Cambodia Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Cambodia
How safe is Cambodia?
Threat level: Medium
The current travel advice for Cambodia 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.
COVID-19 Situation in Cambodia
Due to the sanitary situation around the world, Cambodia has implemented a series of measures to curb the spread of the virus. Entertainment venues are closed and officials have advised against travelling to other provinces. Road blocks and entry restrictions are in place in some provinces. The use of a face covering is mandatory at the airport and on the flight. When travelling to Cambodia, foreign travellers must obtain a visa prior to travelling by applying online. They must also present a negative PCR test on arrival, taken no more than 72 hours before arrival and show evidence of travel insurance covering for treatment for COVID-19. They will have to undergo two other tests, one on arrival, and another one the 13th day of their stay. Travellers must also pay a $2000 deposit at the airport that covers the price for testing and for other associated charges such as treatment and quarantine; the remainder is refunded after undergoing the test enabling travellers to be released from quarantine. Temperature checks are conducted in hotels on arrival and the hotel ask for travellers to complete a declaration about their recent travel history and to disclose whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. To avoid contracting the disease, apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing and avoid public gatherings.
Security in Cambodia
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 steal 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.
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's International Relations
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.
Travelling around Cambodia
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.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency services in Cambodia
Police Emergency: 117
Police in Phnom Penh: 023 366 841/023 720 235
Police Emergency: 117
Fire Emergency: 118
Medical Emergency: 119
Tourist Police in Phnom Penh: 023 726 158/097 778 0002
Tourist Police in Siem Reap: 012 402 424
Traffic Police in Phnom Penh: 012 999 999/023 650 6767/012 896 628
Traffic Police in Siem Reap: 012 896 628/012 402 424
Currency: Cambodian Riel
Time now in Phnom Penh:
Cambodia is a former French colony that gained its independence in 1953. Following its independence, Cambodia had a number of decades of instability, was involved in the Vietnam War, that saw the country bombed by the US military. A stability was reached when the country was for a short time governed by a United Nations mission in 1992-93.
Cambodia today is a very different place, yet still bears the scars of war, mainly in the form of landmines and unexploded ordnance. The country welcomes more than 5.5 million tourists per year, the majority of which come from China and across Asia.
Poverty is an issue in the country, but official figures confirm that poverty has halved in the country since 2004 and is well on target to be out of the list of “Least Developed Countries” by 2025. Much of Cambodia is rural and can be hard to access, so a great deal of work has been done to improve connectivity and infrastructure in rural areas, including of course electricity supplies, and water and sanitation.
Consular information for Cambodia
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
Visa requirements for Cambodia
All visitors require a visa to enter Cambodia. Tourists and business travellers may purchase a Cambodian visa for up to 1-month 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.
Health Care and Immunisations
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.
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.