Self-Driving in Cambodia: What You Need to Know

Exploring Cambodia by car offers a unique opportunity to see the country's stunning landscapes, historical sites, and local culture at your own pace. However, self-driving in Cambodia involves understanding local regulations, road conditions, and other logistics. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about self-driving in Cambodia.

Minimum Driver Age Restrictions

In Cambodia, the minimum age for obtaining a driving license is 18 years old. However, this doesn't automatically mean you can rent a car at 18. Most car rental companies in Cambodia require renters to be at least 21 years old, with some demanding even older minimum ages, often around 23 to 25 years. This age requirement ensures that renters have a reasonable level of driving experience and maturity. Be sure to check with the specific rental company about their age requirements before planning your trip.

With Avis Cambodia, If you – or any of your drivers – are under 25 when you pick up the vehicle, you will each have to pay a young driver surcharge. The cost of a young driver surcharge will be built into the price confirmed at booking stage. If you add an additional driver onto the rental at pick up, you may be charged a young driver surcharge (you will be asked to agree to this and is likely to be USD 25.00 per rental.

Driver's License Requirement

To drive legally in Cambodia, you must hold a valid driving license. If you're a tourist, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is generally required, in addition to your home country’s license. The IDP translates your license into various languages and is accepted internationally, allowing you to drive in Cambodia without additional licensing. Note that the IDP is valid for one year from issuance, so make sure yours is current during your trip.

For expatriates or long-term residents, Cambodia has different rules. If you plan to stay for an extended period and drive regularly, you should obtain a Cambodian driver's license. This process involves a written test, a driving test, and other formalities. However, for short-term visitors, an IDP usually suffices.

With Avis Cambodia, an International Driving Permit (IDP) 1949 is required for self-drive. All drivers must have held their license for at least 2 years from the date of pick-up. If a license does not show the driver has held it for the minimum period, then they must provide evidence, such as: previous driving licenses; or a letter from their driving license authority stating that they have held it for this minimum period.

Renting a Car: One-Way or Round-Trip?

One common question for travelers exploring Cambodia is whether they can rent a car in one city and return it in another. The answer is generally yes, with some caveats. Major rental companies in Cambodia, particularly those with international affiliations, often offer one-way rentals. However, this option might come with additional fees, and availability varies depending on the rental company's network and policy.

If you're planning to rent a car in one city and drop it off in another, confirm the rental company's terms in advance. Discuss the fees for one-way rentals and ensure there's a convenient drop-off location in your final city. Also, consider the distance between the cities and the time required for your journey to make sure it's a practical option.

With Avis Cambodia, If you want to pick up the vehicle and return it to a different location, an additional fee will be payable. If you asked for a one-way rental when you booked, the fee will be included in your total rental price.

If you didn’t ask for a one-way rental when you booked and you want to return the vehicle to a different location in the same country, you can expect pay an additional fee of USD 150.00.

Drop offs at a different location must be agreed with us in advance. Please contact us if you would like to understand what additional fee will apply to a one-way rental in circumstances where it didn’t form part of your original rental agreement.

If you did not request a one-way rental but return the vehicle to a different location, you will be charged a one-way fee at the ‘pay at location’ prices available on the day you return the vehicle.

Additional Tips for Self-Driving in Cambodia

Road Conditions: Cambodia's roads range from well-paved highways to unpaved rural roads. Be prepared for varying conditions and drive cautiously, especially during the rainy season.

Traffic Rules: Traffic laws in Cambodia might differ from your home country. Learn the basic rules, signs, and local driving customs to avoid misunderstandings or fines.

Safety Precautions: Always wear your seatbelt, avoid driving at night in rural areas, and be aware of motorbikes and tuk-tuks, which are common on Cambodian roads.

GPS and Navigation: Use GPS or map applications for navigation, but be aware that some rural areas might have limited signal or unclear mapping.

By understanding these key aspects of self-driving in Cambodia, you can make informed decisions and enjoy a safe and memorable road trip. Whether you're exploring the ancient temples of Angkor or the vibrant streets of Phnom Penh, driving gives you the freedom to discover Cambodia at your own pace. 

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