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What to Expect from Cambodia’s Visa on Arrival Process

By Courtney Ridgel

Most travelers to Cambodia, including US citizens, will need visas.  We recommend using the visa on arrival system in Cambodia but you also have the option of using the e-visa system.

Passengers disembark outside when arriving in Siem Reap

For visa on arrival services, you will be handed the immigration forms on the plane ride into Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.  (If you miss getting the forms on the flight, you can also pick them up in the airport when you arrive.)

Head into the newly renovated and upgraded Siem Reap Airport

Siem Reap is a small airport, so you’ll disembark outside and head into the newly renovated (and enlarged) airport terminal.

For visa on arrival in Siem Reap, head to the right-hand side of the entrance.

For visa on arrival, you’ll need to enter the ‘Apply Visas’ line, on the right and turn in the visa application form (check the box to apply for a tourist visa, which is valid for 30 days), a passport photo (a 2×2 sized headshot with a blank background – no hats or glasses) and the visa fee of US$30.00.

Just after you enter the Siem Reap Airport from disembarking, turn to your right for the visa application line.

Your passport will tossed down the counter to the next available official and you will head to the next line to pick it up.  Don’t be surprised it the process seems a bit casual by US Immigration standards.

Pick up your passport at the other end of the counter.

Once you have your visa in hand with the visa label, head to your left and pass through the Immigration inspection.  Cambodia uses entry and exit forms so you’ll need to present this to the official.  They will scan your fingerprints and take your photo, before stamping your passport. Once you passport has been stamped, move through to collect your luggage.

In the Siem Reap airport, after receiving your visa, move to your left to pass through the Immigration inspection.

Guides and taxi drivers are not permitted to enter the airport, so you’ll need to exit the building to find your guide holding a sign with your name.  Walk up, say hello and welcome to the Kingdom of Wonder!

Your guide will have a printed sign with your name

For the e-visa service, visit the website for Ministry of Foreign Affairs on their e-visa page.  (Make sure you visit the official government site, and not one of the knock-offs sites.) The fee for this visa is $30.00 + $7.00 processing fee for a total of US$37.00.  E-visas are only valid for 90 days, so be sure not to apply too early!  If you choose to use the e-visa service, please be careful to accurately enter your information as it can be difficult to get it corrected.  The e-visa works beautifully when there are no errors in the paperwork, but when there are, we’ve seen multiple travelers end up having to purchase a second visa through the visa on arrival process.

Artwork in the newly renovated Siem Reap airport

What to Expect at the new Angkor Temples Ticketing Office

The New Angkor Temples Ticket Booth – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

By Courtney Ridgel

As we’ve blogged about before, the ticket prices at Angkor Wat have increased this year, to ensure that Cambodia has the funds to preserve and protect the Angkor Complex.

At the new Angkor Temples Ticket Booth- Photo Credit: Narla Phay

Along with the new prices, comes a new (and much larger) ticketing office to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of visitors that Angkor Wat receives each year.  All foreigners are required to purchase a pass to visit the Angkor Temple Complex (or drive through on your way to something else).   Khmer people are free to come and go from the Complex as they please.

On a Journeys Within tour, your guide will take you to the Angkor Temples Ticket Booth before beginning your touring.

Dana and Chris testing out the new Ticketing Booth – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

You’ll pull up and park, and your guide will escort you to the ticket counter, where you’ll join the queue.  Be sure to read the information about the Angkor Complex Code of Conduct to make sure that you understand the regulations and expectations at these sacred monuments.

Dana, Chris and Journeys Within guide, Santhou, awaiting their turn at the ticketing counter – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

When it is your turn, you’ll need to pose for a photo.  Hats are ok, but you’ll need to remove your sunglasses.

Dana removing her sunglasses to have her photo taken – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

After you guide pays for your tickets, he’ll hand it over to you.  Be sure not to lose it as you tour as you’ll have to show it at various checkpoints!

Santhou handing Dana her temple pass – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

From here you’ll head out for an exciting day at the temples!

Dana, ready for a day of adventure with her temple pass! – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

2017 ChubMet Music & Art Festival

Battle of the Bands – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin

By Naida Dizdarevic

Siem Reap, Cambodia
The creative scene in Siem Reap has been developing at a rapid rate in recent years. Where arts & music was once a thing of the past, it is now becoming more and more prevalent in modern Cambodian society. This expression of creativity enhanced the need for a festival to showcase and celebrate the reemergence of formerly lost talents that the Cambodian people have.  The ChubMet Music and Art Festival began with an opening street party on 17th February, 2017 where one could wander the popular Kandal Village locale and find street performances by festival partner Phare – The Cambodian Circus; drop into the pop up cinema offered by The Little Red Fox Espresso and watch an intriguing documentary on the prevalence of music in Cambodia; or journey on, to the main stage, and watch the variety of live music performances throughout the evening.

Opening Party – Phare Circus – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Opening Party – Live painting – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival

As part of the festival, the long-standing Giant Puppet Parade celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a wonderful parade through the streets of Siem Reap, concluding with a free concert in the Royal Gardens. Performers on this momentous occasion included Kong Nay– known locally as the Ray Charles of Cambodia & KmengKhmer– Cambodia’s hottest boy band.

One of the performers in the Giant Puppet Parade – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin
Children in the Giant Puppet Parade – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin
Kong Nay – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
KmengKhmer performing at the Giant Puppet Parade – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival

The 2 week festival hosted multiple crowd-drawing events including Battle of the Bands, Urban Art & Hip Hop Night and a magical performance of Modern Music & Ancient Sounds at FCC Angkor. The festival concluded on 2nd March with a key performance by Grammy Award winner Joss Stone at Jaya House River Park. This performance brought an international contingent to the festival and was enjoyed by a fantastic combination of Cambodian and Western attendees, coming together for one last evening.

Battle of the Bands – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Hip Hop & Urban Art – Professor Elemental – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Modern Music & Ancient Sounds – Rasmee – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Joss Stone – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin

Journeys Within was proud to be nominated as the official travel partner of the ChubMet Music & Art Festival and have the opportunity to promote this unique event to an international audience. The Cambodian team had the pleasure of guiding Joss Stone and her team around a few of Siem Reap’s most special sites during their stay. Head Guide, Sina & Assistant Regional Director, Narla both loved spending time with Joss, saying that she was a truly special person.

Narla and Joss Stone – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival
Joss Stone – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival

2017 was the second year that Siem Reap has hosted the ChubMet Music & Art Festival. We all look forward to the wonderful showcase the 2018 festival will surely offer and Journeys Within looks forward to being involved with the organization of this fantastic event again next year.

A crowd of onlookers at the Giant Puppet Parade – Photo Credit: ChubMet Music and Art Festival

From the Ground: New Mey Chrey Floating Village Tour

Photo Credit: Jay Austin

Mey Chrey is one of the only year-round floating villages in Siem Reap Province. This village, unlike many others, is made up of purely Cambodian residents making it one of the most authentic displays of Cambodian ‘floating’ culture available. When putting this tour together, we focused on finding a family our guests could visit and interact with in order to avoid the voyeuristic way that most tourists currently see this and other villages like this in Cambodia. This tour is designed to spread the money brought in by tourism a little further into the community.  Guests will have the opportunity to purchase snacks from local shops and to be paddled around by their new local friends to get an in depth look at day-to-day life in this kind of village.  This experience is unique as most tourists visit floating villages on large boats and don’t have the chance to meet the residents of the village.

From the Ground: New Siem Reap Spiritual Tour

The Fortune Teller in Siem Reap – Photo Credit: Anna Baldwin

We are thrilled to announce Journeys Within’s new Siem Reap Spiritual Tour, which will give you a brief glimpse into Cambodia’s deeply spiritual culture.  Fortune Tellers, alongside monks, are deeply respected in the community and are frequently visited for advice about life, and to ask guidance from the spirits. On the Journeys Within Spiritual Tour, you will begin with visit to a local fortune teller for a session. As he does a reading for you,  the Journeys Within guide will translate his words into English.

Afterwards,  you will move on to visit the pagodas of Siem Reap – Wat Bo, Wat Preah Prom Rath and Wat Damnak. Most Khmers (Cambodians) visit their local pagoda (also known as wats or temples) regularly to receive blessings and give alms to the spirit world – a very important part of the Buddhist religion, and pagodas become extremely busy around religious holidays, especially Khmer New Year and Pchum Benh.  You will receive a blessing performed by a monk from the pagoda to cleanse your spirit from which you will take away a small red ribbon tied around your wrist to protect you for the rest of your travels.

Note: If Spiritual Readings interest you, you may also be interested in meeting with Sophie Ferry.  Sophie originally hails from France but was trained in the healing arts in Laos before moving to Siem Reap.  She specializes in moving energy, and works with expats, travelers, locals and animals to heal both mind and body.  While not part of our Spiritual Tour, if you are interested in meeting with Sophie, let the Journeys Within team know, and we can help arrange this for you.