Hi im travelling for the first time in the summer through Thailand - Cambodia - Vietnam. However, I keep getting told by people to not travel through cambodia as it is extremelly dangerous. Can anyone tell me of their experiences of the country and the places to see please.
Cambodia is not much different than Thailand or VN. It is not inherently more dangerous, just less developed. Poor roads, bad buses poor housing and generally run down looking does not mean everybody is a thief or wants to harm you. Most Cambodians are quite warm & friendly to visitors. I have been there at less 15 times and have not been robbed or threatened. I have been overcharged for services and paid bribes to the police, but that is common in SEA. Part of the experience, does not make the place dagerous.
You do need to be aware of your surroundings and protect your valuables at all times. Have your passport, money, air tickets, etc. under your clothes while on buses, boats, trains, taxis etc. Do not let your bags out of your sight if possible. Hopefully you can have another traveller along with you or befriend someone while on route. Two is better than one for safety. Keep your camera and essentials in your day pack that you hold while on route. Your main bag will hold clothes & toilet articles that can be easily replaced. Think safety and you should be fine.
Do not miss Cambodia because someone else thinks it is a dangerous place. Angkor should not be missed if you are in SEA and Sihanoukville is a nice beach resort to unwind from the rigors of travel. Send me a PM if you have additional concerns.
I travelled through Cambodia last year and it was fine- I never felt threatened and all the people we met were lovely. We walked around Phnom Penh at night and had no trouble. I think up until a few years ago there was still some khmer rouge activity in some parts of the country but as far as i know there is no danger to tourists anymore in this respect - it wasn't even mentioned in the new lonely planet that I had. So I think you will be fine, and as Mike says, Angkor is one of the highlights of a trip to SEA and is not to be missed.
hi el llyodio,
i spent 4 weeks in cambodia during mid-dec to mid-jan this year and experienced no trouble. as mike says, take the usual precautions and keep an eye on your belongings. there are people who will try and con you but keep your wits about you and don't be afraid to say 'no' to people. there was an incident where the bus to ban lung didn't stop to pick us up and we had to call the ticket seller to arrange for another bus to stop. the ticket seller wanted us to stay the night in kratie and travel back the next day but i told him this was out of the question and he arranged for other transport after a forceful conversation.
highlights are undoubtably angkor wat, phnom penh (tuol sleng & killing fields), boat trip from siem reap to battambang, voluntary work in battambang, sihanoukville (ocheuteal beach). if you want to get off the tourist track i can recommend ban lung in ratanakiri province.
have a great trip
Do not listen to those crazy people! Cambodia a decade or 2 ago was caught up in a civil war, not to mention full of land mines, but those days are over especially in the more populated areas. And as Cambodia is relatively new to the tourist game, there is less risk of scams and petty crime than in some of the 'safer' tourist destinations, like Thailand (not that I have had problems there either) Cambodia will welcome you with open arms! (ooh - cheesy)
Places to see - only had a flying visit (little over a week) but obviously Angkor (der) and Phnom Penh is worth spending more time than I did there. Battambang didn't do much for me - I was there for a day which was either too long or not long enough? Horrendous bumpy dirt roads, but that's all part of the fun! And that's about all the places I went in Cambodia, but will tell you more when I go back there But seeing Angkor alone is worth losing a limb or 2 to a landmine (kidding!)
Thanks for the info, def going to go now. Could you please advise as to how much money I would need for two weeks taking into account seeing alot of attractions, travel, accomodation , food and drinks in the evening. Many thanks
I had problems on the way to Cambodia (from BKK to Siam Reap) where it got pretty nasty on the bus at a road block. Be very careful on this route if you are taking the bus. Ideally don't do it alone. I didn't experience any other problems though, but I was careful. You also need to be careful not to go off the beaten track as there are still landmines, sadly. Your guidebook should be able to assist you with what areas are safe and what aren't. Slightly higher budget from rest of SE Asia, - budget hotels c.$6-8, street food c.$1-2, restuarant food can be expensive though and alcohol isn't the cheapest, so allow more if you don't like eating street food (although I did and was fine because ate in busy & cleaner looking places) and so is bus/boat travel eg. boat from Siam Reap to PP is $25. Getting into Angkor Wat is pricey, so you also need to allow for this. Maybe $30-35 per day?
Angkor Wat is $20 per day, or $40 for a 3 day pass.
and most backpackers generally go for the 3 day pass -- it is definitely worthwhile...
I travelled around Cambodia last year in July, I travelled airflight into Phnom Penh and stayed there for two days, very interesting place, it seems quite scary at first but just take a chill pill and enjoy it really is a good place, then travelled overland to Siem Reap, had a fantastic time visitng the temples and everything that Siem Reap has to offer.
I did not feel threatened in Cambodia at all, the people are very friendly and of course they will try anything to make you part with your money, but then who wouldnt!!!!!
I have travelled extensively and found Cambodia a lovely place you soon envelop yourself in the cultures of the people and really enjoy the stress free life.
Just remember this country is still trying to build itself and so people are out for every penny they can get, but heh we earn an absolute fortune compared to these people.
Their tenacity and ability to make do and mend would put us English to shame.
Fantastic place which I will visit again time and time again no doubt.