Communication within Cambodia has improved greatly over the last 5 years. Visitors can purchase SIM cards to make local and international calls with ease. Internet and Wi-Fi are both accessible and getting easier to access every day, and if you prefer more traditional means the country's postal service is also reliable.
When you travel to Cambodia you will undoubtedly be concerned about how to communicate with your travel companions, or friends and family back home. Worry not, this article will give you an overview of how to do just this.
- Purchase SIM cards at the airport terminal or at any border checkpoint.
- Calling usually costs $0.20 a minute with a prepaid SIM card.
- Internet access is limited in rural areas but readily available in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and other tourist areas.
- More and more restaurants and hotels are offering free Wi-Fi to guests.
- Postal service is competitively priced and reasonably secure.
- Landlines in the country are still being repaired after the Khmer government removed many of them, but locals mainly use mobile phones.
Local SIM Cards and Making Phone Calls
When you arrive at either of Cambodia's two international airports you will be able to buy a SIM card right at the terminal. For around $10 (depending on the provider), you can purchase a rechargeable SIM card that will come ready to make local and international calls.
There are a few different places one can buy these SIM cards at the airport and they are quite easy to find. The five major mobile providers in Cambodia are:
- Smart Mobile
When you are ready to purchase a SIM card, simply head towards the exit of your terminal and keep your eyes open for any of these brands. SIM cards are also available at all land-border crossings.
After you purchase your SIM card you can buy additional value cards to add money to your card. These range in denomination between $2 and $100 dollars, so you can decide how often you think you will be using your phone.
When you need to top up your SIM card, simply call the number on top of the add-value card and you will be prompted with English instructions how to proceed. Some SIM cards allow you to use data to access the internet but this can use up money quickly. If you need internet access Wi-Fi is recommended.
During the Khmer Rouge period many of the country's landlines and communications infrastructures were destroyed or went undeveloped. Internet and phone access are therefore still somewhat limited outside the major cities.
If you need to use a computer with internet access, the cheapest option is to call your hotel and see if they have complimentary computer service or free Wi-Fi. If you require an Ethernet connection then you can head to an internet cafe in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap where you can use a computer for between $1-3 per hour.
You can purchase prepaid internet cards in most convenience shops and at malls. Look for the brands Wirelesslp, Ezecom, and AngkorNet as these are the largest and most trusted brands.
It is safe to expect your hotel will offer Wi-Fi for free, but it is always good to call ahead if you are concerned. Most cafes, coffee shops, and nicer restaurants will also offer free or affordable Wi-Fi as long as you purchase something to eat or drink.
True Coffee, Kiriya Coffee, M Cafe, and Global Coffee all offer free Wi-Fi but remember you will need to access it on your own device, as they will not have computers available for use.
If cyber security is a concern or you plan to do business or banking then avoid public or free Wi-Fi hotspots. Whenever possible choose a Wi-Fi network that requires a password. Cambodia does not have a reputation for a large amount of cybercrime and daily tasks such as communicating with your family back home should be of no concern.
Mail and Post
Cambodia has a modern and developed postal service and mail travels securely and efficiently within and out of the country. Even in rural or provincial areas you can expect your mail to reach its destination.
However, all mail in Cambodia is processed in Phnom Penh and therefore if you mail anything from outside the city you will be charged a small additional amount to get it first to the city.
Only the central post office in Phnom Penh processes international mail, so if you have a package you intend to send home or elsewhere you will need to find that office or mail it there first. The address and more information can be found here.
The Cambodia Daily and the Phnom Penh Post are the two major newspapers in the country. Both have English versions that are available at most convenience stores, hotels, and cafes.
The Cambodia Daily is a good source of both local and international news and the Phnom Penh Post similarly covers both. The Phnom Penh Post also has a large amount of information about activities in the city, and about new restaurants and attractions. Picking up a local newspaper can be a great way to feel more in touch with the local culture.
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