For your trip to Cambodia we have „prepared“ for you some useful information and tips.
First of all, do not be afraid of criminality. We are here nearly one year now and we have not faced or even hear about ANY criminality. Cambodians are pleasant, smiling and mainly very helpful to tourists. No wonder, Siem Reap is absolutely dependent on travel business and tourist is warmly welcome. Walking through streets, even very late at night (bars close quite late) is absolutely safe. But beware of the traffic – hundreds of motorbikes are riding criss-cross in all directions. Be very careful crossing streets! Pedestrian crossings DO exist but DO NOT rely on right of way.
Cambodian currency is Riel (KHR), the rate of exchange is 4000 riels to 1USD, BUT, everywhere, absolutely everywhere you can pay in dollars (and you will get change in dollars back), so we recommend to take with you only US dollars. You can take other currency too but you will have to change it in some exchange office or your hotel anyway (disadvantageous rate of exchange). Do not take travellers cheques with you, you have to exchange them in banks and pay them fee. There are a lot of ATMs and they are absolutely reliable. Visa, Eurocard/Mastercard are most common. So USD cash and money cards are the best to take with you to Cambodia. Well, there are a lot of Western Union branch offices, at the worst.
Siem Reap is the main tourist centre of the whole Cambodia. Yes, prices are a bit higher than in the other parts of the country. For instance, prices in supermarkets are: big French bread is USD 0,90, 1 litre of milk USD 1,90, bottle of beer USD 1,50, canned beer USD 1, canned soft drink USD 0,70, French ham 200 g USD 3,50, 1,5 bottled water USD 0,90, packed cheese 200 g USD 3,5, plain yoghurt USD 1,75, sausages 200 g USD 3,70, bottle of French or Italian wine from USD 6,5, bottle of Gordon’s Gin 1litr USD 12,50.
There are several well-stocked supermarkets in the town (Angkor Market and Lucky Market chains) and a lot of minimarkets having nearly everything for sale. The best fruit and vegetable you can buy on markets but expect that they will try to rip you off. In general, on markets you have to negotiate, negotiate and again negotiate. We recommend dividing the price by two and then you can start negotiating. And frankly speaking, they are awaiting it.
There are tens (maybe hundreds?) restaurants and pubs of all kinds in Siem Reap. You can choose Khmer or international cuisine, restaurants for local people or very luxury ones. They are( nearly all) concentrated around PUB STREET area, one restaurant next to each other together with day and night markets selling nearly everything (from cabbage and king prawns to marble statues or parrots) . In restaurant you can buy breakfast from 3,5 USD, lunch or snack from 6 USD and dinner from USD 9, large pizza is about USD 7, Khmer dishes are about USD 3,50 but the price depends on the restaurant you choose. These are average prices. Well, if you choose local, „plastic chair restaurant“ prices are 20% lower.
Siem Reap hotels, it is a special chapter. From guesthouses to luxury hotels. Really, we have not seen so many luxury hotels of such quality, facilities and services in such concentration, yet. Of course, all depends on your budget, but generally, even low categories have very good standard in price/quality ratio.
As far as health care is concerned, there is an international hospital- Royal Angkor International Hospital (modern white building on the way to the airport) and a lot of other hospitals in Siem Reap but we recommend RAIH in case you are in need. There are many well-equipped dental clinics of very good standard in town. Anyway, we recommend reliable travel insurance. And one more thing, pharmacies are well-stocked and they are „on every corner“.
What more to say? Well, nearly everybody speaks English and/or French. If not, the adult will find some child (English is compulsory from 1st class of basic school and 6 days a week –by the way, there are 6 working days a week for adults too!!) and then you can chat
So please, you are warmly welcome to visit this magnificent, interesting and exotic country – Kingdom of Cambodia – discover real Far East with us in connection with Thailand, Laos or Vietnam. By the way, the bus ticket to Bangkok or Pattaya costs from 26 USD (more destinations are here).
Finally, let us wish you very pleasant journey and beautiful and unforgettable stay.