Magnificent ruins and temples are the reason why most travellers take cheap flights to Cambodia, but there is much more to this fascinating country. The capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, is located in the south of the country. Once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, it is a bustling city and lively all year round with interesting architecture, great cuisine and shopping opportunities. Siem Reap in the northwest is a popular tourist destination for its proximity to the magnificent Angkor Wat temple complex, boutique hotels and restaurants. It is mainly busy during the dry season and quietens down in the off season. The country has a tropical monsoon climate with the dry season running from November to April and when most travellers arrive on flights to Cambodia. The wet season runs from May to November. November and December are the coolest months of the year with temperatures averaging 24C - 26C. Accommodation should be booked well in advance if you’re planning to visit during the peak Christmas and New Year period.
The wet season extends from April to September and is considered the off season. March, April and May are extremely humid with temps hitting 35C - 40C, while the months of June to August are hot and wet, but the rains usually fall in the afternoon or at night. While the rainy season may not be for everyone, booking cheap flights to Cambodia at this time can be worthwhile with spectacular waterfalls and rivers, and lush green vegetation.
When is the best time to book a flight to Cambodia?
The best time to book a flight to Cambodia will depend on what you want to see and do. For visiting Cambodia’s beaches and dive sites such as Koh Kong, Koh Rong Samloem and Koh Rong, flight tickets are best purchased for the dry season. While November and May are considered the best months to dive the Koh Sdach Archipelago. The shoulder months of February and October are better for sightseeing temples and ruins when there aren’t so many tourists. For the budget conscious the cheapest flights to Cambodia will be found between May and early October.
Jetstar offers indirect flights to Cambodia’s cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap from Darwin, Melbourne and Perth. Sydney-siders should consider airlines such as Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, China Southern, Emirates and Vietnam Air for cheap flights to Cambodia. Domestic airline Angkor Air flies between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap as does Bangkok Airways.
How to get from the airport to the city centre?
Flights to Cambodia either land at Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH) 10 km west of Phnom Penh, or Siem Reap International Airport (REP) 10 km southeast of Siem Reap. Transport to and from the airports consists of airport van, airport taxi or the cheapest option, moto taxi.
Cambodia insider information
Cambodia has some stunning dive sites. Among them are: Koh Kon (see seahorses, octopus, pipefish, stonefish, scorpionfish and nudibranch), Koh Rong Samloem (kingfish, nudibranch, cuttlefish, pufferfish and parrotfish) and Koh Rong, which is heading towards luxury resort status. See ray, damselfish and nudibranch in the waters.
Golf tourism is increasing in popularity in Cambodia. There's a Nick Faldo-designed course in Siem Reap and there is another one - designed by Arnold Palmer - under construction in Bokor.
Bokor is a deserted town in Preah Monivong National Park. It was built by the French in the 1920s as a retreat from hot, humid Phnom Penh.
At Angkor, three-day passes are valid for any three days in a week and seven-day passes are valid for any seven days within one month. Buy only from the official Apsara Authority counters and try to get there early, to beat the crowds.
Be respectful when haggling in the market or with your motodop; Khmers are not fierce hagglers.
The National Museum of Cambodia is in Phnom Penh, close to the Tonle Sap River. It houses many treasures from Angkor.
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