We offer you a place far, far away where smiles are free and thus traded daily. Banyan trees envelop ancient temples while sticky rice cooks on an open fire. Ancient and recent history mix to show a country that has endured so much yet has so much to give… We offer you Cambodia!
Angkor Wat and hundreds of other temples hidden for so many years are now becoming major tourist attractions. After the must sees, explore more remote and hidden temples that invoke a sense of discovery.
Phnom Penh, with its wide tree-lined boulevards and gleaming Royal Palace, is shedding its old reputation, but still struggles with the effects of its tumultuous past. Peace has come though and brought with it fabulous restaurants and luxurious and unique hotels.
Rotanak Kiri and Mondul Kiri, provinces in Eastern Cambodia, are home to some of the most remote and undisturbed hill tribes. Through our eco- and cultural-minded tours we strive to show tourists the flavor of hill tribe life without damaging or leaving our mark on it.
Stretching for 13,000 square kilometers in the wet season and only 2,500 square kilometers in the dry season due to its seasonal change of direction, the Tonle SapLakeis a unique body of water and the lifeblood of Cambodia. Explore its flooded forests, visit local fish farms and observe the life of floating village residents.
For even more peace and quiet retreat to the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary where you can see a multitude of birds that also depend on these waters. The Mekong River transcends Cambodia from North to South.
In Phnom Penh it offers stunning sunsets and river cruises and further north you’ll find the almost extinct Irrawaddy dolphins, which exist only here in Cambodia.
Recent history makes a sad and important part of any Cambodian tour. Today Cambodia offers many memorials to the estimated two million victims of the Khmer Rouge. Though hard to bear, TuolSleng Prison Museum, Choeng Ek Killing Fields and the Killing Caves of Battambang offer a sad and shocking look at the world’s only autocide.
If you’ve ever wanted a $1 lobster then we offer you Sihanouk ville, a quiet beach town that is yet to be discovered. Surrounded by national parks and boasting private beaches, this is where life really does seem to slow down. Hop on a scooter and explore or take a boat ride out to one of the many deserted islands.
For many years Cambodia has been closed off to the world due to wars and the Khmer Rouge Regime. Until 1998 Cambodia was a place few visitors chose to go. Now, however, Cambodia is making a miraculous recovery. Driven by a desire for freedom and peace seen only in those that have experienced war, the people of Cambodia are rebuilding their country and the tourism industry is responding.
This is not to say that there are no dangers in Cambodia. They still suffer from a serious land mine problem and though the international community and the people of Cambodia are doing all they can, it will take years for the entire country to be cleared. Mines are, however, cleared from all tourist areas, crime has dropped significantly and rebel groups no longer exist. Journeys Within prides itself on safety and works hard to make guests feel safe and comfortable exploring Cambodia, a country which is now truly at peace.
Best Time to Visit
Cambodia can be visited year-round, but what you’ll see and how you see it will vary from season to season.
In the dry season, from November to April, Cambodia is the easiest to get around. Roads to distant temples, which are impassable in the wet season, are useable and your days are your own as long as you don’t mind a little dust.
The rainy season, from May to October, gives Cambodia a whole new coat of paint. Fields turn green, the roads turn brown and ponds spring up everywhere. The rainy season suits Cambodia and it is a great time to visit as long as you don’t want to take too many unpaved roads or mind sheltering from an afternoon downpour while visiting the temples.
The only time to avoid Cambodia is March to May, when it gets unbearably hot.
No actual vaccinations are officially required. Malaria prophylaxis is no longer recommended but visitors are advised to check with their doctors or travel immunization clinics regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A & B.
Carry a medical kit with bandages splints and the link. It is important if you bring a complete, personal medical and first aid kit along with a few other essential items. Suggestion the following (Note: You will need to pack sharp objects in checked baggage due to tightened airline security)
Khmer food is typical spicy with a high proportion of fish, either fresh water from the Son Le Sap lake or seafood from the southern coast. As a result of the large numbers of UN personnel who have been posted in Cambodia Phnom Penh’s restaurant and bar life has expanded dramatically. There are numerous restaurants offering selections in quality and budget for the following types of food: Italian, French, Indian, pizza, Thai, Chinese.
Outside of Phnom Penh the selection of food and restaurants is more limited, but likely to have Khmer, Thai and some kind of western foods available.
Theater and dance are central to the Khmer culture. Most famous is the Royal ballet which is depicted numerously on the bas relief’s of Angkor Wat. Represent ting the Apsaras (celestial female dances) the dances are symbolic, slow, graceful gestures which conform to a strict and precise language of movement. Each dance is an act of worship and blessing. Most of the dancers are women.
Traditional Khmer dancing can be seen at the National Theater. In addition, the theater has produced a contemporary history called the life of the Nation of Cambodia.
In terms of “modern” entertainment many new bars and nightclubs have opened, from sophisticated French cafe/ bistros to the types of discos one might normally associate with Bangkok ‘s Patpong Road .
The Khmer language is very unique and distinctive. To the Western eye the characters are very much like those of Thai, but a closer look reveals they are in fact quite different. Many older Cambodians speak French, which up until 1976 was the principal language used in the education system.
Cambodia reinstated Buddhism as the state religion in the late 1980s (it had been illegal since 1976),and it is now 96% Buddhist despite being targeted by the Khmer Rouge and suffering serious losses to it in the seventies. Islam (Cham Muslims) and Catholicism have lost much of their strength since the Khmer “cleansings” of the seventies. A small number of Cambodians are Caodai followers.
6. Ethnic Groups
After the Khmer the largest ethnic group in Cambodia is the Chinese who dominate the business community. In addition there are considerable numbers of Vietnamese.
In the highlands and rural areas Hmong and Thai groups also live in limited numbers.
7. Handicrafts and Souvenirs
Cambodia is widely recognized as having some of the most beautiful religious carving and bass-relief’s anywhere in the world. Of course most are of a religious nature, celebrating the Khmer peoples Buddhist and Hindu religious past. Unfortunately the countries recent turmoil has allowed widespread looting of some of the countries classic pieces, most commonly large Buddha heads from the Angkorian are.
Indovillage supports the Kingdom of Cambodia and UNESCO’s efforts to stop the flow of these priceless and irreplaceable objects of art out of the country. For those wishing to take home such figures, excellent quality replicas are now available in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
In addition to stone carving, Cambodia has excellent silverware of both classical Khmer and Chines design which can be bought in the main markets of Phnom Penh . More than any other item, the krama is quintessentially Cambodian. These are large rectangular scarves made from cotton or silkand are most commonly found in red or blue check. Their uses are endless but include headdress, skirts, aprons, carrying aids.
8. Climate and Seasons
Cambodia has two monsoons. One is cool and dry and last from November to March with temperatures around 17 0 C ÷ 27 0 C (night-day). January is the coolest and most pleasant month to visit. The rainy seasons, which is both humid and hot, is from April to October with temperatures around 27 0 C ÷ 35 0 C . During this season the humidity can be as high as 90% and average annual rainfall is 1.4 m ÷ 5m.
9. Festival and Holidays
Traditional Cambodian festival are set according to the Khmer lunar calendar. The most mportant of these is the Cambodian New Year Chaul Chhnam which falls in mid-April. Also in April is the Visak Bauchea commemorating the birthday and illumination of Buddha.
In late October or early November is the Vietnamese overthrow of Pol Pot in 1979. Genocide Day on May 9 th is a memorial day for those who suffered the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. Also of importance is King Sihanouk’s birthday on 31 st October.
10. Currency and Banking
The official currency is Riel. In Phnom Penh there is useful use of all major credit cards. Travelers cheques can be cashed and cash disbursement services are available.