeat three to four times a day. This may be all you need to do. You can, and probably should, eat when you get hungry, but avoid dairy products and fried foods for a while. 

If your symptoms persist for more than 12 to 24 hours, you may decide to take a course of a prescription antibiotic. Most antibiotics are taken twice a day, for about three days. Once you start the course, it’s important to continue for the full duration of treatment. Don’t stop if your symptoms subside sooner. 

Anti-motility agents, like Imodium and Lomotil, treat the symptom rather than the cause. You may want to take Imodium before a long bus ride or a city tour. You can take it along with an antibiotic. But because these medications interfere with your body’s natural attempts to rid itself of the infection, many specialists recommend that you not take them when you are in a place with convenient access to a bathroom. Specifically, don’t take Imodium, Lomotil, or a similar medication if you have a fever, or if you have bloody diarrhea.


Money Matters
How to Carry Your Money
Generally speaking, you’ll want to bring a mixture of different payment methods—some cash for exchange, a couple of cards, and maybe a few traveler’s checks as a last resort—so that you’ll be prepared for any situation. In this section, we offer some tips on each type of payment method.
Cash or Traveler’s Checks?
Cash has an advantage over traveler’s checks. Cash is more readily exchanged and accepted than traveler's checks, and sometimes commands a better exchange rate. Cash is also a better choice for rural or undeveloped areas where ATMs and credit card machines are scarce.

So we know that bringing cash is a good idea—does that mean U.S. dollars or local currency? There is no need to obtain local currency before your trip. You can change money when you arrive at banks, most hotels, and money exchange Stands. Please note torn, dirty, or taped U.S. bills may not be accepted for exchange. In some countries you do not even need to exchange money at all—you can use U.S. dollars. For information on what type of currency can be used on this trip, see the “Currency” section.

Traveler’s checks are not recommended. We urge you not to rely on traveler's checks for your personal expenses. They can be difficult to exchange and the commission fee for cashing them is quite high. Although most banks or exchange offices will cash them as long as you carry your passport with you, the exchange rate may be worse than exchanging cash. It’s more practical to view any traveler’s checks you might bring as a last resort in the event of a special situation. American Express Traveler's checks are rarely accepted in shops and restaurants.

ATMs
When traveling, typically PLUS, Cirrus, and other bank networks are available throughout large cities and small towns. Always notify your bank before you leave home that you are going abroad so that they may remove any blocks on your account and also ask them about the number of withdrawals you may make abroad. For cash withdrawals, don’t forget to memorize the actual digits of your card’s PIN number (many keypads at foreign ATMs do not include letters on their keys—they only display numbers.)

ATMs are available in Cambodia and always accept most of international cards. Your guide can advise you where are the ATMs.

TIP: Many banks charge a fee ranging from $1 to $5 for every time you use an ATM in a foreign city. Others will charge you a percentage of what you withdraw. Check with your bank on what fees they charge before you leave the country. That way you can decide if it is better for you to take out one or two large sums, or make smaller but more frequent withdrawals. Your guide can advise you on ATM locations, but when to exchange money is left to your discretion.  

Credit Cards (and Debit Cards)
Even if you do not plan on using it, having a credit or debit card as a “backup” is helpful in an emergency. Though major American credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express) and debit cards with a credit card logo are accepted abroad, not every shop will take every card. So it is best to ask if your type of card is accepted before deciding on your purchase, and having a couple different cards can be useful. Remember that DISCOVER cards do not work outside of your country

TIP: Many credit card companies and banks have fraud alert departments that will freeze your card if they see suspicious charges—such as charges from another country. To avoid an accidental security block, it is a good idea to notify your credit card company or bank that you will be using your cards abroad. You can do this by calling their customer service number a week or two before your departure.

You should also double-check what phone number you could call if you have a problem with a card while you are abroad. Don’t assume you can use the 1-800 number printed on the back of your card—most 1-800 numbers don’t work outside of the U.S.!

Tour payments
If you take to tour with us you can pay us on arrival or you can pay us via our Bank Account a week in advance prior arrival date. We accept cash in American US dollars only. 

 

Currency
For current exchange rates, please refer to, your bank, or the financial section of your newspaper.

In Cambodia
The official currency of Cambodia is the riel, but U.S. dollars are widely accepted. Some businesses will also take Thai baht. Riel banknote and coins denominations are as follows:

Banknotes: 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and higher
Coins: No longer being used in Cambodia
Previous travelers have suggested that since U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Cambodia, and prices are low, a mix of smaller bills ($20 or smaller) is more useful then a few large bills. A small amount of local currency is useful for some situations, like in a taxi or at an open-air market. If you pay in U.S. dollars, it is fairly common to get your change back in Riels.

Tipping
For those of you who have asked for tipping suggestions, we offer these guidelines. All tips below are quoted in U.S. dollars; tips can be converted and paid in local currency (this is usually preferred) or in U.S. dollars (do not use personal or traveler's check for tips). Of course, whether you tip, and how much, is always at your own discretion.

Shopping
We also provide you with shopping opportunities that highlight unique, locally-produced products with good value from reliable vendors. For this reason there may be scheduled visits to local shops during your Trip. There is no requirement to make a purchase during these stops, and any purchase made is a direct transaction with the shop in question, subject to the vendor’s terms of purchase.  Cambodia Tourist Guide Association and our guides will not be responsible for purchases you make on your trip or for the shipment of your purchases.

Crafts & Souvenirs
Cambodia offers a variety of fine craft items at good prices. Traditional souvenirs include wood and stone handicrafts, including elaborate jewelry, colorful textiles, bronzeware cutlery, celadon pottery, and Khmer lacquerware. Siem Reap is famous the world over for Aristan Angkor Workshop, Old and Night markets. Local products include hand-woven cottons, decorative items made of silver, teakwood carvings, and gems. Khmer silk, renowned for its lush colors and pleasantly rough texture, is considered some of the best in the world and can be purchased in the fabric shops of Artisan D'Angkor and Silk Farm factory workshop.

If you plan a major purchase, we strongly recommend that you research the prices and quality available at home before your trip. Just one visit to an import shop or dealer will put you way ahead when you go shopping abroad. This is the only way to know if you are getting a good price, and ultimately, you must use your best judgment when deciding whether an item is worth the price being asked.

Bargaining
Larger department stores in Cambodia have fixed prices. Almost everywhere else, especially at outdoor stalls, merchants enjoy negotiating prices. If this is your first experience at bargaining, don’t worry—you’ll quickly find your own style. Your opening offer should be well under the asking price. The only rule is that, if you make an offer, you should be prepared to buy at that price. And remember, whatever price you pay is okay, as long as the item is worth that price to you.

 

Antiquities
Think carefully before purchasing an expensive “antiquity.” According to Cambodian Government's law, all antique artifacts are not allowed to export from this country. To complicate matters further, any item that looks old can only be exported with the written permission of the Division of the government Fine Arts Department. Some stores will offer to arrange this for you, but this may be unreliable.

Illegal Items
It is illegal to import products made from endangered animal species. Your Customs & Border Protection will seize these items, as well as most furs, coral, tortoise shell, reptile skins, feathers, plants, and items made from animal skins and real artifacts from the ruins. For more information on what you may or may not bring back into your country, you should check with your government custom Department. 
If You Have a Problem with a Purchase
The best way to address a problem with a purchase is to not have one in the first place! So don’t forget to examine merchandise before paying for it, check contracts or agreements before signing, and review your receipt before leaving the shop. For major purchases, don’t hesitate to ask in advance about the return policy—local practice may vary from your country standards, so don’t assume that you have a certain number of days after the purchase to speak up. 

But what if you do discover an issue with an item later on? In that case, your best recourse is to contact the vendor directly. For this reason we recommend that you keep a copy of all your receipts, invoices, or contracts, along with the shop’s contact information. If the shop in question was a scheduled stop during your Trip, your guide can assist you by putting you in contact with the vendor. Expect that any resolution will take longer than it would in your country due to delays in communication, the complexities of international shipping/customs duties, and even cultural differences in how business is conducted.

A Word about the Weather

Cambodia: Cambodia's climate can generally be described as tropical with seasonal monsoons. There are two distinct seasons, the rainy and dry. Temperatures during the rainy season, between June and October, average 80-95°F. The dry season is characterized by cool months, November to February, with temperatures averaging 70-85°F and hot months, from March till May, which sees temperature range between 84-100°F.

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