General Travel Information
The lowest international airfares are generally only available in the country where travel originates. We recommend that you work with a professional travel agent in your area for your international flights. We can assist with flights within and from Cambodia.
Passport and Visa
Travelers are ultimately responsible for assuring they have proper documents for travel. The International Air Transport Association has a useful online tool for checking required documentation, however Asia Adventures encourages you to verify at the embassy or consulate located in your country for definitive answers. A professional travel agent in your area can also assist, and you are welcome to contact us for more information.
You must also make sure there is at least 6-months validity on your passport from the expected date of travel. If there isn't, you must renew your passport.
The information below is for reference only and subject to change.
Cambodian visas are easily obtained upon your flight arrival and at land border crossings. Tourist visas valid for 30 days are US$30 and require 1 passport-size photo. There is an E-visa option available online, which is valid for entry at all international airports and some border crossings, but not all, therefore caution is advised.
Vietnamese visa regulations are very strict. Visas must be obtained in advance, either from the embassy or consulate. If you are on one of our cross-border tours from Cambodia to Vietnam and have not yet secured your Vietnam visa, we can assist. Service charges apply depending on how many days available to process the visa.
Vietnam Visa is also available to apply online via its government website: https://vietnamvisa.govt.vn/
Visa-free entry is available for citizens of many countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, most of Western Europe, most of Asia and the Middle east, the duration of which depends on nationality and whether you arrive by air (30 days) or land (15 days).
Landing visas for most nationalities are available upon arrival for $30 - $42, depending on nationality. One passport-size photo is required.
Asia Adventures requires all participants on cycling or trekking tours to have comprehensive travel insurance for the entire duration of the tour. Policies must include comprehensive medical coverage as well as emergency evacuation. Proof of insurance must be provided to us prior to participation on the tour, either by fax, e-mail or presenting documentation upon arrival.
If you are unsure where to get travel insurance, we recommend World Nomads.
Health and Medicine
No special vaccinations are required for any of the countries in which we operate, however we recommend you contact your primary care physician or other travel medicine doctor for professional advice. Most common over-the-counter medications are readily available in urban areas, however not so easily found in the rural areas you will go through on cycling and trekking tours so it's a good idea to bring your own. Our cycling tour support vehicles carry first aid kits, and guides have basic first aid training, but are not permitted to dispense medication.
Remember to stay properly hydrated and use sunscreen while participating in active, outdoor adventures.
Weather and Climate
The temperature in Cambodia, Thailand and Southern Vietnam is warm to hot year-round. Laos and Northern Vietnam can be cool at night and early morning during December and January.
November to February is warm and dry, March to May is very hot and dry, June to August is very hot and rainy and September and October are warm and rainy. The rains during the rainy season are usually heavy and brief during the late afternoons.
While it's easy to think the best time to travel is during the dry season, the rainy season has it's advantages. The rice paddies are full of water and green with young rice, the countryside is alive with growing season activity, boat travel on the rivers and lakes is easier with higher water levels, jungle vegetation is green and lush and the stone Angkor temples are at their most photogenic. Additionally, tourist sights are less crowded and prices are lower. For cyclists, the roads will be less dusty and the rains provide much welcome relief to the hot sun. Our support vehicles carry your belongings and our staff cleans and maintains the bikes each evening, for a trouble-free ride.
Electricity and Communications
Electricity is 220-240V throughout the area with most outlets accommodating flat (USA) or round two-prong plugs. Plugs with the third prong for grounding will need an adapter.
Most mobile phones from other countries will work in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos, provided your service allows for international roaming. Inexpensive prepaid SIM cards are widely available, provided your phone is unlocked from your service provider. Basic Nokia phones can be bought for around $20.
WiFi Internet is widely available at many hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and many other business establishments. There is no guarantee that it will be available everywhere, especially in more rural areas, never offline more than a day or two.
Accommodations and Meals
There is a wide variety of accommodations available in the region, from very basic to extraordinarily deluxe, just not always available in the same place. In the bigger cities and tourist areas, you can choose which type of accommodations best suit you. Cycling or trekking through rural and remote areas, you can enjoy unique home-stays, small hotels, local guest houses or even camping.
In the more remote areas that you may explore on your cycling or trekking tour, accommodations and facilities will be comfortable, but basic, and may not have the amenities one would expect in larger cities.
The meals will absolutely be one of the most memorable parts of your trip: Khmer Curry, Amok, Loc Lac, Pho, Pad Thai, Pra Ram and other delicacies await you. You might share meals with monks in a pagoda or a local family at a home-stay. Check your tour itinerary for which meals are included, and make note for when you can do a little culinary exploring on your own.
Money and Costs
How much to bring will naturally depend on your personal spending habits, however here are a few general guidelines.
Be sure to check your tour's inclusions for a clear picture of which meals will be part of the tour and which you will enjoy at your leisure. A reasonable estimate for daily out-of-pocket expenses is around US$20-25. Serious shoppers should adjust accordingly.
Access to cash is fairly easy, particularly in the cities, with numerous banks and ATM's connected to global ATM networks. Credit cards are accepted at most larger hotels and department stores, with Visa and MasterCard being the most frequently accepted. Travelers Checks are usually only accepted in banks, and with a lot of scruitiny. Small shops, local markets, street vendors and service providors will only accept cash.
Generally, the best exchange rates can be found in the home of that currency, therefore it's a good idea to change enough in your home country to get you through the first few days, and change the rest at your destination. As a reference, the currency conversion tool below will give you the current official exchange rate. The retail rates will vary.
For other than local currency, it's a good idea to make sure the bills you bring are in good condition, as those with tears are often refused.
It's best to bring USD rather than other currencies as both the Cambodian Riel and the US Dollar are equally accepted. Both are dispensed from ATM's and banks, and detailed on cash register receipts. Change given for any amount under US$1.00 will be made in Cambodian Riel.
By law, only Vietnamese Dong can be used for any transaction. You must exchange to local currency.
The standard unit of currency here is the Thai Baht, easily exchanged at banks or private money changers.
It's best to carry currency (your local currency or Thai Baht) to exchange here and not rely on ATM's as you will only find them in Vientianne and Luang Prabang, there is a low daily limit and they occasionally run out of cash.
Tipping good service providers is common in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. Bring plenty of small notes for hotel staff, restaurant servers, taxi drivers and any other service provider.
The region is quite traditional and conservative, making it important to dress more conservatively in remote villages and pagodas. Sleeveless tops and shorts above the knee would not be appropriate for visiting religious sites. If you are on a cycling tour, bring something to put on over your cycling clothes when visiting pagodas or temples.
You might visit some extremely poor areas and encounter beggars and young children selling books and souvenirs. It is suggested that rather than giving money in this way, it would be more beneficial to donate to one of the many organizations in the region who are working to alleviate poverty and improve the life of the residents. If you choose to give money to a beggar, consider that many can make considerably more money this way than those working unskilled jobs. Donations of cash, foods, school materials, clothing or other similar items are best made through charitable organizations. Giving directly to local people can create an expectation and make all interactions between visitors and locals about asking for things. Please contact us if you would like some references of worthy organizations or more guidance.