black stone statue during daytime
people walking on park near trees and building during daytime
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Is Cambodia Safe?

Cambodia is generally safe for travelers, but caution is advised due to risks of petty crime, scams, and road accidents. Violent crime against tourists is relatively rare, but robberies and disputes can occur, especially in major cities. Travelers should also be wary of insect-borne diseases like dengue fever and take precautions against air pollution in urban areas. Respecting cultural customs and being aware of potential natural disasters like floods can further enhance safety.

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Safety & Security

Cambodia is generally safe for travelers, but there are some risks to be aware of. Petty crimes like bag snatching and pickpocketing are common, especially in crowded areas like markets and bus stations. Violent crime against tourists is relatively rare, but disputes, scams, and robberies do occur.

  • Petty Crime: Bag snatching, pickpocketing, and theft are prevalent in tourist areas. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secure.
  • Scams: Common scams include overcharging by taxis, tuk-tuks, and vendors. Negotiate prices upfront and be wary of unsolicited offers.
  • Robberies: While rare, armed robberies can occur, particularly at night or in isolated areas. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or valuables.

Civil Unrest and Political Tension can flare up, leading to protests and demonstrations. Monitor local news and avoid large gatherings or protests. The threat of Terrorism is low but cannot be ruled out entirely.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Cambodia should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. While the country has made significant strides in improving healthcare, some challenges remain.

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, including those for hepatitis A, typhoid, and influenza. Consult a travel health specialist about additional recommended vaccinations, such as hepatitis B, rabies, and Japanese encephalitis.

  • Insect-Borne Diseases: Mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever, malaria, and Zika virus are present in Cambodia. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and consider antimalarial medication if visiting high-risk areas.

  • Food and Water Safety: Avoid tap water and ice cubes made from untreated water. Only consume bottled or purified water and be cautious with street food to prevent foodborne illnesses.

  • Medical Facilities: While medical facilities in major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are improving, they may not meet international standards. Ensure you have comprehensive travel health insurance and access to emergency medical evacuation if needed.

  • Air Pollution: Air quality, especially in urban areas, can be poor due to vehicle emissions and construction. Those with respiratory conditions should take precautions and carry necessary medications.

Natural Disasters

Cambodia is prone to several natural disasters that travelers should be aware of. The country experiences a tropical monsoon climate with heavy rainfall during the rainy season from May to October, which can lead to flooding in low-lying areas and landslides in mountainous regions.

  • Typhoons and Tropical Storms: Cambodia is occasionally affected by typhoons and tropical storms originating in the South China Sea or the Pacific Ocean. These storms can bring strong winds, heavy rains, and potential flooding.

  • Droughts: During the dry season from November to April, parts of Cambodia can experience droughts, which can impact water supplies and increase the risk of wildfires.

  • Earthquakes: While not as frequent as in neighboring countries, Cambodia is located in a seismically active region and can experience earthquakes. The risk is generally low, but travelers should be prepared for potential tremors.

It's advisable for travelers to monitor weather forecasts, follow local advisories, and take necessary precautions during their visit to Cambodia. Staying informed about potential natural disasters can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.


Transportation in Cambodia can be challenging for travelers. While major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have decent transportation options, rural areas often lack reliable public transport.

  • Road Safety: Roads in Cambodia are generally in poor condition, with potholes, lack of lighting, and disregard for traffic rules being common issues. Driving can be chaotic, especially in cities. Hiring a reputable driver is recommended.

  • Tuk-Tuks and Motodops: These are popular modes of transport, but safety standards vary. Negotiate fares beforehand and ensure drivers follow traffic rules. Wear helmets when riding motodops.

  • Taxis: Taxis are available in major cities, but it's advisable to use reputable companies or have your hotel call one. Agree on the fare before starting the journey.

  • Buses: Long-distance buses connect major cities, but safety standards can be lax. Research reliable companies and expect long travel times due to poor road conditions.

  • Trains: The railway network is limited, with services between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville being the main route. Trains are generally slow but can be a scenic option.

  • Boats: River and coastal ferries are common for transportation, but safety standards may be lacking. Avoid overloaded vessels and ensure life jackets are available.

Overall, exercising caution, researching transportation options, and prioritizing safety over cost is crucial for a smooth travel experience in Cambodia.

Cultural Norms

Cambodia is a predominantly Buddhist country with rich cultural traditions. As a traveler, it's essential to respect local customs and religious practices. Here are some tips for cultural sensitivity:

  • Dress Modestly: Cover your shoulders and knees when visiting religious sites like temples and pagodas. Avoid revealing clothing.

  • Remove Shoes: Take off your shoes before entering temples, homes, or other sacred places.

  • Respect Religious Figures: Avoid touching or climbing on Buddha statues, as this is considered highly disrespectful.

  • Greet Respectfully: The traditional Cambodian greeting is a slight bow with palms pressed together, known as "Sampeah." Use this when greeting locals, especially elders or monks.

  • Avoid Public Displays of Affection: Overt displays of affection between couples are frowned upon in Cambodian culture.

  • Observe Festivals: Major festivals like Khmer New Year, Pchum Ben, and Bon Om Tuk are celebrated with unique customs and traditions. Respectfully observe or participate if invited.

  • Respect Monks: Avoid physical contact with Buddhist monks, and women should refrain from handing items directly to them.

  • Photography Etiquette: Ask for permission before taking photos of locals, especially in religious settings or rural areas.

By being mindful of these cultural sensitivities, travelers can show respect for Cambodia's rich heritage and traditions, fostering a positive cross-cultural exchange.

Emergency Services

Emergency services in Cambodia are limited, especially outside of major cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. While tourist police units exist in some areas, their availability and response times can be unreliable. Private ambulance services are available but can be costly.

  • Medical Facilities: Public hospitals often lack resources and adequate care, so many travelers opt for private clinics. However, these can be expensive, especially for serious conditions requiring evacuation.

  • Police Services: The tourist police have English-speaking officers, but their presence is concentrated in major tourist areas. Response times can be slow, and reports of bribery are common.

  • Fire Services: Fire departments exist in larger cities but may have limited resources and training, especially in rural areas.

  • Private Security: Many hotels, resorts, and businesses employ private security guards, which can provide a sense of safety but may have limited authority.

It's advisable for travelers to have comprehensive travel insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, and to research the nearest reliable medical facilities before their trip. Exercising caution and being prepared for limited emergency services is crucial when traveling in Cambodia.

Frequently Asked Questions

A colorful illustration with three people and the letters "FAQ" representing a Frequently Asked Questions section

Is Cambodia safe for tourists?

Cambodia is generally safe for tourists, but caution is advised. Petty crimes like bag snatching and pickpocketing occur, so keep valuables secure. Avoid deserted areas at night. Traffic accidents are common due to poor road conditions and reckless driving.

Is Cambodia safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should exercise caution in Cambodia. While many women travel safely, there have been reports of harassment and assault. Avoid isolated areas, especially at night, and dress conservatively. Be cautious when accepting drinks from strangers.

Is Cambodia safe for families?

Cambodia is a family-friendly destination with a rich culture and history. However, parents should be vigilant about safety and hygiene. Ensure children have all necessary vaccinations and avoid tap water. Hire reputable guides for excursions.

Is Cambodia LGBTQ+ friendly?

Same-sex relationships are legal in Cambodia, but LGBTQ+ rights are limited. Public displays of affection may draw unwanted attention. While the community is generally tolerated, discrimination and harassment can occur, especially in rural areas.

Do you need a visa to go to Cambodia?

Most visitors require a visa to enter Cambodia. For tourist stays up to 30 days, many nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival at airports and major border crossings. A valid passport with at least 6 months remaining is required.

Can you drink tap water in Cambodia?

Tap water in Cambodia is not safe to drink. It may contain harmful bacteria, parasites, and other contaminants. Stick to bottled or purified water, and avoid ice cubes made from tap water.

What is the currency in Cambodia?

The official currency in Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR), but US Dollars (USD) are widely accepted. Credit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist areas, but cash is preferred elsewhere.

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