If you’re looking for the quickest way to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh, hopping on a flight is your best bet. It’s a speedy option that will whisk you away in just 50 minutes. On the other hand, if you opt for alternative means of transportation such as buses, minibuses, or private cars, be prepared for a significantly longer journey of around 6 to 7 hours. The main reason for this extended travel time is the border crossing between Cambodia and Vietnam, which can take a considerable amount of time. So, if you’re in a hurry to reach Phnom Penh, catching a flight is definitely the way to go!
Do I need a visa from Vietnam to Cambodia?
Absolutely! When you’re planning a trip to Cambodia, it’s important to know the visa requirements. For the majority of visitors, a tourist (T) visa is necessary to enter the country. This applies to travelers from countries like Australia, the UK, Canada, South Africa, the USA, and Ireland. To obtain the visa, you’ll need to pay a fee of USD $36, and once granted, it allows you to stay in Cambodia for a period of 30 days. It’s crucial to be mindful of your entry and exit dates because overstaying your visa is considered a serious offense.
However, there’s good news for nationals of certain countries! If you’re from Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, or Myanmar, you’re in luck. You can enjoy a stay in Cambodia for either 21 or 30 days, depending on your nationality, without the need for a tourist visa. This is a great perk for visitors from these countries, making travel arrangements a bit simpler.
So, whether you require a tourist visa or not, it’s essential to be aware of the specific entry requirements for Cambodia, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free journey.
How many days do you need in Cambodia?
Cambodia is a small yet captivating country that offers a myriad of experiences. If you have approximately two weeks to spare, it’s an ideal amount of time to explore the must-see sights and indulge in some additional activities like visiting a national park and unwinding at a beautiful white-sand beach.
This itinerary covers the major highlights of Cambodia and is designed to cater to a wide range of interests and preferences. To kick off your adventure, I recommend spending a night at a tented camp in Botum Sakor National Park, nestled in the picturesque Cardamom Mountains. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to join local rangers on a captivating walk along the abandoned poaching and logging trails that wind through the dense forest. Keep your eyes peeled for the incredible wildlife that calls this area home—it’s truly a nature lover’s paradise.
After immersing yourself in the natural wonders of the national park, it’s time to unwind and soak up the sun on Koh Rong, a breathtaking island located near the city of Sihanoukville. The island boasts powdery white sands, gently swaying palms, and crystal-clear turquoise waters that invite you to simply relax and indulge in the sheer bliss of beach life. Don’t forget to treat yourself to some delectable local seafood while you’re there—it’s a culinary delight you won’t want to miss.
With this itinerary, you’ll get to experience the diverse beauty of Cambodia, from its lush forests to its pristine beaches. So, get ready for an incredible journey filled with adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable memories.
How much money do you need per day in Cambodia?
Cambodian cuisine often goes unnoticed among travelers in Southeast Asia, as it is sometimes wrongly perceived as lacking the bold flavors of Thai dishes or the intricate soups of Vietnamese cuisine. But let me assure you, there’s an array of delicious dishes waiting to be savored in Cambodia.
One of the best things about food in Cambodia is its tastiness and affordability. You’ll never find yourself complaining about the cost of a meal here. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can enjoy dishes for as little as $1, making it incredibly easy to save money while indulging in local flavors. Surprisingly, even when traveling with a higher budget, I found that I only spent an average of around $5 a day on food. The local cuisine is so satisfying that there’s really no reason to pay more, and in fact, it’s challenging to find places with higher prices!
Personally, I had a great time exploring the food scene in Cambodia, especially the hipster cafe scene in Phnom Penh. I want to give a shout out to Backyard Cafe in Phnom Penh for serving up some of the best avocado toast ($7.50) I’ve ever had. Believe me, I’ve spent the past nine months in Melbourne, renowned for its smashed avo, and this place impressed me. Backyard Cafe is a fantastic choice if you’re craving healthy, whole foods, with a variety of vegan, keto, and Paleo options. I also enjoyed Idli Dosa for their delectable dosas ($1 each) and David’s Restaurant for their phenomenal dumplings ($2 for 6).
When it comes to local eats in Phnom Penh, I highly recommend Sophath, where I had one of the most memorable meals in the country. They specialize in nom banh chok, also known as Khmer noodles, and you can savor a steaming bowl for just $1.25. English isn’t widely spoken here, so simply choose one of the three steaming vats and get ready for a truly mouthwatering experience.
If you’re in the mood to indulge and splurge on a date night while sampling some of the best food in the country, consider visiting Malis in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. They offer innovative twists on Khmer cuisine, and although it may be a bit pricey, it’s definitely worth it if you appreciate high-end dining. We went there for Valentine’s Day, and it was the perfect way to celebrate! For $150, we enjoyed the six-course tasting menu and shared a bottle of wine. If you prefer skipping the fancy tasting menu, main courses range from $10 to $20 each.
I suggest pairing a trip to Malis with a visit to Juniper Gin Bar in Phnom Penh. This upscale rooftop bar provides a splendid view of the riverside, and their cocktails, priced around $5 each, are simply fantastic.
If you’re looking to impress your friends back home and sample something truly adventurous, I recommend adding Skuon to your Cambodian itinerary. This town is famous for its fried tarantulas. Yes, you read that right! These crunchy creatures are piled high and ready to be devoured. The cost? Just 2,000 Riels, or 50 cents. In Battambang, you’ll also have the opportunity to try barbecued field rats, priced at 25 cents each.
It’s important to note that Cambodia’s tap water is not safe to drink. I learned this the hard way, experiencing antibiotic-induced dysbiosis. So, be cautious and avoid brushing your teeth with tap water, and keep your mouth closed while showering. Most guesthouses in Cambodia provide free daily water bottles, but if not, you can easily purchase a 1.5-liter bottle for less than $1 from convenience stores. Additionally, many restaurants offer free water to their patrons. To minimize plastic consumption while traveling, I recommend bringing a Grayl water bottle. The Grayl removes viruses, bacteria, and parasites from the water, and filters out particulates, chemicals, and heavy metals, allowing you to drink tap water safely anywhere in the world.
In general, if you’re on a tight backpacker budget, expect to spend around $5 a day on food. If you occasionally indulge in Western cuisine, plan for about $15 a day. For those seeking higher-end dining experiences, budget around $25 a day. These estimates should give you a good idea of what to expect and help you plan your food expenses accordingly during your time in Cambodia.