I'm Lost, Help Me Find Kratie!
Kratie and is found along the Mekong river in the north-east of Cambodia.
Kratie lies 4-5 hours north-east of Phnom Penh and is accessible by bus, private taxi, and shared taxi. To get to Kratie…
- Sorya Bus departs early morning and midday, with tickets at US$6pp. Around large public holidays, it is advisable to pre-book tickets at the ticket office. Buses take the long road via Snoul district, and take 7 hours.
- Shared taxi vans depart from near Psar Thmei (Central Market) approx US$5pp, more for the front seat. Most take 5 hours, with two brief stops.
- Private taxis range from US$45-80, and can be arranged through most travel agents, hotels and guest houses. Expect a 4 hour trip.
Coming by motorbike? Don’t forget your helmet!
- The shortest route from Phnom Penh runs via National Highway 8 and National Road 73 (237km), while most bus companies follow NH 6 through Skun (with a stop for spider snacks!), Kampong Cham, and NH7 via Snoul (344km).
- For a gorgeous scenic dry season ride, ride from Kampong Cham along the eastern side of the river – from the French tower, following the power lines all the way to Kratie town. Stop in at some incredible Wats along the way in Kroch Chhmar and Chloung, and Kratie’s own Wat Roka Kandal.
- From Siem Reap, ride NE past Phnom Koulen National Park to Tbaeng Meanchey, then follow road 64 until you reach the ferry at the Mekong River (there’s now a big bridge, so just follow the highway). Hop over the river and follow the Highway 7 south to Kratie.
Cambodia offers one of the simplest visa application processes of any country. Tourists entering Cambodia for up to 30 days can obtain a tourist visa on-arrival at both international airports and many land border crossings.
To obtain a Cambodian Tourist visa, simply arrive at an international border crossing, or at Phnom Penh or Siem Reap airport with:
- your passport (must have 6 months validity and 2 free pages)
- 1 passport photo
The most common type of visa is the T-type or Tourist visa. T-type visas are valid for 30 days and can be renewed once only for an additional 30 days. The 30 day renewal costs approximately US$45, and can be arranged at most local travel agencies.
The T-type visa can also be obtained at Cambodian embassies and high commissions, and via the e-visa system – an online visa pre-approval service [Do not confuse the e-visa with the E-Type visa].
If you intend to spend longer than 60 days in Cambodia, you will require an E-type visa. This visa is also known as Normal, Business, or Ordinary visa. Not to be confused with the electronic “e-visa”, the E-type visa is renewable beyond 60 days. 3 month renewal costs around US$75, and the multiple entry 6 month renewal costs around US$155.
The currency of Cambodia is the Riel (៛), however the US dollar is a proxy currency and is used alongside the Riel. ATMs throughout the country dispense both US dollars and Riel.
The street cash rate is commonly around 4,000KHR to 1USD, but larger shops and restaurants with electronic registers commonly charge a more accurate rate which fluctuates between 4,050៛ and 4,100៛
Commonly, small purchases (less the $5.00) are best purchased with Riel, whereas large for large amounts it is often easier to pay in US dollars.
The Riel is almost impossible to obtain outside of Cambodia. It is best to bring US dollars.
ATMs are widely available in major towns such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kratie and Stung Treng.
In more remote rural areas it can be difficult to find ATMs which accept international cards.
Travelers checks are used infrequently, but can be cashed at ACLEDA banks, which has the widest branch network throughout Cambodia. It is advisable to purchase travelers checks in US dollars. Expect ~2% commission to change checks.
High quality healthcare in Cambodia is available in Phnom Penh. Outside of the capital, there are limited healthcare facilities which many foreigners feel comfortable using. This is the reality of a developing nation.
Common recommended inoculations include:
- Hepatitis A & B
- Japanese Encephalitis
The US Government Center for Disease Control offers useful health information for travellers.
International travel entails inherent risk, and therefore we recommend all visitors to Cambodia have comprehensive travel insurance.
Public holidays and festivals
Cambodia celebrates many international public holidays and Buddhist festivals such as Khmer New Year “Chaul Chnam Thmei” in April and Water Festival “Bon Om Touk” in November.
Le Tonlé remains open throughout the year, but it is important to be aware of long public holidays and Buddhist festivals which may impact your travels. Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben are “exodus” holidays, when most Cambodians return to their ancestral homes to participate in Buddhist ceremonies. Expect travel times to increase due to extra traffic on the highways.
- 01 January International New year day
- 07 January Victory over genocide day, marking the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979.
- 14 February Meak Bochea day, commemorating the last sermon of the Buddha, and is a time to reflect on the teachings of – falls on the full moon day of the third Lunar month (normally late Feb)
- 08 March International Women’s day
- 14‐15‐16 April Khmer New Year
- 01 May International Labor day
- 13 May Visak Bochea day, commemorating the day of the Buddha’s death, birth, and enlightenment – varies each year with Lunar calendar
- 13‐14‐15 May King Norodom Sihamoni’s birth day
- 17 May Royal plowing ceremony day, celebrating the start of the rice growing season – varies each year with Lunar calendar
- 01 June International Children’s day
- 18 June Queen Mother Norodom Monineath Sihanouk’s birth day
- 22‐23‐24 September Pchum Ben day – varies each year with Lunar calendar
- 24 September Constitutional day
- 15 October Commemoration day of Former King Norodom Sihanouk
- 23 October Paris Peace Accord day, which commemorates the 1991 agreement which saw a formal end of the Khmer Rouge regime’s terror, which had continued long beyond their fall from power in 1979, and the move towards democratic elections under the auspices of the United Nations in 1993.
- 29 October King Norodom Sihakmoni’s coronation day
- 05‐06‐07 November Water festival, celebrating the end of the harvest season – varies each year with Lunar calendar
- 09 November Independence day
- 10 December International Human Rights day
Situated 10-13° north of the equator, Cambodia is right in the heart of the tropics.
As a tropical country, Cambodia enjoys two main seasons – the dry and the monsoon – and there is a welcome cool season.
November – January: Warm days, cooler nights and low humidity, little rain.
February – May: Dry, with humidity building from April.
May – June: The beginning of the monsoon.
June – October: The monsoon. Daily rain is to be expected, though usually limited to an hour or two in the afternoon.