Cambodia is a country that has a violent and turbulent history. But as the years go by this history is being left further and further behind with a higher attention to improving the experience had by visitors and tourists.
It goes without saying that you should take all necessary precautions when visiting any new country but as always each new place you visit brings its own unique issues. The following is some handy advice that you can follow to help make your time in Cambodia as safe and as fun as possible.
Something you may not be aware of with Cambodia is the requirement of a visa for entry into the country. These can be purchased either at the airport upon arrival (under 12s can enter for free). If you wish to save the time and effort of doing the paperwork at the airport, then you can instead opt for an E-Visa. E-visas are a more convenient way to apply quickly and easily for a visa to enter the country upon arrival.
NOTE: Not all entryways into the country accept the e-visa. You may find it more convenient to simply pay upon arrival at your destination.
Health and safety
Before traveling to a country like Cambodia it is always worth checking up on the little details that you may not think of the first time you travel there. To start with; Vaccinations. Cambodia is still a developing country and the risk of catching infectious diseases is somewhat heightened. Check with your local or family doctor to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations before you travel. If you are uncertain about which vaccinations you already have or may need, the CDC website gives you a useful list of what you should consider vaccinating against before travel. And don’t pet local dogs, cats or other animals. There are thousands of strays across Cambodia that are not vaccinated or trained in any way. They may bite and cause severe harm or infection.
Cambodia is not considered a seriously dangerous country. However appropriate care must be taken to prevent any potential injuries or threatening situations.
Like I say while the country is considered safe, some attacks have been registered against foreign tourists. However, these come often appear very random and at times avoidable by removing yourself from certain situations entirely. Firstly, the more common issues are those of bag snatchers in tourist hot-spots. Some bag snatchers may simply run up, cut the strings on a bag and run away with it. Others may drive by on scooters or bikes and drag bags away from you. Either of these can cause serious injury or distress and the best way to avoid them is to make every effort to keep bags and loose articles as covered as possible and to hang them across your back away from roads. Only take essential items with you out of your hotel and keep any you have left in your room safely locked away.
When traveling anywhere in Cambodia make sure to use transport that is known to be safer and more reliable. Avoid anyone offering travel that you haven’t personally checked or booked as it may be a ruse for other motives. When on any public transport never lose sight or touch of your belongings. Some robberies are known to occur on busy transport when attention may be elsewhere. Never travel alone or in darkened areas at all where avoidable. This applies especially to lone female travelers who are at a higher risk of attack in such situations.
Weather and packing
Cambodia has an incredibly tropical climate. This means extremes in wet and dry weather as well as incredible heat during the hot season. With this in mind, you may find it better to travel during certain months, depending on your own requirements and personal preference. During the winter time (Late October to March) you will experience a cooler average daily temperature. This may be the best time to travel due to the cooling winds and lower heat, but everyone else is thinking the same thing. Expect heavy crowds during this time. High humidity can still be experienced in this time frame as well. This is also considered the “dry” season too.
Between March to June/July is where the heat really picks up. This is the time you will see very few tourists due to the sapping heat and extreme humidity. Between the end of June and up to around November is the monsoon or “wet” season. Expect heavy showers that can come and go quickly, or last for hours or days. The lingering heat will make this the most humid time of all so be prepared for it. These heavy showers can also cause severe flash flooding as well. So check local authorities for any specific warnings.
When packing for your travels there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, you will spend a lot of time on your feet. Sandals are a great option over boots and trainers as they allow you to get some air to your feet. Whatever you pick make sure they are well worn in, breathable and waterproof if possible. Where you travel to will also determine what you wear. If heading into local temples, make sure you cover up respectfully. This means covering to the knees as well as covering the shoulders. This applies to both men and women.
If traveling to the jungle pack a good pair of walking boots, long trousers and tops to help prevent annoying insect bites and injuries. Pack a poncho as umbrellas are useless during monsoon season. On the subject of insects, always pack mosquito repellant and a lightweight mosquito net if you can. They like to come out at night and the last thing you want is a mosquito bite ruining both your holiday and your health.