Cambodia is a country whose international appeal to tourists has been steadily increasing over the years.
Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, the two most popular countries for tourists in Southeast Asia, Cambodia was once a place that backpackers would use as a bridge between more well-trodden ports of call.
Now though, Cambodia is much more than a stepping stone, it is an outright destination, which is reflected in the consistent annual spikes in foreigners applying for and receiving a Cambodia tourist visa.
To facilitate this process, Cambodian tourism officials have implemented an eVisa for citizens of several countries, with the list growing to include more nations. Recently, officials introduced an option for passport holders from India, hoping to tap into one of the largest populations in the world with the Cambodia eVisa for Indians.
Is Cambodia currently issuing tourist visas?
As restrictions have fluctuated during the pandemic, the most important tip for applying for a visa to Cambodia is to ensure that the country is accepting foreign visitors.
The current answer is: Yes, you can get a Cambodia tourist visas. However, prospective travelers must familiarize themselves with the most recent updates from the Cambodian government before traveling as alterations to the current guidelines and rules can be made at a moment’s notice.
When applying for your Cambodia tourist visa, take the following tips into account:
- Start your application early.
- Make sure your passport is valid (including 6 months past your travel dates).
- Follow all the requirements and get all of the necessary documents read.
- Make all travel bookings required for the visa ahead of time (though, make sure to double check cancellation policies on your flights and accommodation as you never know when travel restrictions may change again).
How important is tourism to Cambodia?
The coronavirus pandemic and resulting fallout had an enormous impact on Cambodia. As was the case with any nation that derives such a large percentage of its GDP from its tourism sector, the March 23rd, 2020 closing of its borders shut off the income stream for millions of Cambodians who rely on foreign visitors for their livelihood.
With that in mind, motivation has remained high to work to contain the COVID-19 virus to once again be able to welcome tourists back into the country at or approaching the pre-pandemic levels.
Related Read: Travelling in a Pandemic: Crucial Safe Travel Tips
What to do and see in Cambodia
After applying for and receiving a valid Cambodian eVisa, and also verifying that travelers can enter the country, there are a ton of reasons to take a trip or even volunteer in Cambodia.
The most consistent of these reasons is certainly the temple and palace structures that can be found throughout the country. The famous Angkor Wat temple not only attracts hordes of visitors daily, but it even adorns the country’s flag, showing its importance to the nation and its people.
Angkor Wat is hardly the only draw for foreigners looking to experience Cambodian culture. There is often a misconception that Angkor Wat is a standalone temple somewhere out in the jungle when that is not the case at all.
Siem Reap, the town that functions as the jumping-off point for a trip to Angkor Wat, features an entire temple complex that houses Khmer (Cambodian people) structures, buildings, and temples made from stone such as the Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, and the Terrace of the Elephants.
There can be a lot of misinformation from companies and individuals looking to take advantage of clueless tourists, so it is always best to read up on tips for visiting Cambodia and, more especially, Siem Reap before departing.
Following local travel guidelines in Cambodia
Understanding and respecting local customs and ways of life is the absolute bare minimum that visitors should do before entering a country. Every country and people have their specific ways of doing things and unique cuisine and Cambodia is no different.
The importance of understanding a country is elevated even more while the coronavirus remains a threat. Just because a country is issuing tourist visas does not mean that the country is going to be completely open for business.
States, counties, cities, and even individual neighborhoods or locales may have their guidelines or restrictions, so anyone who plans to visit Cambodia should research not just the general government-issued regulations, but also the local ones depending on where they are planning to visit.
What types of restrictions does Cambodia have?
Travelers from many countries may have to quarantine upon arrival in Cambodia, subject to their country of origin’s current infection rates. Visitors will also be required to undergo two COVID tests, one upon arrival, and another on the 13th day of the quarantine to ensure that they are not carrying the virus.
Another important factor to consider when making an itinerary is that there are three classifications for regions of Cambodia concerning each area’s infection rates.
- “Red Zones” have the most strict regulations in place and areas that fall under that category are essentially in lockdown.
- “Dark-Yellow Zones” have slightly more freedom of movement for their residents and visitors, but it is still not recommended that tourists visit these areas as they will be subject to strict rules.
- “Yellow Zones” are the least restrictive areas and in these sections, many businesses and restaurants are permitted to remain open and people may walk around freely.
While traveling may feel harder now than it was before, we still encourage you to visit Cambodia! Get your Cambodia tourist visa, check the current regulations and restrictions and come visit!