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Siem Reap Travel Guide

Siem Reap Travel Information

Electricity

220 volts, 50Hz. Travellers should be aware that power cuts are frequent and, outside the capital, electricity is generally only available in the evenings.

Language

Khmer is the official language. French is also spoken, but English is fast becoming popular with the younger generation.

Tipping

Tips are not expected, but are welcomed in restaurants and hotels. Hotels often add a 10% service charge to the bill, but small amounts for personal services are appreciated, as salaries in the country are low. Tour guides should be tipped.

Safety Information

Cambodia remains one of the most heavily land-mined countries in the world. When hiking or visiting rural areas, travel with a local guide and never stray off the main paths. It is not advisable to travel anywhere at night. Caution should be taken in the capital, Phnom Penh, especially at night, as street crime is a problem, including around popular tourist nightspots in Phnom Penh. After dark there is also a risk of violent crime in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Visitors should be aware that bag snatching is becoming an increasing problem on tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis and while walking in the main towns. Due to the large numbers of tourists involved in road accidents on motorcycles, police in Siem Reap have banned rental outlets from hiring motorcycles to tourists. There is some risk from terrorism due to continuing terrorist activity in South East Asia, and travellers are advised to be vigilant in public places and areas frequented by foreigners.

Local Customs

Permission should be sought before taking pictures of people, particularly monks. Avoid touching someone on the head as it is considered the most sacred part of a person's body. Women should wear modest clothing, preferably a long skirt or loose-fitting trousers. When visiting religious sites, shoes should be removed, and shorts avoided. A traditional greeting in Cambodia is a bow, bringing together the hands at chest level (similar to hand position for prayer). With foreigners Cambodians sometimes convert to the handshake. The simple rule is to respond with the same greeting you were given.

Business

Developing a personal relationship in Cambodia is important before any business can be discussed, which might include long dinners and plenty of socialising. Never cause a Khmer to 'lose face', but use tact and an indirect approach to business. On introductions, the most senior in the group will be introduced first, and visitors are advised to do likewise so that the hosts understand the hierarchy of the group; the highest-ranking person on both sides should greet each other first and perform the introductions. A light handshake is appropriate on introduction, after which business cards can be exchanged using both hands; it is considered impolite to put the card away without making a show of studying it for a short while. In Cambodia people are addressed with the honorific title 'Lok' for a man and 'Lok Srey' for a woman followed with the first name or both the first and surname. Dress is conservative, but formal business suits will be out of place in the tropical heat; lightweight suits can be worn for formal meetings. Business hours are generally 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, with a long lunch from about 12pm till 2pm.

Communications

The international access code for Cambodia is +855. The outgoing code is 001 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 00144 for the United Kingdom). Phnom Penh's area code is (0)23; the code for Siem Reap is (0)63. Domestic and international calls can be made at post offices or telecom offices in most towns. Mobile phone operators cover Phnom Penh and other major cities. The country uses GSM networks, so US phones are not compatible. Mobile phones can be rented at Pochentong International Airport on arrival. Internet phones are available in some Internet cafes and provide a cheaper alternative for international calls. Internet cafes provide a fast and inexpensive service in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and other main towns.

Duty Free

Travellers to Cambodia are allowed to enter the country with a reasonable amount of tobacco products and spirits under control of custom agents. Cambodian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations on the import or export of drugs, firearms, antiquities and ivory.


Travel guide by (c) Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information in this travel guide is subject to change at short notice and travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevant authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to any person as a result of information contained above.
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