Cambodia Country Guide

Stay Safe

Cambodia is a safe and friendly country and most visitors are unlikely to experience any personal harm or theft. However, common sense precautions should always prevail when travelling anywhere in the world. Be discrete with your possessions, observe your luggage and avoid unlit and remote areas. Take usual exception with the large cities late at night, particularly Phnom Penh where bag snatching is a problem However, the most likely encounters are the annoying touts, being shortchanged and scams. 
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If you are renting a motorcycle it is advisable to purchase and use your own lock for securing it, as some scrupulous staff at the rental shops have been known to use their copy of the key to steal bikes and leave the traveller paying the exceptionally high value estimation. Police assistance in many cases requires some "facilitation" money in a sort of bidding war between the victim and the criminal with "connections", making recovery of the motorcycle difficult.

Visitors should be aware that the rule of law in Cambodia is inconsistently applied. Crimes usually require bribes to be investigated and if perpetrators are wealthy or connected to the government, they will often be untouchable by police and courts. You should also be aware that the courts are corrupt, so contracts are hard to enforce without some political leverage. All this being said, the violent crime rate is fairly low (especially to foreign visitors) and the police are generally friendly and non-threatening. Those with common sense have little to fear.

Phnom Penh by Milei.vencel

Land Mines
Cambodia suffers from a legacy of millions of land mines left during the war years. Land mines are a minimal to nonexistent threat for tourists, as most touristed areas have been thoroughly de-mined. Tourists sometimes mistake electric or sewage warning signs along national highways for land mine signs. The threat of land mines is more to locals in extremely rural areas who rely on subsistence agriculture for their livelihood.

Most of the landmines are located in the northwestern region of Cambodia. In remote areas such as Preah Vihear (near the Thai border) and Pailin (a former Khmer Rouge stronghold), exercise caution. Heed warning signs and observe red paint and red rope, indicating mined areas. Furthermore, do not venture beyond well established roads and paths. When in doubt ask the locals and heed advice about mined areas.

Siem Reap by Steven Marshal

Prostitution is theoretically illegal but widespread, although generally not overtly aimed at tourists with the exception of Phnom Penh. Nearly 1 in 8 Cambodian sex workers have HIV infection. Cambodia has gained some notoriety as a destination for pedophiles, but under Cambodian law the penalty for sex with a minor can be up to 30 years in prison and such tourists may be prosecuted by their home countries as well.

Certain NGOs like the ChildSafe Network and its 24-hour hotline are vigilant watching and soliciting reports to the police on pedophiles. They can be over zealous and accuse any Caucasian man they see with a young Asian child. If you are a Caucasian with an Asian child (your child, you are an educator, etc) it's best to have some sort of verification as to your role in the child's life, to show police in case of an incident.  

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