Cambodia Tourist Visa and Current Travel Guidelines

Cambodia is a country whose international appeal to tourists has been steadily increasing over the years.

Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, the two most popular countries for tourists in Southeast Asia, Cambodia was once a place that backpackers would use as a bridge between more well-trodden ports of call.

Now though, Cambodia is much more than a stepping stone, it is an outright destination, which is reflected in the consistent annual spikes in foreigners applying for and receiving a Cambodia tourist visa.

To facilitate this process, Cambodian tourism officials have implemented an eVisa for citizens of several countries, with the list growing to include more nations. Recently, officials introduced an option for passport holders from India, hoping to tap into one of the largest populations in the world with the Cambodia eVisa for Indians.

Is Cambodia currently issuing tourist visas?

As restrictions have fluctuated during the pandemic, the most important tip for applying for a visa to Cambodia is to ensure that the country is accepting foreign visitors.

The current answer is: Yes, you can get a Cambodia tourist visas. However, prospective travelers must familiarize themselves with the most recent updates from the Cambodian government before traveling as alterations to the current guidelines and rules can be made at a moment’s notice.

When applying for your Cambodia tourist visa, take the following tips into account:

  • Start your application early.
  • Make sure your passport is valid (including 6 months past your travel dates).
  • Follow all the requirements and get all of the necessary documents read.
  • Make all travel bookings required for the visa ahead of time (though, make sure to double check cancellation policies on your flights and accommodation as you never know when travel restrictions may change again).
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Siem Reap, Cambodia

How important is tourism to Cambodia?

The coronavirus pandemic and resulting fallout had an enormous impact on Cambodia. As was the case with any nation that derives such a large percentage of its GDP from its tourism sector, the March 23rd, 2020 closing of its borders shut off the income stream for millions of Cambodians who rely on foreign visitors for their livelihood.

With that in mind, motivation has remained high to work to contain the COVID-19 virus to once again be able to welcome tourists back into the country at or approaching the pre-pandemic levels.

Related Read: Travelling in a Pandemic: Crucial Safe Travel Tips

Cambodia tourist visa
Tourism in Cambodia supports the locals

What to do and see in Cambodia

After applying for and receiving a valid Cambodian eVisa, and also verifying that travelers can enter the country, there are a ton of reasons to take a trip or even volunteer in Cambodia.

The most consistent of these reasons is certainly the temple and palace structures that can be found throughout the country. The famous Angkor Wat temple not only attracts hordes of visitors daily, but it even adorns the country’s flag, showing its importance to the nation and its people.

Angkor Wat is hardly the only draw for foreigners looking to experience Cambodian culture. There is often a misconception that Angkor Wat is a standalone temple somewhere out in the jungle when that is not the case at all.

Siem Reap, the town that functions as the jumping-off point for a trip to Angkor Wat, features an entire temple complex that houses Khmer (Cambodian people) structures, buildings, and temples made from stone such as the Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, and the Terrace of the Elephants.

There can be a lot of misinformation from companies and individuals looking to take advantage of clueless tourists, so it is always best to read up on tips for visiting Cambodia and, more especially, Siem Reap before departing.

Angkor Wat, volunteer in Cambodia
Angkor Wat, in Cambodia

Following local travel guidelines in Cambodia

Understanding and respecting local customs and ways of life is the absolute bare minimum that visitors should do before entering a country. Every country and people have their specific ways of doing things and unique cuisine and Cambodia is no different.

The importance of understanding a country is elevated even more while the coronavirus remains a threat. Just because a country is issuing tourist visas does not mean that the country is going to be completely open for business.

States, counties, cities, and even individual neighborhoods or locales may have their guidelines or restrictions, so anyone who plans to visit Cambodia should research not just the general government-issued regulations, but also the local ones depending on where they are planning to visit.

What types of restrictions does Cambodia have?

Travelers from many countries may have to quarantine upon arrival in Cambodia, subject to their country of origin’s current infection rates. Visitors will also be required to undergo two COVID tests, one upon arrival, and another on the 13th day of the quarantine to ensure that they are not carrying the virus.

Another important factor to consider when making an itinerary is that there are three classifications for regions of Cambodia concerning each area’s infection rates.

  • Red Zones” have the most strict regulations in place and areas that fall under that category are essentially in lockdown.
  • Dark-Yellow Zones” have slightly more freedom of movement for their residents and visitors, but it is still not recommended that tourists visit these areas as they will be subject to strict rules.
  • Yellow Zones” are the least restrictive areas and in these sections, many businesses and restaurants are permitted to remain open and people may walk around freely.

While traveling may feel harder now than it was before, we still encourage you to visit Cambodia! Get your Cambodia tourist visa, check the current regulations and restrictions and come visit!

Medellin Neighborhoods to Explore Beyond the Tourist Zone

Most tourists visiting Medellin in Colombia tend to stick to the usual tourist zone in the city. But, there are so many more Medellin neighborhoods to explore.

Parque Lleras is in Poblado neighborhood where tourists and well-heeled locals in Medellin come to play. It’s surrounded by hostels, restaurants, and bars and has been a magnet for travelers for years.

In addition to living there, I’ve traveled to Medellin, Colombia, dozens of times. So, one of my favorite things to do is get out of the tourism zone in Poblado and visit the city’s more working-class areas.

If you want to explore more of what Medellin has to offer, then you need to travel further out to the more localized neighborhoods in Medellin.

Related Read: Visit Colombia: Travel Tips for Your Trip

Getting out of the Tourism Zone in Medellin.

Best Medellin neighborhoods to explore

If you want to get out of the tourist zone of Medellin but still keep it safe, an excellent place to come is the barrio of Santo Domingo. It’s accessible by Metro Cable (gondola lift system) from the city’s easy-to-manage train (metro) stops.

It will give a traveler insight into a working-class Medellin neighborhood. It’s up in the hills of Medellin, to the north of the city, and can provide travelers with some real insight is how people live in Medellin. As you look up the hills, you will see that the houses are really colorful. A lot of them are self-built.

Use the Metro Cable to get around the city

The Metro Cable helped transformed Santo Domingo. Today it’s still primarily poor and working-class, but with a safer present and a brighter future to aspire to.

What I like about Medellin is that the government was very progressive in terms of putting the Metro Cable up. It serves as potential transportation for the people who live here, but it’s also a tourist attraction. So, you will see some tourists here from time to time. There’s a significant police presence during the day, so it’s no problem to just hang out with the people of Santo Domingo. I think it’ll really enhance your trip.

Exploring more Medellin neighborhoods on the Metro Cable
Robert Rose of Raw Travel TV in Santo Domingo

Neighborhoods further up the Metro Cable

Parque Arvi

If you want a quick break from the hustle and bustle of Medellin, just continue on the metro cable a bit further up the mountain to the lovely Parque Arvi.

Parque Arvi is just a short Metro Cable ride up from Santo Domingo, but you’re a world away from Medellin.

Parque Arvi is a marvel of urban planning and a credit to Medellin’s progressive, socially conscious government initiatives.

Comuna 13 (aka Comuna Trece)

Another recommendation is to check out the once dangerous but now crowded area of Comuna 13. Perhaps no community suffered more during Pablo Escobar’s reign than Community thirteen (Comuna Trece in Spanish).

This barrio was once ground zero in the war between the government and narco-traffickers.

Today, Comuna Trece has made a remarkable comeback and is a shining example of social inclusion tourism’s potential.

Over 1,000 visitors a day trek to this former “no man’s land” to experience the stunning views, colorful murals, art, local flavor, and outdoor escalators.

What I really liked about my tour of Comuna Thirteen was the fact that I was able to see this area and at the same time help the people there.

And if you think about it, that’s a fantastic turnaround because just a few years ago, no one would even venture in there. Now, over a thousand travelers a day are visiting, spending their money, and getting to know the people. And doing it in a responsible, sustainable way.

I think one of the reasons it works is social inclusion. They’re including the people there. The revenue stream is also giving them a point of pride about where they live. Because it is stunning.

I think it can serve as a model for communities worldwide to develop tourism and how tourism can help impoverished communities turn things around while helping out the locals living there. While assisting the traveler in getting an idea of what it’s like, what people live like, in most of the world.

To me, it’s a win-win situation. And I think so long as it’s done sustainably and responsibly, I really don’t see a downside to doing it. I’m glad I did it. I really recommend it to other travelers as well.

Join this Comuna 13 Graffiti Tour with a local guide. You’ll get to learn about the troubled history of Medellín while checking out amazing street art and meeting artists and local residents in the community.

Medellin neighborhoods - Comuna Trece
Comuna Trece (Comuna 13)

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The Biggest Tourist Attractions in Uganda

Uganda “The Pearl of Africa” is efficiently endowed with a variety of habitats plus corresponding flora and fauna with a diversity of attractions to act as a focus for tourist attractions making it the number one tourism destination in the whole of East Africa.

But, what the biggest tourist attractions in Uganda, that you absolutely CANNOT miss out on?

Keep reading to find out.

Biggest tourist attractions in Uganda

Below are some of the activities that visitors can take part in while in Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking

Almost half of the population of the rare Mountain Gorillas also referred to as “Man’s shy cousins” are found in Uganda. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is the number one tourist attraction in Uganda and a must do for every visitor to Uganda whether for the first time or not. In Uganda, the activity is done in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in South-Western Uganda.

Several volcanoes known as the Virungas run through the western section of the East African Rift Valley, forming part of the border between Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. These magnificent mountains are also a haven for the endangered Mountain gorillas hence the activity is also done in Rwanda and Congo.

Chimpanzees Tracking

Tracking the noisy Chimps is another one of the exciting tourist activities in Uganda. Chimpanzees are man’s closest relatives, they mainly communicate by drumming trees, screaming or hooting and are tracked down by following their unique sounds.

Chimpanzee tracking is done in Kibale Forest, Murchison Falls at Kaniyo Papidi and Queen Elizabeth National Park Kyambura Gorge area. An opportunity to watch the impressive chimps climbing, playing, mating, feeding, looking after their young, and responding to the presence of human beings. Plus spending a night in the Kibale jungle six meters up in a tree house.

The Mysterious Tree Climbing Lions of Ishasha

A visit to Queen Elizabeth National Park should include the two hour drive to the Ishasha sector of the Park with its extraordinary tree climbing lions plus other wildlife that is found in the area. Besides Ishasha, these mysterious animals are found in only one other place which is the Lake Manyara region of Tanzania. 

Ishasha Plains with its tree climbing lions, its abundant wildlife, its scenery and unique lodging opportunities should not miss on your tour itinerary in East Africa.

Bird Watching 

Uganda has over 1,000 bird species recorded although it is just about the size of Great Britain. It is a transitional point of the Savannah of East Africa and the western rainforests, making it Africa’s absolute and thrilling birding destination.

With over 10% of the entire world bird species and almost half the bird species known on the African continent, it is the most stunning destination for bird watchers.

Uganda’s 10 most commonly sought after birds include the following; hoe bill stork, African green broadbill, Green-breasted pitta, Nahans francolin, brown chested pullover, Karamoja apalis, black bee eater, rwenzori turaco, red fronted anti pecker, purcell’s illadopsis. There are several guides with expertise in birding who are always ready to give you every detail about birds in East Africa.

Quad Biking

Quad biking is an exciting activity where tourists ride on motor bikes while exploring the destination of their choice, the activity is offered mainly at Bujjagali Falls on ”the great River Nile”  and does not need any experience. It is a four wheeled bike and can ride on all terrains and very suitable for all age groups. 

This is done down the length of the Nile close to the Bujjagali Falls. The exciting safari runs for a number of hours as you explore the beautiful countryside up to top view point. Free training is offered to those who cannot ride and it is done before the safari.

The various packages offered include: a full day, an evening, 3 hours, two hours exploration, and a one hour trip.

The activity is also available for game drives in Lake Mburo National Park where you are able to view game at a very close range and around the “Romantic” Sipi falls on Mount Elgon.

Wildlife Safaris

Tourist attractions in Uganda include; national parks, forest reserves, wildlife reserves, cultural heritage sites, specific natural features for example mountain peaks and gorges, areas of specific scenic interest like mountains and craters. Among the significant activities are launch/ boat trips on Lake Mburo, Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls National Park, game drives in Queen Elizabeth, Lake Mburo, Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks, plus nature walks.

Numerous trail-networks have been intended in most of the protected areas to cater for nature walks, you will enjoy the tranquility of the wild broken now and again by the charming bird melodies and the cool breeze blowing the leaves atop the tropical trees. Unlike other countries in Africa, the word “safari” in Uganda refers to a very close encounter with animals, people, nature and the environment. Ugandan safaris offer a direct, appropriate and uncontaminated experience with wildlife.

Mountaineering, Hiking and Volcano climbing

Many tourists have the desire to participate in activities that provide them with the challenge, thrill or intense experience. Some of these tourists want to test their physical skills in new or unusual ways with activities such as mountain climbing, hiking etc. 

Mountaineering on the snow capped Rwenzori Mountains also known as “Mountains of the moon”, hiking on Mount Elgon, “The world’s largest mountain caldera” and Volcano climbing in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park.

The Rwenzori Mountains are at the border of Uganda and Eastern Congo, they provide a charming variety of terrain (from Rainforest to high altitude glaciers). These mountains are not as famous as Kilimanjaro on account of there relative inaccessibility and the effect of rebel activity in the late 1990s, otherwise the area is currently safe and accessible for visitors. A multi-day trip to any of these Mountains is highly recommended for those in love with challenging activities.

White Water Rafting

Uganda offers the best white water rafting on the Mighty River Nile in Jinja as compared to any other place in Africa. This is a must do on your adventure trip to Africa.

Other Water sports include Boat ridescanoeingkayakingbungee jumping and swimming on the Nile and the various lakes within the country. The river is gifted with many water falls & rapids, making it a popular water rafting place in the world. There are various opportunities to swim, relax and observe the rich wildlife including the red-tailed monkeys and a variety of birds such as the fish eagle, numerous cormorants and otters.

Sport Fishing

For those who love the activity and those who want to experience it, Uganda is the place to be. With a third of the country being covered in water, Uganda offers the finest opportunities for sport fishing.

The most common fish caught is the Nile perch which weighs an average of 60Kgs although there is a recorded great catch that weighed 100Kgs. These are plentiful in Uganda’s largest Lake Victoria which is also the 2nd largest in Africa, and also in the mighty river Nile. Other species in the Nile include the ferocious fighter and the tilapia, while the tiger fish is unique to Lake Albert. The Murchison Falls is an additional destination for sport fishermen.

Tourist attractions in Uganda
Lake Albert, Uganda

City Tours in Uganda

Not all tourist attractions in Uganda include nature and the outdoors. This includes a trip around the capital area zone. The capital area encompasses Kampala (do a Kampala cultural tour), Entebbe and Jinja (do a Jinja tour) plus areas between them.

Here you get to see the Source of the Nile, Bujagali falls, Ziika forest, Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Ssezibwa Falls, Kasubi Tombs, National Museum, Bahai Temple, Uganda Martyrs shrine, Rubaga and Namirembe Cathedrals, Entebbe Botanical and Zoological gardens, Uganda Wildlife Education Center, Theaters like Bat Valley Theater, National theater and Theater La Bonita, Nommo Art Gallery, Cinemas like Cineplex cinema, dancehalls and night clubs, Educational institutions like Makerere University, Namboole stadium, Conference centers, Shopping and marketing places like St. Balikudembe Market (Owino Market).

Cultural Tours in Uganda

Uganda as a country is well endowed with different ethnic groups and cultures hence visitors have the opportunity to explore a diversity of cultures from the cultural dress, food, dances and beliefs. A chance to visit the Batwa “Pygmies” a group of people who have lived most of their lives in the forest feeding on wild fruits and raw meat.

During the even years, the Opening of the circumcision season is on in Mbale for the Bamasaba, don’t miss the exciting Kadodi (Imbalu) dancers plus the real circumcision exercise including a trip to the romantic Sipi Falls and a tour of the Nyero rock paintings.

Ssese Islands trip

Lake Victoria is one of the main tourist attractions in Uganda. The Ssese Island Zone covers all the Islands within Lake Victoria in the territorial boundaries of Uganda. Here visitors enjoy activities such as; bird watching plus other forms of Eco-tourism, scenic viewing, boat rides, sport fishing, swimming and diving, sunset cruises.

Here, you will also find the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary where visitors can participate in the feeding of the chimpanzees, watch the animals play and most of all contribute to their well-being and overall conservation of the species.

Tourist attractions in Uganda
Lake Victoria in Uganda

Lake Bunyonyi Trip

Nature’s prime Island Lake Bunyonyi is the deepest Lake in Uganda approximately 6500ft deep, located in Kabale district also known as the Switzerland of Africa. The district is characterized by a cool climate best for a soothing Holiday.

Lake Bunyonyi is dotted with at least 20 small islands with amazing people and historical facts. Here, one can enjoy a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, the trip can be included on the itinerary to one of the major destinations or climaxed with a visit to the Batwa (Pygmies) & most of all an encounter with Man’s shy cousins, the gorillas.

Activities around Lake Bunyonyi include; Boat rides, Hiking, Bird watching, cultural visits. Bunyonyi locally means “many small birds.”

Camping Safaris in Uganda

Camping in the wild in Uganda is quite a great experience. Just a piece of cloth between you and the typical African night. A choir of nocturnal birds, insects, laughing hyenas and distant roaring lions lullabies you to sleep. Sitting around an open camp fire having a barbeque dinner with the skies bright over head is the real way of appreciating Africa’s magic. There are several campsites and camping facilitates in all our safari itineraries, to any tourist destination of your choice.