Have just finished reading some threads regarding travel through Cambodia and now I feel quite nervous about it. Is it as dangerous as its made out as I will be travelling alone, if anyone can advise me please do.
Look forward to hearing from your experiences
Personally I think Cambodia is made out to be far more dangerous than it is. I wasn't travelling alone but I don't think I would have felt in danger if I had been alone. My boyfriend and I got lost late one night in Phnom Penh and ended up wandering around for ages down dark back streets - I felt nervous because of what lonely planet had said rather than because of anything that I experienced and we were absolutely fine. All the people we met in Cambodia were extremely friendly and helpful. I can only speak for PP, Siem Reap and Angkor though and obviously it pays to exercise caution in any city.
Aside from feeling safe in the city, My boyfriend is really nervouse about Cambodia because of all the unexploded landmines still there. Were you warned about this while over there, or advised not to go to certain places?
Hi Bex, thanks for the quick reply so was it easy to get around? Did you have it all mapped out before you went or take it day to day?
You really dont need to plan too much for Cambodia - everythings cheap and available last minute. just roll into town and youll be offered transport and accomodation - you wont have to go looking, trust me!
Cambodias reputation as a dangerous destination is because maybe 5 years ago it was dangerous. Its opening out now to travellers, and hijackings seem to be a thing of the past. youll inevitably end up meeting other travellers on the coachs, boats and hostels. Cambodians are really friendly too, and not just to get your tourist dollars either. I can honestly say that i would feel safer walking round Phenom Phen at 2am than I would in Manchester.
As far as the landmines go, youll never really have a reason to go to any areas that may have them. Unless you absolutley HAVE todo a jungle trek, youll be fine. If you do insist on treking, for gods sake take a guide, and make sure its a well established route. its not just landmines, but gruesome traps, gernades and clusterbombs.
We were aware of landmines but as HafJafMark says its not really a problem in most of the areas that you will be going to. All the main temple areas in Angkor for example are mine- free. But as the guidebooks will warn you, never ever stray off the beaten track anywhere in Cambodia. Don't even go to the toilet by the side of the road!
Loraine - again as per the last post you won't need to plan much as most places in the country are pretty geared up for backpackers from what I could see. It's easy and cheap to get around and the road between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap is now paved.
hi everyone! i´ve been traveling alone in cambodia only in seam reap and aronud, and phom penh, i dont know about the rest of the country but i found really nice and friendly people, i would tell you not to worry at all, anyway do not leave your common sense at home...
have fun and don´t worry cambodian people are great....
The only danger is the ease with which pockets can be picked in border towns, but beyond that, people are very friendly there. It's a great place to buddy up with someone while waiting in the visa lines going into the country. You can share the cost of a taxi to save on expenses, and coordinate leaving as well, if you are staying approximately the same length of time. We met a British guy while we were standing in line, and we split a taxi both coming and going. It really helped because he spoke Thai and was able to negotiate a better deal with the driver. We still e-mail back and forth, and that was more than a year ago. He lives in BKK now.
Obviously, be careful, but it's a great place to meet people. A place like SR is probably 90% tourist to 10% resident (it seems), so running into travelers whom you could befriend isn't a problem. If you're up to it, find a buddy and spend a day on bicycle out at the temples. It somehow seems to diminish the crowds.
I'm in Cambodia at the moment, and what everyone has said rings true. One small word of warning though...we came overland Bangkok - Siem Reap and had a nightmare. We were pretty much held ransom by the guide and had to pay extortionate extras to get to our destination. Because of all this, we didn't arrive until 3am. Fortunately, there were English speakers on my bus, so we all stuck together. If you are coming from Thailand and you are alone, I would recommend that you fly. If you book in advance, you can get tickets for as little as $20 and it's far safer and more reliable for not that much more money. Apparently, problems on the overland route are pretty common.
My friend and I went to Siem Reap last February and we didn't have any problems. We even went around the area via tuktuk. We asked the driver to bring us to Bakeng Hill then to a restaurant and he did and even waited for us. And when we asked how much we owe him he said it's up to us. That's the first time I've come across somebody who had so much trust on a stranger.
Also, some tourists go around town with just a rented bike. As long as you don't go a-wandering too deep into a forest you'll be fine.
All the Cambodians we met are very friendly and gracious.