What scams should I be aware of?

If you are flying into Cambodia there are no scams involved in obtaining a visa. If you are arriving at any of the land borders expect minor scams, especially at the Cambodian - Thai border crossings at Poipet and Koh Kong. We have listed some common scams below, however it is easy to avoid them. When dealing with border officials always remember that a smile and polite negotiation will be much more effective than getting angry and becoming argumentative.

Visa overcharging: This is the most frequently reported scam, despite government efforts to stop this. At the Poipet and Koh Kong border crossings the officials will insist that you pay the visa in Thai baht instead of US dollars and will ask you for 1200-1500 baht for a tourist visa (around US$40). There are signs clearly stating that the cost is US$30, and although it can be irritating and inconvenient, you should not give way, although you may have to wait a short while.

Touts' assistance: At the border you will be hassled by touts and drivers that will offer their assistance to process your visa in exchange of an extra fee. Do not accept their offers. Applying for a visa is a straightforward process and you do not need their help to obtain it.

Entrance/Exit stamp fee: Border officials may ask for a small fee (100 baht, or several dollars in the case of the Laos border) to stamp you out of the country you are coming from and the entrance stamp at Cambodia. Legally there is no such fee to stamp your visa. You can refuse politely or ask for a receipt, but be aware that if you arrive at peak time when there are queues the officials will make you wait until the rest of visas are processed to stamp yours. And of course, if they already have your passport, it may be unwise to refuse.

SARS fee: In some border crossings (i.e Laos) officials will insist that you pay a small fee (usually US$1) for a SARS / Swine Flu form. The forms are free and you should not pay any additional fee to have your body temperature recorded. You can ask for a receipt or smile, pretend you do not understand and walk away politely.

In the country itself, the most common "scams" are the usual tourist overcharges. While nowhere near as common as in Thailand (search for "Bangkok Gem Scam" - it even has its own Wikipedia entry!) or Vietnam, we have heard of guests buying substandard gems or other goods for large sums.

Scams are common at the Poipet border

Scams are common at the Poipet border

For more information on border crossings please our

  • Land transport page.

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