Cambodia is a friendly country located in Southeast Asia. While it's neighbors Thailand and Vietnam have enjoyed a thriving tourism industry for many years, Cambodia has only seen an increase in tourism during the last several years.
Still rebuilding from a recent genocide, Cambodia is a great destination for those looking for a less-touristy vacation spot without spending a lot of cash. While most of the major cities in Cambodia host Westernized facilities, restaurants, and hotels, there are some essentials that you should consider when planning your trip.
Small U.S. Dollar Denominations
In Cambodia, just about everyone accepts U.S. dollars as payments and in many cases they prefer it. Consider carrying smaller denominations ($1, $5, $10 dollar bills) of U.S. dollars on your trip. A lot of gifts, food, and drinks are under $5 -- so it will be easier to get change from smaller bills than larger ones. Riels (the Cambodian currency) can also be used to purchase items, but try to use them all before leaving the country as they are nearly impossible to convert into other currencies outside of Cambodia.
Toilet Paper / Toilet Tissue
While some establishments do provide toilet paper in their facilities, most do not. Consider bringing a travel roll, travel tissue, or even full-size rolls of toilet paper depending on how long you are planning on staying in the country. If you have plans to visit outside of the major cities, then plan on bringing even more.
While most Cambodians are familiar with the cuisine of their country, many tourists are not. As a visitor your body (and stomach) will be exposed to new foods and some may not be very agreeable. If possible, avoid eating too many noodles, desserts, and other items from street vendors. If tummy troubles are a persistent issue for you then consider getting prescription diarrhea medicine from your doctor before your Cambodia adventure begins.
Certain areas of Cambodia are notorious for mosquitoes, especially in the countryside at dusk. Wear long clothing when out during those times and apply bug repellent liberally. You only need a max of 30% DEET, any more DEET will not make the repellent more effective.
Anti-Itch and Insect Bite Relief
If you are prone to getting mosquito bites, then consider bringing anti-itch cream along with bug repellent. Pharmacies are easy enough to come by in Cambodia, but many will not have the same items commonly found in Western drugstores. Many pharmacies will have medicine from Thailand or France, without English translation, making it even more difficult to determine which medicine is for what (unless you know Khmer and can speak to the pharmacy owners).
Carrying a travel size hand sanitizer will come in handy when there is no soap or water available. As most bathrooms do not have soap and some do not have sinks, you will be happy to have your hand sanitizer available.
If being in the sun too long will certainly result in a sunburn because of your skin type, then you should strongly consider bringing sunblock and a hat. Cambodia is a very warm and humid country and when the sun comes out, it comes out strong, especially in the beach cities or on a clear day at Angkor Wat. If there is a sunblock brand that you prefer, then bring it along on your trip. A hat is not essential as you will be able to purchase a hat in Cambodia for a few bucks, but if you have a favorite garden hat or sunhat, then pack it - you won't regret it.
Specialty Toiletries and Other Items
If you wear eye contacts, carry enough eye contact solution for the duration of your trip as very few, if any, pharmacies in Cambodia will carry contact solution (because eye contacts are not commonly worn among the population). Other items that you may need, including Pepto-Bismol, Aloe Vera, or other specialty brands or items that you may need should be brought with you on the trip.
If you are planning on visiting the countryside, consider bringing a mini flashlight. It will come in handy as most villages do not have streetlights. Even in the urban cities, you will find many streets dark after the sun goes down. A flashlight will be helpful in finding the bathroom, reading a map, watching your step in the dark, and for other practical purposes.
Extra Pair of Cheap, Throw Away Flip Flops
Cambodia is a hot and dusty country and flip flops or sandals are a must. Aside from comfortable trekking shoes for exploring the temples at Angkor Wat and hiking around Kulen Mountain, consider bringing a pair of cheap, rubber (not leather) flip flops for lazy days on the beach or to wear while in the shower and bathroom. Sandals can be purchased cheaply in Cambodia, but seeking out sandal vendors may be time-consuming, so consider just bringing an old pair of flip flops from home.