Where Is It?

Cambodia is in Southeast Asia. It lies between Thailand to the east and Vietnam to the west. Its northern border is partly Thailand and partly Laos. It has a coastline of nearly 500 kilometres on the Gulf of Thailand Sea with beautiful beaches and many islands ranging in size.

It lies between about 10 and 15° north of the equator and is consequently hot and humid all year round. The country covers an area of 181 000sq km – a little more than the size of the province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa, or three-quarters of the size of the United Kingdom.

Near to Siem Reap, roughly in the center of the country, you will find the enormous Tonlé Sap Lake – the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It was declared a Unesco Biosphere reserve in 2001. This lake is a whole world on its own with permanent villages in the middle of the lake. In the rainy season (June to early October) it expands from around 2 500sq km to around 15 000sq km with the depth of the lake increasing from around 1,5 metres to around 10 metres.

The mighty Mekong River flows out of Loas in the north, roughly through the centre of the country, bisecting the capital Phnom Penh before flowing into the South China Sea in Vietnam. You can take a variety of trips on the river – ranging from simple sundowner booze cruises in Phnom Penh to a trip all the way from Tonlé Sap Lake to Saigon (Ho Chi Min City) in Vietnam.

You will currently have to stop over at least once to get from South Africa to Cambodia. You can fly directly into either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap – both of which have very modern, efficient airports.

The quickest and easiest way to get there is via Singapore – 10,5 hours to Singapore and then an hour and fifty minutes from Singapore to Phnom Penh on their regional airline, Silk Air.

The cheapest way is through Hong Kong on either SAA or Cathay Pacific and then a regional airline directly to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. There are also flights through Doha on Qatar Airways and Emirates through Dubai.

Crazy Stat: Cambodia has 3 000 temples and 50 000 monks; 3 000 generals and 15 000 soldiers in their army!