Phnom Penh

Being the capital of the country, Phnom Penh has its own charm with a beautiful riverside promenade and numerous epic Cambodian Buddhist places, pagodas, and other Asian artifacts. Phnom Penh has a very convenient & accessible tourist infrastructure, and locals are friendly and have not yet become jaded by crowds of tourists. However, during the peak hours, travel around the city might be problematical. Overall, the country remains one of the least developed in Asia, and it doesn’t have a colonial architectural legacy, like its neighbors, probably just a few French colonial buildings remain with wide boulevards envisaged by the French for promenades; which that are no longer used.   95% of all reported crimes involve pick-pocketing, bag/purse-snatching. Robbers usually drive towards you on a motorbike from behind and snatch a bag. Violent crimes are very rare against foreigners. In order to make your journey as smooth and relaxed as possible, SafeAround compiled information concerning all possible risks in the Phom Penh City’s neighborhoods. SafeAround will allow you to see on a map the city’s safest and most dangerous areas, details on scams and other possible risks, as well as some useful travel advice in order not to let anything spoil such a wonderful journey.

SAFETY INDEX

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Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Phnom Penh is a relatively safe city. However, It’s worth to be vigilant all the time.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Pickpocketing and bag snatching are very common. Transportation hubs, markets, the river front area, public transport are among of the top pickpocket’s destinations.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Risk of kidnapping and mugging is moderate. There are not known any recent cases of kidnapping, however, the potentiality exists, particularly in remote outskirts of the city and areas we mentioned as a sensitive in the full article about Cambodia.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

Sketchy individuals or group of them desire to take an advantage of distracted tourists.

  • If you are renting a motorcycle, it has been advised to purchase and use your own lock for securing it as some of the less scrupulous staff at rental companies have been known to use their copy of the key to steal bikes.
  • Reports of counterfeit dollar notes being given as change in shops and clubs are increased, there we advise to check that the notes you receive are genuine and free of any marks and damage.
  • Tuk-tuk drivers regularly fool tourists and drive around in order to increase the price of the ride. Be aware of this scam and try to know the approximate time of the ride in advance.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH

  • Beware of pickpockets in the public transport, particularly while getting on the transport in the big transport hubs. Be especially vigilant on the overnight trains and buses. Do not accept any food or drinks as it may be spiked.
  • Driving the rented motorcycle may be dangerous because the traffic is chaotic, driving standards is poor. If you decided to rent a motorcycle, be very cautious and use a helmet. Additionally, we advise to check that your travel insurance covers you when travelling by motorcycles.
  • Due to overloaded and poorly maintained boats and ferries, the probability of the incident is high. Mariners should be vigilant as there have been attacks against ships in the South China Sea. There is a connection between Phnom Penh and Sien Reap, that usually take 6hrs and costs around 36$.
  • Air conditioned buses circulate around the city. It is very convenient, cheap (0.37$) and fast way to get to the opposite part of the city or from the airport. However, it’s better not to leave your belongings unattended.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

During monsoon season between May and October, flooding is common. Typhoons and Tsunami are also common. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

The possibility of terrorist attacks in Cambodia has a Low probability, however, you should watch out for suspicious activity. Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

Sexual assaults do occur occasionally, particularly there were reported numerous accidents in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh is not a case. A general rule is not to take a tuck-tuck after 8 pm if you travelling alone and avoid poorly illuminated streets.

Carte

WHAT TO DO?

Among the most appealing places to visit in the capital of Cambodia, we can relate the following sights:
  • The magnificent ensemble of Pagodas in the Royal Palace is really worth seeing. It’s been built in the 19th century and present a mix of French technology and Cambodian designs.
  • For a complete cultural understanding, it’s worth paying a visit the National Museum of Cambodia.
  • The killing Fields of Choeung Ek, located about 17 km south of the capital, offers to discover the dark side of the Khmer Rouge terror when millions were killed at the time of the traumatic genocidal regime.
  • For those who are passionate about France and its colonial times, might be interesting to explore the remains of French colonial campaign in Cambodia by visiting the following spots: The Grand Post Office, Raffles Le Royal Hotel, and Central Market.

Wat Phnom and Northern Part of the City

This area is considered as a city center. It encompasses a lovely colonial architecture and numerous dining places. The most luxurious local hotels are located in this neighborhood. The safety level in the area is very high, however, it’s the favorite place for pickpockets because of the number of rich tourists.

Central District and Psar Thmei Market

There are plenty choices of accommodation in this area. The main destination in this area is Psar Thmei Market, that offers a wide variety of goods, from fresh food to gold and different electronic gadgets.  Everyone must try a delicious food at numerous food stands scattered throughout the market. The area is safe, however, a big flow of tourists attracts pickpockets and scammers.

Riverfront Area

Three-kilometer-long promenade calling Sisowath Quay is one of the most vibrant parts of the city. The Royal Palace and the National Museum are located in this area as well. During the dusk, there are some intoxicated individuals who might be potentially dangerous. It’s therefore better not to be alone in this neighborhood and avoid any confrontation.

Area around Street 130, 136, 51

These areas are infamously known for a divert illegal activity. Prostitution is blooming there, provoking often police raids in the local establishments. Drink spiking is common, and HIV rate is one of the highest in the whole Asia. SafeAround recommends avoiding theses neighborhoods.

Useful Information

All tourists, except citizens of the following countries, need a visa to enter: Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines. Price of the tourist visa is 35$ for 2 months and can be obtained upon arrival at Phom Penh airport, e-visa is also available.
The official currency in Cambodia is the Cambodia Riel (KHR). The convenient currency exchange rate also can be found at the international airports. Visa and JCB are the most widely accepted. ATMs charge a fee of 5$ per withdrawal. Reports of counterfeit dollar notes being given as change in shops and clubs are increased. Check that the notes you receive are genuine and free of any marks and that it’s not torn.
The weather in Vietnam differs from region to region. May to October is hot and humid, lots of rain falls. November to April is cool and dry. Central Cambodia has a hot, dry weather from January to August, weather may reach the level of 30°C. September – October is a rainfall season.
The busiest airport of Cambodia is “Pochentong International Airport”. For more information about the airport, you can find on its official website – http://www.cambodia-airports.aero/index.php#anchor.
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page