Q1. How can I obtain a Cambodian visa?
A1. There are two ways to obtain a Cambodian visa. If you have time, you can apply for the visa in advance at the Royal Cambodian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Make sure that you receive the right visa type (Type B), so you can have it extended at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when you are in Cambodia. Otherwise, you can obtain a visa, which is a regular one, upon arrival at the airport for a fee of $20. This visa will be good for one month, after which time PAS can facilitate visa extensions through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; however, you may have to pay for the extension fee. If you choose the latter option, please have extra passport size photos on hand upon arrival.
Q2. Is there a bank in Phnom Penh that you can recommend for a wire transfer, or, how should I bring money into the country? I do not have an account at a Phnom Penh bank and I would rather not carry a substantial sum with me in cash. Any suggestions?
A2. Cash: Cambodia has a cash-based economy and virtually all transactions take place in dollars. We recommend having a fair amount of dollars on hand initially; the rest can safely be brought in travelers checks, which can be exchanged at most banks or hotels (normally a 3% commission is charged). You will not have access to the Embassy’s cashier service unless there is an emergency need to do so. A limited number of establishments (including top hotels) accept credit cards.
Q3. I would like to bring some materials with me for my teaching assignment in Cambodia. If I decide to ship some of these materials by DHL to lighten my luggage, would it be possible to use the Embassy or any other address you can suggest, as a shipping address? If so, will there be a problem with "extra fees"
A3. As a Fulbright scholar or English Language Fellow, you are authorized to make a one-time shipment of materials in support of your program. This shipment is limited to 4 boxes, each weighing less than 40 pounds. These materials cannot be sent back to the U.S. via pouch. Due to pouch regulations, no other mail services are available through the Embassy. Please use the following address:
Theresa Loong, Public Diplomacy Officer
4540 Phnom Penh Place
Dulles, VA 20189-4540
Hold for: (your name)
Q4. Will the host institution and/or the Embassy assist with housing arrangements?
A4. You can rent a private house in a residential area near the university or rent an apartment in a complex inside the city. Post will identify 2-3 places that you can choose from once you are here and can take a look yourself. In the meantime, post will arrange for temporary accommodation at a reasonably priced hotel to allow you a few days to consider your options. In additional, if you were to bring any appliances to use here, please keep in mind the electricity is 220V.
Q5. What is the availability of prescription medication in Phnom Penh? Should I bring a sufficient supply for the duration of my program, or is there a way to fill prescriptions through the Embassy?
A5. Post recommends you bring a sufficient supply for the duration of your stay in Phnom Penh. There is an SOS clinic adjacent to the Embassy and you can contact them for advice if you do need medical attention or prescriptions while you are here (they would know if/where you could find the medication you need). But it is safest to have enough medication on hand, as the Embassy has no pharmacy on-site and you are not authorized to use the pouch system to refill prescriptions by mail.
Q6. I have a school-age child and would like to enroll him/her in a local school. What options are available and who should I contact?
A6. There are two options available. The Northbridge International School offers a PK-12 curriculum. The school director is David Eaton, who can be contacted by phone at +855-23-886-000; fax +855-23-886-009 or e-mail at NISC@NorthbridgeCommunities.com. For more information about the school, please go to www.NorthbridgeCommunities.com.
The International School of Phnom Penh also offers a PK-12 curriculum. The School Director is Rob Mockrish, phone +855-23-213-103. The e-mail is email@example.com. For more information about the school, please go to www.ispp.edu.kh.
Q7. What is the public transportation system like?
A7. There is no local bus system and taxis are not readily available, though private cars are avaiable for hire on an occasional basis through several local services. The primary means of public transport is to hop on the back of a local motorcycle, though this is not recommended for safety and security reasons. If you wish, post can arrange to rent a car for you and your family for the duration of your program, at a cost of approximately $400 per month. Costs for this should be covered out of the gas grant you receive in Washington.
Q8. Will the Embassy provide me with an emergency radio, use of the on-site Internet Cafe or a permanent access badge to the Embassy?
A8. Because program grantees are not permanently assigned to the mission and are not official contractors, these services are not authorized during your program in Cambodia. During visits to the Embassy, you will have to be escorted on the compound by a member of the PAS staff. There are many Internet cafes available for personal Internet/e-mail access.
Q9. Will I have access to the U.S. government e-mail system?
A9. Since you are not a government official permanently assigned to the mission, you are not allowed to access the U.S. government e-mail system. You will, however, be able to use a computer, Internet/e-mail, phone and fax in the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy for official businesses from time to time. However, you may wish to brinkg your own laptop for routine work.
Q10. Will I have an office at the host institution? If so, does it have computer, Internet, e-mail, telephone and fax facilities?
A10. Grantees will usually be provided an office at the host institution. However, please be aware that local facilities are generally very modest and will most likely not have Internet/e-mail access. Telephone and fax access may be limited, depending on the institution at which you will be working. We will contact the scholar individually to inform him of the specific arrangements that will be provided by each institution.
Q11. Who will I meet with upon arrival in Phnom Penh?
A11. A member of the PAS staff will greet you at the airport and ensure that you get settled into your temporary accommodation shortly after arrival. A courtesy call will be scheduled with the Public Affairs Officer as soon as possible after your arrival.
Q12. How can I learn some Khmer? Is language instruction available locally?
A12. There are several local Khmer instructors who can offer you Khmer classes at reasonable prices, as well as some local schools. Some books are available in the local markets, but there do not seem to be commercial tapes available to accompany them.
Q13. Will it be difficult to find a baby sitter/cook/cleaner?
A13. Domestic help is readily available, though most potential applicants speak very little English. The Public Affairs Office may be able to assist you in locating one for your family.
Q14. What is the local security situation?
A14. Street crime remains a concern in Cambodia. Military weapons and explosives remain readily available to criminals despite efforts by authorities to collect and destroy such weapons. Armed robberies occur frequently in Phnom Penh, and while not specifically trageted, foreign residents adn visitors are among the victims. Victims of armed robberies are reminded that they should not resist and should surrender their valuables as any perceived resistance may be met with physical violence to include lethal force.
Pickpockets and beggars are also present in the markets and at the tourist sites. Persons visiting Cambodia should practice sound personal security awareness by varying their routes and routines, maintaining a low profile, not carrying or displaying large amounts of cash, not wearing flashy or expensive jewelry, and not walking the streets alone after dark. In addition, we recommend that Americans travel by automobile and not use local moto-taxies or cyclos for transportation. These vehicles are more vulnerable to armed robberies and offer no protection against injury, when involved in traffic accidents.
The Heart of Darkness nightclub in Phnom Penh has been placed off limits to all persons under the authority of the Chief of Mission due to a number of safety and security incidents that have occurred there. American citizens are also advised not to visit that establishment.
Political and labor related public demonstrations occur on a fairly regular basis in the capital city, are generally peaceful and conducted without notable incident. Nonetheless, these gatherings have turned violent on occasion and the Embassy continues to advise American citizens to avoid political rallies, demonstrations, and political party offices where crowds may gather.
Q15. What vaccinations should I plan or before arriving in Cambodia?
A15. Recommended vaccinations for Phnom Penh include rabies, hepatitis A, hepatitis B (for at-risk groups), typhoid as well as standard childhood immunizations, diphtheria/tetanus/polio and measles/mumps/rubella and polio. The prevalence of Japanese encephalitis is low and not recommended for short-stay visitors who will be working in primarily urban centers. Visitors staying over several months or traveling extensively through the countryside may wish to be vaccinated. Given the low prevalence of malaria in most areas of Cambodia, travelers are advised against taking anti-malarial prophylaxis unless they are traveling to one of the remote jungle areas. Should an individual need to travel to these jungle areas, anti-malarials can be obtained locally. Travelers should be advised that rabies and Japanese encephalitis are a series of three vaccinations over the course of one month and the hepatitis A and B series require six months to complete. Other information on vaccinations and medical conditions in Cambodia are available through the websites of the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) www.cdc.gov or The World Health Organization (WHO) www.who.int.
Q16. What kind of clothes should I bring to Cambodia?
A16. Many Cambodians wear Western-style clothing, particularly in Phnom Penh, but traditional skrits and sarongs are also common. Although shorts are seen on Westerners and Cambodian children, Cambodian adults do not wear them. Clothing appropriate for a tropical climate is worn year round, and most occasions call for casual attire.
At work, men will be most comfortable in short-sleeved dress shirts and cotton pants. Long-sleeved dress shirts and neckties are appropriate for business meetings and more formal occasions. Cotton material is available locally, and dress shirts can be made inexpensively.
You should bring tropical-weight suits for formal occasions, although for most situations shirt and tie is adequate. Formal entertaining is rare in Cambodia.
Personnel should bring with them to post any desired athletic shoes and clothing (including bathing suits).
Women will be most comfortable at work wearing at or below the knee lightweight skirts and dresses, or appropriate slacks. Shorter styles are acceptable for westerners butare not customary in Cambodian culture. Tight, scanty or otherwise revealing clothing should be avoided. In Cambodia’s tropical climate, natural fiber clothing, especially cotton, is usually the most comfortable. Sandals or other casual shoes are appropriate for work; for more formal occasions, pumps or dress sandals are appropriate. At more formal functions, women should wear skirts or dresses rather than pants. Formal entertainment is rare at the post and evening dress is not necessary. Women should not wear black or white to Cambodian weddings (these colors are worn at funerals).