Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia

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You’ve trusted your eyes your whole life, but visit Cambodia and you just may start doubting them.

How else to explain the unthinkable splendour of the 9th- to 13th-century Khmer temples, the tropical islands with barely a beach hut in sight and the untold adventures lurking in northern forests?

Cambodia promises a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences to the intrepid traveller. Your heart will race at Angkor Wat, one of the world’s greatest achievements, only to haltingly derail when faced with the impact of humankind’s darkest moments.

After two decades of war and isolation, only now is Cambodia truly starting to recover from the Khmer Rouge’s genocidal 1975-79 rule.

When To Go:

The ideal months to be in Cambodia are December and January, when humidity is bearable, temperatures are cooler and it’s unlikely to rain.

From early February temperatures start to rise until the killer month, April, when temperatures often exceed 40°C (104°F). Come May and June, the southwestern monsoon brings rain and high humidity, cooking up a sweat for all but the hardiest of visitors.

The wet season (May-Oct), though very soggy, can be a good time to visit Angkor, as the moats will be full and the foliage lush – but steer clear of the northeast regions during those months, as the going gets pretty tough when the tracks are waterlogged.

The country’s biggest festival, Bon Om Tuk, is held in early November, and is well worth catching. Others you might like to plan around include the water festival in Phnom Penh, or Khmer New Year.

Cambodia – Fast Facts:

  • Full Name: Kingdom of Cambodia
  • Capital City: Phnom Penh
  • Area: 181,040 sq km / 69,900 sq miles
  • Population: 14,000,000
  • Time Zone: GMT/UTC +7 ()
  • Languages: Khmer (official), English (other), French (other)
  • Religion: Buddhist, Animist, Cham Muslim, Christian
  • Currency: Riel (CR)
  • Electricity: 230V 50HzHz
  • Electric Plug Details: European plug with two circular metal pins; Japanese-style plug with two parallel flat blades
  • Country Dialing Code: 855

Lonely Planet

By Lonely Planet