Is Cambodia safe to travel?

Is Cambodia safe for travellers? A valid concern and frequently asked question for those travelling to Cambodia. Well, Cambodia is a peaceful country brimming with gorgeous temples, rice paddies, and tropical forests. Tourists from all over the world come to Cambodia to experience the beauty of this country firsthand. With an increased footfall of visitors, Cambodia travel safety for tourists is a paramount concern for the local authorities. Especially because the country has just begun to tap into its potential for being one of the foremost tourist destinations in South East Asia.

The most common crime that you may encounter in Cambodia is petty theft. This includes acts like bag-snatching and mobile theft. Serious crimes against tourists are relatively rare. Your best bet to keep yourself safe on your trip is to take a few basic precautions that will prevent you from being at risk of any untoward incidents.

The recent reputation for crime has in no way tarnished the country’s standing as one of the most welcoming and easily accessible nations in the region. Irrespective, being aware of crime in Cambodia and travel safety tips could be extremely helpful. The risk factors and precautionary measures listed below will help ensure a safe and hassle free journey.

angkor wat siem reap cambodia Angkor Wat is the number 1 attraction in Cambodia and has made the tourism industry grow rapidly.

Crime in Cambodia

The extent of crime against tourists can range from petty theft to armed robbery. Petty theft can occur in the form of bag-snatching while you are in a tuk-tuk or on the side of the road. You only put yourself at risk of an armed robbery situation in some of the remote areas in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Sexual assault on tourists is an even rarer occurrence. Women traveling in tuk-tuks alone past 8pm are unfortunately at a higher risk. Similarly, spiked drinks are another common risk factor.

Precautions for safety in Cambodia:

  • Avoid traveling alone in remote areas after 8 pm.
  • When looking for a ride, you should pick a tuk tuk that has side nets to prevent bag-snatching attempts. If your tuk tuk doesn’t have one, then make sure your bag is secured between your legs or close to your body. Just make sure no part is sticking out of the tuk tuk.
  • Avoid carrying valuables and jewellery when you leave your hotel.
  • Try to avoid taking a tuk tuk alone at night. Always try to be near groups. Preferably, other tourists as you will have safety in numbers. This is an important tip for safety in Cambodia.
  • It is advised that you refuse accepting drinks from strangers. Avoid getting inebriated at a party, especially if you are a solo traveler.
  • Always keep your wits about you. Be wary of your surroundings. If you keep these basic precautions in mind, you run a very low chance of being the victim of a crime.

tuk tuk cambodia While travelling by tuk tuk in Cambodia you have to be careful with your bags & valuables.

Common Scams in Cambodia

The average household income per day in Cambodia is only 0.89$. So, if tuk tuk drivers or street vendors feel like they can fleece a few extra bucks off you, then they will. Far more sinister are credit card cloning scams. It’s still a rare occurrence, however, current trends suggest an increase. Being well read and well versed with common scams that occur while travelling in Cambodia is the best way to not fall prey to these scams.

How to avoid scams in Cambodia

  • Whenever you hail a tuk tuk, make sure that you settle on the fare beforehand. Also, make sure that the amount you are paying is for your whole party and not per individual. Ask the staff at your place of accommodation for a rough idea of approximate fares from one stop to another.
  • It is best to leave your credit card in the hotel safe. Cambodia is still a cash-based society for the most part. Also, while paying in cash, be sure to keep notes of lower denomination handy and those of higher denomination, separately. Doing so will help make sure that those around you are not aware of how much money you are carrying.
  • If you do carry your credit card with you, make sure that at no point do you leave it unattended. The safest way to do so would be to carry a money belt or breast pocket under your t-shirt.
  • Beware of men that pose as fake monks and approach you for money claiming it to be for religious purposes. Another common scam is people posing to be fellow travellers who convince you that they lost their wallet and simply need some money for travel or food.
  • Avoid attracting any attention by wearing fancy clothes and jewellery and simply blend in with the local culture. Which also includes only taking out your smart phone or SLR when necessary instead of constantly having it around your neck.

    tuk tuk siem reap Most tuk tuk drivers are friendly but there are some black sheep who will try to scam you.

Road Safety

The road quality in Cambodia deteriorates as you move away from the national routes. These ill-maintained roads are highly accident-prone during the wet season. Many of the roads are poorly lit or marked.
Cambodia, like many other southeast Asian countries, has a notorious reputation for outrageous drivers. Road fatality rates are nowhere near as high as its western neighbour, however, driving around can be scary at times.

Precautions for Cambodia travel safety :

  • DO NOT attempt to traverse the country by motorbike during the monsoon season.
  • Visitors may get overwhelmed with the lack of road etiquette on Cambodian roads. So it would be best to rent a car with a driver rather than driving the vehicle yourself.
  • Try not to catch a ride at night as the drivers are both poorly paid and overworked. A fatigued driver is more likely to fall asleep, especially at night.
  • Beware of locals dressed as fake cops that ask for your passport and demand money in exchange for it.

Landmines in Cambodia

Landmines are a torrid reminder of the horrors in Cambodia’s past. There are several remote frontier areas in Cambodia where live landmines still persist. Mind you, these places are only accessible if you literally wander off the beaten path.

Safety precautions :

  • If you are near the Cambodia-Thailand border, make sure to stick to marked paths. Straying off into the wilderness in these areas is inadvisable.
  • If you are traveling to the remote reaches of Cambodia, it is best to have a guide along with you. This way, you will have local guidance to stay away from danger areas.

Exercise these precautions and you will mitigate the chance of encountering a landmine to the point where you are now at a higher chance getting struck by lightning than stepping on a landmine.

Climatic Conditions

When Cambodia gets hot, it really gets hot. This is expected of a country with a tropical climate. The risk of sunburn and sun-stroke are high in Cambodia. Similarly, Cambodia receives a lot of rain during the wet season. This may result in flooding in certain parts of the country.

Safety precautions for weather conditions

  • Sunscreen and a hat are travel necessities.
  • A smart move would be to complete most of the sightseeing during early morning hours. Sunrise also happens to be the best time to visit places like the Angkor temples, especially Angkor Wat.

Health safety in cambodia

Vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever are prevalent in Battambang and Siem Riep but less so in Phnom Penh. However, you will encounter mosquitoes throughout your trip. The tropical climate also facilitates the growth of bacteria in water and stale food.

Health precautions to ensure Cambodia travel safety:

  • Carry insect repellent with you when you travel to the rural parts of Cambodia.
  • Always make sure that you drink clean water and eat food from stalls that are crowded or evidently cover their food.

These are some of the crucial Cambodia travel safety tips that you ought to bear in mind for a smooth journey across this tropical country. Overall,if you ask us, “Is Cambodia safe?” we’d definitely say it is. Scams, theft and health safety are a concern while travelling to any country across the world. Travelling in Cambodia safely and most other Asian countries may require a few additional precautionary measures, but nothing that cannot be avoided. The locals are aware of the booming tourism sector and the economic upheaval it is bringing to their nation so most folks are kind and welcoming. They simply want to move on from a terrible past and beckon a future where they can showcase the rich culture and heritage of Cambodia. Yet Cambodia travel safety is definitely something you ought to be prepared for.

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