Cambodia Risk Report
Security travel advice for Cambodia
Threat level: Medium
The current travel safety advice is to remain cautious of public gatherings due to some current political unrest in Cambodia. There have been a small number of bombings and shootings in the past. Most of these attacks have actually been linked to business, personal and gang disputes, not terrorism.
Various explosive devices have been found in Phnom Penh over the years that may have links to terrorism. Visitors will find that most trips to Cambodia are risk free, but the British Embassy, U.S Embassy, and various others governmental offices continue to receive serious crime reports from tourists in the country.
Foreign tourists present an easy target for criminals in Cambodia. Even though violent crime is rare, it is still present in certain areas of Cambodia, and firearms have been used during robberies against travellers. Thieves are usually affected by poverty and look to steak from tourists who are likely to be carrying money and valuables on them. As such, tourists should remain vigilant to the chance of robbery and avoid displaying or carrying large amounts of money and/or valuables.
Recent Security Risk Events
Two expatriates living in Cambodia were murdered during what was suspected to be an armed burglary at their house in Phnom Penh in 2014. The same year saw a 43-year-old Japanese businessman working in Cambodia shot dead after he was assaulted by two men. It is reported that they tried to mug him as he got out his taxi outside his apartment. Violence against tourists is rare but occasionally happens. Travellers should be cautious when travelling alone and report any suspicious behaviour.
There have been a few reported incidents western tourists having their drinks spiked in Sihanoukville, a popular tourist destination in Cambodia. Occasionally there are outbreaks of violence in the evening in some bars popular among tourists. Be extra vigilant, in and around night clubs and bars and don’t leave drinks unattended for any period of time.
There has been a significant increase over the past year in crimes committed against tourists. Most Cambodian police are paid little more than U.S. $30 per month and many police officers are corrupt.
Back packing is particularly popular in Cambodia as many people travel through to get between Vietnam and Thailand. Backpacker style parties, including organised dance parties on islands off the coast of Sihanoukville frequently occur in the country. These locations have a high risk of sexual assault for young female travellers, robbery, injury, arrest, and lost belongings, including travel documents. Parties on the islands are often isolated and access to hospitals and other emergency services is likely to be extremely delayed or unavailable. You should take appropriate precautions for your personal safety.
Cambodia still remains heavily affected by landmines and other similar unexploded ordnance with many mined areas remaining unmarked. Don’t stray off main routes in rural areas, including around temple complexes. Don’t pick up objects that look like they may belong to explosive equipment such as flat round metal objects, tubular metal objects, cables etc.
Cambodia has international relations with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand built mostly on economics. The country also has established diplomatic relations with many other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, as well as many of its other Asian neighbours.
Travel in Cambodia relies heavily on the Mekong River. Fast travel via speedboats is available but it is extremely dangerous, the instability of the vessels used at such high speeds has resulted in multiple deaths in previous years.
Cambodia has one of the highest rates of road accidents in South East Asia. There are high numbers of fatalities and serious injuries each year. Many of these collisions are due to poor vehicle and driver safety standards.
Mopeds are a popular method of transport in Cambodia, particularly amongst young travellers as they offer cheap, easy travel. Whilst most backpackers face little issues with this, reckless driving has led to some accidents amongst tourists. If you plan to drive a moped, ensure that you drive carefully and always wear a helmet for safety.
Currency: Cambodian Riel
Time now in Phnom Penh:
A visa are required to enter Cambodia. Tourists and business travellers may purchase a Cambodian visa for up to 1 months stay at the airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and land borders. You will be given a departure form and it is essential that you do no lose this. If you plan to stay in Cambodia longer than this period, contact your local Embassy for further visa advice.
It is advised that visitors to Cambodia are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A vaccinations.
Although there is no direct risk of Yellow Fever in Cambodia, if you are coming from a country where there is a risk of the disease, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
You may want to consider malaria treatment in rural areas during the wet season which includes anti-malarial medication and mosquito nets, however this is not mandatory. It is advised to only drink bottled water.
Public health facilities in the country are poorly equipped and often understaffed. It is recommended that you seek private medical care if necessary as the standard of treatment is often better. Many serious illnesses or injuries may require travel to a neighbouring country for treatment.
You should ensure that you purchase comprehensive medical insurance that will cover you for all medical requirements, including emergency treatment and medical evacuation to another country, as these can be extremely costly.
U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh
1 Christopher Howes 96,
Telephone: +855 23 728 000
British Embassy Phnom Penh
Preah Botum Soriyavong St 75,
Telephone: +855 23 427 124
Other useful info
Police Emergency: 117
Fire Emergency: 118
Medical Emergency: 119