Is It Safe to Travel to Cambodia for Travellers?

Is it safe to travel to Cambodia? Many people want to travel to Camodia may have such concern. No place in South-East Asia has garnered as much curiosity and interest in the last few years like Cambodia. The country, still reeling from the horror witnessed during the Khmer Rouge regime, has wowed the world with its unique landscape and culture. International travellers from all over the globe travel to Cambodia every year, with their numbers increasing at a rapid rate. So, it’s quite natural to ask the question “Is it safe to travel to Cambodia?”

Before we go into much detail, it’s best to say that Cambodia is safe in general. While the major towns and cities do have their fair share of criminal activities, as long as tourists and travellers behave responsibly, there should not be a lot of problems. However, it’s best to go to Cambodia prepared and to help you in your preparations we have chalked down a few things that you should know regarding safety and security in Cambodia.

Remember that Cambodia Is a Poor Country

Cambodia is not a rich country by any means. On the contrary, there are multitudes of Cambodian citizens who struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet. As a result, there are many without money in the country. The presence of thousands of poverty-stricken people is sad, but it can be scary too. Numerous incidents have been reported in the capital Phnom Penh and other major cities where tourists have been robbed of their valuables.
Dress Normally without Lots of Jewellery
Dress Normally without Lots of Jewellery

The best way to avoid pickpockets and robberies is to not carry items of great value as you travel, especially at night. Also, dress normally. By normal, we don’t mean to say conservative. Just don’t wear a lot of jewellery and clothes that may give some sort of signal off that you have a lot of money, and you should be fine.

Points to Remember

•    Pickpockets and robberies have been reported in Cambodian cities
•    Avoid taking too many items of value with you when you are outside
•    Dress in a way that does not attract too much attention

Avoid Going to the Border Areas

Cambodia’s shares its borders with three other South-Asian countries; Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Even though the situation along its borders has been majorly peaceful over the last few years, there have been a few skirmishes between troops from time to time.

To avoid problems in the border areas, it’s best to steer clear of them as you travel within Cambodia. If you are coming to Cambodia from a neighbouring nation, then obviously you need to do a border crossing. However, apart from that, you should give the border areas a miss. There may also be mines in the border regions without any notifications or signs.

Points to Remember

•    Few skirmishes between Cambodian troops and troops of neighbouring countries have been reported along some stretches of the border
•    Border areas may also have mines
•    It’s best to avoid border areas

Road Safety Is Another Major Issue

Sometimes, the question should not be ‘is it safe to travel to Cambodia?’ Instead, it should be ‘is it safe to travel within Cambodia?’ Cambodian roads are known for being notorious. Most roads in the country have not been properly made at all. On top of that, there are many sections that pass through mountainous regions. So, dirt roads in the mountains; not a very inviting proposition is it?

Cambodia's Roads
Be Prepared for Cambodia's Roads
The track record for road safety in Cambodia does not make for good reading. There are accidents every other day both in the cities and in the outskirts. So you need to be very careful, especially if you plan on hiring vehicles to ride yourself. If you are hiring or buying motorbikes, make sure that the paperwork is in order. Cambodian cops are notoriously corrupt and will look for any excuse they can find to get some money out of you.

You should also have the vehicle properly checked and repaired if necessary before you start your trip. Many times, tourists buy faulty motorbikes and suffer while they are in the middle of nowhere. Avoid such situations by ensuring that the vehicle is fine before you start.

Points to Remember

•    Colombia’s road safety track record is not good
•    There are many roads in the country that are dirt roads
•    Make sure that your vehicle is in a good condition before going anywhere
•    Ensure that you have the required paperwork to avoid hassles with the Cambodian police force

Carrying Medicines Is a Must

The majority of Cambodia is rural, completely devoid of proper medical facilities. If you fall seriously ill while you are in some remote corner of the country, it may be quite a challenge to find quality medical services, especially if you are a solo traveller.

That’s why you need to carry a first-aid kit with you for emergencies. Think of all common health problems and buy them in cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap before you embark on any adventure. If you have any specific health condition, get medicines for that condition as it’s hard to get anything once you are in the rural areas.

Points to Remember

•    There are no medical services in Cambodia’s rural areas
•    Carry appropriate medication for general ill-health and also any specific medical conditions that you may have

So, finally, to answer the question “is it safe to travel to Cambodia?” Well, we can only say that as a traveller, you too have responsibilities. If you don’t attract a lot of attention, take good care of yourself on the road, stay away from the borders and carry proper medicines, then you should be absolutely safe and sound!


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