Category Archives: Tips

New Years Eve 2017 in Cambodia

With the New Year fast approaching, it is time to decide where you want to be for the countdown on New Years Eve 2017 in Cambodia. If you are still undecided, here are some places you might want to consider as the place to be when ushering in 2017.

new years eve 2017

Phnom Penh

This year’s countdown to 2017 is expected to be big in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. While many gather to the streets to witness the fireworks display at the strike of midnight, several people will be celebrating at the main hotels that are hosting festive events.

Sofitel will host its “Gala Dinner in the Phokeethra Grand Ballroom,” which promises fantastic entertainment to go with their feast. On the other hand, Raffles will also have their “Kingdom of Wonder Gala Dinner,” which will be held poolside. Also hosting events are Nagaworld and Hotel Cambodiana.

If the big hotels are not appealing, several bars and pubs along the Riverside are sure to have their own countdown festivities – showcasing a great view of the river and the fireworks display.

Sihanoukville

Although Sihanoukville has just had its Cambodia Sea Festival, the party never seems to stop at this beachside province. As it is, Sihanoukville is easily one of the most popular places to go to when one wants to celebrate a New Year’s countdown.

Every year, fireworks color the sky when welcoming the coming year. A walk along the Occheuteal Beach showcases fun, partying, and merriment for those who are celebrating New Years Eve 2017.

Since Sihanoukville is quite popular during this time, it is best to book bus tickets ahead of time so as to ensure you have a ride going there. Bus tickets can be purchased with BookMeBus for more convenience.

Siem Reap

Yet another favorite of locals and expats alike, Siem Reap promises its guests with a night of partying especially in the famed Pub Street.

While Pub Street is already a party scene during regular days, the fun increases on countdown night, making it THE place to be with friends and family. Siem Reap usually runs out of hotels to stay due to the yearly crowd that gathers. So it would be best to start checking for rooms and booking ahead.

Travel to Siem Reap is also expected to be almost full, so if you plan to travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap or Bangkok to Siem Reap, you should start checking for flights or book bus tickets online through our website.

 

It comes as no surprise that everybody wants to welcome the New Year with much revelry and celebration. Thus it is important to beat the crowds and book ahead. Take care and book ahead to beat the holiday rush at BookMeBus.

Water Festival 2016: Two million people expected in Phnom Penh

As preparations for the Water Festival 2016 ramp up, many residents of Phnom Penh are also preparing themselves for the influx of travelers coming from the provinces of Cambodia.

Currently, the expected number of Cambodians travelling to Phnom Penh are at around two million. There are, however, a number of locals and expats who have planned trips going from Phnom Penh to Battambang, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, or even abroad. Only to escape the crowds that will surely be difficult to get around the city in.

water festival 2016

Water Festival 2016: On going preparations

A quick walk through the city, displays several preparations. In fact, as of tonight, the ministry boats have already been spotted floating and lit up.

  • Concert stages are being set up at the park
  • Booths surrounding the concert stage have been set up around the fountains.
  • Several cleanup drives were done along Riverside.
  • Boats have been prepared and tested.
  • Restaurants are displaying Water Festival 2016 promotions.
  • Grass has been cut and hedges trimmed.
  • Police attentiveness has increased and special vigilance is provided against possible thieves during the festival.

Safety precautions during the Water Festival

Below are some tips for safety during the Water Festival celebrations

  • Traveling at night increases your chances of being a victim, so its best to stay in groups and be vigilant at all times.
  • Pick-pocketing alert. Be aware of your surroundings and be alert when shopping or moving around town.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of money.
  • Avoid keeping all money in a single place.
  • Do not wear expensive jewelry when going around town.
  • Keep all valuables safe inside your bag.
  • It is best to have companions whenever going to somewhere unfamiliar.

For sure, the government is trying their best to keep travelers and locals safe and sound during these times. Nevertheless, a bit of common sense is sure to go a long way.

Cambodia Money Fast Facts

Many travelers often worry about Cambodia money. Questions often arise as to what currency is accepted? What is the exchange rate? Where can I have money exchanged? Will ATMs accept international cards?

Here are some Cambodia money fast facts that might help travelers. It is extremely helpful especially during the preparation phase.

Cambodia Money: Basics

  • Cambodian currency is called Riel
  • US Dollars are accepted throughout Cambodia
  • Rough conversion is $1 = 4,000 Riels (20,000 Dong)
  • At the Thai or Vietnamese border, some restaurants accept Riels, Dong, or US Dollars
  • When paying in Dollars, the change will be in Riels if it is less than $1

Cambodian Money Fast Facts

Where can I exchange money?

  • Cambodian banks in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville have banks that are able to exchange currencies.
  • Local shops offer money exchange. These are easy to spot as there is often a booth in front displaying various types of currencies.

Can I use ATMs or credit cards?

  • There are ATMs available in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, and Siem Reap. However, these can be sparse in the more rural areas.
  • Most of the ATMs are ANZ, ABA, and Canadia Banks. Although recently more banks have set up their own ATMs.
  • Whenever using an ATM, it will cost around $5 for every withdrawal.
  • Credit cards are helpful and accepted at restaurants, major hotels, and several establishments.
  • ATMs are available 24 hours.
  • Cambodian banks generally open at 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

There is much debate about how much amount to take. It is best to carry smaller cash denominations so that it is easier to pay. When booking with BookMeBus, however, we accept all kinds of payments: Credit cards, debit cards, Wing, SmartLuy, among others.

Pchum Ben Staycation: Things to do

As many locals head for the provinces during Pchum Ben, the streets of Cambodia’s urban areas somehow end up being quiet. Deserted to a certain extent. It is during these times that many expats travel outside of Cambodia, due to the long weekends this season brings. However, some do not have the luxury, and often consider having a Pchum Ben staycation.

Although at times it can feel too deserted during Pchum Ben, surely enjoying a staycation is not such a bad idea. What can you do during this time in the big city?

Pchum Ben Staycation: Things to do

  • Immerse yourself in tradition – For sure, there is a neighborhood pagoda which you can visit to observe Khmer tradition. It would be best, though, to go with a friend. That way, somebody can walk you through the process. Note: Please dress conservatively.
  • Biking through the empty streets – During Pchum Bend, the streets are noticeably peaceful and perfect for taking your bike out (or renting one!). While biking is possible during regular days, one often contends with traffic, vendors, among other things. However, during Pchum Ben, the peaceful streets make it possible to have a relaxing time exploring the city streets. Note: Extra caution should be exercised as there are some who drive fast at these times.
  • Go swimming at urban resorts – You do not need to go to the provinces in order to relax. There are many hidden gems in the city, where you can relax and swim, or sit by the poolside and read a book. There are many hotels that open their pools to non-guests at this time for a certain fee. A quick search will often reward you with several options during this time.
  • Have a picnic – Since the weather is nice in the afternoon, there is always that possibility of having a lovely afternoon picnic. Just make sure there is no rain. During Pchum Ben, the parks are often empty so it is possible to have a small spread and enjoy with friends or enjoy quiet moment with a book.
  • Get a massage – End your staycation during Pchum Ben with a nice massage or time at the spa. By the end of day, you will find yourself well pampered, rested, and well relaxed.

While the usual downside is that many shops are closed during this time, there are still several convenience stores that remain open. It is often recommended to stock up on some amenities for a couple of days. Still, this does not hinder anyone from having a much needed vacation. Even if it is a staycation during Pchum Ben.

If it all becomes too boring or quiet, then hop on a bus and visit the many provinces that Cambodia has with BookMeBus. Download our app and check out the many routes available.

pchum ben staycation

Tips to Survive the Rainy Season in Cambodia

If you are planning a trip to Cambodia anytime soon, please be advised that rainy season has started. It is quite rare to have a day without a single drop of rain these days, so it is best to start preparing for rain – just in case. Cambodia rainy season should not stop travelers, from stepping outside.

You can survive. And here are some tips how to:

rainy season cambodia

What to wear in the rainy season

  • Ditch the umbrella – More often than not, rains in Cambodia are windy. If you bring an umbrella along, you often end up with an upturned one in a matter of minutes.
  • Wear flipflops – If you find yourself in Phnom Penh, then chances are, you might waddle into some flood. It does flood in Phnom Penh, despite best efforts to control the waters. Wearing fancy shoes is not really ideal, and you just might end up with soggy shoes and socks.
  • Buy the plastic ponchos – One of the things that is GREAT about being in Cambodia is that there are plastic ponchos sold everywhere. Okay, getting fancy raincoats might come to mind, but if you are just on a trip, then these plastic ponchos are very useful. One plastic poncho is often sold at 2,000 riels or $0.50.
  • Dress appropriately – Moving around can be cumbersome in wet jeans, so shorts are ideal. Most people travel in shorts or pants that are easy to roll up during this time. In most cases, bringing additional clothes to change into is always a good idea.

Transportation during the rainy season

There are many ways to get around during the rainy season. However, if you are visiting a part of Cambodia that is prone to flood, getting around on tuk tuk would be your best option. Most tuk tuk also have covers that will protect passengers from the strong rain and wind. Best way would be by taxi, although it is more expensive.

Bonus tips

  • Get a rain cover for backpacks that are not waterproof
  • Put electronics and important things (i.e., passports and documentation) in plastic bags
  • Remember to have fun!