General Info

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Now that you filled out the Teams Application, you probably have A LOT of questions. That’s why we put together this page of General Information your team needs to know before arriving in Cambodia.

If you have NOT filled out the Teams Application, and our considering doing an outreach here in Cambodia, please first read our Start Your Outreach page.

Please have you and your team read thoroughly through this info. Most questions you have will be answered here

REMEMBER – All prices listed below are in US$ because the US$ is used as much as the Cambodian money called Riel…

Visas

Teams coming to Cambodia are required to apply for a tourist visa on arrival unless staying longer than 60 days. For stays over two months, you should apply for a business visa on arrival, as you can only renew a tourist visa once after 30 days. Here’s what you need to do based on where you enter Cambodia:

  • Phnom Penh Airport (PHN): You can get the tourist and business visa on arrival. The tourist visa cost is $30 USD and lasts 30 days, it can be renewed for 30 days afterwards. The Business Visa cost is $35USD and lasts 30 days, it can be renewed for up to 1 year afterwards. Both are single entry so if you leave Cambodia you would need to get a new one.
  • From Thailand Border: Same as coming into PHN, you can get the 30 day visa at the border for $30/$35USD. With coming by land from Thailand, you do need some kind of invitation letter which we can get for you if you are coming that way.
  • From Vietnam Border: you will have to apply for your visa at a Cambodian embassy in Vietnam.
  • Renewing your Visa: If your outreach with us is longer than one month, you can apply for an extension which one of our staff can help your team with. It can be renewed once for another 30 days for US $45.
  • Remember: to bring two passport-sized photos for your visa. If your passport expires less than six months before your arrival in Cambodia, you will have to renew your passport before coming.
  • Please Note: DO NOT mention anything about religious work or evangelism or doing missionary work. For their purposes, you are coming in as tourists. In most cases you will not need any letter of any kind from UofN Cambodia.
  • Indian and African Passports: some team members with Indian or African Passports may have trouble to get visas on arrival – We can help! Please communicate with us early and we will send a letter of invitation.

Air and Land Pickup

Airport Pickup: If you are coming to Phnom Penh, Cambodia by plane, we will arrange a van to come pick you up from the airport. Generally, this will cost US$20. From there, we will take you to where you are staying. If you are a large team, we can arrange a second van or a truck to transport your team or luggage. If you are a team of 4 or less, you can take a tuk tuk for $10.

Cambodia via Land Transport: If you are taking a bus, you can tell us what bus line you are taking and what time you expect to be arriving in Phnom Penh. We will meet you at the bus station and take you to the place you are staying. Normally, you won’t know this information until you are at the border. When you have this information, you can call our team facilitator on +855 (0)95-277-537 and tell him this information and he will make all the arrangements for your pick up.

General Outreach Costs

The cost of your outreach will vary depending on what you eat, where you stay, and what you do, so please note that these are ballpark figures. Once we pair you with a ministry contact, you can get more detailed and accurate cost information.

Here is a general guideline of costs to prepare for:

    • Total Ground Cost: Ranges from $15.00-25.00 USD Per Person Per Day. This should not include one-time costs such as visas/visa extensions and transport into/out of Cambodia. If your team has the ability, we recommend to budget on the higher end so you can prepare for any unexpected costs and to be a blessing to the ministry you serve.
      • Housing: Ranges from $6.00 to $15.00 USD Per Person Per Day. $6.00 if you stay at any of the UofN ministry locations. Guesthouses and Hotels will run on the higher end.
      • Food: Ranges from $4.00 to $10.00 USD Per Person Per Day. If doing village ministry, cost can be similar, $1.50 -$2.00 for lunch and dinner, $1 for breakfast. Grocery shopping yourself will be midrange. Eating out at local restaurants will cost $2.00 to $4.00 per meal per person, and western/foreign restaurants range from $3.50 and up per meal per person (Also, restaurants generally don’t do tips except some Western style restaurants).
      • Transport: Ranges from $4.00 to $6.00 USD Per Person Per Day.
        • Airport Pickup: Once again, we charge $20.00 to pick you up at the airport in a van. Price is the same if you want us to drop you off at the airport.
        • Tuk Tuks: can be hired for about $10.00 per day  if you’re a good bargainer, otherwise $15.00 is a midrange price and $20.00 is too much (Tuk Tuks can fit up to 4 to 6 people). One-way, Tuk Tuks can be from $1.50 to $5.00 depending on distance. REMEMBER TO BARGAIN BEFORE GETTING IN THE TUK TUK! 
        • Buses (i.e. Phnom Penh-Siem Reap): Ranges from $5.00 to $20.00 per person per way. Cheaper fairs are for basic non-AC buses, expensive fares are first-class AC buses.
        • Van Rentals: Some ministries may have an option for you rent out a van for ministry. For traveling to other provinces and villages, a Van can cost up to $80.00 USD per day. This is an expensive option and seldom necessary.
      • Translators: About $10.00 – 15.00 USD per day per translator. Please see “Translators” tab below for more info.
    • Other Costs: Please be aware of these intermittent and one-time costs.
      • Visas: Once again, the cost is $30.00 per person and $45.00 per person to renew.
      • Wireless Internet: In the city many coffee shops and restaurants offer free WIFI.
      • Days Off: Do not forget to budget some money for your days-off or other special activities you may want to do in your free time.
      • City Tour: Transportation Tuk Tuk $20. Entrance fees Toul Sleng $2, Killing Fields $6, Royal Palace $6.50. Other cultural experiences: shadow theatre $5.
      • Miscellaneous Ministry Expenses: Some ministries will have minor costs so it is a good idea to have money set aside for ministry time.

NOTE: Don’t let the prices scare you off. If you feel that the Lord is calling you to come to Cambodia, we want to make it happen for you.

Exchanging Money

Here’s what to need to know about exchanging money in Cambodia:

  • Cambodia uses 2 currencies—The United States Dollar and RIEL. Like many poor countries, Cambodia’s currency Riel is tied to the US dollar at an almost fixed exchange rate of 4,000 RIEL to $1.00 USD (+/- 100-200 Riel). Riel is used as the “coin” currency as 1,000 riel is equal to a quarter in USD. So if you buy something for $2.50, you can pay $2 USD and 2,000 Riel or pay 10,000 Riel. 
  • How to bring your money: There are 2 things to be aware of when bringing money to Cambodia: 1) Safety and 2) Convenience. Here are some options:
    • Take a team Visa/Mastercard Debit Card: this is the safest option, and there are many ATM’s in Phnom Penh, as well as in some other major towns. You will get money in USD. Some ATM’s give out only 100’s, and 50’s, but other’s can do 20’s and 10’s. ATM fees range from $2-$6 USD per transaction (Canadia Bank charges no fees). Also be aware of daily withdrawal limits from your bank—usually $300 to $500.
    • Take USD Cash: This is obviously not as safe, if you lose the cash, it’s gone. But it is a bit more convenient and doesnt have any fees. Please note: Cambodians WILL NOT accept American currency if it is damaged, torn, stained, dirty, etc. This is not always true for $1 bills though.
    • Take another currency: If you’re taking currency in cash, try to come with USD beforehand. There are some exchange places though if you must.
    • Travelers Checks: DO NOT take Travelers Checks, though they were used often back in the day, few places will exchange them here and are thus very inconvenient.
  • Go for small: Besides paying large amounts (i.e. housing for 10 people over a month), try to carry a good amount of Riel, 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s. 50’s and 100’s are harder to make change except at larger stores and restaurants. However there are a lot of local exchange shops that can give you smaller bills.

Translators

Though English is the most common foreign language in Cambodia, it is not spoken by most Cambodians, especially in the villages. Therefore you will need to have a translator for most of your ministry outside Phnom Penh. We can provide a translator for you and many times the ministry also has someone. The translator will stay with you the entire time and their job is not only to translate for you, but to help your team with any needs as well.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Budget: As mentioned, we ask teams to factor into their budget $10-15 USD per day for each translator that they use.
  • Additional Costs: We also ask teams to take care of food, transportation and housing expenses for their translators as well. (In other words, they become another team member!) Unless your team is staying at a guesthouse or hotel, our translators usually don’t have to pay for their housing costs because we have an arrangement with many of our local contacts. In the end, most teams really only pay extra for meals and any long distance bus trips to and from location.
  • Extra Gifts: If you would like to bless your translator at the end of your time, you are more than welcome to do so. Please tell us before giving anything to our translators.

Team Phones

The cell phone network in Cambodia is very good and you can get reception at most locations in the country, including the countryside. Therefore, We recommend teams to get a phone/SIM card for us and ministry contacts to stay in contact during your time here.

Here’s some options:

  • Bring your phone: whether you got an old-school Nokia or a fancy smartphone, as long as your phone is UNLOCKED you can get a SIM card for it (even Nano’s and Micro’s).
  • Buy a phone here: sometimes you can get buy a basic phone for about $20.00.
  • To get a SIM Card: you will need a copy of your passport. SIM cards cost from 50¢ to $2 and then the Prepaid card to topup your phone for minutes (we recommend a $10 to $20 topup depending on how long you stay here).

Orientation

When you arrive, we want to give your team an orientation on Cambodia and the Khmer culture. In fact, we insist upon it! Most people who have not been to an Asian culture before comment on how radically different it is to the West. Because we want teams to be able to have the most impact for the cause of Christ, we need to be able to share how the Khmer person thinks from his Buddhist mindset. Often times, we can offend the Khmer by something we do; even when we think we are loving them in the name of the Lord. Because we live and work here, we feel a sense of obligation and responsibility to help you understand the Khmer people and their culture so that you can minister most effectively to them.

Overview: Our orientation provides teams with a detailed history of Cambodia, insight into Cambodians’ religious and spiritual views, an overview of important points about their culture, a description of how the Cambodian culture affects evangelism and discipleship, and things teams should and should not do while here on outreach according to Cambodian etiquette. We can also provide an introduction to the Cambodian language and a tour of the major sights in Phnom Penh.

For both types of city orientation, we usually have teams visit:

  • A Temple: to see what Buddhism looks like in Cambodia,
  • Tuol Sleng S-21: a torture prison that was used by the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s),
  • The Killing Fields: where the Khmer Rouge took their victims to die).
  • A Traditional Cambodian market: to show some typical Cambodian life.

Immunizations/Health Insurance

Since we are not medical professionals, we believe the best practice for getting immunization recommendations would be with your local heath-care provider. However, we would like to take this opportunity to note some of the more common (and not-so-common) diseases in Cambodia: Typhoid, Dengue Fever,  Hepatitis A/B, and Tuberculosis. Note that not all of the mentioned diseases have vaccines available.

We do require all Teams from western countries to have health insurance that includes evacuation to Thailand, as the health system is improving but not good. If you are looking for good short term/group medical insurance we recommend “Insurance Services of America” – Please check out their website at: http://www.missionaryhealth.net.

What to Bring

Here is a list of things you should bring with you on outreach to Cambodia:

Essentials:

  • Passport with two copies of the front two pages of your passport, and two passport-sized photos
  • Plane tickets insurance information, emergency contact information, and medical insurance with emergency evacuation coverage.

Other things to consider bringing:

  • Flipflops for showering
  • Towel & washcloth
  • Toiletry items (shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, tissues, etc). These are obtainable here but may not be in the brands that you are familiar with.
  • Vitamins and prescription medicines to last throughout your stay in Cambodia
  • “Wet ones” washcloths
  • Insect repellant
  • Gatorade or oral rehydration solution packets
  • Camera & film
  • Flashlight & batteries (power goes out often in Cambodia)
  • Hat & sunscreen (sunscreen is expensive in Cambodia)
  • Water bottle
  • Light daypack
  • Money belt (if you don’t have a secure place for a wallet or are bringing cash with you)
  • Small alarm clock
  • Sleeping mat/sleeping bag (it’s probably too hot to sleep inside a sleeping bag, but it can be used like a cushioned mat)
  • Light raincoat or poncho (can be purchased at the markets here)
  • Energy snacks – chocolate, energy bars, crackers and spreads (these are obtainable here but are expensive)
  • Bible, Journal and a reading book
  • Pictures of your family

Optional Items:

  • 1 team iron
  • 1 team hair dryer
  • Power converter/adapter

NOTE: Outlets in Cambodia use the 220V system (America uses 110V) and outlets here use European-style plugs with two prongs or American-style plugs with two prongs (not three).

TEAM MEDICAL KIT (Suggestions):

  • Aspirin/pain reliever
  • Cold medicine
  • Diarrhea medicine and laxatives
  • Motion sickness pills
  • Band-Aids
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Cream for bites/stings
  • Cream for burns/scalds
  • Anti-itching ointment
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Packets of powdered electrolyte replacement for diarrhea.

Appropriate Clothing

Cambodian culture is very modest about the style of clothing that people wear. Because of this, we want teams to adapt to the culture, which means that you may have to dress differently than you would at home.

 

Here are some guidelines to follow: 

  • General: revealing the shoulders and knees is considered provocative in traditional Khmer culture. Also, being neat and tidy (i.e. no holes or tears in clothes) is more accepted. However, you will find the youth here may not always follow tradition. Always be aware of the context (who you will be around and if the setting is informal/formal), and if there is any questionable situation, the default answer should always be the more conservative one.
  • For Men:
    • Non-ministry time (off days and tourist activities): Basic T-shirt and Shorts with flip-flops is fine.
    • Informal ministry (i.e. non-teaching children’s ministry): basic T-shirt and slacks is preferred, sometimes you can get away with shorts. You may want shoes to play soccer/football.
    • Formal ministry (i.e. teaching and church ministry): at least a collared polo-shirt or a button-down collared shirt (long or short sleeve) and slacks with covered shoes.
    • Preaching: at least the same as Formal ministry, but it’d be preferable to have a long-sleeve dress-shirt, slacks, and casual dress shoes.
    • To bring: several t-shirts, a few polo shirts, one dress shirt, a few to-the-knee shorts (no stubbies for our Aussies and Kiwi’s), a couple travel slacks, a pair of flip-flops, tennishoes for trekking and playing games, and one pair of church shoes.
  • For Women:
    • Non-ministry time (off days and tourist activities): short sleeve T-shirts (no low-cut), capri’s or short’s that go to the knee, and flip-flops are fine.
    • Informal ministry (i.e. non-teaching children’s ministry): same as non-ministry time, but shoes may be needed.
    • Formal ministry and Preaching (i.e. teaching and church ministry): collared shirts are preferred but nice shirts that cover the shoulders are fine, skirts/dresses that cover the knees or slacks, and flats that cover your toes. 3-quarter length and long sleeve dress shirts are preferred for preaching.
    • To bring: several shirts, a few collared shirts, one 3-quarter length/long-sleeve dress shirt, a couple of skirts/dresses, a couple of slacks, a couple capri’s and shorts, a pair of flip-flops, tennishoes for trekking and playing games, and at least one pair of flats for formal ministry and church.
  • NOTE about shoes: it is customary to take your shoes off before entering most houses and churches in Cambodia. Flip-flops are the most convenient for doing this, but once again be aware of the context for ministry first.

Piercings and Tattoos: the church in Cambodia is quite conservative, therefore we only recommend women to show ear piercings (one in each ear). In the general public in Cambodia, piercings in men are frowned upon. Tattoos carry a very spiritual significance here, often symbolizing protection from spirits. Thus, the Cambodian church is resistant for members to get tattoos. For cultural sensitivity, we recommend that teams coming here do not get tattoos, nor try to get them before coming. Of course if you already have tattoos, just be aware of the cultural and religious significance here so you are not caught off guard.

Contact Info

If you need to contact the team coordinators at the University of the Nations, Cambodia, you can email us at uofn.teams@gmail.com. You can call any of these numbers if you have any problems and you can also give this contact information to your base, family, friends or relatives as an emergency contact for your team:

Team Facilitator: +855 (0) 95-277-537

UofN Office: +855 (0) 92-621-499

UofN Cambodia Office Address: Street 8BT/20MC Corner 83BT, Phum Chamraeun Phal, Khan Mean Chey, Phom Penh

Our Post Box address: UofN Cambodia, PO Box 1415, Phnom Penh (please note mail from the US can take up to three months!!!!)

U of N Cambodia – Team Coordination Center “Partnering with Cambodians to fulfill God’s vision”