Planning a trip to Cambodia? Here’s a selection of useful hints, tips and sites we’ve come across. If you know of any more, please contact us and we will add them to our list.

Accommodation and transfers

If you’re diving with us and are travelling from Phnom Penh or Siem Reap, please contact us and we can advise on transfers to Sihanoukville and accommodation to suit all budgets. Here are just a few of our favourite places to stay in Sihanoukville:

If you’re travelling in peak season (December to January) it is worth booking in advance as many of the hotels and guesthouses become fully booked.

Visiting Sihanoukville

Most of our divers spend a couple of nights in Sihanoukville before travelling across to the tropical island paradise of Koh Rong Samloem (we are based at M’Pay Bay). If you too are planning a few nights on the mainland, check out sihanoukville-cambodia.com they have all you need to know.

Flights

Travelling around Asia? AirAsia have some fantastic deals. Travelling from Europe or further afield? Check out Skyscanner – a travel search site with flexible search options means you can browse prices across a whole month, or even a year, allowing you to get the best deals. You book direct with the airline or travel agent, so you get the lowest price with no added commission – we recommend that you check agent/airline reviews before booking.

When to visit

Cambodia can be visited at any time of year. The busiest time is over December and January, when the humidity is quite low. Travelfish.org has a great interactive weather map, which allows you to check the conditions in different areas of the country.

Visas and passports

Visas are easy to obtain at the international airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The cost is $20 USD for a tourist visa and $25 for a business visa, both are valid for one-month. One passport photo is a required when purchasing or extending your visa and a small ‘fee’ will be charged if you do not have one.

Both types of visas can be extended easily through travel agents and guesthouses in Sihanoukville. Tourist visas are single entry and can be extended for up to one-month (approx $45). Business visas can be extended for one-month, three-month, six-months or a year and are multiple entry. If you overstay on your visa – you will be charged – the fee is currently $5 a day (2011). Visa fees do tend to vary when crossing into Cambodia by land, please check the Lonely Planet for the latest.

Please ensure your passport is valid for at least six-months and you have several blank pages – visas in Asia tend to take up at least a whole page (with additional space needed for entry and exit stamps).

Language – free audio guide

English is widely spoken on the mainland, however being able to speak a few phrases in Khmer always helps. You can learn the basics with the free WorldNomads Cambodian Language Guide – available as an iphone app or mp3 podcast.

Vaccinations

Please plan ahead and get medical advice about vaccinations at least eight weeks before you’re due to travel. Some vaccinations need to be given well in advance so that they can work properly.

Currency

The national currency is Riel however US Dollars are accepted everywhere and most prices are displayed in US dollars.

Where else to visit

Whether you have a few days or weeks to spend in Cambodia, your trip would not be complete without a visit to Angkor Wat. Many visitors also enjoy a stay in Phnom Penh, Kep and/or Battambang. Check out Travelfish.org for suggested itineraries and Lonely Planet for additional information.

The best advice we have is keep your travel plans flexible – once you’ve visited the islands surrounding the Cambodian coastline you’ll find it very hard to drag yourself away…