Is Cambodia Safe For The Tourists?

Cambodia is a vivid country with many well-known wonders such as Angkor Wat, Ta Rum Temple, Bayon Temple or the magnificent Phnom Penh on the Tonle Sap Lake. People remember Cambodia as a land of friendly people who always smile to the guests. Therefore, many foreign tourists believe that this country is a safe haven for everyone, but is Cambodia really safe in fact? The following article will give you the most detailed answer.

1. Passport

The question that is most concerned during the trip is “Is the passport necessary for a trip to Cambodia?” The answer is “Yes. Otherwise, it could be very dangerous”. Many travelers without a passport have hired people crossing the forest and have had to pay four times as much as making a passport. Absolutely no visitors should go this way because it is illegal and more dangerously, the tourists may be abducted. If you have a valid passport at least 6 months in advance, you will be able to travel to Cambodia easily without a visa.

Prepare passport before the trip to Cambodia

2. Landmines

When it comes to the anti-personnel landmines, Cambodia is often referred as the world's highest level of anti-personnel landmines. Is Cambodia safe? Do not worry because fortunately, the fact is changed and the landmines are no longer a concern for the safety of visitors. All cities and tourist attractions have been cleared for long periods of time. The landmines remain in remote hilly areas, old battlegrounds, and are being dismantled. Some notes you should pay attention:

  • If you go to remote sites like Phnom Kulen, Kbal Spean (Linga Stream) and Beng Melea, follow the path to avoid the risk.
  • Do not walk through deserted forests, hilly areas or fields without a guide.
  • Do not cross the border areas, except the official border.
  • If you want to explore remote areas in Cambodia, rent a guide and learn how to avoid landmines.

3. Transportation

Traffic characteristics in Cambodia

Traffic in Cambodia is generally quite chaotic. When moving by taxi motorbike, tuk-tuk or cyclo you should carefully bargain before you go. In addition, do not feel surprised when seeing people sitting on the roof, because sitting on the roof will be... less expensive for indigenous people.

Tuk-tuk – the most popular transportation in Cambodia

Traffic accidents

It is quite common in the mixed traffic situation in Cambodia, especially Phnom Penh. The most popular public transports are taxi motorbike and tuk-tuk (a motorbike with a rear passenger compartment). No helmet is available on the tuk-tuk and most of the drivers do not have a driver's license. Taxis are quite popular in the center and tourist destinations. You can find yourself or contact the tour operator for reservations.

In Phnom Penh, tuk-tuk and cyclos are generally safer than taxi motorbikes. When moving by a taxi motorbike, you have to choose the careful driver. When the driver shows signs of drunkenness or running too fast, you should go down, pay a little bit for him and pick up another one.

For self-driving cars, it should be noted that traffic in Phnom Penh is very messy. The roads in the city are not good and some drivers run very fast. Only experienced drivers should drive in Cambodia.

Waterway to Siem Reap

Waterway to Siem Reap

The safety of the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap waterway systems on the Tonle Sap River is also a matter of concern. Although it does not meet international safety standards, the waterways are relatively fast and new with no or very few safety items such as lifejackets and emergency boats. If you expect a safety standard, it is the best not to choose a waterway. If you have been traveling by boat in South Asia, you will find the boat in Cambodia much better.

There are several companies such as Compagnie Fluviale du Mekong and Mekong Express Tours offering the luxury vessels with world safety standards. Note this information if it is helpful for you.

Infectious diseases

Cambodia is a tropical country, so there are quite a number of tropical infectious diseases that need to be prevented. The best way is to fully vaccinate against infectious diseases before coming to Cambodia even though the authorities do not require it.

You should not let yourself be sick in Cambodia. Emergency services and facilities in hospitals are not very good and medical expenses are quite expensive. It is the best to buy the travel insurance for yourself. Do not drink tap water and be careful with ice in restaurants (You should ask the restaurant to use round ice instead of ice cubes).

Crime issue

Like many other countries in the world, the crime is the next concern after traffic safety.

On the street

On the street of Cambodia

Most of tourists who have been to Cambodia think that it is a safe place. There are also thefts but you can prevent. You should store expensive jewelry or valuable things at home before traveling to Cambodia. In addition, the travelers should also keep their money carefully even in hotel rooms.

Most Cambodians will not seek to take advantage of you; will help and give you a great time in their country with all of their pride. In the suburbs of Phnom Penh, criminals attacked foreigners is hardly heard. There have been a few tourists who have snatched bags or robbed at night in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

In downtown centre, robberies or crimes against foreigners are more frequent, with some robberies occurring during the day, mostly at night in crowded locations, aimed at visitors on motorcycles or walkers.


The best way to avoid getting robbed is moving by taxi, especially at night. Rarely are there robberies in the taxi. If you choose a taxi motorbike, you should only go to large roads, do not go to the bylines or dark roads. It is best not to walk too far at night. If being robbed, do not resist but give them little money and quickly leave that place.

When moving by motorbike, you should put your backpack right behind the driver. It will be safer for you. Other small crimes have also occurred, but it is hardly worth worrying about.

Do not leave money and valuable things on the beach in Sihanoukville when you go out. Do not put your handbag on the taxi, tuk-tuk when you enter the hotel to check in or buy something in any place.

In the hotel

  • You should not leave your phone and valuable things in hotel/motel rooms when you go out. The hotels are not responsible for the valuable things and money in the hotel room which are not sent at the reception.
  • Passports and important papers, cash and other personal belongings with a great value are advised to carry with you in case of theft.
  • Notify the tour guide when the incident occurs.
  • Be careful with luggage and valuable things if you call a prostitute to the room.

4. Nightclub

There are several nightclubs catering to Cambodian natives, as well as a number of foreign bars and clubs such as  Riverhouse Lounge in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville Casino, and several other visitor attractions. Nightclubs are usually protected by police and guerillas. The chaotic atmosphere of alcohol and guns often causes violence within and outside the club.

Nightclub in Cambodia

In addition to the things that should not be done anywhere in the world, in Cambodia you should note some of the following measures to avoid fuss:

  • Look around you carefully.
  • Always prepare to react swiftly in Phnom Penh.
  • Always make judgments about what can happen when you do something.
  • Do not go out in the street late at night, do not choose a tuk-tuk with a driver watching how much wine you drink.
  • Do not go to beach parties alone and pick up drinks from strangers. Some women have been drugged in bars in Sihanoukville, but it will not happen if you know what to do.
  • Be careful with pickpockets in crowded places or in clubs, especially sex clubs and in markets where pickpockets can be very friendly.

5. Shopping in Cambodia

You should go to the traditional markets and markets with shops selling gems, silk, wood and silver decorations, betel nuts and garments. The famous markets are the Russian market, the central market of Phnom Penh and Phsar Toul Tompong.

Shopping in Cambodia

Be careful the fake ones when buying new or used gems and make sure the place you buy must be reliable and be introduced by acquaintances.

1 Comment
  1. Reply
    Dreamer January 19, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Interesting. Personally when I visited I did not feel safe at all although i appreicate this was ten years ago. I’d be interested in hearing how it has changed. See my post for my experiences

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