Currency: The official currency in Cambodia is the Riel. However, US dollars are widely accepted. It is advisable to carry US dollars for larger expenses such as hotel accommodation, car hire, air fares and meals in international standard cafes and restaurants. Riel is usually appropriate for smaller purchases such as local motorbike and cyclo journeys.
The exchange rate is US$ 1 to approximately 4000 Riels.
Credit cards are accepted by hotels and some shops however cash is also necessary.
There are now a number of ATMs accepting international cards. Reliability of ATMs not provided by international banks is also an issue in Cambodia. Please note that most ATMs charge a fee of approximately US$4 for use of international cards.
Language: Khmer is the official language. English is spoken in major tourist areas.
English newspapers: The Cambodia Daily and The Phnom Penh Post are widely available.
Accommodation: List of hotels and other information related to accommodation is available on the website.
Food: Cambodian food is popular with foreigners. Sample Cambodian dishes are offered in most international hotels and restaurants. A popular dish is amok, which is curried fish in coconut cream (not spicy). There are many ethnic cuisines available including Indian, Korean, Thai, Japanese, American and French.
Weather: The weather tends to be humid and hot throughout the year. February is officially the last month of the “cool season” with temperatures around 30C.
The Ministry of Tourism’s website is www.tourismcambodia.org/mot
Another useful website for tourists is www.canbypublications.com
To and From Phnom Penh
Visa: Visas are required for most foreign nationals. You can apply for a visa in person on arrival at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airport. Alternatively, you can also apply for e-visa. The online visa applications can be lodged via www.evisa.gov.kh.
A tourist visa of single entry costs US$ 30 plus US$ 7 for processing fee and is valid for 30 days. A six-month valid passport (at least) and one passport size photo is required.
By plane: Phnom Penh International Airport (Pochentong) offers international flights to and from a number of destinations including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore among others. Air Asia, a budget airline, sometimes offers good deals from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap on their website www.airasia.com
There are daily flights from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap International Airport. This route is often heavily booked so if you are visiting Siem Reap (Angkor Wat), or arriving in Phnom Penh via Siem Reap, please book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
By bus: Overland travel is possible from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos and Cambodian visas are available on arrival at all manor land border crossings.
From the airport: There is a private taxi service available outside the arrival hall at Phnom Penh International Airport. The trip costs between US$ 9-10 for a car taxi and US$ 3-5 for a Tuk-Tuk. It takes up to 30 minutes to reach the heart of Phnom Penh, depending on traffic.
Departure tax: Cambodia previously had an international departure tax of US$ 25 but this has now been abolished with the tax integrated into the cost of the air ticket.
Transportation around Phnom Penh and to and from the conference venue is the responsibility of participants. Options include:
Tuk tuks: These three-wheeled open air taxis are relatively recent to Phnom Penh and can accommodate up to four people. Tuk tuks are preferred as they are safer than motodups. Fares should always be negotiated before proceeding.
Motorcycle taxis (motodups): This is the most common form of transport. Motodups provide faster transportation during traffic jams. Many mododup drivers speak basic English. Fares should always be negotiated before proceeding. Be prepared for an adventurous ride as safety is not the primary concern of most motodup drivers! Please note that motodups do not provide helmets for passengers.
Cyclos: Cyclos are a slow but safe option. Most cyclo drivers do not speak English. Negotiate the fare before you proceed. Due to the long distances involved, cyclos are not recommended for transport to the conference venue.
Car hire: A car and driver can be hired for US$ 20 - 30 per day. International car hire firms do not yet operate in Cambodia.
Taxi: There are two taxi companies operating in Phnom Penh. Tran-Choice Cambodia can be contacted at 023 888 023 / 010 882 882 and Global Meta Taxi at 011 311 888 / 016 311 888.
Buses and trains: There is now a public bus service operating within the city of Phnom Penh. From the airport, you could take Bus #3, which takes you to the Night Market near the Post Office. It costs less than 0.5 USD per ride.