Cambodia is a pretty safe country for travellers these days, but remember the golden rule: stick to marked paths in remote areas (because of land mines). Here are some reasons help you to answer the question: Is is safe to travel to Cambodia ?
In the run-up to major festivals such as P’chum Ben or Chaul Chnam Khmer, there is a palpable increase in the number of robberies, particularly in Phnom Penh. Cambodians need money to buy gifts for relatives or to pay off debts, and for some individuals theft is the quickest way to get this money. Be more vigilant at night at these times. Guard your smartphone vigilantly and don’t take valuables out with you unnecessarily.
Crime & Violence
Given the number of guns in Cambodia, there is less armed theft than one might expect. Still, hold-ups and drive-by theft by motorcycle-riding tandems are a potential danger in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. There is no need to be paranoid, just cautious. Walking or riding alone late at night is not ideal, certainly not in rural areas.
There have been incidents of bag snatching in Phnom Penh in the last few years and the motorbike thieves don’t let go, dragging passengers off motos (motorcycle taxis) and endangering lives. Smartphones are a particular target, so avoid using your smartphone in public, especially at night, as you’ll be susceptible to drive-by thieves.
Should anyone be unlucky enough to be robbed, it is important to note that the Cambodian police are the best that money can buy! Any help, such as a police report, is going to cost you. The going rate depends on the size of the claim, but anywhere from US$5 to US$50 is a common charge.
Violence against foreigners is extremely rare, but it pays to take care in crowded bars or nightclubs in Phnom Penh. If you get into a stand-off with rich young Khmers in a bar or club, swallow your pride and back down. Many carry guns and have an entourage of bodyguards.
Watch out for yaba, the ‘crazy’ drug from Thailand, known rather ominously in Cambodia as yama (the Hindu god of death). Known as ice or crystal meth elsewhere, it’s not just any old diet pill from the pharmacist but homemade meta-amphetamines produced in labs in Cambodia and the region beyond.
The pills are often laced with toxic substances, such as mercury, lithium or whatever else the maker can find.Yama is a dirty drug and more addictive than users would like to admit, provoking powerful hallucinations, sleep deprivation and psychosis. Steer clear of the stuff unless you plan on an indefinite extension to your trip.
Also be very careful about buying ‘cocaine’ in Cambodia. Most of what is sold as coke, particularly in Phnom Penh, is actually pure heroin and far stronger than what may be found elsewhere.