- W. H. Davies
Cambodia travel safety is an issue for many visitors. "How safe is Cambodia?" is often asked...
We live and work in Siem Reap, and we have come to consider it safer than most Western cities - crime against teh person is almost unknown. Phnom Penh is a large city and has areas that it would be unwise to visit after dark - similar to most large cities in the world - but petty theft is the biggest hazard.
Cambodia is actually a rather safe country to visit and we see over a million tourists a year now to Angkor Wat alone. While there is no guarantee that ny area is 100% clear (although the same can be said of much of Europe!), landmines should be of no concern to temple visitors. Uncleared area with risk of unexploded ordnance are in the border regions and deep forest - and this will not impact most tourists unless trekking in very remote areas (a local guide must be taken for these trips). The Khmer Rouge have not existed since the 1990s Khmers are a Buddhist nation with violent crime towards foreigners highly unusual (although newsworthy when it happens). Petty theft can be a problem for the careless, as in any country with a gulf between rich and poor.
When asking is Cambodia safe most visitors overlook the most obvious risk: road accidents. With a young population and a general disregard for rules of the road the number of people killed is high, and the consequences of being injured are serious. It is unwise for visitors to hire cars or motorbikes for self drive, particularly in Phnom Penh. Travel insurance including medical cover and evacuation is vital.
All of our vehicles are inspected, licensed and insured though the level of cover available here is very low by Western standards. You MUST have adequate personal accident cover before travelling.
Budget travelers are those at risk in Cambodia (and in most developing countries). Cheaper services often mean overloaded vehicles (or boats), and less attention to maintenance. The safety standards of the cheaper bus services are poor - we only recommend Mekong Express and Giant Ibis for bus travel within Cambodia, although please check travel forums such as the Lonely Planet for up-to-date advice.
As with any tropical country, unwary visitors can be susceptible to dehydration, sunstroke/heatstroke and sunburn - sensible precautions should be taken. When traveling with ABOUTAsia, your guide or driver will bring bottled water. Other sources of water, including ice outside of our recommended bars and restaurants should not be trusted.
Mosquito bites are irritating - and can be fatal. Malaria in Cambodia and Dengue Fever are serious diseases carried by Mosquitoes. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are defined as malarial areas with low rates of transmission while the rest of Cambodia should be considered as high risk malarial areas.
Professional medical advice should be sought before traveling, but we would strongly recommend the best protection of all to not get bitten - long trousers and sleeves and insect repellant are recommended.
As with all foreign travel you should watch what (and where) you eat. Follow our advice on dining and you should not succumb to holiday diarrhoea. We have to live and work here and know our restaurants well, and problems are rare in the cities. If you do become unwell we can help of course.
Cambodia has a low risk of terrorism threat to foreigners, it is a peaceful Buddhist country. You should of course avoid public political gatherings where emotions can run high.
... of never leaving. While the majority of the company is staffed by locals, there are six of us from the UK, Spain, Singapore and New Zealand who came on holiday, or to volunteer and who never left because, well, its rather pleasant here...
Peerless service standards and local positioning have made us the tour operator of choice by international luxury travel groups and discerning independent travellers to Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Southeast Asia.