Scams and Precautionary Measures You Should Know Before Visiting The Mystical Land of Cambodia


(c) Kadambari Bhatte

Photo of Scams and Precautionary Measures You Should Know Before Visiting The Mystical Land of Cambodia by Kadambari Bhatte (curlytravelmess)

After spending almost two weeks in Cambodia, I thought I know quite bit about Buddhist and Khmer culture, food and the people. The trip was amazing, in hindsight I wished I had done more extensive research on certain places and known facts before visiting. If you have been on a workcation before, have you done the same type of research you would on a complete switch off holiday? Well, that was me! I was essentially treating it as a workation, because I had to meet a deadline, but I also wanted to enjoy a few days off and explore. Thats when I learnt what I am about to tell you in this article.

What can an ancient land of temples and mystical jungles do to me anyway?

Entering the Bayon temple as the monks made their way (c) Kadambari Bhatte

Photo of Cambodia by Kadambari Bhatte (curlytravelmess)

Nowadays, Instagram and Pinterest photos push people to make bucket lists and travel to a new place, which is certainly a good thing, everyone must travel! But from my experience, many a times in quotes, "What you see in these pictures is completely different in real life!"

Cambodia is Beyond Angkor Wat Temple

Cambodia is pretty safe for travelers, but like elsewhere in Southeast Asia, it does have its share of petty crime – and troubles with the police. So long as you're aware of the issues, you'll no doubt have a safe trip. Cambodia isn't really very dangerous, but there are certain things you must know before you travel to certain parts. Since Cambodia is a poor country, there are chances of getting thugged and cheated in many places. Best the Angkor Wat if you plan to travel to other parts, these important tips will help you stay safe. Keep in mind some of these tips for a safe and smooth holiday.


Photo of Scams and Precautionary Measures You Should Know Before Visiting The Mystical Land of Cambodia by Kadambari Bhatte (curlytravelmess)

1. Petty crime and Scooter Snatches in Cambodia

Like any other new country, it is a given that you must take care of your belongings. And in Cambodia it's no different. Make sure you don't leave your precious belonging behind you, especially important documents like passport. It is easy to lose your money, bags, belongings if left unattended in a matter of seconds in crowded areas. Due to the rate of poverty in Cambodia, the petty crime is one of the most common crimes in Cambodia. Bag snatching and pick pocketing is very common even if you are in a tuk tuk, motorbike taxi or a countryside, especially in Phnom Penh. So when you visit, just be vigilant and your trip will be perfect!

Petty crime in Cambodia

Scooter Snatches in Cambodia

2. Skip the Floating Village Boat ride in Siem Reap

I had heard a lot about the 'Tonle Sap floating villages' in Siem Reap, and decided to give it a go on a day that didn't have much planned. This was a total rip off! We were charged $100 each to see a Fishermans village floating on water. And, there was barely any water for the boat to float! The advertisement implies that the money would go to the poor of the village. But after asking around, I realised it goes in the pocket of the Government and the drivers as commission. The poor villagers don't get anything! Plus a 10 year old young boy was navigating our boat, I am lucky I am alive.

Check out the floating village scam here

3. Walking alone at night in rural areas isn’t advised

Instead of walking around in the night, take a tuk-tuk. It's always a good idea not to wander around with a lot of cash, and tuk-tuk is very cheap as well. It is safe in the main city but avoid stepping out alone for walk.

4. Do not Drink Tap Water

The tap water in Cambodia is proven to be quite unhygienic. I always prefer carrying a packaged bottle of water from my hotel. If not you can just buy at a local store, and spare yourself from stomach flu.

5. Don't Opt for Elephant Rides

You will be offered to ride an elephant anywhere you go in Cambodia. But quite honestly, stir away from it as they are abused and and tortured to fit the ride. Best is to opt for local tuk tuks instead.

6. Dress Modestly

Well, when you are roaming around the temples or a local village it is advised to dress up modestly, as the locals usually don't appreciate short clothes. Like I mentioned before a lot of the areas in Cambodia aren't developed yet, and this can draw an attention towards you.

7. Drug Scams

Cambodia is a major source, transit and destination for illegal drugs. It is a given that don't get caught and seen doing, buying or talking to the drug peddler. Drug planting is very common as well, hence keep your bags with you!

8. False Tourist Information Offices

Its always best to book your hotel in advance and plan your trip. Before you pay money for any kind or tour do your research. My best advice is to book a tour through your hotel desk or via a reputable website, since they will not thug you.

9. No Meters in Cambodia

The tuk tuk/motorbike taxis do not have meters on them. Usually the standard fare is between $1-3 USD. They can try to charge you extra especially in the night, best is to ask them the fare before you sit in the taxi ride. We found a good and trustworthy tuk tuk driver and hired him on all days for a very reasonable rate.

10. Guides for Angkor Wat Temple

If you need a local guide to get some information about the Angkor Wat Temple, opt one approved by the Government. There are many 'helpful' locals who claim to be guides but that is totally misleading. Also I regretted taking a local guide after paying $30 for 1 hour. You can easily take a tour on your own time and explore the temples.

The Best Time To Visit Cambodia

1. November to March is the best time for clear skies and less hot weather. I visited at the start of February and the weather was perfect. This is almost the end of season so the hotels rates are reasonable as well.

2. Rains starts from May to October so you would want to avoid these months since you won't be able to see anything.

Cambodia is gaining it's popularity from travellers in India, and one must definitely visit this amazing place at least once in their lifetime! Some of these below tips might save you money, stress or simply guide you to plan a better trip. I hope you have gathered some important information regarding travelling safe in Cambodia. Hoping you a safe and fun travel!

Check out my other articles on Cambodia below:

Everything You Must Know Before Planning a Trip to The Ancient City of Angkor Wat in Cambodia

Glimpses of Angkor Wat

Earn credits and travel for free with Tripoto's weekend getaways, hotel stays and vacation packages!

Get travel inspiration from us daily! Save our number and send a Whatsapp message on 9599147110 to begin!

#cambodia #southeastasia #cambodiascams #angkorwat