Cambodia has finally reopened to overseas travellers following a successful vaccination programme that has seen almost 90 per cent of the population inoculated.
The news came in a surprise announcement on November 14. Previously, a sandbox-style scheme had been in the works, which would have seen tourists only able to travel to certain parts of the country.
Fully vaccinated visitors can now skip quarantine, but must take a Covid test before travelling to the country and on arrival. They must also apply for a visa in advance (arrival options remain suspended) and purchase robust health insurance.
Here’s everything you need to know about travel to Cambodia this winter.
Can I go to Cambodia?
Yes, it is now possible to holiday in Cambodia but there are still a few hoops to jump through.
Travellers will need to demonstrate their vaccination status on arrival in the country. Health officials have confirmed that Cambodia will accept the NHS proof of vaccination record.
British tourists will also need to secure a visa before arrival, which can be applied for online.
Proof of a negative PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours before arriving in Cambodia must also be shown. The FCDO advises that this certificate should bear the stamp of the facility issuing it and be signed by a qualified medical practitioner to certify the test result.
Upon arrival in Cambodia, tourists are required to take a lateral flow test at the port of entry and wait for 15 to 20 minutes for the result. In the event of a positive result and regardless of symptoms, travellers will be admitted to a treatment facility designated by the Ministry of Health for monitoring and treatment. Note that the conditions in these centres can be very basic and that there will be a hefty charge for the experience.
Travellers must also show proof of travel insurance that includes a minimum of $50,000 (£37,500) for medical cover. This should be printed in colour. Cambodian authorities previously required insurance to be purchased exclusively through the Forte Insurance website, though there have been suggestions that this is may soon change. If unsure, contact the Cambodian Embassy in London in good time before your trip for the latest advice (020 8451 7850; firstname.lastname@example.org).
Do I need to be vaccinated to visit Cambodia?
Children under 18 who have not been vaccinated are allowed to travel with their vaccinated parents but must take a PCR test before departure.
Unvaccinated adults or those who have only been partially vaccinated must quarantine for 14 days in a designated quarantine hotel. If not pre-booking the hotel, you must demonstrate $2000 (£1,500) in cash per person. Health authorities will oversee a PCR test on the 13th day of quarantine.
Do I need to self-isolate on arrival?
Fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to self-isolate on arrival, provided they follow testing and other entry protocols.
Will I be insured if I go?
The FCDO no longer advises against all but essential travel to Cambodia, making insurance policies easier to come by. Note that Cambodia has its own insurance requirements, which are outlined above.
How is the data looking in Cambodia?
Cambodia has recorded a tiny rate of 1.6 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days, though it should be noted that its testing infrastructure is not comparable to the UK's. Still, cases are a fraction of what they were in late September and the country of 16 million has only recorded 2,918 Covid-related deaths overall.
The country has also had phenomenal success with its vaccination drive, with almost 90 per cent of the population fully vaccinated.
What restrictions are in place on the ground?
Most museums and attractions have now reopened, including the country’s most popular landmark, Angkor Wat. Expect to find the streets of tourist town Siem Reap noticeably quieter than pre-pandemic, but most hotels and restaurants have reopened and are eager to welcome back guests.
For those hoping to embark on a Southeast Asia tour by bus or train, note that the Cambodia-Laos, Cambodia-Thailand and Cambodia-Vietnam land borders remain closed to travellers.
Do I need to take a test before travelling back to the UK?
No, not if you are fully vaccinated. If you are not double-jabbed, you must take a lateral flow test 72 hours before arriving in the UK and have an official certificate to prove it. If you fail to do so, you will be denied boarding, or risk a fine of up to £500 on arrival back in the UK. You can find the Government's rules on testing before departure here.
Do I need to self-isolate on my return?
Travellers who have received two doses of a coronavirus vaccine can avoid quarantine on their return home, but still need to do a lateral flow test on day two.
Those who haven't had both jabs must self-isolate at home for 10 days. You will also need to take a PCR test on the second and eighth days of your self-isolation. If you opt in for Test to Release, you can take an extra test on day five to exit quarantine (if your result is negative), but will still need to take the further test on day eight.