Travel Safely in Cambodia


Cambodia is a country of ancient beauty.  As it recovers from its tragic past following the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime it is a country that continues to grow and prosper from trade and tourism.  The sights and sounds are reaching out to appeal to travelers from the world over, but like many travel destinations, Cambodia travel is not without its dangers. The most important aspects of being a safety conscious tourist are awareness and preparedness.  One of the best ways to prepare yourself is to make use of the vast resources easily available at the click a mouse.  The US State Department for example offers international travel information for every country, with information such as advisories, crime statistics, and emergency contact information.


Safety in Cambodia means keeping vigilant and aware at all times.  Street crimes are common in tourist areas especially during festival times.  It is recommended that important documents such as passports and visas be secured in a safe place such as a hotel room safe, or when traveling with handbags and backpacks to keep them tightly secured and close to your body.  As an extra precaution you should also have photocopies of any important documentation in case the originals are lost or stolen.


For the most part, the major cities in Cambodia like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are not particularly dangerous.  Though, like any large metropolitan area, care should be taken when traveling after dusk.


In crowded areas it is common to be approached by a person who attempts to appear friendly, often by putting an arm around your shoulder; this is an attempt to steal from you.  The “snatch and grab” is also a common method of theft; thieves are often found using motorcycles to assist in the crime.  It is recommended to avoid travel in the “tuk tuk” a type of small cab commonly used throughout Cambodia, as these leave people particularly vulnerable to a run-by theft as well as offering little protection in the event of a traffic collision.


It is advised to travel in groups and/or to hire the services of a local guide (preferably from a reputable travel company) when traveling places.  Avoiding protests, demonstrations, and other gatherings is also recommended as these may escalate to violent levels. 


Care should be taken when traveling in rural areas.  As the country is still recovering from their recent civil war, there may still be unexploded ordnance outside of small rural towns.  It is highly recommended that any travel in these areas be done with a local guide. 


The Travel along the Cambodian-Thai border is also strongly advised against as there are serious tensions between the two countries and exchanges of gunfire are common.  These areas, however, are far removed from the cities and there is no immediate danger posed to the urban bound tourist.


Cambodia is a beautiful country, one with a history full of both tragedy and triumph.  In their contemporary state they are still growing and developing so caution should be taken when one visits.  By remaining a safe and vigilant tourist you will see that Cambodia’s beauty will touch your heart and your soul.




Article Written By Charlie Bennett

Charlie Bennett is a world-bound traveler seeking adventure wherever it can be found.  Currently he writes for the Cambodia travel specialists at G Adventures.