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The Kingdom of Cambodia ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា, formerly Kampuchea, is a Southeast Asian nation that borders Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. The capital city is Phnom Penh.
Cambodia is over 181,000 square kilometres in size and is divided into 21 provinces. Much of Cambodia is relatively flat with large areas dedicated to rice production. Other areas of Cambodia are mountainous, including the Dangrek, Cardomen and Elephant mountain ranges.
There are no laws against homosexuality in Cambodia. Same-sex marriages are not permitted and overseas same-sex marriages are not legally recognised. Gay people are not harassed, and gay venues are permitted to operate freely without too much interference.
Nonetheless, coming out to one’s own family or work colleagues as being gay is still a difficult thing for many Asian gay men.
The gay scene in Cambodia is growing all the time – although it is still relatively small compared with other Asian countries.
There are many gay-owned & -managed hotels, guesthouses, bars, pubs, spas, saunas and tour companies, particularly focused around Cambodia’s two main tourist areas of Siam Reap and Phnom Penh.
Like most of Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s climate is hot and warm almost all year round. The climate is dominated by the annual monsoon cycle of rainy and dry seasons.
The rainy season lasts from May to October and the dry season from November to April. December to January is the coolest months, while the hottest period is in April. The average temperature is around 27-28ºC.
Cambodia uses type A, C and G electrical plugs with a voltage of 220 V at 50 Hz. Some outlets offer a combination of type A and C. Type G outlets are most often found in hotels.
Shopping is perhaps the other best thing to devote time to besides sightseeing. Cambodian fine silk pieces and textile materials are world-renowned, and many shops are treasure troves of sculptures, carvings, silver work and paintings.
Most shops in the tourist areas are open from about 8am until midnight, 7 days a week.
There are bank branches in most cities and towns. Banks offer the usual banking services – cash advances on credits cards (most accept Visa card,) currency exchange and cash travellers checks. ANZ Royal Banks, Canadian and SBC Banks offer ATMs with international access.
Most banks are open from 8:00 to 15:00 or 16:00, Monday through Friday. Some are open Saturday mornings until 11:30. ATM’s are available 24 hours.
Most tourists are eligible to obtain a 30-day ‘visa on arrival’. These are available at Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, and International Border Checkpoints. A fee of US$20 is charged. ASEAN Nationals do not require a visa. Longer term visas can also be obtained at Royal Cambodian Embassy or Consulate abroad. Visas can be extended at the Immigration Department in Phnom Penh City.
The Royal Government of Cambodia has recently approved e-visas. The online application form is available www.evisa.mfaic.gov.kh. You are required to pay by credit card online and upload a recent passport-sized photo in JPEG/PNG format. The visa will be approved within three business days. An e-visa enables you to breeze by a potentially lengthy line for a visa on arrival.
Cambodia can be accessed through the Phnom Penh International Airport and the Siem Reap International Airport, both of which provide full services for passengers on international flights operated by many international airlines.
Tuk-tuks, motorbikes and taxis are widely available within towns and cities. There are regular buses between all major towns, and boats are a popular means of transport along the Tonlé Sap, Bassac, and Mekong rivers.
There are regular flights between the main tourist destinations of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.