|Krong Preah Sihanouk||$850|
|Koh Rong Sanloem||$850|
|Koh Kong Island||$850|
This country, although beautiful in nature, development, and culture, has endured a tumultuous process of remaking in the past 30 years. When you step off your Cambodia flight, expect to be a little overwhelmed. Traffic is absolute chaos, corruption is as petty as pick-pocketing and as prevalent as police payoffs. Poverty is beside you, in front of you, and behind you.
Cambodia’s present-day tragedy dates all the way back to the Vietnam War, when nations battled among other nations under personal agendas. During this time, underhanded leadership in Cambodia bounced back and forth between party members, family members, and even enemy parties. When finally, the United States raided the country in the 1970s, famine was prematurely induced, drastically killing off natural resources like cattle and rice fields, and devastating Cambodia’s last attempts at self-reliance. In its weakest moment, a rapidly growing rebel group, Khmer Rouge took over, destroying anything even remotely “western” including schools, libraries, and places of worship. Anyone involved in or experienced in academia was targeted and swiftly exterminated, causing millions of Cambodians to flee to Thailand. The following years meant brutal and forceful days for natives, until the 1990s, when the UN stepped in, calling for a cease-fire and new leadership.
When you book flights to Cambodia, remember that it is still on the mend.
It’s rocky past political situation has trickled down into the infrastructure, crippling sanitation facilities, offsetting malnutrition, and limiting available immunizations for illnesses like polio, measles, and diphtheria. Despite its sometimes sneaky and disturbed underworld, the government is slowly stabilizing, thanks in part to Non Governmental Organizations in developed countries who have extended a hand in the repairing process.
And while sometimes phone connections don’t work, time isn’t recognized, and laws fall by the wayside, you’ll see when you book a flight to Cambodia, that this healing country holds its head up high, proud of its ability to overcome, reproduce, and collectively move forward with hope. Many people book flights to Cambodia in order to help with humanitarian aid, mending infrastructure, rebuilding temples, and restoring the faith of a broken people.
Cambodia is extremely hot all the time. Make sure you pack light clothing and lots of sunscreen. The wet season occurs from May to October, when monsoonal moisture brings rain almost every day. The dry season lasts from October to April and can be the best time to visit, especially in December and January. When April approaches, the temperatures start to rise to a scorching heat.
Since scorching temperatures are the norm here year round your best bet for booking flights to Cambodia is during the winter months of December to April, when temperatures cool down a bit, and the heat is easier to deal with.
Most travelers aim to book Cambodia flights around the winter months of December and April, when the high temperatures rest easy, and precipitation takes a break. Sun is still an issue year round though, so be sure to pack sunglasses, a hat, and plenty of sun screen.
Unless you’re a fan of intense heat followed by intense rainfall, booking flights to Cambodia in the summer is not a very good idea. If you are, however, intrigued by its extreme patterns, and are ready to brave the climatic conditions, then it might be easy to find deals on accommodations and cheap flights to Cambodia during its moody off-season.
Just because you see the locals hitching rides here and there, doesn’t mean you should. An under currant of hitchhiking is a popular means of Cambodia travel among its residents, but for visitors, it could mean an unsafe ride, and miscommunication.
Instead, opt for the local buses. These are rough rides too, but you’ll get to your destination on a somewhat regularly scheduled time table, and will also be able to rub elbows with the locals to get an idea of everyday life here.
Tour buses are great Cambodia travel options for vacationers who don’t see the fun in planning. Budget tour companies like the Mekong Express and Capitol Tour run routes to and from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap for affordable prices, and take initiative so you don’t have to worry about any of the planning.
Renting a car is another way to see the rural countryside when you book flights to Cambodia. If you’re not very confident mastering the winding dirt roads though, you can always hire a driver who knows the area well enough to navigate. Make sure that the car you choose is durable and equipped to handle the narrow pathways that the countryside presents.
The following chart gives approximate journey times from Phnom Penh (in hours and minutes) to other major cities and towns in Cambodia.
(prices quoted are from London)