Airports & Airlines
Phnom Penh International Airport is the gateway to the Cambodian capital, while Siem Reap International Airport serves visitors to the temples of Angkor. Both airports have a good range of services, including restaurants, bars, shops and ATMs. Sihanoukville International Airport currently offers very limited international connections to a handful of neighbouring countries. Note that e-visas are not accepted at Sihanoukville's airport.
Flights to Cambodia are expanding, but most connect only as far as regional capitals. Cambodia Angkor Airways (www.cambodiaangkorair.com) is the national airline and offers the most international flight connections to destinations around the region, including Bangkok, Danang, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul and Shanghai. Thai Airways (www.thaiair.com) and Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com) offer the most daily international flights connections, all via Bangkok. Vietnam Airlines (www.vietnamairlines.com) has several useful connections, including from both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well from Phnom Penh to Vientiane and Siem Reap to Luang Prabang, Danang and Phu Quoc.
Budget airlines have taken off in recent years and are steadily driving down prices. Useful budget airlines include Air Asia (www.airasia.com), with daily flights connecting Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok; Jetstar (www.jetstar.com), with daily flights from both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to Singapore; and Cebu Pacific (www.cebupacificair.com), with three or four weekly flights from Siem Reap to Manila.
Other regional centres with direct flights to Cambodia include Pakse, Hong Kong and Taipei. Longer-haul flights are currently limited to Doha and Tokyo.
International departure tax of US$25 is included in the ticket price at the point of purchase so there is no need for cash dollars when you leave the country.
Cambodia shares one border crossing with Laos, five crossings with Thailand and seven with Vietnam. Cambodian visas are now available at all the land crossings with Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Visas on arrival are available in Laos, while most nationalities enjoy 15 to 30 days visa-free access to Thailand. Vietnam grants visas on arrival only to limited nationalities, so check your passport status before heading to the border. Most borders are open during the core hours of 7am to 5pm. However, some of the most popular crossings are open later in the evening and other more remote crossings close for lunch.
There are few legal money-changing facilities at the more remote border crossings, so be sure to have some small-denomination US dollars handy.
Tourist visas are available at all crossings for US$30, but Cambodian immigration officers at the land border crossings, especially with Thailand and Laos, have a reputation for petty extortion. Travellers are occasionally asked for a small ‘immigration fee’ of some kind or some sort of bogus health certificate costing US$1. More serious scams include overcharging for visas by demanding payment in Thai baht and forcing tourists to change US dollars into riel at a poor rate. Hold your breath, stand your ground, and don't let this experience flavour your impression of Cambodians overall.
Before making a long-distance trip, be aware of border closing times, visa regulations and any transport scams. Border details change regularly, so ask around or check the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree (lonelyplanet.com/thorntree).
Cambodia and Laos share a remote frontier that includes some of the wildest areas of both countries. There is only one border crossing open to foreigners.
For Laos, the Trapeang Kriel/Nong Nok Khiene crossing connects Stung Treng in Cambodia with Don Det in Laos.
Cambodia and Thailand share an 805km border and there are now five legal international border crossings, and many more options for locals.
Thailand Border Crossings
Koh Kong City
Cambodia and Vietnam share a long frontier with a bevy of border crossings. Foreigners are currently permitted to cross at seven places. Cambodian visas are now available at all crossings, but for entry to Vietnam, 15 to 30 day visa-free entry is available on arrival for citizens from Asean countries, Japan, South Korea, Scandinavian countries, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
Vietnam Border Crossings
Ho Chi Minh City
Ha Tien, Phu Quoc
Car & Motorcycle
Car drivers and motorcycle riders will need registration papers, insurance documents and an International Driving Licence (although not officially recognised) to bring vehicles into Cambodia. It is complicated to bring in a car but relatively straightforward to bring in a motorcycle, as long as you have a carnet de passage (vehicle passport). This acts as a temporary import-duty waiver and should save a lot of hassles when dealing with Cambodian customs.
There are currently no official sea borders between Cambodia and its neighbours, although Sihanoukville is an international port and Asian cruise ships regularly dock there to disgorge passengers for the day. There are plans to set up an international port near Kampot for sea connections to Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam.
In the early days of tourism in Cambodia, organised tours were a near necessity. The situation has changed dramatically and it is now much easier to organise your own trip. Budget and midrange travellers in particular can go it alone, as arrangements are cheap and easy on the ground. Get to Angkor, for instance, and you'll have no problem finding your own guides and transport.
If you do decide to go with a tour, shop around before booking, as there is lots of competition and some companies offer more interesting itineraries than others and/or do more to support responsible travel. Tours as well as flights can be booked online at lonelyplanet.com/bookings. The following are reliable tour companies based in Cambodia:
About Asia Small bespoke travel company specialising in Siem Reap. Profits help build schools in Cambodia.
Hanuman Long-running, locally owned and operated company with tours such as Temple Safari. A supporter of responsible tourism initiatives.
Journeys Within A boutique tourism company based in Siem Reap that offers various cross-border trips in addition to appealing tours within Cambodia. Operates a charitable arm helping schools and communities.
Sam Veasna Center Genuine ecotourism operator offering one- to several-day birdwatching and wildlife watching tours that contribute directly to forest and species preservation.