Ways & How

How to Travel to Cambodia

How to Travel to Cambodia

Cambodia is becoming known for two things: textiles and tourism. Despite its colorful political past, the country has managed to retain much of its culture and natural resources. There are some great nature sights to see in Cambodia, such as the national parks and waterfalls of Banlung, and of course, the ancient temple of Angkor Wat. There are also charming seaside villages where you can soak in the sun while lounging by the beach. For the most part, Cambodian people live very simply. Here, you will find that your travel budget can go a longer way than it would have in other, more cosmopolitan destinations. If you have a yearning for a vacation off the beaten path, here’s how to travel to Cambodia:

  1. Except for citizens of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam, all visitors to Cambodia will need a visa to enter the country. A tourist visa officially costs $20, while a regular visa is $25. You can choose to apply for a visa online or upon your arrival at international airports or at international border crossings.



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  2. If you plan to stay for 30 days or less, then a tourist visa will do. Take note that visas applied for in advance expire 90 days after the date of issue. A tourist visa can only be extended once; for a $15 fee, you can get a 30-day extension.

  3. If you expect your trip to take more than 30-60 days, then a business visa will be a better option. A business visa allows for multiple entries and indefinite extensions. Converting a tourist visa to a business visa is a rather expensive and troublesome process, so if you suspect that you might need more than a tourist visa, go for a business visa straight off.

  4. To apply for a visa in advance, go to the website for Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Applying online will cost you about $5 more. Your visa will be e-mailed to you as a PDF file. Print out two copies, one for entry and one for exit. Make sure that you are registering at an authentic website.

  5. If you did not obtain a visa online, you will have to look for the Visa on Arrival desk. On the plane, you will have been asked to fill out the visa application form; simply join the queue so that you can submit your form to be reviewed. When your name is called, you can then pay for your visa and have it stamped on your passport. Take note that immigration officials will have accents, so listen carefully for your name.

  6. Make sure that you do not overstay your visa limit. In most cases, the immigration officials will let you go with nothing more than a 50,000 riel fine per day, as long as you do not overstay for more than 10 days and you make it to an Immigration desk without any incident. However, if you are caught overstaying by the police, you will be thrown into holding pens for illegal immigrants before being fined and deported—not exactly a sweet way to end your vacation.

Knowing how to travel to Cambodia and navigating its immigration bureaucracy are essential survival skills that you need to have. While in the country, make sure that you only deal with authorized immigration personnel. There will be some locals who will offer to help you through the red tape in exchange for some gratuity, but these are merely enterprising (and unaccredited) middlemen. Traveller’s cheques and major credit cards are accepted in major business establishments. When dealing with cash, take care not to accept torn or old currency—this is a normal practice since many merchants will refuse to honor imperfect bank notes. When your visit is over, you should take note that upon your departure, you will be required to pay a departure fee of $25. However, with all that Cambodia has to offer its tourists, the fees may seem well worth the experience.

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