Cambodia is on every avid traveler’s bucket list, and for good reason. Not only is it home to Angkor Wat, one of the most famous temples in the world, but Cambodia is filled with countless places just waiting for you to discover.
You’re bound to enjoy yourself exploring massive temple compounds, getting lost in bustling cities, and relaxing on gorgeous beaches — all in one country.
To properly enjoy any trip to Cambodia, it’s important to be well-prepared for the hot climate, cultural customs, and any unexpected scenarios that could arise along the way.
Follow this packing list and you’re sure to have everything you need for a successful trip!
- 1 Choosing a Travel Bag for Your Cambodia Trip
- 2 Cambodia Clothing Packing List
- 3 Cambodia Packing List: Essential Items
- 4 Toiletries to Bring
- 5 Electronics
- 6 Other Items
- 7 Planning Your Cambodia Trip
Choosing a Travel Bag for Your Cambodia Trip
The first step to packing is picking a travel bag that’s best for you and your trip. The uneven and often dirt roads make backpacks ideal for traveling in Cambodia, especially if you plan on moving around a lot.
Osprey backpacks come highly recommended as they’re super high quality, have tons of compartments and pockets, and are long-lasting.
The best part about the Fairview is that it looks like a backpack but opens up like a suitcase so you don’t have to dig around to find what you’re looking for. Plus, it comes in different sizes and colors!
The Fairview is designed for women, but Osprey also makes a men’s version called the Farpoint!
Having a detachable daypack is convenient because you don’t have to purchase any additional bags when traveling.
Here’s a woman’s version of this bag, also with a daypack on the front!
No matter which backpack you choose, packing cubes are a total game changer for fitting everything you need in your backpack. Not only do they compress what you pack, but they keep everything divided and organized for easy access. No more fumbling around looking for what you need!
Besides your main backpack, you’ll need a daypack for daily adventures and exploring.
If you plan on plan on packing odds and ends in your day pack for the trip over, I recommend this one:
Alternatively, you can opt for a packable backpack that you can keep stashed away until you’re ready to use it.
P.S. This one has more than 1,500 5 star reviews on Amazon!
Cambodia Clothing Packing List
The clothing you wear in Cambodia greatly depends on the part of the country you’re visiting. However, one thing is constant no matter where you are — the hot and humid weather.
There are two seasons in Cambodia: dry and wet. Dry season runs from October to late April and wet season is from May to late September.
The hottest time of year is right at the beginning of wet season between May and June, while the coolest time is between October and December. No matter when you visit, you can expect to be sweating the entire time.
Cambodia is a mostly Buddhist country and people tend to dress more conservatively. You’ll rarely see locals wearing shorts, skirts or tank tops; instead, they’ll typically be in long pants and at least have their shoulders covered.
While in big cities like Phnom Penh and near the beach at Koh Rong, modesty is less of a concern. However, if you plan on visiting temples and more remote areas of the country, you should be prepared to dress conservatively.
Temple dress code is strictly enforced and people who are not dressed appropriately will be denied entry, including to Angkor Wat.
To visit temples, you must have your shoulders and knees covered as a sign of respect. This is important to remember when packing for your trip, especially if Angkor Wat is your main destination.
That said, here are the items of clothing I recommend bringing on a trip to Cambodia.
Tops and BottomsT-Shirts
T-shirts are essential for Cambodia, even if you’re a tank top kind of gal. You need to have your shoulders covered at all temples, and it’s typically a good idea to have them covered in general as well, due to the conservative nature of the country.
Definitely bring along a few t-shirts made from dri-fit or quick dry material that wick sweat instead of absorbing it. Also opt for lighter colors that reflect the sun!
There will be plenty of opportunities to wear tank tops, especially while in bigger cities and by the beach. Go for flowy, lightweight materials that will not only look cute but keep you feeling cool as well.
A maxi-length skirt or dress is great for temples, and makes for awesome photos as well. Go for breathable fabrics and if you’re opting for a dress, be sure it covers your shoulders!
Hippie / Elephant Pants
If you’ve already been to Southeast Asia, chances are you came back with a pair (or two) of elephant pants.
It’s time to break them out again for this trip, as they’re prefect for wearing to temples and when you need to dress more conservatively. Plus, the thin fabric is great for hot weather.
If you don’t have a pair of these yet, hit the market when you arrive in Cambodia and pick some up! Whatever you do, don’t buy them beforehand because you’ll pay 5x the price as you will at the market.
Sundresses are a Southeast Asian must. Throw it on for a night out on Pub Street or for walking around Koh Rong. You’ll definitely get good use out of a sundress on your trip.
When exploring cities, be comfortable in a pair of shorts. Just be mindful that they aren’t too short, otherwise you may end up drawing unwanted attention to yourself.
A great way to get around Cambodia is by bicycle. Bring along a pair of sweat-wicking athletic shorts to stay cool while biking around. They’re also great for staying comfortable on long bus rides or hanging around a hostel.
As hot as Cambodia is, it’s probably a surprise that a sweatshirt makes the list, but you’ll be happy that you have one when the time comes.
Ideal for air conditioning or as a pillow for travel, a sweatshirt or light fleece is going to come in handy at some point or another.
Undergarments and Beach Wear
Koh Rong, Cambodia is home to some beautiful beaches and draws tourists from all over the world. So, if a beach is in your itinerary, pack your favorite bathing suits for swimming, sunning and water activities.
Bring something easy, flowy and cute to slip on over your bathing suit when not at the beach.
Bring along a sports bra or two made from sweat-wicking material to stay comfortable no matter what you’re doing.
Also a good idea to have sweat-wicking underwear. It may not be the most fashion forward undergarment, but you will definitely be glad you have them on long days walking around in the Cambodian heat.
Definitely bring lightweight, breathable socks to wear on sneaker days, and bring more pairs than you think you’ll need!
Bring a pair of comfy flip flops or sandals to walk around in or wear to the beach. I never travel without my Rainbows because they’re super sturdy, dependable and so comfortable after they’re broken in!
It’s definitely a good idea to pack some sneakers for bike rides and longer exploring days.
Tops and Bottoms
Bring lots of t-shirts made from lightweight or sweat-wicking material. The temple dress code applies to men as well so cover those shoulders!Tank Tops
When you’re not visiting temples, throw on a light-colored tank top for walking around, exploring, or beach trips.Lightweight Pants
Elephant pants aren’t just for women! Guys, it’s definitely a good idea to invest in a pair or two so you don’t have to wear a heavy pair of pants while in Cambodia.
If they aren’t your style, opt for a pair of linen pants or others made from a lightweight material.
When not visiting temples, you’ll probably want to let those knees roam free. Pack a few pairs of shorts for city exploring or going out at night.
Bring along some athletic shorts made from lightweight or wicking material to keep you cool on long travel days or bike rides through the city.
You’ll want a hoodie to keep warm while in freezing airports or heavily air-conditioned buses.
Undergarments and Beachwear
If you’re visiting Koh Rong or any other beach, board shorts (or other swimwear) is a must.
Bring enough underwear to last your entire trip in case you don’t have access to laundry facilities. A common characteristic for appropriate clothing in Cambodia is sweat-wicking, and this applies to underwear too.
Check out Under Armour’sselection that’s sure to keep you feeling good on even the hottest days.
Bring more than you think you’ll need because there’s nothing worse than having to re-wear a pair of dirty, smelly socks!
Bring a pair of comfortable flip flops to wear to the beach or on days when you want to let your toes go free. Make sure they’re comfortable to walk in and have good support.
As always, I recommend going for a pair of Rainbows.
Great for biking, walking, and traveling.
Cambodia Packing List: Essential Items
These items are must-haves when packing for Cambodia. You’ll certainly be sorry if you forget any of them!
Cambodia is hot year-round, and boy is the sun strong! Be sure to keep yourself protected with a high SPF sunscreen, especially as you’ll likely be spending a lot of time outside exploring temples, cities, and beaches.
Bugs are plenty and ever present in Cambodia. Mosquitoes will pester you until they’ve had their fill, and even then you’ll still be bitten. Bring a strong bugspray to keep them away from you.
Tap water in Cambodia is not safe to drink and will result in an extremely upset stomach, or worse. However, constantly buying and drinking from plastic water bottles is wasteful and bad for the environment.
Consider purchasing a water bottle with a UV light that filters tap water and makes it safe to drink.
An alternative to a water bottle with a UV light is the Life Straw. This handy tool filters water, making it safe to drink.
It’s small and easy to pack, making it extra practical for travel. This definitely comes highly recommended and will make your life so much easier while on the road.
This will definitely come in handy at one point or another, whether it’s for after bathroom use or before a meal. Soap is scarce so it’s a good idea to carry some hand sanitizer with you along your Camboidan adventures.
I bring activated charcoal pills with me no matter where I travel and they’ve saved my life more times than I can count.
You can watch what you eat and drink while in Cambodia, but in all honesty, you might still end up getting sick at some point. When taken, activated charcoal pills bind to the toxins in your system and flush them out, quickly getting rid of food poisoning, diarrhea, or other stomach ailments.
Trust me on this one, you cannot go to Cambodia without these.
With all the dust and dirt around, baby wipes are a great way to feel fresh without having to take a full shower. Great for long travel days and easy to pack, don’t skip out on these.
Most hostels and some guest houses won’t provide a towel during your stay. A quick dry towel is especially practical because it’s easy to pack, and will dry quickly even in the humid climate.
This is a must for Cambodia and it will come in handy more times than you can imagine.
Sarongs are super versatile and can be used for many different purposes. Hang it up and create a makeshift curtain, spread it out for a picnic or beach blanket, or tie it around your waist or shoulders for a more conservative outfit.
I always bring along a sarong with me, especially if I plan on visiting temples. It’s easy to keep in a day pack and pull out when needed!
A raincoat is essential, especially if you’re visiting Cambodia during wet season. You’re sure to be caught in a downpour at some point, so pack a lightweight raincoat that you can bring along in your day pack for easy use when needed.
Keep your luggage safe by locking it up with TSA-approved locks. Bonus points if the locks are big enough to be used on hostel lockers!
There’s nothing more important than keeping your passport and money safe while traveling. I always keep mine in a travel wallet, locked away safely and separate from my everyday spending money and credit cards.
While traveling, it’s a good rule of thumb to leave most of your cash packed away and take only what you need. A travel wallet has tons of pockets for a passport, money, change, and even pockets to store flight tickets or other travel documents.
Toiletries to Bring
Here’s a general list of toiletries you should consider bringing with you. It may be hard to find the same products you use at home while in Cambodia, so bring enough for the entire trip.
A sturdy toiletry bag with lots of compartments is recommended. I love this toiletries bag and always take it on my adventures.
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Face wash and body wash
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Hair brush
- Lip balm
- Feminine hygiene products
If you don’t feel like packing your own, consider purchasing one of these toiletry kits that have everything you’ll need for a trip. They come in both men’s and women’s products, with a carrying bag.
Keep the electronics you take to Cambodia with you to the bare minimum — only bring what you’ll really need and use while you’re there.
Here are some recommended items.
A universal adapter is essential because the outlets in Cambodia are probably different from the ones you have at home. With an adapter, you’ll be able to charge or plug in anything you need.
The places you visit in Cambodia are breathtakingly beautiful and call for frequent photo ops.
Be sure to bring along a camera to document special moments throughout the trip. Also remember to bring extra SD cards in case you run out of memory, and a charge of course.
Save room and weight in your bag by bringing a Kindle instead of books. With a Kindle, you have thousands of titles at your fingertips, giving you plenty of reading material while on the road.
If you plan on traveling in Cambodia, prepare for long bus rides. Pass the time by listening to music or audiobooks along the way.
Days in Cambodia can get pretty lengthy as there’s a lot to see. Bring a powerbank to keep your electronics fully charged on even the longest days.
Here are some other items you should bring along with you to make sure your trip is as successful and hassle-free as possible.
Be prepared for anything with a travel first aid kit. Whether you need band aids, an ace wrap or a quick painkiller, a travel first aid kit has it all in one convenient place.
Protect those eyes from harmful UV rays with a pair of dependable sunglasses. I can full-heartedly recommend Sungod’s sunglasses as they’re functional, durable, and good looking. Plus, they’re totally customizable and ship anywhere in the world!
Getting bug bites in Cambodia is inevitable. Keep yourself from scratching by applying Afterbite to your bumps.
If you burn easily, definitely bring along some aloe to sooth your sunburn and keep your skin from peeling!
This is a must for me when I go to Cambodia.
When traveling around, the roads are not generally paved, making for super bumpy and long trips. Coupled with a cramped bus (sometimes without air conditioning), this makes for an incredibly unpleasant travel experience.
Keep an upset stomach at bay with Dramamine or other motion sickness medicine.
Notebook & Pens
Keep track of all you do in a journal that you can look back on years down the road. Don’t forget writing materials!
Planning Your Cambodia Trip
If you’re still in the planning phases of your Cambodia trip, here are some important things to note.
If you don’t have a passport from an ASEAN country, be sure to have the correct visa sorted out before taking your trip to Cambodia.
A single entry tourist visa to Cambodia is valid for 30 days and costs $30 USD. Most times, you can get a visa on arrival, but be sure to have a passport that’s valid for at least 6 months, extra passport photos, and the correct amount of money in the designated currency.
The official currency of Cambodia is the riel, but U.S. dollars are widely used throughout the country. Most ATMs deliver dollars instead of riel, but there are plenty of places to exchange currency in the rare occurrence that the dollar isn’t accepted.
An interesting aspect of this currency situation is that U.S. coins aren’t used, only bills. So if you pay for something and require small change, you’ll likely receive it in riel even if you use dollars initially.
Accommodation in Cambodia
One of the awesome things about Cambodia (and the majority of Southeast Asia) is that there’s an abundance of cheap accommodation available for travelers to choose from.
No matter your budget, you’re able to find stays ranging from hostel dorms to a 5 star, luxury retreat.
To see what we’re talking about check out our article on best places to stay in Cambodia!
Transportation in Cambodia
While booking buses in Cambodia, I recommend sticking with Mekong Express or Giant Ibis, which have the safest track record and are all around the best companies to travel with.
Cambodia Safety Tips
When traveling in Cambodia, it’s important to be alert and aware of your surroundings. It’s a generally safe place, but there are tourist traps and scams that rope in innocent travelers.
Be aware of shared taxi scams and false visa charges. To avoid these, do proper research about the buses you plan on taking and requirements for entering the country.
Be wary of bus drivers trying to convince you to stay at a certain guesthouse or change money at a certain exchange place. Often times, bus drivers receive a hefty commission from the business they push tourists towards.
Also be sure to keep your belongings close to you, especially your valuables. For women, I recommend using a cross body purse with a zipper to keep your belongings safe from pickpockets. Men should avoid keeping their phone and wallet in their back pockets because those are the easiest targets.
We have tons of resources to help you plan your Cambodian adventure, whether you’re looking for places to visit, things to see, what to eat or great spots to stay.
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