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How safe is Cambodia?

  • Wootle

    Joined Travelfish
    11th February, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Me and my girlfriend are looking to do some volunteering and backpacking around cambodia in june/july, just wondering how actually safe is cambodia? We came across a pretty worrying FCO report on cambodia, and wondered if we were over reacting?

    The reports here http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country/asia-oceania/cambodia

    Its on the list of places to avoid all travel to areas of the country :s

    thanks in advance,

    Oli.

    #1 Posted: 11/2/2009 - 23:41

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  • somtam2000

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    Hi Oli,

    I'd say that report is probably overstating the dangers and understating the fact that the vast majority of visitors to Cambodia have no problems whatsoever.

    Yes, crime, especially petty theft, is a problem. Public transport is slow and uncomfortable but I'd not say it is particularly dangerous.

    A lot of it comes down to common sense -- don't drink 50 beers and walk home along at 3am. Don't ride a motorcycle without a helmet. Don't flaunt your wealth in one of the world's poorest countries.

    There's a good thread about volunteering in Cambodia here

    More questions, ask away!

    #2 Posted: 12/2/2009 - 12:51

  • Wootle

    Joined Travelfish
    11th February, 2009
    Posts: 2

    Yer, I hoped it would be something like that. As you say, the report only talks about the negative, I suppose if you compare it somewhere like London (or any major city) the risks are the same.

    Thanks for your reply Somtam, much appreciated.

    Oli.

    #3 Posted: 12/2/2009 - 22:01

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I would agree with somtam up to a point. Also do not visit ATMs in the night. I am in Sihanoukville now and a couple of wees ago a Canadian tourist was beaten to death outside an ATM for the $500 he'd taken out. "One of the poorest countries in Asia'??? I have never seen somany luxury cars, Lexus, Humvee you name it. Everywhere.

    #4 Posted: 13/2/2009 - 19:12

  • orionarrow

    Joined Travelfish
    30th December, 2008
    Posts: 11

    Hi,

    I just got back from my solo backpacking trip of 2 weeks. I guess I was really fortunate that nothing bad happened to me.

    I also went to some real rural areas (in my opinion) in Cambodia i.e. O Som & Veal Veng. That is at the Central Cardamoms Forest. I did that with a ranger.

    Guess you just need to take the usual precautions and keep as little cash in your wallet at all times. At all times, I had about USD15 max in my wallet. The rest of my money was strapped to my waist under my T-shirt.

    Take care & have fun!

    #5 Posted: 15/2/2009 - 13:33

  • faineg

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    It's not the safest country in the world, but it ain't Somalia either. I think a bit of common sense is what applies here, as was previously stated. Risky stuff you might do at home with your mates? Don't do it here.

    I would, in fact, implore you to *never* get ragingly drunk here as that seems to be when much of the really unpleasant stuff happens. Don't wander around with a ton of expensive stuff hanging off your back, especially at night. I felt fine carrying my fancy camera around the temples at Angkor, but am much warier about when and where I use it here in Phnom Penh . Use ATMS during the day and make sure you are totally aware of who's around you at the time. I like to pull out a large sum during the day, go right back to my hotel room, put the bulk of it somewhere safe, and go out with a small sum that wouldn't kill me if I lost it.

    The biggest day-to-day worry/hassle will be touts - people in your face trying to sell you stuff/moto rides/tuk tuk rides/illegal drugs/ girls, etc etc etc. Try to shake off your Western standards of politeness and completely ignore them at all times. This works great for me.

    Siem Riep struck me as a very safe little town (with proper precautions). Phnom Penh is a bit creepier.

    #6 Posted: 8/11/2010 - 12:09

  • oscarcat

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2008
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 66

    Even reviews on Trip Adviser and Asia rooms were making nervous prior to my third trip here in as many years, stories of scams and robbery and danger abound online. Once here tho I am reassured to find Cambodia the same as ever. I would echo the words above, keep your wits about, don't look like a target either by flashing wealth or by yr demeanour. I have done some silly things in both Sihanoukville and Lakeside Phnom Penh, mainly fuelled by drink and have til now got away with it. Seems everybody loves to tell tales about Cambodia and, as with all tales, they get exaggerated in the telling and retelling for impact. I heard a similar story about a westerner in Sihanoukville beaten to death after visiting an ATM but he wasn't a tourist and was, to some extent the author of this own downfall, at least the way it was told to me... beware of travellers' tales but go with caution and respect and you should be fine

    #7 Posted: 8/11/2010 - 15:01

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    You are right about that ATM incident in S'ville.A lot came out later about the guy that wasn't known at first.
    I think most of rural Cambodia is safe.S'ville has had some nasty incidents (but this can happen anywhere) I would advise people to NOT walk on quiet parts of the beach at night.
    Find a motodop working out of a hotel/guesthouse ask the people who own it if he's OK and stick with him everytime you go out.They've all got phones and will be more than happy to come and pick you up.

    #8 Posted: 8/11/2010 - 17:11

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

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    Generally Cambodia is fine as long as you're sensible. Definitely agree that alcohol can be a main contributor to getting yourself in a dodgy situation.

    My main piece of advice would be to always get transport home after a night/evening out in Phnom Penh. The streets get quiet pretty early and it's worth spending a couple of dollars to get back to your guesthouse safely.

    There are occasional bag snatches - if you're on a motorbike or bicycle DON'T wear your bag across your body, hold it next to you or tie it round the handle bars. Otherwise, if someone does grab it, you could end up coming off your bike.

    When you remember that many people here only earn $50 a month, it helps you to realise how much money you are waving around, even though it might not seem like a lot. A little bit of humility will help you adopt the right approach.

    Personally, I always give a polite "Ahtey orkun" (no thank you) to tuk tuk and moto drivers - they're just trying to make a living the same as everyone else.

    Cambodia is perhaps surprisingly safe given its circumstances. The vast majority of people are friendly and without ulterior motive. Practise smiling at Khmers and see how many beautiful smiles you get in return. Above all, enjoy!

    #9 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 14:49

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    yeh, fair advice there Abigail.I like to say no thanks to the drivers too.I think a better transliteration might be aw tay orkun (the aw like the English word awe) but you are right about taking a moto.
    All I would add is as I have written above about s'ville applies to PP.
    Motodops,Tuk-tuks appearing more and more now) are not licenced in Cambodia,anyone can use his bike as a moto.Many of them are on Yabba or Yamma as they call it. (amphetamine) and are drunk so it's safer to find one via your guesthouse and get him to come out to pick you up.

    #10 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 15:11

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  • eastwest

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    17th December, 2009
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    I think that most advice also applies to many other countries in this region.

    On a more general note
    I think a lot of those stories are highly exagerated because Cambodia was seen as an adventure destination in the past 10 years and people could not return to their home country without some sort story where they escaped near death. It would ruin the status of the traveller and of the country as an adventure destination. Doesn't mean some stories were true.

    Truth is that it's really quite safe apart from the before mentioned hotspots that still attract some dubious foreign figures that have been expelled from neighboring countries and indeed some locals on drugs.
    But I find this all over magnified.

    I find Khao San Road personally much more dangerous. Five or six years ago was my last visit. Some money got stolen from me by another backpacker, the next day a corpse was carried out of the guesthouse next door (coincidentally I met de corpse again at the police station when I filed a complaint about the theft). The day after, a foreign backpacker got alsmost arrested by police, ran away and the police fired 3 shots at him (all missed).

    I never set foot in that area again and live happily in Cambodia.

    #11 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 16:42

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    I love your story about KhaoSan.I've got a mate who lives around the corner from it and likes to take a beer there.He says that a day rarely goes by without some farang drunk getting beaten to a pulp outside one of the bars.Getting drunk makes you easy prey but getting drunk and belligerent certainly in Thailand is a big, big mistake.
    Yeh, the advise applies to all the countries around there because it's a sad fact that tourists are easy money for criminals so they tend to congregate where the backpackers hang out.
    Last Feb. my motodop was taking me across town from Downtown to Victory at 1:00a.m.All of a sudden two men stepped out in front of him,he turned the bike fast and sped off.
    'They asked me to help them.' he later told me. 'but really they wanted to rob the bike.
    Bad people'. he said ruefully shaking his head.
    Overall I would say PP is getting safer but Snooky is getting worse.

    #12 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 20:52

  • ms1892

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd December, 2009
    Posts: 38

    I spent a number of weeks in Cambodia earlier this year and found it to be quite safe. The first week was spent in PP and I was with friends, one of whom was a PP native and English teacher. He taught me a few words, which as Abigail mentions above changed things for the better in a heart beat. A polite no in Khmer, even from a foreigner lets a driver know that he wont be getting any business, but it also makes clear that you are not the latest idiot off the bus, so there is no point in hassling you. I also think they respect you for taking the time to try and speak a little of the language. And seriously, I mean I spoke a little. Like 8 words. I was probably butchering it, but i was treated with respect and I like to behave in a similarly respectful manner in return.

    The sacariest thing (disregarding the historical events and evidence) I saw in PP was a young man on the back of a moto carrying an AK-47. He was just riding down Sisowath Quay on the river side of the pavement like it was nothing unusual. It freaked me out a little but no one else blinked so I let it go. My heart rate bumped a little even if i tried not to let it show.

    I walked around the city without any hassle (other than from street kids and the odd 'bar girl' wanting a drink) almost every night. I also had a few heavy nights out and was probably a little the worse for wear more than once. Still no hassle. Although i can appreciate that alcohol and drugs are probably what does for most tourists who find themselves in trouble. Its imporant in Cambodia as with anywhere, to know where you are at all times, never appear to be flaunting wealth, never leave a mate alone if really drunk etc. And for goodness sake, carry a small map or ever a hostel card with the address on. The street numbering system is a little more tricky than NYC!!

    I also spent time in Siem Reap which felt really safe. REALLY SAFE. The biggest risk to your well being is the dreadful out of date $0.50 Anchor Beer on pub street. The number of people I met who professed to feeling ill after $1 noodles and a beer, and who blamed the beer just cracked me up. If the locals eat the food but shun the beer logic says...

    I walked around his little town at all hours of the day and night and never felt in the slightest bit threatened. (Caveat: I am a 30 year old guy who is 6' 7". Although ironically, im soft as anything. But i can see why your average SE Asian male might look at me and decide there were easier people to mug... Unless they have a gun. That would have made me a larger than average target...).

    No matter, im digressing. I found Cambodia to be an incredible place with warm and friendly people. Although of course I echo the above advice. Remember that these people are poor, so dont flaunt any kind of wealth. Keep your I-Phone in your pocket, take out money rarely and in large chunks (in broad daylight and when with friends) then put it somewhere safe, keep valuables ina safe where possible and just dont be a drunken or drugged up ass. You'll be fine. I dont think I ever carried more than about $40 in my wallet at any given time. Most days I spent less than $20 including drinks and nice meals.

    Cambodia is incredible, be sensible but suspend your prejudices and it might just change your life forever. It did mine...

    #13 Posted: 11/11/2010 - 08:08

  • Chromerider

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    I am going to Cambodia in 3 weeks time,but after doing some research in the last few days and most of it negative,so far,I am starting to wonder whether to take the risk.I traveled to,and around Thailand last year,twice and no problems,at all.I felt relatively safe at night,even after a few too many beers.This trip to Cambodia,is a backpacking holiday for 3 weeks then on to Thailand for 2 weeks again.I love Thailand,and am wondering whether I should spend the whole time there.As earlier poster said,I am tall 1.95m so I may be a little safer.The advice on ATM's is good sense.Do many bars/restaurants take credit cards.The advice from the earlier post here,has made me feel a little more like going through with this adventure(maybe)Any more advice anyone can give will be appreciated.

    #14 Posted: 7/1/2011 - 19:04

  • ms1892

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd December, 2009
    Posts: 38

    Chromerider,

    Cambodia changed the way I look at the world. I enjoyed Thailand and to a lesser extent Vietnam, but Cambodia blew my socks off. I can be a self involved, overworked and too busy to look around kind of guy sometimes but Cambodia stopped me in my tracks. It was a mini epiphany for me. It made me reassess my priorities in life. I took a new job, one in which im happier. My family and friends have noticed the change for the better..

    I guess this kind of experience could happen to anyone, anywhere, but for me it was Cambodia. I'll be heading back later this year and cant wait.

    I'm sure that if you give it a try you'll love it. And as long as you are sensible and follow the advice above, personal safety should not be an issue.

    If you have any specific questions then fire away, if I cant answer, im sure someone else will chip in.

    PS If I sound suspiciously like a paid employee of the Cambodian Tourist Bureau you can always check out my other posts from the last year. About 12 months ago I was utterly clueless and probably asking all sorts of silly questions!

    #15 Posted: 8/1/2011 - 02:25

  • ms1892

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd December, 2009
    Posts: 38

    Forgot to add that I didn't use a debit or credit card anywhere in Cambodia except in an ATM. I had a bad experience in Germany of all places, where a waiter swiped my card twice and unbeknownst to me put through a rather large additional transaction. It took weeks for my bank to sort it out and refund the money. I have been hesitant to use my cards abroad ever since as I think tourists are easier targets as they usually don't figure out the scam until they are back home.

    My usual daily expenditure was so low that I never needed a card anyway.

    #16 Posted: 8/1/2011 - 02:32

  • Chromerider

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    ms1982,

    Thank you for your advice.I know what you mean about the life changing experience.I felt the same way after my first trip to Thailand.I am now looking at doing a little volunteering in either Cambodia or Thailand as I see a huge need for assistance,in many places in Thailand and Cambodia's situation,must be more so.I am a Senior/Motor Mechanic,with no experience in volunteer work,but I'm sure that I'll find something as I enjoy helping other people,very much.
    The advice you gave about Credit/Debit cards,is much appreciated.I too,found this in Thailand.I only use Debit cards and ATM's.I found most places only took cash anyway.
    I found the Thai people to be so nice,and I was treated so well by them, I am staring to look forward to this trip more now,thank you.
    As soon as,I get a few more moments free,I will read your post from 12 months ago.

    #17 Posted: 8/1/2011 - 03:08

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

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    Chromerider - please do come to Cambodia. I would imagine that all the things you love about Thailand you will find here in buckets! Having said that, Cambodia isn't the same as Thailand and has a different feel - it's not as developed, and the pace of life is a bit slower. The countryside is beautiful, the cities are interesting and the encounters with people can change your life.

    With your skills, you could teach motor mechanics to older kids at one of the many orphanages, or work with a small charity who help to rehabilitate sex workers, street kids, drug addicts etc., helping to provide them with a way to make a living.

    By the way, I'm not employed by the tourism agency either, I just absolutely love this country and hope to encourage other people to experience it too!

    #18 Posted: 12/1/2011 - 13:18

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "It's not the safest country in the world, but it ain't Somalia either"

    When I was working in East Africa very near Somalia we stumbled upon (or they stumbled upon us) two backpackers who had been backpacking in Somalia and, surprise, surprise, got robbed. The thieves took everything they owned except the clothes on their backs. They barely made it out alive. I couldn't believe it. One of the guys asked them "What we you thinking, going to Somalia for vacation?" "We thought the reports were exagerated." Jesus.

    #19 Posted: 12/1/2011 - 17:36

  • Chromerider

    Joined Travelfish
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    Abigail
    Thank you for your reply,I will be there and am looking forward to this trip,very much.A new adventure ahead.

    #20 Posted: 13/1/2011 - 12:20

  • ulysse

    Joined Travelfish
    5th October, 2010
    Posts: 1

    I met travellers worried about safety here... so all I can share is my experience :
    1 month here and only heard two stories of travellers related to safety issue : one in kho kong and one in sihanouk
    My piece of advice :
    If you drive in phnom penh, make sure that you understand how traffic works here because it s not like driving in thailand laos or malaysia
    Make sure to lock your motorbike safely or pay a dollar for a guard to look after it
    I pulled out driving a 4 wheel drive alone at night in some places of PP people would call dodgy and nothing ever happened.
    I ve been hiking around sihanouk beaches and countryside with bags despite the locals telling me about bandits in some specific areas and I ve never seen them.
    A friend of mine who s tuk tuk driver in siem reap got his brand new tuk tuk stolen on a night I was staying with him.
    It seems to me that cambodia is safe as long as you look after your stuff and drive with care in PP

    #21 Posted: 13/1/2011 - 14:49

  • Chromerider

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    I am just back from my trip to Cambodia and I back-packed around the whole country and had a ball,not one bit of trouble and all the Cambodians,were so nice.I spent 5 and a half weeks there and was planning to spend only 3 weeks,then onto Thailand,but enjoyed Cambodia so much,I stayed the full 5 and a half weeks there.I can wait to return and will do so,as soon as time allows.What a cool place to visit.Like anywhere,common sense prevails.I visited a few villages,in some very remote places and enjoyed these people so much,they are just so happy to see that I took the time to do this and the hospitality I was shown,was amazing.Cambodia has definitely changed me and the way I think.
    Most memorable experience.

    #22 Posted: 13/3/2011 - 09:59

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

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    .........Chromerider - so pleased you had a wonderful experience! Another one bitten by the Cambodian bug (and no, I don't mean mosquitos), never to be the same again. This country has a way of doing that to people ...

    #23 Posted: 16/3/2011 - 08:48

  • linelagracy-
    231

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1

    This is really a nice thread and I am rteally very impressed with this thread.

    #24 Posted: 16/3/2011 - 13:29

  • ecbaker

    Joined Travelfish
    17th March, 2011
    Posts: 18

    Cambodia. is. amazing.

    Only wish I could have spent more time there and less in Vietnam (great country, but nothing on Cambodia).

    #25 Posted: 17/3/2011 - 03:03

  • chocgirl

    Joined Travelfish
    9th March, 2010
    Posts: 21

    Have to agree again with ecbaker, Cambodia was a very pleasant surprise. I took tuk tuks, rented a motobike with driver for a day and never felt unsafe (mostly bored after two hours in the tuk tuk by myself). And I am not your typical backpacker, but a woman solo traveller in my mid-30s.

    #26 Posted: 17/3/2011 - 04:58

  • allykat

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2009
    Posts: 24

    I spent 3 weeks in Cambodia in Feb/March and found it to be quite safe. I was sensible, didn't walk around by myself at night and took a tuk tuk home tho. I have friends that live in Siem Reap and they said SR is very safe, compared to our home town of Newcastle in Australia. We travelled from PP to Sr, then down to Kampot and back up to PP. The scariest part of the whole trip was the traffic.

    #27 Posted: 8/4/2011 - 18:27

  • Voyagner

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 30

    @sayadian The wealth of a few does not represent the wealth of all. Remember something like 80% of Cambodia's population lives rurally. You don't see too many Humvee's out in the provinces. And of course many of those who have money in Cambodia have it at the expense of those who don't.

    #28 Posted: 11/4/2011 - 06:43

  • Rasheeed

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    Location Cambodia
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    Safe and happy wonderful...

    #29 Posted: 11/4/2011 - 11:46

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    I see lots of NGO types enjoying life in Cambodia. Enjoying. Everyone should enjoy life but the first time I was there it surprised me. I figured they would be more preoccupied with doing NGO stuff. But people still have to live their lives and it doesn't mean they aren't helping. But there are many that are making a good sum off of NGO life.
    My experiences in Cambodia go from seeing someone killed to listening to hippies say how it is OK to rip off any western company in Cambodia. Even though the locals need those jobs. Drug dealers hounding you and children looking to slip into your pocket. I saw some sad prostitution and sad poverty. I saw hope and smiles and people who haven't tired of us the way they have in Thailand. (If you learn Thai or hang out with those who speak it, you will learn how many people despise westerners. It is not at all uncommon.) It was a WOW! kind of place. In many ways good and bad. It is a place that can make you look at life because of how you live it. It is a place that I would not skip. It is eye opening and a good learning experience. It can be safe as long as you take precautions. I am a big strong guy but that doesn't stop people from trying to trick you. Your driver can make all the difference. feed him a little. Give him a llittle extra. He can be more than a guide and worth every dollar.

    #30 Posted: 11/4/2011 - 11:58

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Cambodia has certainly become a lot safer than it was 5 years ago.Even then the only risky areas were in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.I doubt whether there is much crime in places like Battambang,Kampong Cham etc.
    Does anybody know why it's got better? It's certainly not the police as they seem just as disinterested in doing their job as they were in the'old' days.
    There are places in my home town where I wouldn't venture at night and it's probably the same all around the world.The sensible thing is to ask someone who knows the city and only use drivers that work outside your hotel/guesthouse and are known by the staff.
    Another point is coming from Europe or America people are used to standards of care in health and safety which do not exist in Asia.A good example is the recent boat capsize in Sihanoukville.How many people checked to see if there were enough life jackets? We Westerners kind of accept that everything is already checked for us but in Cambodia it's worth checking yourself.

    #31 Posted: 11/4/2011 - 15:46

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
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    I've lived in Sihanoukville for nearly 5 years and in my opinion, it's as safe as you make it. It can be dangerous late at night on dark roads and in deserted places, but then again, so can most cities. I honestly think some people like to keep the flames of the "Cambodia is dangerous" fire burning brightly so they can feel brave for coming here.

    I met a couple in their seventies who cycled from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville and loved every minute of it. They took their time and when they got tired, they just stopped in a village for the night. Somebody always took them in.

    I'm 63 and live in an all Cambodian neighbourhood. I felt perfectly safe here until yesterday when a drunken barang (foreigner) turned up on the street and started causing trouble. He threatened my life when I tried to intercede on behalf of my neighbours. That's the second time I've had my life threatened here. The first time was about 3 years ago when I politely asked a barang to please move his motorbike because it was blocking a driveway.

    If you come here with an aggressive, hostile attitude, you will probably get into some dicey situations. Then you can buy one of those ridiculous "I survived in Cambodia" tee shirts and go back home and brag about your adventures.

    Sihanoukville has come a long way in the short time I've been here. 5 years ago, you rarely saw couples, single barang girls or families. Now they come here all the time and enjoy themselves.

    As for the comment about the police being disinterested, it hasn't been the case with me. My last blog post, In Praise of the Sihanoukville Police, tells the story of my latest incident.

    #32 Posted: 18/4/2011 - 23:08

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Well, I agree on most things you say but S'ville has a lot of dark, lonely roads because it's so spread out.The point I was trying to make is that Phnom Penh has cleaned its act up.No more guns, better street lighting etc. S'ville on the other hand has attracted the worse kind of people-it's become a magnet for drug dealers, drug addicts and the latter feed their habit with crime.
    I only got one thing to say about the Cambodian police, apart from being corrupt and next to useless they are the best police force money can buy. Ask the Russians.

    #33 Posted: 19/4/2011 - 02:20

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
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    As I said in my blog, I knew I would get a contradictory reply and I don't really disagree. Cambodia is a land of contrasts. My experiences with the police are atypical. I haven't paid them off, but I have heard many stories and I'm not naive. I know if there is real money involved, you can get away with anything here.

    I agree that Sihanoukville has attracted the worst kind of people. In fact, I've never seen such a large concentration of borderline (and crossed the border) sociopaths in my life. However, the city is cleaning up its act. The Serendipity end is much better now. This is the first year I've really been able to go out and have a good time at night. A much better crowd is coming and there are amenities for people who just want to have a good time. Many of these changes have occurred in the last six months.

    One example is Chiva's Shack. That was finally shut down for good about a year ago. It used to infuriate me that it was so popular with backpackers, because I knew what went on behind the scenes there.

    Anyway, I don't completely disagree with you. I just have seen another side of the story that doesn't get much press.

    #34 Posted: 19/4/2011 - 08:18

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 1557

    I hope I haven't put anybody off visiting S'ville with my postings because it can be a great place to go if you are a young person out to party and don't get involved with local girls out of the bars or touch drugs.The local people are very friendly,like most Khmer but it does seem to have attracted a 'gangster' element in the last couple of years.If you resist temptation and stay away from the meth-head bargirls you probably won't run into trouble.
    Saying that, Ocheateal is looking dirtier by the year and needs a clean up but there is always Otres beach and parts of Independence as well as the less spectacular Victory beach.

    #35 Posted: 19/4/2011 - 13:46

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    Sayadian - When was the last time you visited Ochheuteal? They've completely rebuilt the stalls and moved them back from the water's edge. It's actually much nicer than it was before, but as beaches go, still the worst Sihanoukville has to offer. I usually either go to Otres or Independence Beach. The sleazy end of town is the Hill, but the Serendipity end of Ochheuteal has been completely transformed. The road down to the new pier has recently been groomed and will probably be paved before the next tourist season. It's all changing so fast, you wouldn't believe it unless you lived here. I'll try and take some pictures soon and add them to the gallery. Seeing is believing.

    #36 Posted: 19/4/2011 - 14:51

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    The last time I was on Ocheateal was February, I'll be back in Phnom Penh in 2 weeks time after time out in UK.Yes, I've seen the shanty-town bars have been moved back, I thought that might have had something to do with the typhoon washing the beach away but I'm happy to be corrected. I've seen the new pier and had a drink at that new bar just in front of it.In fact they were building it whilst I was there. Apart from that they are still pumping the sewerage 20 metres out in those blue pipes despite the vast increase in visitors and the tide brings it back in.The Khmer visitors do a good job of filling the beach with their picnic detritus at weekends.
    You say it's much nicer than it was,for me it was OK 6 years ago when just a few backpackers came; it can't tolerate the increase in visitor numbers.Independence beach was my favourite but in their wisdom they threw out all those lovely food stalls and enclosed it with a green fence.Looks like Otres will go the same way.Used to spend a lot of time on the Ocheateal side of the mountain but they knocked down the fishing village and stuck up some groteque Stalinist villa.The big difference I see are more bars and more casinos so if you're into gambling it's a great place.Victory hill has always beeen sleazy but the sleaze is spreading, probably because of the big methampethamine problem you have down there.

    #37 Posted: 19/4/2011 - 18:16

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I guess it's a matter or perception. Back to the original question: How safe is Cambodia? In my experience, it's been safe. If a 63 year old man can survive here for 5 years, surely a couple of backpackers who want to do some sightseeing and volunteering will be safe. This will be my last reply to this thread.

    #38 Posted: 20/4/2011 - 07:51

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    If everyone would actually realize the crime in Thailand against foreigners (especially not in western papers (or local)) we wouldn't even be discussing Cambodia.

    #39 Posted: 20/4/2011 - 12:11

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Interesting point Thomas.Do you have statistics? I know that Thailand tries to brush crime against tourists under the carpet. There have been some horrendous high profile crimes there but you could say the same for any country.
    Usually though if you're a savvy person and not blind drunk you can see trouble coming a mile off.I've seen Westerners drunk and looking for trouble.They pick a fight with a local and they don't realise that by doing this their picking a fight with the whole country.
    Unlike The West there is always a way out; if someone gets angry-apologise and wai and then leave.The Thai saves face and end of story.
    In Cambodia it's much the same except Khmer men seem to be able to drink without the need to get aggresive.

    #40 Posted: 20/4/2011 - 13:59

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    FAO robschneider
    This guy claims to live in S'ville and has a completely different experience to you.
    But, as you say, it's all about perception.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1973381

    #41 Posted: 20/4/2011 - 14:03

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "If everyone would actually realize the crime in Thailand against foreigners (especially not in western papers (or local)) we wouldn't even be discussing Cambodia."

    I can't speak about Cambodia, but it's pretty easy to get along here in Thailand. Thais kill each other at a prodigious pace, but we're largely left out of that. I'll bet it's more dangerous living as a white guy in Europe than it is in Thailand.

    #42 Posted: 20/4/2011 - 17:20

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Madmac
    I'd agree with that with the exception of Khaosan Road where you get Western looneys used to brawling western style and suddenly they get a culture shock which ends with them being hospitalised.But What about the safety of women, you haven't commented on that.

    #43 Posted: 20/4/2011 - 18:41

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
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    I rarely feel unsafe in SE Asia and when I do it's generally because of a mad motorbike taxi driver or something. I do try and avoid places where the risk is higher ... ie anywhere full of drunk/stoned foreigners behaving stupidly. Large numbers of drunk stupid farangs make easy pickings and attract a lot of pond life.

    In general I find the further away from other westerners you get, the less likely you are to get mugged, robbed or raped.

    It's strange the way western governments issue travel advisories advising their citizens to exercise extreme caution when visiting places like Preah Vihear yet issue no travel warnings whatsoever about places like Had Rin or Vang Vieng.

    #44 Posted: 21/4/2011 - 02:01

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Excellent point SBE, spot on.

    #45 Posted: 21/4/2011 - 02:12

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    Guys I frequent another forum or two that are Thailand expats. The amount of links I get involving crime against Farangs increase weekly. Many of them are hushed up because it may hurt tourism. Many of them end up in Aussie and Brit papers and many of them involve white males involved in illegal activities. Many involve Russian "gang" members and scams against tourists. I see people get ripped off EVERY time I am in Bangkok or Pattaya and locals have no remorse. The scams against tourists that don't result in anyone getting physically hurt just get brushed aside but end up as stories on blogs and forums. Every week I see a link for a dead farang that is listed as a suicide. People love flying off of buildings here.
    But all that said, if you use your common sense Thiland and Cambodia are "safe" in relative terms. I am not here to say they are not. But the point is the OP asked about Cambodia safety and for most of us it is safe "enough". I grew up in places in states cities where I had to fight weekly to survive in the inner city streets so I laugh at the the drunk farangs getting set upon in Thailand. But usually when a Farang has a problem and ends in a scuffle he gets beaten badly by groups of Thais. Every day this happens. Not listed as a "crime" so to speak because it is seen as a farang problem. But an argument that ends in a stabbing is still a crime when you are outnumbered 4-1.
    Still...SEAsia is relatively safe for the law abiding tourist.

    #46 Posted: 21/4/2011 - 04:08

  • Chromerider

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    At least 29

    After my earlier trip to Cambodia (South West),this year,I am returning in August to back-pack again around all of the North/East.This, I think,is still in the wet season,so should be an interesting trip.I looking forward to another,safe and rewarding journey.

    #47 Posted: 6/6/2011 - 17:14

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Thomas
    Pattaya is a magnet for this kind of thing. The tourists who go there are often going there to get drunk and chase women. They are not always on their best behavior during these periods. I've been there twice, and I was dutifully impressed with how psychotic many of the guys there acted. In the four years I have lived in Muk, we've had two "Farangs" have trouble:

    1. One was a big guy with serious mental issues who beat up his girlfriend and then tried to take on the cops. Bad call, but he wasn't seriously hurt (he probably should have been). I met him and I have no doubt he deserved what he got and then some.

    2. A very drunk, very alcoholic individual who got into a conflict with the local cops for reasons unknown. He was beaten by them, but again, not badly. Not seriously enough to be hospitalized and not even arrested or anything. He's still here, and he's still drunk.

    That's it. One guy was charged with a serious crime to which he plead guilty (and at which I had the ugly job of assisting the court in translation) but he was the perpetrator.

    I can't speak for the other provinces. But my sense (I guess like yours) is if you are polite and behave decently, you are unlikely to have real trouble here.

    #48 Posted: 6/6/2011 - 22:14

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    Madmac,

    You're spot on when you say, "if you are polite and behave decently, you are unlikely to have real trouble here." I've observed a similar incident to your example #1 here in Sihanoukville: http://www.sihanoukville-cambodiajournal.com/2011/04/18/in-praise-of-the-sihanoukville-police/

    I got quite a bit of flack for sticking up for the local police, but my experience is my experience and since then I've done a little asking around and others agree. If you "are polite and behave decently," the local authorities do likewise. It should be obvious that if you make trouble or hang out with people who make trouble, you will attract trouble.

    #49 Posted: 7/6/2011 - 07:23

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Rob,
    I'd take it even a step further (I too defend the local police here, at least vis-a-vis us), the police will actually cut you a ton of slack if you are decent and polite. I've been given tons of warnings for traffic violations of which I was absolutely guilty in spades. And I had a guy give me a bit of a hard time in a club and an undercover cop came over and made him apologize to me. The cops in Thailand have been very cool to me since I came here. In Germany, where I used to live, they were usually stone faced and direct - no slack. I was almost never issued a warning there, always a fine.

    #50 Posted: 7/6/2011 - 09:59

  • KhmerWays

    Joined Travelfish
    7th June, 2011
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 9

    Hi,as an insider of Cambodia in general it is very safe here apart from a couple of things you need to be aware of.

    Use common sense of traveling

    Landmines - do not walk off the beaten trails, never ever

    Siem Reap is 100% safe, 24hrs military police patroling

    Phnom Penh is safer then your hometown

    Sihanoukville can get dangerous even at daytime, especially when leaving main beaches, do not walk to far off the main beaches and have a sunbath. People get killed, or even raped. Stay away from heavy drugs. When renting a motorbike in Snooky, use your own padlock.

    Do not argue about a few stupid dollar, do not loose self-control and start shouting. I mean why to argue about a dollar or two, it is nothing for you, when a pack of cigarets in the west costs more then 7 dollar? And remember, how could YOU survive with 60 dollar a month?

    That's it, have fun traveling.

    #51 Posted: 7/6/2011 - 17:14

  • Chromerider

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    At least 29

    KhmerWays,I totally agree with your post.Packs of cigs here in nz cost $12 for a pack of 20.A small bottle of beer at a bar is $7.50 up to $11.nzd
    I was paying 65c US up to a dollar US,for cigs and $1 for the same size beer at bars,in Cambodia.A big difference to western prices,for sure.
    Cambodia has so much to offer and so much to enjoy,but as you say,common sense,prevails.
    I am looking forward to my next trip there,very much.
    Another point that I practiced while there on holiday,was to try and buy from roadside stores,to help support local communities or villages,a good policy,when able to.
    A few people said to me,in Cambodia,was I back-packing around Cambodia on my own?
    I said yes and they just look at me.I just said 'attitude and common sense'goes along way to having an enjoyable holiday.

    #52 Posted: 7/6/2011 - 17:55

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
    Joined Travelfish
    4th November, 2010
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 311

    KWays, mostly disagree or argue relevence...

    Landmines are not something that tourists need to fear. As soon as the first tourist gets hurt by a landmine, we can talk. It has never happened. If it has, please correct me.

    Siem Reap is not 100% safe. Nowhere is. Not good to tell people that's the case. Safe, but use common sense.

    PP is not safer than my hometown. It isn't.

    'sheeed

    #53 Posted: 9/6/2011 - 09:47

  • andrea13

    Joined Travelfish
    5th May, 2010
    Posts: 31

    So much amazing stuff on this post! I'm a solo female traveller on my gap year, heading off four weeks today and this has been such useful advice/insight. And now I'm more excited about cambodia than anywhere else im visiting! Thanks :)

    #54 Posted: 17/6/2011 - 01:12

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
    Joined Travelfish
    4th November, 2010
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 311

    Have fun!

    #55 Posted: 17/6/2011 - 13:26

  • Unlearn2Lea-
    rn

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd June, 2011
    Posts: 1

    I'm a homeless entrepreneur, so to speak... or, maybe, a digital nomad? In short, I'm 33... single male, and following the success of a dot com business I started at 19, I've been traveling non-stop for the past 11 years or so. I don't have a home. I simply spend a few months at a time in one country, the move on to the next.

    I have spent most of my time in Asia, however. I've lived throughout Japan on many occasions, Thailand, S. Korea, Taiwan, and others... but I've never been to Cambodia.

    My curiosity brought me to this thread. Despite being "relatively" young, and single, I'm not interested in the sex-industry that appears to be the primary lure to SE Asia for most tourists. I've spent three months in Pattaya, Thailand a little over a year ago, and, a total of about 12 months in Patong, Thailand (4 seperate trips, 3 months each...). I've never really felt unsafe there, despite leaving my hotel alone, and (usually) coming back alone as well. I seldom drink, and... I'd think I would make a good target for potential muggings (I like to dress well... not flashy, but... well (business attire, etc)). I always conduct myself in the most respectful way to locals I can. I seldom walk past someone asking for change, or selling something, without offering them some change. A little, goes a long way for some.

    Without drawing this out... I ask the experienced SE Asia trotters out here... in comparison to Thailand, how safe would I be, in Cambodia? The stories about cities like PP throughout this post, make me very hesitant to try Cambodia... despite hearing one or two "Cambodia changed my life" claims. In all honesty... I'm a strange breed. I have an interest in philanthropy and volunteering... doing what I can to help those who need help. At the same time, I will still on occasion go to a bar, sip on my one light-beer, and charm some local girl. The incentive is never based on taking her back to my place: this won't happen (even if she insists) but probably more than anything else to feed my typically male need feel wanted/desired by women. It's little else.

    Thus... if anyone has any actionable advice, regarding Cambodia... or, possibly surrounding areas, I would be most grateful for insights. I'd probably head out there in mid July, and stay for 2-3 months. If there are areas with higher end hotels (4-5 star)... please recommend them. Although, based on above thread... would areas full of well-off tourists be more prone to local thieves? Not to sound hypocritical, but I like to enjoy the finer things, without ever losing contact or touch with "reality". I can play my default role as a business owner in my 5-star hotel room by morning, and then change into a pair of old jeans and a t-shirt, leave most of my belongings behind, and spend the rest of the day doing what I can to connect with people in need, in areas most westerners wouldn't dare to enter.

    I like the promise of a positive life changing experience, that can lead me to appreciate my position in life far more, as noted by someone above here. In the end it'll all come down to safety. I won't benefit myself, or anyone, if I'm dead or injured. So, ultimately... if Cambodia is a place where I'll have to be looking over my shoulder every evening... I'll keep it off my radar. If however, someone here who's not only spent extensive time in Cambodia, but other Asian nations, can give a relative-comparison and recommendation, I might just be booking my flight out of Taipei two weeks from now, headed for Phonm Penh. Sorry about the ramblings, and the resume... I simply want to give a small insight into what it is I seek in my travels (a safe environment, a mild element of nightlife, and abundant opportunity to give back via any kind of philanthropy).


    BTW... I tip my hat to each and everyone of you here, for traveling to and taking interest in lands and cultures, so often debased by western media.

    #56 Posted: 23/6/2011 - 05:30

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    Hi Unlearn,

    You may have noticed the sometimes heated exchanges on this thread. One person passionately declares that Sihanoukville is a "hole" while another equally passionately defends it. Who's right? Take the specific location out of the equation and I think there's a more universal message in there.

    My first lesson in travel safety came in 1970, when I was backpacking overland from France to India. I was a young hippie with long hair and a scruffy beard. The first leg of my trip was a nightmare - I was treated rudely wherever I went and didn't know why, since I was trying to be nice to everyone. It came to a head in the Ankara bus station, when a bunch of soldiers came over to me and started poking me with the muzzles of their rifles. Fortunately, a man dressed in an officer's uniform stepped in. He sat me down and after apologizing for their behavior, very tactfully explained that it was my appearance that had offended them. He recommended that I go get my hair and beard cut. I did so and the rest of my trip, through Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India was a dream.

    When I moved to Cambodia, I dressed as I always dressed at home in Australia - like an aging surfer, in a tee shirt and board shorts. I didn't get hassled, but I did seem to get lumped in with the sex-pats, drunks and druggies that are attracted to this country. My solution was to get a conservative haircut and start wearing button down shirts. I've been fine ever since.

    I think I must be doing something right, because I've managed to live here quite peacefully for the past five years. I always bear in mind that I am a guest in this country and treat the local authorities respectfully. When I go out at night, I go to more upmarket bars and restaurants and I don't stay out after about 11.

    As for volunteering, etc.: When I arrived here, I founded a small NGO with a neighbor. I think I did just about everything wrong and after a year I was flat broke and had to find a way to make a living. However, our goal was to get a home for the orphans who were living on the Sihanoukville dumpsite and before I quit, a volunteer started a separate NGO in the Netherlands and started providing funds for Sareka house. That was over two years ago and the kids are still in the house and going to school regularly. The moral: I think if you want to make a positive contribution, you will, but you'll make some mistakes along the way.

    You sound like the ideal person to visit Cambodia. You may start off being too generous and too trusting, so keep it in check. In my experience, those who are too quick to try and befriend you are those you should be wary of.

    I'll shut up now. Enjoy your adventure!

    #57 Posted: 23/6/2011 - 07:57

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    I'm not interested in the sex-industry that appears to be the primary lure to SE Asia for most tourists.

    I am trying very hard not to take exception to this statement - and only assume that it just 'came out wrong'. Yes this appeals to some tourists - but most?! C'mon!

    Anyhow - to your original question about safety. I have been through parts of Cambodia twice in the last couple of years, albeit briefly. But never once did I feel concerned about my safety. In PP, I ended up staying in a hotel that actually ran a brothel on one of the floors. Sleazy, yes - but I didn't feel unsafe. I have walked back from the river to the hotel about 2km away with my sister, and felt fine. But we weren't staggering drunk or drugged, and we had our wits about us. And that I think is the key! Just be sensible, don't flaunt your gear and remain aware of your surroundings, and you will be fine. Honestly I would have more concerns about walking around some areas of my own home town in NZ before worrying about Cambodia.[/fred]

    #58 Posted: 23/6/2011 - 16:44

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    I second Lizzy!

    #59 Posted: 24/6/2011 - 10:04

  • Laas1

    Joined Travelfish
    27th July, 2011
    Posts: 1

    Just wondering if there are many solo female travellers with advice on safety for a novice small blonde traveller in her early 30's?

    #60 Posted: 27/7/2011 - 18:39

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'those who are too quick to try and befriend you are those you should be wary of.'
    Now that's a piece of advice I agree with and thoroughly recommend.
    Rob I'd like your comments on advise I was given by a local Khmer.
    I was interested in a place further down from Sunday Guesthouse and around the corner from where Srey Mom has her hairdressers, he said it's a really bad area at night ?
    Any comments? appreciate it as you live there.Thought about relocating but always feel a lot safer in PP.

    #61 Posted: 27/7/2011 - 19:35

  • Chromerider

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location New Zealand
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    I third Lizzy,I'm going back soon to enjoy this nice country again,in a few weeks time.

    #62 Posted: 27/7/2011 - 20:16

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    @sayadian - I'm afraid I can't be of much help to you. I never stay out past midnight and rarely that - usually just go out for dinner and I never go out or return home alone. My favourite guesthouse is the Small Hotel, but that's downtown. The area around Sunday Guesthouse is bad at night, or so I've heard. Why not ask Ana or Mick at Ana Travel, next to Top Cat Cinema? They are lovely people and very clued in.

    #63 Posted: 28/7/2011 - 09:12

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Thanks Rob, will be down in about a month.
    BTW the Turks were notorious in those days for giving 'long-haireds' bad treatment.We might have been on the same bus or train if you did that trail in 1970.Two years later I repeated the journey when they had the train running from Istanbul to Tehran (to think I actually did 3 or was it 4 days in a 3rd class compartment and no Lonely Planet then).
    Coming off the ferry crossing Lake Van they actually set up a gauntlet we had to run, with a hail of bricks and stones thrown with some venom. Not your average teenager's experience

    #64 Posted: 28/7/2011 - 12:43

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    Laas1 - I'm a blonde now living in Phnom Penh. In my experience, you should be no more worried about robbery than in any capital city and unpleasant sexual harrassment experiences are probably less likely. Of course, keep sensible and a bit vigilant, but don't expect everyone you pass on the street to be about to mug you. They won't be. Do keep careful control of your bag, especially when you are on a moto or in a tuk tuk. On a moto, put your bag between yourself and the moto driver, and don't have the strap crossed over your body - it feels secure, but if someone grabs your bag, you could get pulled off. In a tuk tuk, stash your bag under your seat. If you are somewhere for a few days, use the same moto driver or tuk tuk driver, maybe one your guesthouse recommends.

    Of course it makes sense to carry larger amounts of money and your passport in a moneybelt, and be more aware when you use an ATM. My trick is to stuff the notes down my bra, so anyone watching knows they'll have a real job of trying to get my cash!

    Unlike some places I have visited (such as India) when I felt vulnerable even at midday with my husband in tow, I have never felt threatened in Cambodia. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

    #65 Posted: 29/7/2011 - 10:54

  • curiousnomad

    Joined Travelfish
    7th August, 2011
    Posts: 4

    I've read through this post and found it generally helpful, thank you all. I must say I have also been subject to mostly horror stories about traveling to Cambodia and am becoming worried. I will be visiting PP and SR at the end of August, 3 days each and am excited to capture some of the beautiful scenery on my DSLR camera. But now travelers are telling me to not even use my DSLR in PP. Would you all agree? Should I get a disposable camera for PP? Also, is the daytime significantly safer than the night? I plan to do as much as I can in the day (tours, mall, etc.) and stay in the hostel at night. As two females, I don't want to be the target of anything. Your advice and insight will be great! Also, we will be taking a bus from PP to SR. Thoughts? Ahh!

    #66 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 16:53

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    Most people who visit Cambodia have no problems and leave with great memories. There seems to be a tendency amongst travellers to exaggerate stories of risk to make it seem more exciting.

    As far as camera use goes, just be sensible. I saw a tourist walking down the road the other day with his very expensive DSLR dangling from his right hand where anyone could grab it going past on a motorbike. I almost did it myself just to alert him to the stupidity. The manufacturers provide a strap for a reason! I keep my camera in my daypack when I'm not using it, rather than showing off the Canon bag. I think being respectful about taking photos and asking permission is more important than not taking pictures at all. A bit of interaction, and showing someone the picture you've just taken of them, is polite in my book.

    PP is lovely at night - it's cooler, there's plenty of pavement seating for a nice dinner or drinks, you can stroll along the riverside with courting couples and families and get a real feel for the relaxed pace of life. I wouldn't miss out on it by staying in your room! My advice is don't get drunk, take tuk tuks instead of walking, and keep your valuables hidden - basically, be sensible! Do be extra careful with your wallet if you visit the night market - there are a few light fingered people about there.

    Bus travel is generally fine, but there have been a few accidents on night buses recently, so you may prefer to travel during the day. The buses are cheap, reasonably comfy, stop regularly and are used a lot by local people, so you won't be in a tourist bubble.

    I think you will feel much more comfortable once you arrive in the country and experience it for yourself. It's really not such a scary place and the vast majority of people are lovely.

    #67 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 17:24

  • curiousnomad

    Joined Travelfish
    7th August, 2011
    Posts: 4

    Thanks Abigail! I agree, I think once I am there and see that it isn't as vicious as people are letting on, I will be at ease. Check out of the hostels are generally at 10AM so I reckon we will be taking the bus during the late morning, early afternoon. We haven't booked it yet so I am unsure how to go about this part of the trip without getting scammed?

    I have a plain black camera bag but the shape is a straight giveaway to what's inside. I was going to buy a cheap day bag and keep the camera in there and when I do use it, strap it around my neck. I actually do this any and everywhere. Great idea for showing people what photos I may have taken of them, thanks! Dining along the river in PP sounds beautiful, is it easy to get to? How do we know which tuk-tuk drivers to trust? I've heard things like being kidnapped by a person posing as a proper driver, etc. Are there stickers are something we should be looking for? Is there a time whereabouts we should be heading home from the river or elsewhere? We will be staying near Street 51, what's it like there? About my wallet, I was looking into getting a neck pouch. Is this the best scenario?

    Thanks for your help!

    #68 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 18:02

  • Chromerider

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2011
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 11
    Total reviews: 2
    Places visited:
    At least 29

    Hello,curiousnomad.I have done this bus trip several times and I normally book the bus the day before and they will come to pick you up,by tuk tuk or van, from wherever you are staying,about 40 mins before the bus leaves.All part of the service they don't normally charge to pick you up.Bus trip is around 5usd and they stop at rest stops every 2 hours.My advice is to take early morning bus7.30am,as it is cooler and you will arrive early afternoon the have time to find a place to stay before night time.

    #69 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 18:25

  • curiousnomad

    Joined Travelfish
    7th August, 2011
    Posts: 4

    Thanks, Chromerider! We actually already have our hostels all booked. Just a means of arriving there in time to Check-in. Do you recall the name of the bus company?

    #70 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 18:33

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    Any guesthouse can sell you a bus ticket for the journey. They may add on a small amount (ie $1 or so) as a booking fee, but it's still pretty cheap. I usually travel with 168 Sorya bus company, but there are several and most are reasonable.

    The riverside is very easy to get to, either walking or in a tuk tuk. The restaurants are actually the other side of the road from the river itself, so it's reserved for walking, dance classes, aerobics classes, eating popcorn, sitting and chatting! Some of the bar/restaurants have rooftops or balconies, so you can get a nice view.

    There are lots of tuk tuk drivers around, and most in the tourist areas speak English. Your guesthouse or any restaurant should be able to recommend a driver to you, and you can always ask for his phone number for future trips. I haven't heard any kidnapping stories (I live in Phnom Penh), but do be aware that a lot of drivers can't read maps, so make sure you know what your guesthouse looks like and maybe remember the name of a big restaurant or bar close by. It's a good idea to negotiate a fare before you set off, to avoid any surprises when you arrive.

    Street 51 has a lot of late night bars and a couple of nightclubs, so it may not be the quietest place to stay! Check out the listings http://www.travelfish.org/accommodation/cambodia/phnom_penh_and_surrounds/phnom_penh/phnom_penh/all or do a search on this site to see other travellers' recent recommendations for guesthouses.

    As for a neck pouch, if it's under your shirt, and couldn't be easily grabbed (which really isn't that common), sounds good.

    #71 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 18:37

  • Chromerider

    Joined Travelfish
    7th January, 2011
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 11
    Total reviews: 2
    Places visited:
    At least 29

    Hi,I normally use 'Mekong Express' bus company,they have always been good to travel on.The booking,I meant the bus ride to SN.You can buy a bus ticket just about any hostel or hotel and they arrange your pick up for you,to take you to the bus,instead of you trying to find the bus depot,so much easier,first time.

    #72 Posted: 7/8/2011 - 18:40

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    By the way, I should have been clear that it's only a section of Street 51 in Phnom Penh that's a late night area, the bit around the Heart of Darkness and Pontoon nightclubs. Going towards or past the Independence Monument it's a much calmer experience!

    #73 Posted: 8/8/2011 - 08:28

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Still, IMO St 51 is probably the most dangerous part of PP with a lot of drug addicts and lowlife hanging around. A friend of mine got bitten there a month ago by a someone on yama (yaba). The rest of PP seems to be pretty good these days.Even able to walk through Wat Phnom at night as they have security there. I think staying in St 51 as an introduction to the city is a bad move.

    #74 Posted: 8/8/2011 - 13:09

  • curiousnomad

    Joined Travelfish
    7th August, 2011
    Posts: 4

    Thanks for the tips on the bussing. I picked up a safety belt for my valuable items and a day bag to secure my DSLR. What is the Heart of Darkness? Is that like a forbidden area?

    Sayaian, wow. Your comment may have been the scariest thing I've read thus far. I looked on a map and it seems Street 51 goes on for some time. Is your statement true for the entire stretch? Hopefully the area our hostel is in isn't as bad as you have made it out to seem.

    Scared again,
    curious nomad

    #75 Posted: 8/8/2011 - 20:02

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    The Heart of Darkness is a long-running nightclub. It used to have a reputation for being pretty dodgy but that was quite a few years ago. You get searched on your way in, it plays loud, often cheesy, music and has a big dancefloor and quite a lot of working girls - just another nightclub, really. In that area are lots of late night drinking places, hostess bars, a couple of other clubs. If you're not into partying, it's probably not that interesting for you.

    I certainly wouldn't say that all of St 51 is seedy - down towards the Monument and across from there, it's a totally different street. There are guesthouses out of the late night area which are lovely.

    #76 Posted: 8/8/2011 - 20:52

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
    Joined Travelfish
    4th November, 2010
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 311

    Agree w/ Abigail...

    #77 Posted: 9/8/2011 - 00:16

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Sure, my apologies. I should have made it clear I meant that area near The Walkabout. I can assure you that there are a lot of bad places near there with lots of people , how can I say, not quite in the real world because they have heavy drug habits and are mentally deranged. I would imagine 9 times out of 10 you'd have no problem but it has happened.

    Getting bitten to the bone IS pretty scary and I saw the mess on his arm.The sort of people who do something like this aren't balanced, everyday people. It happened to him near the Walkabout.

    #78 Posted: 9/8/2011 - 13:30

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Cambodia
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    Having lunch over by Walkabout...

    #79 Posted: 9/8/2011 - 13:36

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    BTW I'd say Phnom Penh was a lot safer than London at the moment.

    #80 Posted: 9/8/2011 - 13:49

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Rasheed
    There's a nice Thai place across the street from there.
    As I said 9 times out of 10-no problem. But if there was one area in PP which I would advice someone not to stay it would be around there.Go back tonight at 2.00 a.m. It's a whole different world.You are within 100 metres of a few yama-houses.Of course if you want scarier you could try going into the White Building after dark that's down by Independence.

    #81 Posted: 9/8/2011 - 13:54

  • oscarcat

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2008
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 66

    http://www.expat-advisory.com/forum/asia/cambodia/phnom-penh-pub-expats-expats-cambodia/gutless-criminals-gun-down-and-rob-woman-c
    CCTV footage apparently from the 28/8/2011 Central Mkt PP. I offer no comment. Check the lack of reaction from the bystanders. Dammit I made a comment after all!

    #82 Posted: 31/8/2011 - 11:16

  • oscarcat

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2008
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 66

    My apologies, its a mkt in PP, not the central mkt, I think.

    #83 Posted: 31/8/2011 - 11:29

  • whoknew

    Joined Travelfish
    15th September, 2011
    Posts: 3

    My daughter is living in PP and sent me the link to this video. Very strange, had to be premeditated. I will be visiting Cambodia in Oct/Nov. We plan to be out of PP during the large festivites in Nov. Since the crowds seem to be headed to PP around the 9th of Nov. , where would a better place be to visit/hang out?
    I'm not letting this terrible crime affect my desire to visit. Does anyone know ifthe police have caught anyone?

    #84 Posted: 15/9/2011 - 15:36

  • oscarcat

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2008
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 66

    I'm told that there has been an arrest, maybe 2, maybe the son was involved and the lady killed regularly took a carboard box (Angkor fyi) full of dollars (or maybe riel) to a money exchange every week. Gambling debts are also involved and she was followed back or there was a tip-off again allegedly the son. Pays not to know to much or say to much...

    #85 Posted: 15/9/2011 - 20:12

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    I can't believe that this thread is still alive and has now evolved about a shooting of some locals. Not that it isn't bad but this sort of stuff happens in all countries around Cambodia.
    Why is it still an issue if it happens in Cambodia and then people start questioning the safety of the whole country?

    I'd like to ask somtam to close this topic. OP was old and I don't think that it's fair to Cambodia in general to make this such a topic if crime and dangers aren't any worse than in other SEA countries.
    Foreigners get beaten up and robbed (even occasionally killed) on a daily basis in Bangkok (mainly Khao San Rd) and nobody starts a thread with the question of whether Thailand is safe to travel.

    #86 Posted: 16/9/2011 - 10:04

  • whoknew

    Joined Travelfish
    15th September, 2011
    Posts: 3

    I don't think anyone is singling out Cambodia. Your post concerning Thailand had specific and helpful info on a place there to avoid and I've found the info here about places to avoid after 11 pm, etc, helpful. The advice on carrying cash, expensive cameras, etc is sensible in many places worldwide, but the thread here is about Cambodia. Looking forward to visiting.

    #87 Posted: 16/9/2011 - 14:18

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I second the motion to close this thread. It's silly to single out Cambodia like this. A lot of people are living in the past about this country. If you think it's any more dangerous than any other country, you're simply wrong. Just use your brain and don't beg for trouble.

    #88 Posted: 16/9/2011 - 18:28

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    Good to see someone agrees.

    @ whoknew. Don't get met wrong. I do think that the majority of posts about safety can be useful to future travellers. I take more offence with the title of the post which in its own already suggests that safety is a major issue in Cambodia (why did you open this thread?) and since there's no such topic in other forums. The fact that you have to read in this thread about safety in Thailand supports my following point:

    Perhaps there could be a general safety thread for each country as a sticky or so. Now Cambodia is singled out (just because the name of the thread) and no safety information can be found for other countries.

    #89 Posted: 16/9/2011 - 18:59

  • ChrisLaub

    Joined Travelfish
    26th July, 2011
    Location United States
    Posts: 5

    For the most part it's super safe. I would never tell someone not to go. But women should never walk home alone at night. A girl my friend was spending time with was brutally raped walking home alone at night in Siem Reap. Bigger cities are also more dangerous, obviously. Avoid walking home alone and dark alleys at night and you should be fine.

    #90 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 00:35

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 311

    I find Cambodia very unsafe. But that's because I tend to drink a lot and fall down there.

    #91 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 03:05

  • oscarcat

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2008
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 66

    Now I'm regretting my decision to post that video... just wanted to air it as I was so shocked by it at the time, lot of my acquaintances were too. Apparently an "illegal" petrol station was held up at gunpoint the other day here in sleepy Kampot, right under the noses of the local police(!) neither incident makes it unsafe for travellers tho, in much the same way that the troubles in Thailand haven't had much affect on the tourists there.. "Close the thread" seems a little precipitous as if there's something to hide. It is, after all. titled how SAFE not DANGEROUS is Cambodia. The consensus would appear to be pretty safe as long as you use common sense. Safer than the UK for sure! However many tourists do hold the view that Cambodia, of all the SEA countries is a bit "dodgy". Maybe this thread can do a bit to dispel this delusion? (admittedly my post won't help much, but it's not in a tourist area and no barangs are involved...) I saw a post on a a friend's FB the other day advising caution and warning of the KR and landmines, both still a problem, apparently...

    #92 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 16:59

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
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    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 311

    Yup. Tourists should also be wary of the Viet Cong and the Cham navy.

    #93 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 19:45

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    Land mines and Khmer Rouge! Yes, every day when I go out and tackle the mean streets of Sihanoukville I have to take my mine sweeper and an AK47 (or whatever those big guns are). It boggles my mind that people still believe those things. Then again, many seem to believe that without America's War on Terror, hijacked planes would be crashing into buildings throughout the world every day. Fear is a funny thing (sometimes ha ha funny, sometimes not).

    #94 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 20:16

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Cambodia has a homicide rate slightly lower than Thailands, which is just short of twice the homicide rate in the United States. That said, crimes of passion in Thailand are very common, and for the most part non-Thai's don't fit into the agenda there. Be nice, be courteous, smile a lot and don't go wandering around alone at night and you should be good to go throughout SEA.

    #95 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 20:40

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
    Joined Travelfish
    4th November, 2010
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 311

    But if you do get into trouble, get your dancing shoes on, it's salsa dance-off time!

    #96 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 21:05

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Only in PP though.

    #97 Posted: 20/9/2011 - 22:08

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    "Tourists should also be wary of the Viet Cong and the Cham navy." Good one, Rasheed.

    Mac & Sheed: looking forward to seeing the Salsa Dance-Off in PP. When will that be, exactly? :)

    #98 Posted: 30/9/2011 - 11:29

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    Regarding comments about the longevity of posts on TF (and this one in particular), it is interesting that this thread started over 2 and a half ago years ago, yet lives on.

    I guess if you want limited-shelf-life threads, you should resort to Trip Advisor.

    Or not.

    #99 Posted: 30/9/2011 - 11:33

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    Mike
    You'd have to check here to find out:

    http://www.salsa-phnompenh.com/

    #100 Posted: 30/9/2011 - 11:54

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    Thanks, Mac.

    Is it safe? :)

    #101 Posted: 30/9/2011 - 21:06

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    Just kidding .....

    #102 Posted: 30/9/2011 - 21:08

  • KevandJho

    Joined Travelfish
    15th September, 2011
    Posts: 65

    My wife and I will be visiting Cambodia for the first time in early Janruary.

    We are not worried about people or anything people can do to us. We just excercise all safety precautions and treat all people with respect.

    It's those tiny, small, puny, little, mineute mosquitoes that make Cambodia a touch unsafe for us.

    Just one SMALL bite from the wrong (dengue and malaria) mosquitoe and you will have one BIG problem!Other than that, I need to remember to pack some sun tan lotion and not get burnt.

    We've never had a problem anywhere is South East Asia and we are not expecting any problems in Vietnam and Cambodia.

    #103 Posted: 1/10/2011 - 09:47

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    KevandJho: good attitude! Do watch out for the mozzies. Bug spray helps, of course. We were in central Viet Nam and all through Cambodia late last December, into January of this year, and saw very few mosquitos. It only takes one, of course.

    #104 Posted: 1/10/2011 - 09:59

  • Georgie2810

    Joined Travelfish
    13th July, 2011
    Posts: 5

    Hi,

    Pretty much everything I want to say has already been said, but let's be honest: someone was shot in Adelaide, South Australia yesterday so honestly crime is happening all over the world!

    I have travelled to Cambodia, Egypt, Hungary, Spain etc on my own (18 yo girl) and never had a problem. The place I felt the least safe was New York City, actually.

    If you go to somewhere like Cambodia or Thailand and do 'dodgy' things (e.g. get involved with drugs, sex shows, pass out on a beach) then of course you'll meet dodgy people and have a bad experience, just like you would anywhere else in the world (AND YOU DESERVE IT ANYWAY! In my opinion haha). But 99.9% of people will have a great, safe time and appreciate Cambodia's wonderful culture.

    Also, if you are paranoid the whole time then you are bound to miss out on great experiences. Yes you should trust your instincts and if it seems too good to be true it probably is, but Cambodians are usually very friendly and welcoming, so it would be a shame to miss out on interacting with lovely people because of paranoia.

    My only advice for those volunteering is SCRUTINISE the organisation you're volunteering with. I have done it and have very mixed feelings about it, especially because so many 'orphanages' in Cambodia are actually estabished for tourists or are very corrupt. I would NEVER again pay money to volunteer somewhere, if they want supplies - OK - but give them the supplies, not the money for them.

    #105 Posted: 3/10/2011 - 17:37

  • Georgie2810

    Joined Travelfish
    13th July, 2011
    Posts: 5

    Hi,

    Pretty much everything I want to say has already been said, but let's be honest: someone was shot in Adelaide, South Australia yesterday so honestly crime is happening all over the world!

    I have travelled to Cambodia, Egypt, Hungary, Spain etc on my own (18 yo girl) and never had a problem. The place I felt the least safe was New York City, actually.

    If you go to somewhere like Cambodia or Thailand and do 'dodgy' things (e.g. get involved with drugs, sex shows, pass out on a beach) then of course you'll meet dodgy people and have a bad experience, just like you would anywhere else in the world (AND YOU DESERVE IT ANYWAY! In my opinion haha). But 99.9% of people will have a great, safe time and appreciate Cambodia's wonderful culture.

    Also, if you are paranoid the whole time then you are bound to miss out on great experiences. Yes you should trust your instincts and if it seems too good to be true it probably is, but Cambodians are usually very friendly and welcoming, so it would be a shame to miss out on interacting with lovely people because of paranoia.

    My only advice for those volunteering is SCRUTINISE the organisation you're volunteering with. I have done it and have very mixed feelings about it, especially because so many 'orphanages' in Cambodia are actually estabished for tourists or are very corrupt. I would NEVER again pay money to volunteer somewhere, if they want supplies - OK - but give them the supplies, not the money for them.

    #106 Posted: 3/10/2011 - 17:38

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I agree with what @Georgie2810 says in general and specifically with what he says about volunteering. Only a fraction of donations to even the best run NGOs go directly to those they are meant to serve and in many cases, the money goes into promoting the NGO rather than serving the community. This is not always a scam, since sometimes it can attract more necessary funding than it costs, but personally, I think this trend towards having NGO restaurants and gift shops in prominent locations is an unfortunate one. Some of the best NGOs actually don't allow volunteers for a variety of good reasons and some of them are located out of sight in villages and rural areas. Some of these choose to use all or most of their resources in their communities rather than establish highly visible centres in tourist areas.

    All of the above is a gross generalisation and I'm not saying to stay away from well-publicised NGOs or that abuses don't occur in smaller, out of the way ones. I'm just saying do your homework first and dig beneath the surface before you decide. Ask around first. You don't want your good intentions to be wasted or abused.

    #107 Posted: 3/10/2011 - 18:06

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "If you go to somewhere like Cambodia or Thailand and do 'dodgy' things (e.g. get involved with drugs, sex shows, pass out on a beach) then of course you'll meet dodgy people and have a bad experience, just like you would anywhere else in the world (AND YOU DESERVE IT ANYWAY! In my opinion haha). But 99.9% of people will have a great, safe time and appreciate Cambodia's wonderful culture."

    We certainly woudln't want anyone doing anything "dodgy". Good grief.

    #108 Posted: 4/10/2011 - 00:49

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    Dodgy?

    Heaven forfend!

    #109 Posted: 4/10/2011 - 05:02

  • stanleykniv-
    es

    Joined Travelfish
    13th October, 2011
    Posts: 3

    No need for a new thread for my question if the thread starter doesn't mind...:)

    I'm going to be travelling from Bangkok to Siem Reap and then onto PP in the next week or two and was wondering about whether the route takes you through some of the "dodgy" or risky areas listed on the FCO page for Cambodia/Thai border: Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple area and Preah Vihear (Khaoi Pra Viharn in Thai) temple area.

    I've also heard that Battambang has had some incidents in the last few years. Ideally I'd want to head straight to PP from Bangkok but saw this as one of the points on that journey: should I be wary or go ahead with that preferred option?

    I'm assuming that considering how regular these journeys are that the route is pretty well planned to avoid problems but I was just looking for a bit more clarity/knowledge if someone can help? Cheers

    #110 Posted: 13/10/2011 - 14:21

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I'm amazed this thread is still going.I'm back in UK briefly and for some reason have been unable to post from my computer in Phnom Penh!!??
    anyway to address a few issues.

    Madmac:
    isn't 'dodgy' things part of the experience? My son just stayed for a month and was fleeced by girls both in Cambodia and Thailand.A steep learning curve.So as far as dangers in Cambodia (and Thailand) beware women who seem over-friendly.some are just trying to make an honest buck, others have more nefarious schemes such as drugging you and leaving you with just your jockeys.

    Stanleyknives
    maybe that nom de guerre is fitting if you're expecting to be fighting your way through Cambodia ;-) but seriously I'd say most rural areas are pretty safe now and crime in Battambang unheard of.The Khmer do seem to panic in some areas in quiet parts but that's more to do with ghosts than real threats. The only place i'd warn you about is Sihanoukville which is full of pretty bad types who'd cut your throat for a buck so stay away from those lonely roads there.I know Rob disagrees with me but I suppose if you go to bed at 10pm you're not likely to run into the meth-high gangs there.

    Woops, my apologies to Madmac.
    I see now he was quoting someone further up the thread. so we are on the same wavelength on this one.
    Excuse the ramble but 3 days straight travel, including that PP to Bangkok run has addled my brain.I took Rith Mony bus to the border, a record 9 hours since the driver decided to take an hour break 20 minutes from the border! But I only chose them because I can walk to their station from my apartment near Calmette.They are all of a muchness, slow and iritating.At the border I still can't seem to get a tour bus despite speaking Thai and have to take a motocycle to the bus station (60 baht) and then on to Bangkok at 6.30 pm.The side of the bus says in comes from the border so I'm baffled.
    AFA Cambodia.There are really no problems on these roads now, they've even got a night service from PP to Bangkok. Long gone are the days of highway robbery. Cambodia is becoming a little to 'ordinary' IMO.But I still love it there and I'm sure the majority of you will survive.
    BTW At the moment a tragedy is unfolding in Cambodia.The constant rain has ruined the rice and PP is rapidly filling up with bewildered villagers with nothing, sleeping in the streets.If you see someone who really looks hungry and distraught buy them something to eat if you can.Ignore the healthy looking pro beggars on the Riverside carrying their hired babies, it really isn't too difficult to spot someone really distraught from the lousy deal nature has handed out to them

    #111 Posted: 13/10/2011 - 18:08

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    "isn't 'dodgy' things part of the experience?"

    Hey it wasn't me. If you asked me, I'd say of course "dodgy" is part of the experience.

    #112 Posted: 13/10/2011 - 18:44

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Madmac
    Yeh, man I already worked out my mistake and apologised.
    3 days on the road and the length of the thread confused me :-)

    Everybody learns the hard way but those who learn quickly have the best chance of survival.
    BTW I'd say the word 'dodgy' was a bit retro-Brit for you anyway.

    #113 Posted: 13/10/2011 - 19:10

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    No worries mate. I'm not the sensitive type.

    #114 Posted: 13/10/2011 - 21:26

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'No worries mate'
    Strewth Madmac you wasn't badged to the 'stralians was you? Tinnies all round.

    #115 Posted: 13/10/2011 - 23:18

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6341
    Total reviews: 10

    No, but we have a few kicking around here. Mostly good guys actually.

    #116 Posted: 14/10/2011 - 00:53

  • hakus

    Joined Travelfish
    7th March, 2012
    Posts: 3

    Me my wifeand 2 years old child went to Bayon restaurant for a dinner..The place is aftergolden lions at serendipity road up of the hill which cross road of occehataulbeach..Owner is 47 years old fat coiffeur which have barber shop nearrestaurant..Every restaurant was full because of chinesee year but this placewas totaly empty..We ordered one dish with beef and said well done cooked..Thewaiter didnt understand anything what we ordered because he doesnt speakenglish he said in the dirty smallkitchen the cook which is 17 years old onegirl also she doesnt speak english too no one understand us..I said with acts that I want english speaking people for order foodand they called from near shop owner woman..I said to her we will give thisfood to our child and we want good cooked no any blood..We were alone butwaited 25 minutes after food came..It was terrible plate of dish we cut pieceof meat it was full blood ..Because I explained 10 times before I wasshocked..I said to waiter to cook more didnt do anything I took plate enteredkitchen for cook more kitchen was small dirty mess .Cook girl swear to my facein khmer language and refused to cook again..I said I never saw this kind ofplace before and we went out in this moment I heard scream of my wife..Thismonster fat strong owner woman was holding and turning the hands of my wife andshouting you will pay tou will pay..I entered inside and hardly I could stopthis monster for not hurt my wife ..Owner woman hold my hands strongly and wasshouting you will pay you will pay..
    I said tomy wife take the child and run to hotel..She could escape with our baby..Ownerwoman was hitting me and shouting that I will pay 3 dolar..I tried to explainwe didnt eat this bloody meat and refused to pay..The waiters were makingtelephone calls nonstop and suddenly 7 or 8 khmer man came to hit me..Irealized that I am in big trouble I was shouting call police call police to tuktuk drivers and they called..These men total 7 or 8 people were around of meand started hit suddenly I found myself fight with many men for nothing.In thismoment two strong looking tourist were at there and I asked help to me..I amappreciating this two man a lot that helped me for backup and police came..Iwas happy that police would protect me but I was totaly mistaken..These manykhmer man and this owner witch came to police point.It was writing TOURISMPOLICE…Only 2 police were..They asked my passport and learned which hotel whichroom I stay..I explained everything and I said I am lawyer I know the law thatI am right..One police was speaking with this woman and her group and thepolice wrote the one paper 100 usd..I didnt understand anything..Police said ifI pay to this woman one hundred dolar problem will finish.. I said to police Ididnt do anything wrong why will I pay this Money?.Police said that because Iam tourist and here CAMBODIA…I have problem with cambodian thats why I mustpay..I couldnt believe this outlaw polices how exist..I refused to pay ..Policegave my hotel and room number to these bandit mafia group to bring my wife andchild to bring police point..This group hurrily went to my hotel..I was shockedand said to polices how can do this they are my enemies they will kidnap mywife and child..Police turned looked at me and said then I have to pay OR…???Itwas blackmail and I realized my situation that moment..
    I said ifthey will not do anything to my wife and child and if he call this bandit mafiagroup back I will pay..Police said o.k and telephoned to them to not touch mywife and child..
    I paid thisMoney to owner of Bayon restaurant but I dont know how she shared with thepolices..
    Afterimmediatily we moved from outlaw sihanoukville to safe Thailand

    #117 Posted: 7/3/2012 - 09:36

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    Wow, Hakus. That's quite the story. And difficult to read. Is it true, though?

    #118 Posted: 7/3/2012 - 10:18

  • 3drazor

    Joined Travelfish
    13th October, 2011
    Posts: 16

    I seriously like this part:
    "I explained everything and I said I am lawyer I know the law thatI am right."
    Okay, then you probably also know this: You are in Cambodia. The law is made up right as the police man thinks about how much money he get out of you.

    #119 Posted: 7/3/2012 - 15:37

  • 3drazor

    Joined Travelfish
    13th October, 2011
    Posts: 16

    "Afterimmediatily we moved from outlaw sihanoukville to safe Thailand"
    I just remembered how this white guy got hit with a glass bottle on the head, right in front of my eyes, when he tried to turn his back on an argument with a Thai guy. When he just decided to seriously beat up the Thai guy for that one, a lot of other Thai guys turned up and they did beat the **** out of the farang.

    Yeah, yeah...save haven Thailand...

    #120 Posted: 7/3/2012 - 15:41

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Sihanoukvillle is full of lowlife barang who couldn't hack it in Thailand.So I'm not surprised by this story.I remember a place promising real Thai food again run by a Barrang and ending up with a thin bowl of Khmer soup which I took outside and fed to the dogs.I paid the bill but demanded my 200 real change in disgust.tjere'sanother idiot down there that does booze cruises and overfills the boat.He's already managed to turn one boat over,no life jackets.Lucky local fishermen saved the people.surprisingly he's still operating.But that's how it works your Bayon man pays the police so you've got no chance of justice.

    #121 Posted: 7/3/2012 - 19:59

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    BTW.It's not only the Barang down there who need a lesson in manners.I'm getting heartily sick of the tuk-tuk drivers who when you refuse their services shout to your back.
    'F*** your mother!'
    this is done in Khmer so most tourists don't understand.But what a way to encourage business!!
    Sihanoukville is a sleazy dive but if you know what's what you can enjoy the place.
    Don't let anyone near your seat and don't leave anything unattended.The beach is crawling with thieves.The children might look cute but think Oliver Twist.
    We had a bit of a laugh there the other day, some poor guy was playing frisbee and someone walked off with his shoes.Be careful, they'd have the fillings out of your teeth if you fall asleep with your mouth open.

    #122 Posted: 7/3/2012 - 22:57

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    Okay, all restaurants full, but this one's empty. 2+2=4 - it's a lousy restaurant. Thousands of people get their meals, enjoy them and pay for them. One makes a scene, refuses to pay and wonders why the owners took steps to ensure he pays for what he ordered. I've had hundreds of meals out in SV at dozens of restaurants and have never once had an experience like the one described above. Perhaps the writer should think about what he did to precipitate the incident.

    Night before last, I got pulled over for not wearing a helmet. Immediately after me, another barang got pulled over for the same minor offence. He got all upset and said the usual, "You only stop foreigners!" line. I got angry with him and told him to look around. We were two of five motorbikes that had been stopped and were outnumbered by Khmers. He started his moto and said, "I'm not paying!" The police prevented him from leaving. His girlfriend then started in. Finally, the police let me go without paying because they had so much on their hands with this moron. The fine is 3000 riel (75c). I wouldn't be surprised if I saw an angry comment here or elsewhere from this guy or his girlfriend, complaining about police corruption in SV.

    Once again, Sayadian speaks with authority he doesn't have. New readers, please take his relentless SV bashing with a grain of salt.

    #123 Posted: 7/3/2012 - 23:52

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    So you have the authority to speak for Sihanoukville but I don't Rob.interesting? But what have corrupt motor police got to do with restauranteurs? I'm baffled! If I was served half cooked meat (quite common in. Cambodia) just I would have handled things differently because the guy was obviously a newbie and didn't realise Cammodian cops are only there to line their own pockets.But carry on Rob if S'ville doesn't clean up its act it will never encourage tourism.The guy had a genuine case but didn't realise the level of corruption down there.when you've got a moment have a look at that risible sign saying.
    'we keep our town and beaches clean'
    hilarioous isn't it.
    have you ever seen such a dirty beach resort anywhere else.

    #124 Posted: 8/3/2012 - 01:26

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I'm just tired of posting rebuttals to your endless SV bashing nonsense. That's why I suggested that new visitors take your posts with a grain of salt. They're welcome to take mine with a grain of salt, too, but yes, I know this city better than you do.

    I wish someone would close this thread. It's gone beyond ridiculous. Had someone not copied and pasted that story on my blog, I wouldn't have bothered to reply.

    #125 Posted: 8/3/2012 - 01:35

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    BTW Rob have the decency to admit that that idiot who runs the booze cruises almost drowned a good numer of backpackers and is only back in business because he paid the police.He's going to. End up drowning people soon

    #126 Posted: 8/3/2012 - 01:37

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    'I'm just tired of posting rebuttals to your endless SV bashing'

    Rob, I don't see any rebuttals.Rebuttals are counter-arguments all you do is tell everyone you are more experienced than anyone else.How do you know this?

    'Perhaps the writer should think about what he did to precipitate the incident.'

    Please explain what he did wrong. It seems to me he was treated very shabbily.Yes, I would have handled the situation differently but that's because I have experience of Cambodia.This gentleman clearly doesn't.

    'I know this city better than you do.'

    How do you know this?
    Please explain. In my 8 years in Cambodia I have spent a great deal of time in S'ville although I live in Phnom Penh. I've been there 7 times since Xmas.


    'I wish someone would close this thread'

    I can't see the problem with the thread it's doing what it should do, giving people the chance to voice their opinions.I respectfully suggest that if you don't like it you don't contribute.

    #127 Posted: 8/3/2012 - 21:46

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2172855

    Another sad story to highlight the dangers in Sihanoukville and the ineptitude of the police.

    #128 Posted: 8/3/2012 - 22:18

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    http://www.khmer440.com/chat_forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=17508&hilit=boat+sinks+sihanoukville

    and this one highlights the dangers of taking booze cruises run by people who clearly think a lot more of extra money than the safety of their passengers

    #129 Posted: 8/3/2012 - 22:25

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    NEWSFLASH! Sihanoukville Survival Story soon to be released as a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt as the only foreigner ever to survive in Sihanoukville for over 5 years!!

    Was it his superb 64 yr old physique that got him through? Was it the intimidating 110cc Suzuki 'Smash' motorbike on which he deftly weaved his way past the hordes of murderers, thieves and corrupt police every day?

    Some of the awesome challenges he takes on include:

    Dining out at restaurants!
    Going to secret beaches like Otres Beach!
    Getting money out of an ATM!
    Riding his mountain bike on the mean streets of Sihanoukville!
    Swimming in the treacherous Gulf of Thailand!

    For a sneak preview, check out Sihanoukville Journal: the blog the movie is based on.

    #130 Posted: 9/3/2012 - 02:50

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Personally I'd go for Arnold Schwartzernegger..He's more suitable because of his age bracket, more likely to be the type who's tucked up in bed by 9p.m. every night.
    Wicked sense of humour Rob but it isn't going to distract me from my question.Where are these rebuttals?
    I always think in terms of the newbie fresh off the boat with a wallet full of dollars,looking for a good time. Advice may seem mundane to us 'old hands' but it can save some people a lot of grief. Knocking it just doesn't make any sense to me. You may be surprised but there are a lot of young people travelling who still think they're in the West and are going to get a fair deal.Rather than dissuade them from going to Sihanoukville and other places I urge them to go and enjoy it but to take a little care.

    #131 Posted: 9/3/2012 - 04:19

  • robschneider

    Joined Travelfish
    16th April, 2011
    Location Australia
    Posts: 35

    I asked around and Ana at Ana Travel confirmed that the bashing story on TT occurred. She said it was at around 2am and the guy who attacked them was probably stoned and drunk and they probably were, too. What else would they be doing at that time of night? Where in the world would you NOT be likely to get robbed and beaten at that time of night?

    She was unaware of the other incident, but without prompting, agreed with my assessment. The man behaved arrogantly and when he didn't get the meal of his liking threatened to walk out. Sihanoukville still attracts a lot of barang who try to sneak out of restaurants without paying or even eat half a meal and try to pay only for half. That makes restaurant owners very wary and they get sick of it. She asked me to pass on this message:

    "Respect Cambodians and they will respect you back." I agree wholeheartedly.

    #132 Posted: 11/3/2012 - 00:33

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I agree with Ana's setiments completely Rob and of course there are always two sides to a story.if,as you say,he behaved like that he couldn't complain about his treatment;with one exceptionIf it's true that the police took this opportunity to screw 100 dollars from the guy you have to agree it gives Cambodia a bad name.
    Also respect goes both ways I resent the attitude of tuk-tuk drivers who feel you owe them a living.In fact,not only. Drivers but sellers on the beach whose resentment is manifested in nasty comments because you politely refuse them.We both understand Khmer and it makes me silently furoious to have comments like f*** your mother hurled at us because we don't need their services

    #133 Posted: 11/3/2012 - 01:07

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Rob wrote:
    'the guy who attacked them was probably stoned and drunk and they probably were, too. What else would they be doing at that time of night? Where in the world would you NOT be likely to get robbed and beaten at that time of night?'

    Rob, people actually go out and have a drink late at night without necessarily being stoned and drunk.You have a very pessimistic view of the world, a world were you can't be outside the house at 2a.m. without being robbed and beaten.There are some bad places but for example I'd feel pretty safe walking the streets of Battambang at 2 a.m.

    #134 Posted: 11/3/2012 - 06:29

  • Thomas922

    Joined Travelfish
    1st July, 2007
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 346

    Wow! This thread just gets new life!

    I must say that I am one of those after 2am folks in every city I have been to including Snooky ville though it has been several years. Even in the mid 2000s it was still shady at times but if you act with a certain amount of care, 2am isn't usually a death sentence. Hang out with your friend or friends and go somewhere that a few other like minded folks hang out. Have a reliable driver if you are unsure and pay that person well. It goes a long way. Keep yourself pretty sober and stay on the main roads and if not keep your wits about you and stay alert. Don't look like a victim in your actions. ....But this is general info. Snookyville can be a fun place but there is an element that isn't to nice. If you wanna smoke, have sex, and party up...you should make sure those you are dealing with are brought to you through semi trusted sources. The internet can save you a lot of hassle if you want to live a little on the rough side!
    Cambodia does attract a lower level of barang but not everyone! There are many who come looking for the wild west cowboy days of old and you have to watch out for them. Overall though if you are just looking for a few days at the shore and you are not one who lives on the edge you should be fine. Take the same SE Asia precautions and keep valuables safe and carry just enough cash.
    I am a big dude and get little trouble but sometimes carrying a bat or a nice pipe across your back makes folks think twice about messin around.....if you insist on testing the rough waters you should be able to at least stay afloat!

    #135 Posted: 12/3/2012 - 21:10

  • Archmichael

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd July, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 396
    Total reviews: 2

    A bat or a pipe, eh? Now there's something to think about. Well said, for all of that, Thomas922.

    #136 Posted: 12/3/2012 - 22:14

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    My preference is pepper spay,a harmless incapacitator.

    #137 Posted: 13/3/2012 - 01:06

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    My preference is pepper spay,a harmless incapacitator.

    #138 Posted: 13/3/2012 - 01:08

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    My preference is pepper spay,a harmless incapacitator.

    #139 Posted: 13/3/2012 - 01:09

  • hakus

    Joined Travelfish
    7th March, 2012
    Posts: 3

    All my life Ilived for my honour..For 3 usd noone can try sneaky way..Even I didnt touch the food because of blood..Come on be serious when you are making critic the people which you dont know before..No one can think to not pay 3 usd especially when together wife and little child..It was horrible night..If I wouldnt pay 100 usd I dont know what would happen to my wife and little child..

    #140 Posted: 13/3/2012 - 06:59

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    My apologies for my post going up 3 times.I can only put it down to my inability to use an android phone to post.Other than that I can't understand how it happened.

    BTW I was on Riverside yesterday and somebody gave, what looked like a 3 year old girl $5. Immediately she began waving it around showing off to all the other beggars.I wondered how long it would be before someonre grabbed it off her.The point of this story is that obviously somewhere in the back of my mind I know Cambodia can be dangerous but only in certain situations.In this case the weak and naive waving wealth around.Most of the incidents I know of happened when the person was drunk/drugged and the bad guys can smell easy prey.Don't walk around with too much ostentatious demonstration of wealth and you should be OK. After all there are people out there who although not being 'natural' criminals are very, very poor often to the point of not being able to feed themselves.Don't put temptation in their way.

    #141 Posted: 13/3/2012 - 19:40

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    Hakus - I'm really sorry you had such a bad experience in what is generally a lovely country. I don't wish to be patronising, but I hope maybe I can share my ideas on how the situation could have been solved before it got so bad. I also hope this might help other people reading this thread.

    If you go into a local restaurant to eat, it should be expected that people won't speak English. Therefore you need lots of patience and a sense of humour, and to expect that you may not get exactly what you ordered.

    It has already been noted that there is probably a reason why a restaurant is empty on a busy night - it's often better to go to a place that already has customers.

    The state of the kitchen, the chef and the time you waited for food is also part of the 'genuine' local restaurant experience. They may have had to go to the market to buy fresh ingredients, hence the wait. Cheap food doesn't usually come out of beautiful kitchens with lots of staff.

    If you don't speak Khmer, you can't assume that people were swearing at you, but if you got angry and showed this on your face or used a loud voice, that would make people very uncomfortable. You walked into the kitchen because the waiter didn't understand what you wanted, and you may have frightened the cook. The owners and chefs of most restaurants wouldn't be happy to have a customer walk into their kitchen. You invaded their space and they didn't understand you - this can be intimidating for the restaurant staff, as much as you felt intimidated.

    At this point, it would probably have been best to pay for the food you ordered, smile and shrug, and quietly go somewhere else where the staff spoke English and you could get the food you wanted. $3 is not a large amount of money, even on the budgets I have travelled on - it's better to leave a positive feeling behind you and put it down to experience. This is not a question of principle but practicality. The restaurant didn't have other customers and they had spent money on the food they prepared for you - the $3 was probably more important to them than to you. Unfortunately, as already noted, there are travellers who eat then don't pay bills and those people make staff suspicious of the rest of us!

    Considering everything that happened afterwards, $3 would have been a cheap exit for you and your family. Sadly, getting the police involved often means more cost and more hassle in a situation like this.

    #142 Posted: 13/3/2012 - 22:22

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Although i've already stated I would also have paid up just to avoid the hassle.i still have some sympathy for Hakus.firstly, I have to question your assumption that there I a difficulty in finding English speaking staff.All the restaurants on the beach have English speaking staff so why was it so difficult in this place to find an English speaker.I've also had experience myself of being served uncooked meat,sorry but it's laziness and totally unacceptable.We both agree that calling the police was a bad move but lets look into the reasons.quite simply they are corrupt and inept.Hardly an attractive pivture to encourage international tourissm

    #143 Posted: 14/3/2012 - 00:05

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Although i've already stated I would also have paid up just to avoid the hassle.i still have some sympathy for Hakus.firstly, I have to question your assumption that there I a difficulty in finding English speaking staff.All the restaurants on the beach have English speaking staff so why was it so difficult in this place to find an English speaker.I've also had experience myself of being served uncooked meat,sorry but it's laziness and totally unacceptable.We both agree that calling the police was a bad move but lets look into the reasons.quite simply they are corrupt and inept.Hardly an attractive pivture to encourage international tourissm

    #144 Posted: 14/3/2012 - 00:15

  • oscarcat

    Joined Travelfish
    11th November, 2008
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 66

    Quick observation. Hakus ordered meat with no blood, and was shocked as they'd explained "ten times" no blood. Many times when two people don't share a native language or (as in this case?) neither are native speakers, negatives can be missed, stress can be placed on words and emphasis given which leads to misunderstanding. The waiter/chef hears blah blah blah blood blah blah blood blah blah blood and just maybe assumes you want you meat rare? Keep it short and simple. I want meat. Cooked a lot. Also you criticise a poster above for judging you without knowing you yet you used these terms in your post "fat" (several times - why is this relevant to your story? it just made me less sympathetic to you) and "monster" (twice) as well as dirty and mess. Pay for the food if you didn't like it and go quietly. You make such a fuss over $3? What criteria do you use to select a restaurant? Do you look for the dirty messy empty ones when all around them are busy?

    #145 Posted: 14/3/2012 - 00:20

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    Sayadin - I often meet or see travellers and tourists who expect people to speak fluent English. I'm not saying that was the case for the OP, but the more 'local' you go, the less likely it is that you will have easy communication. Staff in my local coffee shop in Phnom Penh don't know the English for 'iced coffee', despite being about 4 houses away from a traveller guesthouse. Not every restaurant is geared up for foreigners, or even particularly want our business. Not every restaurant has accepted the responsibility for promoting international tourism, either!

    There's also a question of degree - on a recent visit to Phu Quoc I met an Australian who complained that in 4 days he hadn't met anyone that spoke English, whereas I'd been marvelling at the advancement of English there since my previous trip a few years ago. I agree with Oscarcat that with limited English language skills, staff can easily misunderstand.

    I find it interesting to turn a situation on it's head - if a foreigner walked into a cheap local eatery in the UK and didn't speak any English, ordered in a different language and got upset because the staff didn't understand him, then refused to pay for the meal he'd ordered, I don't think the owner would be any more understanding that the one in this story.

    On the subject of bloody meat, whenever I order grilled beef in Cambodia it comes out pretty rare. Seems it's not laziness, just the local preference. In the same way that a rare steak served in France probably isn't lazy or unacceptable, just how they like to eat it. I've had a French proprietor be horrified when my husband sent back some meat for more cooking, because he was concerned that it wouldn't taste as good if he over-cooked it, and that would reflect badly on his restaurant.

    #146 Posted: 14/3/2012 - 00:39

  • threelandtr-
    avel

    Joined Travelfish
    7th March, 2012
    Posts: 6

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    It's safe the official advice that I received from my Vietnam embassy for my trip is that Cambodia as a whole is safe it's just certain areas along the border that you need to take care.

    #147 Posted: 20/4/2012 - 00:10

  • TravellerX

    Joined Travelfish
    26th April, 2012
    Posts: 6

    I am going to Cambodia, at the end of next month... I am planning to go backpacking and camping, along the coast and also to spend a few days checking out the Temples in Angkor. I have read most of the replies to this question and am now a lot more confident about how safe I should be (as long as I purport myself respectably, politely and correctly, of course).

    I have packed and prepared a survival kit (for the worst case scenarios nightmare) and I've also got myself a Bowie Knife; with an eight inch blade; which past camping experiences have proved that such a knife (especially in hostile environments) has been a useful, almost invaluable tool. Now, obviously I do only intend to be using this in the campsites, and when trekking in required circumstances, but I wanted to ask if it would even be permitted for me to carry it in rural Cambodia???

    #148 Posted: 26/4/2012 - 14:14

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    An interesting question.A Bowie Knife? I wouldn't wear it around town but I'm sure that in rural areas people would understand as farmers there use all sorts of knives and axes.
    If your concerned about urban safety go for the pepper spray, which you can buy in Thailand.

    As a foot note, although you can arm yourself like a ninja quite legally in Thailand I have never seen hunting knives etc sold in Cambodia.

    #149 Posted: 27/4/2012 - 00:06

  • cloud

    Joined Travelfish
    19th September, 2010
    Posts: 24

    I have stayed in cambodia total ~40days and traveled around 3,000km alone. I can definetely say that Cambodia is much safer than USA, UK, France and Italy.

    #150 Posted: 20/5/2012 - 13:06

  • Waygukkid

    Joined Travelfish
    25th February, 2013
    Posts: 1

    Hey guys, I've purchased a plane ticket to Phnom Penh in June and I'm most eager to go out and see Angkor Wat...but I'm small, young, and female- and I'll be travelling alone. I'm starting to get quite worried about the trip...In fact I'm wary of even sharing this information online. >.<

    I also wanted to take a bunch of photos, but now I'm worried that my nice camera will attract too much attention? I want to be as safe as possible...any suggestions on where to stay, what to do, and how to stay safe?

    The advice on avoiding other foreigners, though logical, makes me uneasy... I'd feel safer around other foreigners, I think.

    #151 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 10:35

  • whoknew

    Joined Travelfish
    15th September, 2011
    Posts: 3

    Some advice from my daughter who has lived there (PP) 2+ years would be to not be out alone late at night, tho I think foreign women may be a little safer than locals there. When riding in a tuk tuk or on a moto, keep your valuables tucked in, some 'snatch and run' takes place. Border cities, like Poipet are scary. Snookville, don't get drunk and go staggering around. It is a common sense situation. Learn a few words of Khmer! Be polite and patient. "Saving face" is a big deal there and you'll solve any problems faster by politely, but firmly handling than shouting or showing any anger.
    Having said that, she rides her bike home from work at night and is ok; but it's her neighborhood, an all Asian one, few barangs. Her roomie, who should know better, was in a tourist/expat neighborhood, riding her bike, Ipad in the basket, earphones in (dumb) and was mugged, in daylight. They chalked that up to her living in a small village, Oudong, for two years and so forgot the city isn't as safe.
    Since you are travelling alone, check out Couchsurfers. My daughter and roomies did this at their apt and loved meeting all the people they hosted. You'll meet 'foreigners' who are living there and they can really steer you in the right direction. They have couchsurfed themselves in other countries.
    I visited in Oct. of 2011 and had a great time. Did Angkor, chilled in Kep, bounced all the way up to Ratanikiri, PP and all places in between, loved Cambodia and its people, an amazingly resilient bunch.
    Just always be aware of your surroundings and the gear you are carrying. There are thieves in every country; these ride motorbikes. Oh, have someone teach you how to cross a street! Have fun!

    #152 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 12:13

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2088
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Cambodia is pretty safe for tourists (incl women on their own) just take the normal sensible precautions. Don't wander around late at night on your own, don't get drunk, avoid dark alleys, wear your bag across your chest rather than your shoulders when walking around, and don't put it on the table/seat when eating somewhere. I sometimes put a small clip on my daypack zip to hold the zips together so that they can't be opened easily by wandering fingers. As far as the camera goes, you'll be fine, but keep it in your daypack when not using it.

    #153 Posted: 25/2/2013 - 20:36

  • AbigailatPe-
    nhandInk

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 179

    I'd agree with the other advice given here - Cambodia is not particularly unsafe if you take sensible precautions. You really don't need to be too anxious - plenty of people visit Siem Reap and other parts of Cambodia and most don't have any problems at all. As above, I too feel safer walking around Phnom Penh at night than some cities in the UK.


    You will easily find other people in a similar position to yours at guesthouses and may well be able to hook up with them for company travelling onwards etc. Check out the Siem Reap posts in the Cambodia blog on this site for ideas of where to stay and what to do.


    Cambodia is a wonderful country and I'm sure you'll have an amazing time. The temples are beautiful and I wish you many gorgeous photos of them!

    #154 Posted: 26/2/2013 - 08:51

  • Rasheeed

    Click here to learn more about Rasheeed
    Joined Travelfish
    4th November, 2010
    Location Cambodia
    Posts: 311

    How safe is Cambodia?

    #155 Posted: 26/2/2013 - 19:25

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