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For Cambodia, the idea of a country relatively untouched by western culture is a great allure. While Cambodia offers travellers an incredible culture and holiday experience, holidays in Cambodia, like any other holiday, are not entirely free from risks. These short tips will help to make your holiday in Cambodia memorable for the right reasons.
1. Avoid the Thailand Border
On-going Cambodian-Thai border disputes have led to many areas along the shared borderline being highly unsafe for civilians as well as tourists. With frequent clashes over the last few years involving live gunfire, your holiday in Cambodia should not include any border visits. Particular areas to avoid include the Preah Vihear temple region and the Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple region.
2. Beware of Landmines
A remnant from Cambodia’s tragic past, government agencies suspect that around six million active land mine explosives are still scattered across the country. Most cities and temple areas that are frequented by tourists are generally considered demined and safe, however many rural areas have yet to be searched. If you are travelling in the countryside, stick to defined paths and roads and avoid wandering off into fields.
3. Public Transport
Like other southeast Asian countries, Cambodia has a legion of unlicensed motorcycle taxis. While they can provide a fun means of transport, on occasion a journey may lead you straight to a group of thugs. It is best to avoid any transport that wasn’t referred to you by a source you can trust, such as your hotel.
4. Road Safety
Just trying to cross the street on your holiday in Cambodia can feel like trying to cross river rapids. Like many other Asian regions, drivers do not pay attention to traffic laws in Cambodia and pedestrians do not have right away. Cross when you are sure it’s safe and walk across roads quickly and confidently.
Eaten some disagreeable food or drank a little too much on your holiday in Cambodia? Be wary of clinics, as public health facilities in this country can be very low quality. This particularly applies to clinics in regional areas, which can be dirty and can include non-expert staff. Ensure you bring any required medications with you and treat dehydration orally; do not let anybody inject anything directly into your body, as equipment is often not sterilised. If you do suffer an emergency, head straight to a hospital in a major city, but again, be wary of the quality of care.
6. Petty Theft
Pickpocketing is common on holidays in Cambodia and in other countries throughout Asia. As a rule, keep your belongings with you at all times and do not leave anything valuable where you can’t immediately see it (e.g. don’t place your handbag under the table). Consider attaching velcro or other fastening devices to your pockets and keep a limited amount of cash on hand. Be wary of anyone trying to cause a scene or distract you from keeping an eye on your goods.
7. Violent Crime
Violent crime is a relatively low occurrence on holidays in Cambodia. If a group approaches you and demands your valuables, don’t resist, as they may be armed. Some nightclubs can also carry a reputation for heavy drinking and firearms and while most tourist bars don’t fall into this category, you should ask your hotel about places to avoid.