Siem Reap

Siem Reap, a resort town in a northwestern part of Cambodi, is the second most visited city in the country, where over 50% of the population works in the tourist industry.  It’s well known, because of the ruins of Angkor, the place where the Kmer kingdom was situated from the 9th to 15th centuries. Siem Reap is virtually a gateway to an ancient world. Thanks to an increased influx of tourists, the city can offer a wide variety of amenities, that couldn’t been even imagined a decade ago. Among the top sights to visit in Siem Reap are the massive temple calls “Angkor wat” which is the main tourist magnet, a trip outside of town to the magic ancient temple Beng Mealea in the middle of the jungle, where you can feel like you explore a lost civilization. Discover an authentic floating village and to see how the local fishermen with their families live, the most known one is Chong Khneas and of course discover the local Angkor night market, where the variety of products obscure the mind of even an experienced explorer. Unfortunately, there is an unpleasant side as well. There are known cases of drink-spiking, mugging, extortion and numerous scam schemes. 95% of all reported crimes involve pick-pocketing, bag/purse-snatching. In terms of violent crime, Siem Reap is comparably safe. 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

See others cities in Cambodia

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Siem Reap is a relatively safe city. However, it’s worth to be vigilant all the time in crowded areas, as scams flourishes.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

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

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM

Risk of kidnapping and mugging is low. However, the risk exists. Be vigilant, and do not respond to provocations.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM

These are the most common scams in Siem Reap.

  • 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.
  • On a regular basis, immigration staff asks a “tip” holding your passport, politely decline as he will return it anyway.
  • Be aware of baby-milk scam. A very poor looking woman may beg for some milk powder for her baby, never buy a milk powder as afterward she will return it to the shop and will split money 50-50 with a vendor.
  • Some tourists, that particularly like massage, may encounter the massage scam. After agreeing upon the price and bringing you to a massage table, more massagists come into the room and start the process. Everything looks perfect, till you’ll be asked the agreed price, but multiplied on each girl.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH

  • Driving a rented motorcycle may be dangerous because the traffic is chaotic and driving standards are 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 worth to not 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 moderate probability, however, you should watch out for suspicious activity. Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM

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

Carte

WHAT TO DO?

Angkor Night Market

It is the central area of Siem Reap known for vibrant markets, bars, and shops. Ideal place if you are looking for a busy night scene, and want to be in the center of the action, but has a limited budget. However, the spot is not ideal in terms of sightseeing opportunities. The area is safe, however, a big flow of tourists attracts pickpockets and scammers. There is known drink spiking with the robbery purpose, thus be vigilant and try to be in a group of those you are familiar with.

Charles de Gaulle Boulevard  

Known as the main road to the Angokor Wat, it’s one of the last remains of the French colony. This road connects the Angkor Archaeological Park with the city center. The area by itself is stuffed with luxury hotels and premium restaurants and boutique hotels. Some main spots are easily accessible, like Wat Thmei Pagoda and Wat Preah Inkosei with along with a National Museum.  However, only wealthy travelers can afford an accommodation in this area, and lack of local community, spoil the authentic atmosphere of the city. The area is very safe, though pickpockets might target wealthy tourists.  At night, there are some intoxicated individuals, that might be potentially dangerous, therefore it’s worth to spend time accompanied in this neighborhood and avoid any confrontation.

Pub Street

The pub street is the epicenter of the nightlife of the city. Using common sense, the area is safe, however, it’s worth to be aware of prostitution activity as it illegal and usually high risky as connected to the locally organized crime groups; drink spiking is common and HIV rate is one of the highest in the whole Asia. SafeAround recommends to be aware of some dangers while visiting the area.

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