Holiday Thoughts: Cambodia

When to go

It’s best to go during December and January when the humidity and rainfall are relatively low. While this is also the peak tourism season and the crowds will be thick, there is something to enjoy in the clang and clamour of Cambodia’s chaos. Time it right to take part in the Chinese New Year.

Passport / Visa

British passport must be up to date with a blank page and at least 6 months validity beyond your intended return date. You will also need 2 passport photos. Your visa can be arranged on arrival at the land borders with Thailand or Vietnam, or on arrival at the main international airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Or applications can be made through the Royal Cambodian Embassy in London and you can check the Cambodia Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for up-to-date details.

Organised tour options

For the land only arrangements they offer a free transfer between the Explore designated airport (Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, presumably) to the joining and ending points of the tour. This is conditional on arriving and departing on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The land only arrangement gives you the option of adding days in Phnom Penh at the start / end and quite possibly stop-over days in Bangkok or Ho Chi Min City with the flights below.
We'd seriously consider this because we've had some excellent trips with Explore and the group size is modest (10 to 16).




Flights

These flights ex Birmingham) reported by Chipmunk as of 3rd June 2016. The dates are just plucked out of the air by way of example: Tuesday 15 Nov 2016 to Thursday 1st Dec (17 days). The shortest journey time to Phnom Penh is 18½ hours.

Time

Price

Carrier

Times Tue → Wed Thu → Fri

18h 55m

£703

Emirates via Dubai & Bangkok

20:45 → 22:40 19:30 → 11:25

20h 5m

£796

Lufthansa via Frankfurt & Bangkok

17:40 → 18:40 19:00 → 08:05

17h 30m

£830

Qatar via Doha & Ho Chi Min City

15:20 → 15:50 17:20 → 05:55

21h 5m
25h return

£589

China Southern via Amsterdam & Gouangzhou

09:25 → 13:30 14:30 → 08:26

I've excluded Turkish Airlines here because they have a poor reputation for delays.


DIY tour

Cambodia's premier tourist attraction is the temple complex at Angkor, north of Siem Reap. Angkor Wat is the biggest and best-known temple, though there are many others. You really need a whole day to see the main ones, and several days to do the whole complex justice. The temples at Angkor are around 3km (2 miles) north of Siem Reap, you can hire a tuk-tuk or bicycles to take you around.

See Lonely Planet Cambodia travel tips & articles which include:

Locally aranged tours:

Probably most of these could tailor-make a tour for us.

TripAdvisor lists no less than 97 tours, from breweries to bear care, mostly single-day excursions.

Hot press news is that regular rail services have just re-started between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville on the coast. The service currently runs from Friday to Sunday. It takes 6½ hours to cover the 266km. The train stops at Takeo and at Kampot. A second line is due to open in February 2017, linking Phnom Penh to the northern border city of Poipet, which has twice-daily links to Bangkok. A third line is planned to Siem Reap. Tickets from Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville stations or via Royal Railway at (+855) 078 888 582.



Hotels

Cambodia seems to have lots of good quality budget hotels, many catering for back-packers. There are also some interesting looking eco-lodges: