Go on a Temple Run: Travel Requirements and Places to Go in Cambodia

Jay Pagkatotohan

Jay Pagkatotohan

Last updated January 26, 2024

Many things define Cambodia’s beauty. Picture the ancient ruins taken over by gigantic tree roots, the ever-fertile Mekong River, friendly locals, and you know you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

For those reasons, many Filipinos flock to Cambodia for leisure, soul searching, and new friendships. If you’re planning to do the same, you need to prepare accordingly. 

Let this Cambodia travel guide help you. This article covers all the important things you need to know, from travel requirements to must-visit places. 

Cambodia Travel Guide: Things to Know Before Going There

You’re surely excited to see Angkor Wat! But before that thrill consumes you, here are things you need to take into account: 

👉 Does Cambodia Require a Tourist Visa?

cambodia travel guide - tourist visa

Can Filipinos travel to Cambodia without a visa? Fortunately, yes! 

The country doesn’t require Filipinos to provide a visa for short-term stays, such as vacations. You can visit the country visa-free for up to 30 days. 

So what are the travel requirements to Cambodia from the Philippines? Check out the following:

  • Passport (with at least six-month validity)
  • Confirmed roundtrip flights
  • Confirmed proof of accommodation
  • Other supporting documents, such as proof of employment (e.g., Certificate of Employment) and proof of financial capacity 

Read more: Traveling Abroad? Here’s a List of Visa-Free Countries for Filipinos

👉 Does Cambodia Still Have Quarantine Rules?

Cambodia has already lifted all travel restrictions for foreign visitors. This means you don’t have to present a negative COVID-19 test result or take the same test upon arrival. 

Likewise, visitors won’t have to show vaccine certificates. Nevertheless, routine temperature checks are still present to track possible COVID-19 cases. 


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👉 When is the Best Time to Travel to Cambodia? 

Generally, you can visit Cambodia any time of the year, thanks to its tropical climate. But you may want to avoid the rainy months so you can make the most of your stay. 

Experienced travelers say the best time to travel to Cambodia is between November and May. This duration is usually referred to as the dry season. However, this season is generally divided into two: cool and hot. 

The months of November through February mark the cool, dry season. This period is ideal for temple-hopping, beach trips, and hikes. The downside is that plenty of other tourists will be in the country, driving up the prices of flights, accommodations, and tour packages. 

Meanwhile, the months of March through June mark the hot, dry season. While there are fewer tourists, touring around is tricky, as the humidity and temperature can get extremely high. 

👉 How to Get to Cambodia from the Philippines

Fly directly to Cambodia from the Philippines via Philippine Airlines, Jetstar, Cathay Pacific, and Air Asia, all of whom operate flights from Manila to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.

However, if you’re visiting Angkor Wat, it’s more practical to book a flight to Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport. For this particular route, check out Air Asia’s flights. 

Does Cebu Pacific operate flights to Cambodia? It used to. The low-cost air carrier suspended its Manila-Siem Reap route in 2019.[1] 

How long does it take to reach Cambodia? The average Philippine to Cambodia travel time is around 2.5 hours.  

👉 How to Get to Cambodia from Thailand

Can you go to Cambodia from Thailand? Yes! Cross-border travel is popular among tourists exploring Mainland Southeast Asia. 

Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways operate flights from Bangkok to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The average Thailand to Cambodia/Cambodia to Thailand travel time is a little over an hour. 

Alternatively, you can go to Cambodia from Thailand via train. The trip starts at Hualamphong Station in Bangkok and then ends at Aranyaprathet, a town in East Thailand. From here, you can ride a tuk tuk to the border crossing. 

Read more: Welcome to the Land of the Free: Thailand Travel Requirements in 2023

👉 How to Get Around Cambodia

This Cambodia travel guide lists various modes of transportation for exploring the country: 

  • Domestic planes – Air carriers operate domestic flights in the country. They connect key cities, such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. You can fly with Cambodia Airways and Cambodia Angkor Air. 
  • Buses – If you want to save money traveling from one city to another, take buses. This mode of transportation connects key cities and towns. 
  • Minibuses – These are faster alternatives to buses. However, they tend to charge more than regular buses. 
  • Tuk tuk Just like Thailand, Cambodia has tuk tuks. It’s a great option for exploring the Angkor Wat area and its environs. 
  • Shared taxis – Cambodia travel is more convenient, especially in the city, with a shared taxi. As the name suggests, you’ll be sharing the trip with other passengers. 
  • Bicycles and scooters – If you’re far away from the big cities, riding a bicycle or scooter makes for an immersive experience. Make sure you have proper documentation when renting a scooter.  

👉 How to Communicate in Cambodia

cambodia travel guide - how to communicate

Tourism is a major economic driver in Cambodia. This explains the number of locals who speak and understand English, especially in Siem Reap. 

Tour guides generally communicate effectively in English. On the other hand, people in the countryside and non-touristy areas may not be able to communicate in English. 

The official language of Cambodia is Cambodia or Khmer. Nevertheless, there are also a lot of locals who can speak Chinese, Vietnamese, and French (since Cambodia was once a French colony). 

Read more: Vietnam Travel Guide: Enjoy Your Visit With These Recommendations

👉 How Much Does a Cambodia Trip Usually Cost? 

Good news—a typical Cambodia travel itinerary is relatively inexpensive! Depending on where you’ll be traveling, a four-day, three-night trip may cost you between ₱10,000 and ₱15,000. A three-day, two-night holiday, on the other hand, usually costs between ₱7,000 and ₱9,000. 

Keep in mind that this budget for a Cambodia travel itinerary only includes accommodation, food, and transportation. Excluded are the flights, pasalubong, and Philippine travel tax. 

The Cambodia Riel (៛) is Cambodia’s official currency. As of this writing, ៛1 is equivalent to ₱0.014. 


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Cambodia Travel Itinerary: Best Places to Visit in Cambodia 

This part of the Cambodia travel guide lists some of the most exciting destinations and activities in the country. Let’s roll!

📍 Angkor Wat 

cambodia travel guide - angkor wat

  • Location: Siem Reap, Northwest Cambodia 
  • How to get there: Book a flight to Siem Reap. From Siem Reap, ride a taxi or tuk tuk to the location. 

Any Cambodia travel guide won’t be an actual guide without Angkor Wat, a vast temple complex located in Siem Reap. With an area of more than 160 hectares, this ancient collection of temples is considered the largest religious monument in the world.[2] 

Saying that Angkor Wat is beautiful is an understatement. The magnificence of the temple is characterized by its size and its towering spires. Its “lost city” appeal is due to the surrounding lush forests. 

Angkor Wat was originally built to serve as a Hindu Temple. Eventually, it was converted into a Buddhist Temple. Presently, it’s considered a Hindu-Buddhist structure, adding interest to its fabled appeal. 

Entrance to Angkor Wat starts at US$37 or around ₱2,000 for a one-day pass. A three-day pass costs US$37 (around ₱3,400) while a seven-day pass costs US$72 (around ₱4,000).

📍 Bayon

cambodia travel guide - bayon

  • Location: Siem Reap, Northwest Cambodia
  • How to get there: From Siem Reap, ride a taxi or tuk tuk to the location. Usually, this is part of Angkor Wat tour packages. 

Not too far from Angkor Wat is the Bayon, a Buddhist temple built in the late 12th or early 13th century. What makes this temple unique is its collection of more than 200 smiling faces carved onto towering stones. 

It was claimed that the faces represent King Jayavarman VII, a king of the Khmer Empire. Other scholars speculate that the visages depict a Buddhist deity.  

If you’re touring Angkor Wat, the entry fee to this temple is already included in your pass. 

📍 Ta Prohm

cambodia travel guide - ta prohm

  • Location: Siem Reap, Northwest Cambodia 
  • How to get there: Book a flight to Siem Reap. From Siem Reap, ride a taxi or tuk tuk to the location. 

Still part of the Angkor Complex, Ta Prohm is a spot that shows how nature and man-made monuments become one. Enormous roots of towering trees take over the ancient temples, giving the place a mystical appeal. 

The temple dates back to the 12th and 13th centuries, so history buffs will have a field day checking its every nook and cranny. If you’re a movie fan, you may recognize Ta Prohm as one of the locations for the movie “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider”, which starred Angelina Jolie. 

The entrance fee to this complex is already included in your Angkor Wat pass. 

📍 Pub Street

cambodia travel guide - pub street

  • Location: Siem Reap, Northwest Cambodia 
  • How to get there: Within Siem Reap, you can ride a tuk tuk heading to this location. 

Siem Reap may be all about history and heritage, but it also has a “party” side. Welcome to Pub Street, one of the most exciting places to visit in Cambodia. 

As night falls in Siem Reap, this street lights up, drawing in both locals and tourists. Pub Street is lined with restaurants, bars, pubs, and even markets. 

While you’re here, sample Khmer dishes, such as fish amok, a medley of fish fillet, coconut milk, lemongrass, turmeric, and other spices; green mango salad, a concoction of green mango, peppers, onions, and fresh mint; and grilled insects, for affordable sources of protein. 

Read more: Going Abroad? Try These Hacks to Save Money on Food While Traveling

📍 Phnom Penh 

  • Location: South-Central Cambodia 
  • How to get there: Via plane, book a flight to Phnom Penh International Airport. 

One of the best places to visit in Cambodia is Phnom Penh, the county’s capital. It’s full of life and history, all making for a memorable stay. 

Here are some of the attractions you shouldn’t miss while you’re in the capital: 

  • The Royal Palace – This has been the national residence of the Cambodian Royal Family since the 1860s. Inside are two iconic areas open to the public: the Throne Hall and the Silver Pagoda.
  • The Cambodia National Museum – Built in 1920, the National Museum is home to a collection of Khmer pieces. It also houses more than 14,000 items dating from prehistoric times to the Khmer Empire’s rise and fall. 
  • Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – During the reign of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot’s dictatorship, this location was used as a torture facility. Also known as S-21, Tuol Sleng has a repository of prisoners’ photographs and other relics. 
  • The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – This is the mass grave of the Khmer Rouge’s victims. The memorial houses more than 5,000 human skulls. 

📍 Battambang 

cambodia travel guide - battambang

  • Location: Battambang Province, Northwest Cambodia
  • How to get there: From Phnom Penh, take a six-hour bus or minibus ride to the location. If you’re hailing from Siem Reap, the trip may take around four hours. 

Battambang is one of the best places to visit in Cambodia for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of touristy areas. Located in the country’s northwestern part, the city seamlessly blends French and local cultures, as seen in colonial buildings and Buddhist temples. 

You can book a tuk tuk tour to visit various villages within Battambang. If you want to explore the countryside with a twist, hop aboard the bamboo train, a makeshift train similar to trolleys in the Philippines. 

If you can’t get enough of Khmer architecture, visit the Ek Phnom Temple, which lies right outside Battambang. The new pagoda in the area may be visually striking, but the ruins of the 11th-century temple next to it is something you shouldn’t miss. 

📍 Kampot

  • Location: Kampot Province, Southern Cambodia 
  • How to get there: From Phnom Penh, take a three- to four-hour bus ride to Kampot. 

The slow life in Kampot is the antithesis of the liveliness of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Located in Southern Cambodia, the quaint city has rows of old buildings showcasing both French colonial and oriental aesthetics, a quiet countryside, and a verdant river. 

Foodies may also find Kampot exciting, thanks to restaurants and markets selling fresh produce. If you’re down for some adventure, visit Bokor Mountain or kayak down the Kampot River. While you’re at it, wait for the sunset over the same river.  

📍 Kratie 

  • Location: Northeast Cambodia 
  • How to get there: From Phnom Penh, take a seven-hour bus ride to Kratie. 

Kratie is another location far from the hustle and bustle of Cambodia’s key cities. While remote and not that touristy, it offers some destinations and activities that will appeal to adventurers. 

First on your list should be the Kampi Village. Here, you’ll meet the Irrawaddy dolphins, a species of dolphins living in freshwater—in the Mekong River, in this case. If you’re feeling adventurous, join a kayak tour at Kampi Rapids. 

A little over 30 kilometers from Kratie Town is Cham Pey Waterfall. This site is set against the lush greenery, making it a sight to behold. 

Experience peace and serenity by visiting the Krong Kracheh Pagoda, a Buddhist temple located in the middle of the town. Other temples you may want to visit include the majestic 100-Pillar Pagoda and Wat Rokar Kandal. 

📍 Koh Rong Samloem 

cambodia travel guide - koh rong samloem

  • Location: Sihanoukville, Southwest Cambodia
  • How to get there: From Phnom Penh, ride a bus or plane bound for Sihanoukville. From Sihanoukville, ride a ferry bound for Koh Rong. 

Cambodia is also a haven of pristine and relaxing beaches. Head to Koh Rong Samloem if you want some tropical fun. 

One of the must-visit places on this island is the Sunset Beach. Here, you can enjoy the stunning Cambodian sunset while frolicking in the waters. 

In the northern part of the island, you’ll find M’pai Bay where you can immerse yourself in the local culture. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants where you and your group can lounge in while people-watching. 

Want to channel your inner Indiana Jones? In one of the island’s jungles, you’ll find stone statues and carvings taken over by lush flora.  

📍 Mondulkiri 

  • Location: Northeast Cambodia 
  • How to get there: From Phnom Penh, take a 7-hour bus ride going to this province. 

As you’ve noticed by now, Cambodia has a wealth of jungle-based attractions. Expand that list with Mondulkiri, a province located in the northeastern part of the country. 

Love elephants? The Elephant Valley Project should be part of your Cambodia travel itinerary. The said organization works tirelessly to save endangered Asian elephant species. 

You can visit the sanctuary with an entry-level fee of US$47.50 for foreigners. Upgraded packages let you do some volunteer work and meet the locals.[3]

Bask in the freshwater at the Bou Sra Waterfall, one of Cambodia’s most scenic tourist attractions. The waterfall is divided into three stages, creating majestic cascades given the right conditions. 

Dos and Don’ts When Visiting Cambodia 

cambodia travel guide - dos and don'ts

Cambodia has a beautiful and unique culture, and showing it respect is something the locals will appreciate. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts when visiting the country: 

✔️ Dos in Cambodia

  • Remove your shoes or slippers when visiting someone’s house or temple. Many restaurants may ask you to do the same. 
  • Likewise, remove your hats or caps before entering a temple or pagoda. 
  • Return the Cambodian greeting. Som pas is a greeting where you make a slight bow while putting your palms together as if you’re praying. 
  • Dress modestly, especially if you’re visiting sacred places like temples. 
  • Ask permission before taking pictures with a local. 

❌ Don’ts in Cambodia

  • As much as possible, don’t use your left hand when handing or receiving things. This is because the left hand is said to be reserved for dirty duties. 
  • Don’t disturb the monks. Every now and then, you’ll stumble upon monks. Let them go about their day or business. If you’re a woman, you aren’t supposed to touch a monk. Also, you aren’t supposed to touch the monk’s head (or anyone’s for that matter). The head is believed to contain a person’s soul. 
  • Don’t engage in public displays of affection. Cambodia is a conservative country, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nevertheless, holding hands isn’t frowned upon.  

How to Stay Safe in Cambodia

Is it safe to travel to Cambodia? The country is generally safe for tourists, but you need to exercise caution in case of scams and petty crimes.

Here are some tips to keep in mind: 

  • Always keep an eye on your bag and personal belongings. As much as possible, use a zipper bag to keep pickpockets from stealing your things. 
  • Always be mindful when taking public transportation. Whether it’s a tuk tuk or a bus, always make sure the ride is operated by a legitimate company. 
  • Stick to areas with lots of people, but be mindful of your surroundings. 
  • Before you sleep at night, lock your hotel door. You may also use a personal portable door lock. 
  • Leave your passport at your hotel. Better yet, lock it up in the safe in your room. Just take a picture of your passport with your phone or bring a scanned copy. 
  • When hiking or swimming, stick with your tour guide. Don’t wander off on your own.

Read more: Being Your Own Tour Operator: Guide to DIY Travel Planning

Final Thoughts 

Cambodia is one of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia, especially if you’re an adventurous traveler. It offers more than just thrilling sights but also warm hospitality. Supplement this Cambodia travel guide by asking friends or family who have been there for tips and recommendations. 

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Sources: 

Jay is a marketing communications professional who specializes in short-form and long-form content. He has written ads for TV, radio, print, and digital. He has also produced corporate blogs, magazine features, white papers, product listings, reviews, and press releases for clients here and abroad. When he’s not writing, Jay plays the piano or takes pictures for his visual diary. Follow Jay on LinkedIn.

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