1. Bring American dollars
USD is widely accepted everywhere in Cambodia. There is also a national currency called Riel that is also used, but due to inflation the numbers can begin to get quite high. A few hundred bucks and you’ll be in the millions. Anything under a dollar is given back in Riels as no USD coins are used in Cambodia. An important tip to remember when you’re coming to Cambodia with US dollars is to make sure your dollars aren’t ripped. Local places won’t accept USD notes that are ripped or damaged.
2. Get out of town and into the countryside
Get out of town and into the countryside. As a traveler and someone that has lived in Cambodia for a number of years, I believe everyone who visits the Kingdom should get out and explore the countryside. The culture, the people and the scenery are wonderful. Very little English is spoken once you get out of the main areas so it’s good to go with a local guide to truly understand the way of life.
Our team at Sabai Adventures Cambodia operate adventure day tours from Siem Reap to remote and unique places away from tourist crowds. Check out our various tours and join us for a genuine cultural experience in the countryside. www.sabaiadventurescambodia.com
3. Learn a few local phrases
In Cambodia, the majority of the people speak a language called Khmer. Khmer people are the largest ethnic group in the country since before the time of Angkor. It’s good to learn a few greetings and words when you visit Cambodia. Locals will appreciate it. Here’s a few to get you started:
hello——————————–joohm ree-up soo-a
how are you?——————sok-sa bai jee-a tay?
no thank you——————a-dtay arkun
how much?———————bpon maan?
4. Get up early
Getting up early allows you to get a good start on the day before the midday heat kicks in. Locals rise early and get most of their work done in the relative cool of the morning. A break from around 11am until 2pm or 3pm allows time for a refreshing swim, massage, lunch and even a nap through the hottest part of the day. Most of your activities will be outdoors, so it’s a good idea to have a hearty breakfast and get a good jump on the day. However, the vibrant nightlife Siem Reap can make this task very difficult.
If you’re looking at going to Angkor Wat for sunrise to capture the picturesque image in front of the reflecting ponds, don’t assume you’ll be alone, no matter how early you leave to get there. With that said, many of the other temples are quiet at this time as most people are at Angkor Wat, so it’s often a perfect time to visit the lesser known temples for a bit of peace and tranquility before crowds show up.
Bartering is a must in the markets, and can be a lot of fun! However be polite and refrain from driving prices unnecessarily low – settle on a price that’s reasonable for everyone.
Also, before you take a tuk tuk ride, negotiate a price with the driver before you set off. That way when arrive at your destination there is no confusion over the fare.