Please be careful. I have just done a border jump yesterday at the Piopet Border (from Thailand to Cambodia) where kids were begging for money and after giving one child some loose change I was then surrounded by abut 20 kids all crying and begging for money. I saw one 4 year old carrying around a new born baby that was tied to his neck and another girl doing the same but climbing up form the stream amongst the barb wire that was everywhere. I was with my partner and I felt very uncomfortable with the way the Cambodian's would stare at you. All women travelling alone should take extra care as the children will be watching where you put your money as will the men and they wil bump you and then at the same time have a sharpe blae and slice your trousers/shorts and/or your bag and take your wallet. I do Social Work at home and my short time at the part of Cambodia was the most disturbing I have ever experienced.
Fist of all did anyone actually steel anything from you ?? If you give out money publicly in Cambodia you are gonna get hastle from beggars without a doubt especially kids . You cant be intimidated because people stare at you , i find if you stare back and smile most of the time you will get a good response , if you look scared and naive you are just gonna be easy prey for any people who might want to steal from you (that applys to anywhere in the world) not just Cambodia. Ive been through poipet and found it to be fine , i just kept myself to myself and got on with what i was doing , made sure i knew where all my money was and valuables . I got hassle for sure but if you are firm and confident(in a polite way) you will be fine. One thing i can say is don't get you money exchanged there , you will have people telling you that you cant do it in siem reap but you can (there are banks that exchange money no problem)and other places , they will rip you off in poipet for sure i have witnessed it , they will tell you you cant use USD only khmer money , just ignore them .
I don't think it's fair to assume this of all Cambodian's. Sure you had one bad experience where maybe several precautions should have been taken, but don't let this ruin your impression of the whole country!
It is a good idea to warn other tourists though so they don't fall into the same trap
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 16, 2008, at 2:27 PM by Erik85 ]
There is a simple way around this............do not give anything to begging people........it may seem harsh but the more people give the more people are going to beg.
There are plenty of organised 'begging crews' around and these kids are sometimes 'harmed' at a very very young age so that they can do this.
Have seen children walking like crabs on all fours due to this in Delhi.........its horrible but giving just encourages it!
Yes I have learned not to give money again in this situation. It hasn't put me off the country at all. Nothing was stolen from me and I wasn't implying that it but I was simply just saying to be careful as I wasn't prepared for what happened at all that day and yes I would have felt quite intimidated if I was travelling through by myself so I'm just as well as being careful and be prepared. I'm not saying I looked scared as I had my boyfriend and another male traveller with me
Poipet has this very stark and harsh ambience; but most border towns are like that. Street kids are almost everywhere (in Siem Reap & Phnom Phen) and I'm pretty sure it's a syndicate. It would be suicide if you give anything to them-esp. food and money. They'll swarm over you in a matter of seconds. It's a show-an interactive theater to con unsuspecting, naive travellers.
You should politely say no and just mind your own business. When I have the extra time, I play games with them. Simple hand games or even draw for them and hand out drawings of animals. They seem to like that alot. Drawings of cats, dogs, butterflies and they seem to always laugh and then just run off to the next bus of travellers. I don't believe in giving them money-but I like to give them a reminder that they're still children and they still like to play instead of `work'.