Heading to see the treasure of Angkor Wat, some stunning tropical islands and some beautiful french colonial towns? Then here’s your complete Cambodia packing list!
From soaring temples to some of the friendliest people, Cambodia really is a travel treat and one that few people, especially budget travellers, can refuse!
Plus, easy border crossings from many other Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand and Vietnam, mean Cambodia is also easy to tie into a broad travel itinerary in the region and is well worth at least a week or 2 of your time.
I ended up spending almost 3 weeks in this country, exploring the length and breadth of it, which certainly means I’ve got a good handle on what a useful Cambodia packing list should look like.
Big on the comfortable, thin and practical items (that mean you won’t have to lug around a huge bag), here’s my ultimate, item by item Cambodia packing list, plus some great “what to wear” tips thrown in for good measure!
- Ultimate Cambodia and Vietnam Itinerary
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- How Much Does it Cost to Travel Cambodia?
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What to Wear on a Flight to Cambodia?
Before we get started on what to pack for your time in Cambodia, it’s worth taking a minute to think about what to wear on a flight to the country.
Dovetailing these clothing pieces in with those on the checklist below will also help you keep your packing light, as you won’t be doubling up or carrying around unnecessary items that you won’t wear again until the flight home.
Given that most flights to Cambodia from North America, Europe or Australia / New Zealand are long haul, I’d certainly advise wearing something light and comfortable on your flight.
Layers are crucial, as you simply never know how hot or cold a plane might be and, if you want to get some sleep, comfort is king!
I always wear leggings on long-haul flights and love these natural bamboo fibre ones from Boody, which I never travel anywhere without.
Pairing leggings with a thin cotton top or dress (depending on how much coverage you want) and taking a sweater and scarf on the plane for extra cosy layers, is a great option.
The travel wraps from Sholdit, which have hidden security pockets, are perfect for travel adventures and I love mine!
These compression flight socks are also a must in my book when it comes to long haul flying, as they help you avoid the possibility of DVT.
I pair these with a lovely, comfy eye mask and earplugs to ensure I get some good zzz’s.
A travel pillow will also help you here and I love this one from MLVOC, which I never fly long haul without.
A travel pillow will also come in handy if you’re taking any long bus rides in Cambodia!
If leggings aren’t your thing, then loose-fitting jeans or comfy cargo pants might be a good option, with a t-shirt and thin sweater on top.
Shoes-wise, a good pair of runners / trainers / sneakers are your best option when flying to Cambodia – they’ll be the bulkiest footwear you’ll need when travelling in this country and wearing them on the flight will help keep your bag weight down.
Personally, I love these ones from New Balance, which are ideal for both city-strolling in places like Phnom Penh or for sightseeing around Angkor Wat.
Packing Light & Practical: Cubes and Backpacks
And now seems like as good a time as any to tackle the issue of packing cubes and rucksacks, 2 key components in backpacking life and a definite must on any Cambodia packing list!
First up, never take a backpack or bag bigger than 45 litres!
Even if you are travelling for 6 months in Southeast Asia, there really isn’t a need to take anything larger and, if you do, you’ll probably regret it.
Honestly, it’s so warm in Cambodia for most of the year, that you really can get away with very few clothes, so consider an even smaller backpack in the 35l range if you can.
This 40l Farpoint backpack from Osprey makes a great option.
Everything on this packing list should fit in there easily.
And a key way to make sure this happens is to use packing cubes!
A godsend to disorganised packers everywhere, these handy, light and compressible fabric separators help condense your clothes down, ensuring you can fit more into your backpack.
They also help you organise your stuff, so you’re not constantly routing through your bag for that one pair of clean socks!
I absolutely love these packing cubes from TravelWise and personally would never consider heading off to Southeast Asia, or indeed anywhere, without them.
What Female Travellers Should Wear in Cambodia?
Cambodia is certainly a relaxed country and women should feel comfortable wearing almost anything.
That said, loose-fitting trousers or leggings are best for city days, while at the beach a sarong and swimsuit are fine.
Everywhere else, shorts with appropriate coverage should be ok.
Strappy tops are ok too, but you may want to consider t-shirts that cover your shoulders more, as they offer better protection from the sun.
The one exception is when visiting temples in Cambodia when you’ll need to cover your knees, as well as your shoulders and chest. This includes when you’re visiting Angkor Wat.
For temple visits, including Angkor Wat, fisherman pants or other loose, thin trousers are a great option.
Ensure you have at least one outfit that caters for some temple visits when you pack for Cambodia, as well as 1-2 sarongs or thin scarves which you can cover your shoulder with, as they are so versatile, compact and light.
For more specific ideas about exactly what to wear in Cambodia, check out my ultimate packing checklist below…
Packing for the Cambodia Beach
No question, bringing some swimwear and a beach towel are a great idea for Cambodia, where the water and weather are both amazingly warm.
UV-protected sunglasses, a good sunhat and some 30+ SPF are also ideal items for your Cambodia packing list – things can get really scorching here!
I’d also advise bringing a good moisturiser you can use on your hands, body and face after a day in the sun and finally, don’t forget a handy sarong and a dry bag to keep your stuff safe, moisture and sand-free on the beach (especially any electrical equipment like cameras).
Packing for the Temples
As I’ve eluded to this earlier in this article, but you’ll need to be covered for any temple visits you make in Cambodia – this includes Angkor Wat.
At places of religious and cultural significance across the country, you’ll need to ensure you have clothing that extends below the knee, as well as covers the shoulders and chest. Nothing too tight or revealing either.
Make sure whatever you have to wear at these important and sensitive spots is thin and light – it’s still hot, so you don’t want to be sweaty loads while you sightsee.
More conservative clothing items are also a good idea when visiting the cities in Cambodia such as Phnom Penh, where beach attire is not really the go!
Shoes & Clothes to Take to Cambodia
1x Thin Rain Jacket
While Cambodia is certainly warm for most of the year, the tropical rainy season (which falls largely between June and November) can bring heavy downpours.
In this instance, it’s a great idea to bring a thin rain jacket to this country.
But thin is the keyword here, because even when it rains in this country it’s hot and you definitely want to avoid any sort of humid, sweat-fest!
As such, something light is best when it comes to your Cambodia packing list and this North Face Venture 2 is perfect for the job.
And as it’s black, it goes with anything!
2x Thin Cotton Long-Sleeved Tops / Sweaters / Cardigans
Cambodia is not a hugely conservative country and while women travellers aren’t expected to cover up, I’d definitely advise packing at least a few tops that cover your arms.
Not only are these great for sun protection, cooler evenings or if you’re visiting any temples, they also make a good option for travel days – either flights or buses.
Sometimes, they crank the aircon so much in Cambodia you need them indoors too!
Given the tropical climate here, thin layers are best here and cotton (or other natural fibres) are a great way to go if you want to stay cool and sweat-free.
Make sure none of these tops expose your cleavage or stomach – best to avoid showing these to remain respectful in my opinion.
7x Singlets / T-Shirts
Choose a range of colours and styles for your singlets and t-shirts, so that they match the trousers / shorts you’ll select.
Including t-shirts that will cover your shoulders from the sun, or when heading into religious buildings, are a great idea for Cambodia.
7 is a good number of tops to take for your Cambodia packing list as this will balance backpack weight with washing needs!
2x Sun Dresses
A great item if you choose to go to the islands of Cambodia… and why wouldn’t you?!
I suggest packing 1-2 light, thin sundresses for those beachy days and fun evenings!
Read more about my time in the Cambodian island of Koh Rong Sanloam here.
2x Pairs of Shorts
Like the dresses, but a bit more comfortable for moving around in, a couple of pairs of shorts for your Cambodia packing list is a must.
They’re likely to be what you spend most of your time in!
Perfect for the islands, the steamy south of the country and even wandering around some towns that are used to tourists, such as Siem Reap, shorts that offer reasonable coverage are ideal for the hot days here.
Personally, I always go for denim shorts as they are hardy, versatile and go with most things.
1 pair of blue denim and 1 pair of black denim usually make up my backpacking short selection.
2x Pairs of Loose Pants / Trousers
While shorts may be ok to wear in many places in Cambodia, I certainly didn’t feel comfortable wearing anything above the knee in major cities like Phnom Penh and, as such, I recommend bringing 2 pairs of trousers when considering what to wear in Cambodia.
I’d suggest more loose-fitting trousers, like fisherman pants or hareem trousers, as a great option because they are light and thin, which means they keep you cool, dry quickly and don’t take up a lot of weight or room in your bag.
Don’t forget these sorts of pants can be bought by the bucket load when you are in Cambodia, but if you want to get some in advance of your trip, I love these ones.
NB. You may want to supplement the below pair of leggings for a third pair of trousers.
Steer clear of skinny jeans, or any thick or heavy trousers, when travelling in Cambodia.
1x Pair Leggings
One of my travel essentials, especially ideal for when you’re out exploring the beautiful nature of Cambodia, leggings are also good for travellers on journey days because they can be worn under a casual dress – see the information about what to wear on a flight to Cambodia above – or of an evening if you need to feel a bit smarter!
A thin black pair of leggings will easily match most things and opting for a natural bamboo fibre like these from Boody will help keep you cool.
You should never travel anywhere without a sarong in my opinion, especially as they are so light and versatile.
Perfect for using as a beach towel, a shoulder wrap in a temple, a sheet on a bus ride or a dress by the pool… the list goes on and on.
Take a look at my post about the 20 reasons why you should always take a sarong travelling for more ideas about why a sarong is always on my list of what to pack for Cambodia.
Consider bringing 2 sarongs if you have the space, or swapping 1 out for a large thin scarf or wrap that can be worn around the neck or across the shoulders.
Check out these lovely sarongs for some ideas.
7x Pairs Underwear
Small and compact, 7 pairs of underwear is a good number if you’re thinking about packing light for Cambodia and saving on washing duties during your trip!
2x Bras + 1x Sports Bra
I’d advise a sports bra for any hiking or active sports, like kayaking, you may be doing in this country.
2x Bikini / Swimwear
Well you need something to wear while diving or enjoying the amazing islands such as Koh Rong in Cambodia!
A couple of pieces of swimwear are therefore a must.
3x Pairs Socks
3x ankle-length pairs should do the sock job!
1x Sun Hat
Whether you want to bring a cap or a floppy, large number, the choice is yours.
Just make sure you bring a sun hat of some description because the heat and UV rays in Cambodia are fierce!
This black cap from Nike makes for a good, versatile choice when thinking about your Cambodia packing list.
1x Pair Sunglasses
A must for those strong sunny rays… ahhh I can feel them now!
Definitely get a UV-protection pair of sunglasses to keep your eyes safe in Cambodia.
1x Pair Trainers / Runners
Versatile, comfortable and essential if you want to see all the natural sights in this epic country.
I highly recommend New Balance, who create stylish city runners that you can still wear when doing your outdoors stuff too.
Just make sure the grip and support are adequate.
As I outlined in my ‘what to wear when on a flight to Cambodia’ section above, a pair of trainers are good for journey days too.
1x Pair Flip-Flops / Sandals
Personally I love my Arizona Birkenstocks, which I basically lived in during my time in Cambodia.
Super easy to kick on and off (which you need to do a lot in this country, i.e. every time you enter a building), Birks also offer great support meaning you can sightsee in them to your heart’s content and never get sore soles.
Alternatively, a pair of cheaper flip-flops are good for beach days.
You’re unlikely to wear anything else!
Toiletries & Medical Supplies to Pack for Cambodia
Thin Wash Bag with Hook
Washbags with hooks are great for use in hostels, as you can hang up your wash bag when you’re in the shower and not leave it on the floor to get wet and dirty.
A light and thin wash bag is also essential for keeping the weight in your backpack down.
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
I always go for shampoo and conditioner bars when I travel to save the plastic and keep the space down!
Although they are a bit pricey, they last for ages.
Say goodbye to mid-travel spillages and bulky bottles people, this is the eco-friendly future!
Keep in a ziplock bag to prevent soap slime from getting on everything you own!
I suggest an anti-bacterial soap bar, as they are great for keeping you clean in tropical climates where you’re likely to be sweating a bit.
I always pack a natural crystal deodorant as they last forever (great if you’re travelling for a few months) and are free from many nasty chemicals.
They are also the only thing that stops me sweating in the Cambodian heat!
Face Cleanser, Toner, Serum & Moisturiser
Great for bringing your skin back to life after days in the strong sun!
Choose a 30 SPF or higher for those fierce rays in Cambodia and go natural so you can keep the chemicals out of your skin.
This doubles as a great moisturiser, soother and aftersun.
SPF Lip Salve
Very important for those strong UV conditions and for keeping your lips healthy and happy.Burt Bees are always my go-to, as they never dry out my lips and are water-resistant.
Tea-Tree Essential Oil
A powerful antiseptic, anti-mould and anti-fungal treatment, tea-tree oil is also great to throw in with your washing and is ideal for freshening up smelly bags etc.
Get an organic tea-tree oil if you can.
An ideal remedy for headaches, sore muscles and insect bites, tiger balm is super versatile and a must on my Cambodia packing list.
Paracetamol, Antiseptic Cream Antihistamine & Band-Aids
The only medicine you need to take!
Honestly, there are so many pharmacies in this country you’ll be able to get almost anything you need out here!
If you’re concerned about travel health issues in Cambodia, then take a look at this helpful article.
The best way to deal with your time of the month when travelling ladies.
Check out the best prices for menstrual cups here here.
Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Floss
Razor & Spare Blades
Nail Scissors, Nail File & Tweezers
Cotton Buds / Pads
Hair Bands & Hair Brush
Glasses / Contact Lenses if you wear them
Other Useful Items for Your Backpack Cambodia List
Eye Mask & Earplugs
Key for sleeping in hostels and long bus rides.
This eye mask from Alaska Bear is super comfy.
I recommend Latrek when it comes to travel towels because they are cheap, compact, soft and don’t smell.
Love, love, love mine! Read my full review here.
Definitely needed for hiking, sightseeing and beach adventure days, this one from Osprey is perfect for those sightseeing and temple visits.
Very useful for locking up bags and valuables when staying in hostels, combination padlocks don’t have to be expensive, just reliable!
Best to get a TSA-approved one in case of any hassle at the airport.
Filter Water Bottle
Seeing the amount of plastic trash on the streets in Cambodia is disheartening at best.
Try not to add to the problem and consider travelling with a filter water bottle like this one from LifeStraw.
Not only does this mean you can safely and easily drink the tap water anywhere in the world (including Cambodia!), but it will also save you the money and hassle of having to constantly buy bottled water.
Much cheaper and more environmentally friendly, the LifeStraw Filter Bottles have an amazing technology that filters out 99.9% of bacteria and the filter lasts for 4000 litres, which means you’ll likely only have to replace it once a year!
Great for doing emergency washing, such as underwear in a sink, travel handwash is always a must when I backpack anywhere.
A good idea on this Cambodia packing list, travel handwash is also ideal when it comes to rinsing out your swimwear at the end of a busy beach day!
So useful in Cambodia that I bought one when I was there!
These small and compact guys are great for keeping your electricals dry during boat rides, tropical rains or beachy fun!
Check out this top-rated one for ideas.
Smartphone & Bluetooth Headphones
Taking your smartphone to stay in touch with those at home, check maps, book accommodation and upload some pics while you’re in Cambodia is a superb idea.
I’d also download some audiobooks and music onto your phone before you leave home – a lifesaver for journey days.
I recommend Amazon Audible and Spotify Premium for these purposes and wouldn’t travel without either.
You may want to consider a waterproof phone case if you’re travelling to Cambodia or Southeast Asia for a while too.
And don’t forget to pick up a local SIM when you get to Cambodia, it’s cheap, easy and you get so much data it’s crazy!
Portable chargers are great when travelling, especially if you’re out sightseeing all day and worried about your phone or camera battery lasting.
I recommend the Anker Powercore, it’s light and can charge an iPhone 12 Pro around 3 times!
Camera, Lens, Spare Battery, Memory Card & Charger
I love my Sony A600 mirrorless camera, which I’ve used across Cambodia and beyond.
Light, compact and sturdy, it’s perfect for travelling.
A GoPro Hero is also a great idea to help capture the more active and water-based adventures you might have in this country, such as kayaking or snorkelling.
How are you going to charge things otherwise?
Cambodia uses a mix of outlets, but mostly the British or European style ones, so get a Skross World Adapter that won’t fail you!
Headlamp & Spare Batteries
I never travel anywhere without a headlamp and Cambodia is no exception.
Try to choose a product that uses commonly found batteries and has a red night light function to avoid attracting bugs.
I love my Black Diamond Storm, which served me very well in Southeast Asia, including during power cuts!
And Don’t Forget These Things Either!
Passport & Photocopies
Definitely take a colour copy of your passport with you to Cambodia and keep it with you at all times.
Taking a photo of your passport and storing it safely in your cloud account is also a good idea.
Depending where you’re from, you may or may not require a visa for Cambodia.
Check with your Foreign Office for further details and allow plenty of processing time if you’re not eligible to get one at the border.
Always good to have with you wherever you travel.
Travel Insurance Policy
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
Credit Cards and Debit Cards
When it comes to paying for things in Cambodia, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise Card away with me.
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups and no sneaky transaction fees, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in this country… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold! Grab yours here.
Hidden Cash in Small Thin Purse
SAVE THIS TO PINTEREST!
So that’s it, my complete Cambodia packing list, designed to be practical while keeping things light.
I hope I’ve covered all bases, including what to wear on your flight out there!
Have you got any questions about my list?
Did I miss anything out?
Please drop your ideas into the comments box below…