Ancient temples, empty beaches, mighty rivers, remote forests ... and (outside Angkor) only a handful of tourists. But the word is out - Cambodia has emerged from the decades of war and isolation that made it a byword for atrocities, refugees, poverty and political instability. Those magical Angkor temples are drawing gaping travellers by the busload once more, and Cambodia is well and truly back on the South-East Asian travel map.
The successor-state of the mighty Khmer Empire - which ruled much of what is now Vietnam, Laos and Thailand - Cambodia boasts a rich culture, French-era (albeit a little weathered) capital and impressive natural scenery. The peace is young but relatively stable, and the country is slowly attracting the tourism currently sweeping neighbouring Vietnam. However, the proliferation of land mines and banditry in remote areas means the picture isn't all rosy, and for now the beaten path remains by far the one best traveled.
Cambodia has such an unstable recent history that no-one is ever quite sure what's around the corner. It is advisable to keep yourself well-informed about current affairs within the country. There are some excellent cheap English & French publications which allow you to do this : English: Cambodia Daily 1200 riel, Phnom Penh Post 3500 riel, fortnightly Bayon Pearnik - free monthly, French : Cambodge Soir, 1500 riel - daily.
The other major information sources are from guest-houses & people, both long-term resident ex-pats & travellers themselves. In Phnom Penh, Capitol GH is a renowned place for info, but now any friendly guest-house area is good for finding out what you need to know.
With regard landmines - There are still many thousands of land-mines & unexploded ordnance in more remote areas of Cambodia. The chances of approaching these areas unknown to you is very small. In rural areas, always seek local advice & don't stray from that path.
In Phnom Penh & Siem Reap, moto taxis are the main option.
Bus : Newly erected bus shelters have been spotted in Phnom Penh!! As yet no information on services.
Taxi : Phnom Penh Un-metered easily found around Central Market. One company ( Vantha Travel) does operate a couple of metered taxis. 24 hour service.
Car Hire : Car hire US$20+/day incl. Driver. Bargain
Cyclo : Cycle rickshaw. Phnom Penh. The most stylish way to see Phnom Penh. Single journey 1500 riel, must bargain !! usually $1/hour
Moto-Motorbike Taxi : Motos are everywhere. Typically 1000 riel per journey. Bargain. One word of caution about moto drivers. The moto drivers at the GH's have good English. 95% of moto drivers in Phnom Penh have no English beyond .."you need moto?".
It helps to know your way back from town to your GH or navigate by landmarks obvious to locals (Phsa Central, Wat Phnom). On the upside, these guys are usually cheaper!!! In Siem Reap $5-6/day
These customs are common throughout South East Asia.