Every country has its quirks. Some are safer than others, either due to levels of traditional crime or because of political unrest.
Before traveling to any country you should take a bit of time to do a little bit of research regarding safety, crime, and health. With that in mind, here are some things you should keep in mind as you travel throughout Cambodia.
Watching out for Khmer Rouge
Years ago there was a political regime known as Khmer Rouge. The force was known for its criminal activity and had caused a considerable amount of concern in areas regarding security. They group has, however, been virtually nonexistent for the past few years and whatever you hear about them is purely rumor, speculation, or old news.
Landmines in Cambodia
Because of heavy military activity during past wars, Cambodia is usually one of the first countries to come to mind when you think about the dangers associated with landmines. Even in movies and television shows you still see travelers in Cambodia faced with the task of crossing a field that may or may not have dormant landmines buried within.
Fortunately, landmines really aren’t a problem for common tourists. The main cities are free of mines and most of the tourist areas are clear of mines as well. To be safe, it is suggested that you always stick to clearly marked paths, even if you visit some of the lesser-visited ruins. Most mines, if found, are located near the Thai border, in the mountains, and in specified war zones.
The traffic in Cambodia is, for lack of a better word, chaotic. Think New York City traffic without the luxury of safety lights or common courtesy. A lot of locals like to travel the streets of Cambodia on motorcycle taxis and tourists tend to gravitate towards them as well. Because of the traffic you should really consider finding a safer mode of transportation. Besides, we’d bet money on the fact that your taxi driver will not have a helmet for you and he probably won’t even have a proper drivers license.
Moto-romauks and bicycle rickshaws are safer than motorcycle taxis, though they can still be someone dangerous. Most car and motorcycle taxi drivers pay little attention to other people on the road. To be honest, the safest mode of transportation between cities is in a traditional taxi or car. Travel through Cambodia is one instance where renting a standard vehicle may be beneficial.
Cambodian nightclubs are known for being very active. The alcohol and music attracts an eclectic mix of people, including those with weapons. The mixture of alcohol and weapons, of course, can lead to some pretty interesting altercations both inside and outside of the clubs themselves.
Stop and have a conversation with the concierge at your Cambodian hotel before you venture out to any nightclubs. He will be able to direct you towards the clubs most often frequented by tourists. There usually isn’t as much dangerous activity in these clubs.
Crime in Cambodia
Tourists are no more the victim of crime in Cambodia than in most other countries. If you are traveling you should take special precautions, locking your valuables away, keeping your bags as close as possible at all times, and not flashing large amounts of cash. Pay special attention to your belongings while you are in clubs (especially if prostitutes are present), if you are approached by children, if you visit the markets, and if you enter other crowded tourist areas. For the most part, you should have no problems during your trip through Cambodia.
Health Concerns in Cambodia
Check with your physician or health care provider before leaving on your trip to Cambodia to make sure you have the proper vaccinations or preventative medications. You should especially consider having vaccinations against Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Cholera, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria, and Tetanus. While not all are necessary, it is important to recognize that some diseases can be easily spread by food, water, and insects. Some may be more important than others depending on the section of Cambodia you plan to visit.
In general, you’ll find your trip to Cambodia to be an incredible experience. Take proper safety precautions, as you would when traveling to any foreign country, and you’re bound to have an amazing adventure!