SAFETY TIPS

SAFETY AND SECURITY

PREAH VIHEAR TEMPLE AREA AND SURROUNDING BORDER REGION

There have been frequent clashes between Thailand and Cambodia over a border dispute in the region surrounding Preah Vihear, including exchanges of gunfire and artillery that resulted in numerous fatalities and the evacuation of civilians.

In 2013, the International Court of Justice ruled that Cambodia has sovereignty over the entire territory of the Preah Vihear temple. While the situation has improved, tension remains.

DEMONSTRATIONS

Demonstrations take place frequently. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

CRIME

Street crime targeting foreigners, including pick-pocketing, is common in urban areas, including:

  • Phnom Penh
  • Siem Reap
  • Sihanoukville, particularly in the Boeung Keng Kang area south and west of the Independence Monument

Crimes occur any time of day or night.

Armed assaults, although increasingly rare, may occur in Phnom Penh and on isolated beaches in Sihanoukville. Canadians have been injured during assaults and armed robberies.

Thieves, sometimes on motorcycles, grab bags and other valuables (including passports) from pedestrians, motorcycle drivers and motorcycle passengers.

Firearm ownership is high, and guns are often used in cases of robbery and personal dispute or disagreement, including those involving foreigners. Personal belongings have been stolen from locked rooms, particularly in low-cost accommodations. Items have been removed from luggage stored in the luggage compartments of buses, especially on the journey between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Banditry poses a risk, particularly at night, in rural areas and on routes between Snoul, Kratié and Stung Treng in the northeastern provinces. Foreigners have encountered difficulties with ill-disciplined police and military personnel.

  • Exercise a high degree of caution at all times
  • Avoid travelling alone, especially at night
  • Ensure personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times

WOMEN’S SAFETY

Sexual assaults against women have occurred.

Safe-travel guide for women

SCAMS

Scams targeting tourists occur. Card games are often involved. Some travellers have been taken to an ATM and forced to withdraw money.

Travellers have been the victim of scams and extortion at border crossings. Travellers have reported that border officials demanded they pay extra charges before they can enter Cambodia.

In other cases, travellers were taken by strangers to isolated areas for extended periods and were intimidated and pressed for payment. Carefully consider accepting assistance from individuals offering to help with documentation or transportation.

TERRORISM

There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.

ROAD SAFETY

Extremely poor road conditions, local disregard for traffic laws and drunk drivers result in frequent accidents.

Only undertake travel by road in daylight hours, by either scheduled bus or cars travelling in convoy.

TRAVEL BY MOTORCYCLE

Motorcycles are a common means of transportation in urban areas. Motorcycle accidents kill or maim several Canadians in Cambodia each year. Avoid riding motorcycles in Cambodia as it is dangerous— even for experienced motorcyclists.

Rental agencies often request passports as a guarantee when renting motorcycles. Unscrupulous owners have followed renters and taken the motorcycle by removing the lock and chain when the vehicle was parked, leaving the traveller without a motorcycle or passport. If you plan to rent a motorcycle, purchase your own locks and chains.

You must not use your Canadian passport as collateral (e.g. as assurance for debts or rental of motorcycles). If your passport is inaccessible or stolen as a result of such misuse, you may be subject to investigation by Passport Canada and may receive limited passport services.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Boats are often overcrowded, lack adequate safety equipment and are susceptible to robbery by armed gangs. Boat owners accept no liability for accidents.

Avoid travelling by train. Accidents occur due to poor track maintenance and to drivers trying to beat the train at crossings.

AIR TRAVEL

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

DOMESTIC TRAVEL

With the exception of flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, domestic air service can be unpredictable, and flights may be cancelled on short notice.

Travel from Laos should be undertaken by air only. The Laotian side of the border is often closed to international travellers. For travel to Laos from Cambodia, you must obtain the relevant visa prior to arriving at the border.

GENERAL SAFETY INFORMATION

Tourist facilities are well developed in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, but limited elsewhere.

LANDMINES

Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. There are landmines in rural areas, especially in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Thom, Pursat and Siem Reap (except in the town of Siem Reap and the Angkor temples, which are safe).

The border area with Thailand is especially dangerous. Do not walk in forested areas or in dry rice paddies without a local guide.

Areas around small bridges or secondary roads are dangerous.

Do not visit outlying temples, particularly in the heavily mined areas of Phnom Kulen and the River of a Thousand Lingas.

Unexploded ordnance is also found throughout the country and could explode if handled.

Strictly observe warning signs and do not handle any unknown object.

DRUGS

Illicit drug use has led to the death of several Canadians in Cambodia.

More information on how to avoid difficult and dangerous situations related to illegal drugs

PIRACY

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre

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