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The Complete First Timer’s Guide to Backpacking in Cambodia

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Cambodia is a country full of smiles, natural wonders, and some of the most beautiful historical sites in the entire world. It also remains largely untouched and is something of a hidden gem that is fast emerging as a top destination in the region. However, you have to be prepared before backpacking there, especially if it’s your first time. Here’s a quick guide for first timers backpacking in Cambodia.

Ankor Wat, Cambodia, Asia, Lake, Angkor, Wat, Ankor

Royalty Free Photo

What about the Visa Situation?

While you will need a visa to visit Cambodia, it is better not to go down the e-visa route in advance. Instead, pay at a point of entry. E-visas will only be valid through certain entry points and it will cost you more to get it that way, so it’s better to get it once you get there.

You have to make sure that you have US dollars if you want to get your visa on arrival. You can always pay with Laos, Vietnam or Thailand currency, but they’ll make you pay ridiculous exchange rates. You also have to be prepared to grease some hands as well, and they’ll probably ask you for some off the books fee like “health care fees” or “stamping fees”. But these will be for very small amounts, like $2 to $3, so it’s better to just pay and keep it moving. However, you should always check in advance how much it will cost to get your visa depending on your passport since you don’t want to get completely ripped off either.

What’s the Best Time to Go?

The high season in Cambodia is somewhere between November and March, so if we were to give you one piece of advice, never visit Cambodia between November and March! It’s just too busy during that period and you won’t get to enjoy the historical sites as you should, so it’s better to go during the off-season. April is a great time to go, but there really isn’t a bad time to visit.

What are the Best Destinations for Backpackers?

Well, it all depends on what you’re trying to do. If you’re adventurous and want the full Cambodian jungle experience, then Chi Phat is the way to go. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle and go for an island retreat, then Koh Ta Kiev could be more your speed. Kampot is also a great place if you want to go on a nice riverside adventure.

However, no visit to Cambodia would be complete without seeing Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is located right next to the temple and is a great place to stay for a day or two if you want to see the temples. Accommodation is also very cheap here and you can find a great backpackers hostel Siem Reap Cambodia for as little as $8 USD per night.


Cambodia is a beautiful place for any backpacker and has something to offer for everyone. Make sure that you come prepared and plan carefully so you enjoy your time there.