Skip Navigation

Phnom Penh - Your travel advice & experience

Travel Forums Asia Phnom Penh - Your travel advice & experience

1. Posted by TunaOK (Budding Member 107 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Ladies & Gentlemen,

I am planning to travel solo to Cambodia . - Phnom Penh to be exact. What i read through internet sites and blogs has given me a lot of beautiful and safe views of the country. However, speaking to my workmates and friends who has been there, they STRONGLY advise me not to travel alone and worst without hiring a local tour guide. Kind of demotivating eh?

I know what's street smart is all about and generally there is danger everywhere and etc but really , do i really need take extra bull blown precautious ?Any Advice?

Just wondering , the poor kids who 'spiels' you up - What are the right way to avoid this ? Do you just ignore and walk away OR do you firmly say NO to them? I dont want to look rude or heartless. :(

2. Posted by daphnemaia (Full Member 155 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

hi there TunaOK!

i'm also planning my trip to phnom penh and siem reap now (departing 24 jul) and i've been reading up alot. :)

i don't think u need to be scared of those kids - from what i've read, u can offer some money if u want (loose riels) but they will likely ask you for USD. if you wanna give, just give. otherwise just tell them that riels are all you have. *shrugs*

it's the same everywhere. do you give to beggars in malaysia all the time? i know i don't - there are too many able-bodied ones in JB, where i live. i just wave them away. once i was sitting at a mamak stall at lunchtime and a beggar woman came asking for money - "to buy food", she said. i said that i can't give her any, but i can buy her a meal if she wanted. she insisted that she wanted money, so i said firmly that she wanted to buy food, and when i offered to buy her some, she rejected. why should i give her any money?

my point is, beggars can't be choosers. and u have a choice to give or not to.

and from what i've read, people in cambodia are very friendly - thats what all testimonials here say! haha. so i'm not so worried either. in any case, just wondering, are u M/F? u might want to travel with a companion if ure female. it's never safe to travel alone anywhere. don't get me wrong, i'm not sexist - i'm female, haha!

do any other travellers here have bad experiences? do share some with me and TunaOK! :)

3. Posted by Budai (Respected Member 506 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


I just returned from my Cambodia tour last month, and i did Phnom Penh alone and came out fine... I did get a few guys who leered at me, and im male, but other than that and the moto drivers who gang up and bully the single traveller, it was all right...

And i dont think a guide is really necessary for PP, i navigated wfine enough with a good map form periplus and a compass. Plus u could always ask for directions, or hop into a moto. Thing is, ur driver may have just come from Kratie 2 days ago, and motos often bring u to e wierdest places eg i ended up in some alley when i asked for Psar Chaa... what i did was in the end i used landmarks eg Palace/UNESCO/Lake and learnt some Khmer, so i always stop at well known spots and then walk the rest of the distance. But most sights are located near each other, so no prob. except the S21 which every driver knows...

And i definitely do agree with daphnemaia, ive seen worst in JB, aka detroit of malaysia. Ive been mugged (twice) and pickpocketted (once) more in Malaysia than in any other foreign countries. Beggers normally hassle u in the touristy mkts such as Tuol Tom Pong, just walk away theyll find some fat tourist with a big shiny videocam to ask for money...

Hope that helped... feel free to pm me for further details

4. Posted by emma1979 (Full Member 126 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

When it comes to the kids begging you I think it's best to just to ignore them and keep walking. Or you could also carry pens, pencils or balloons or biscuits to give them. They'll realise you're not going to part with your cash and leave you alone. But overall they're pretty tame so don't worry too much about it :)

5. Posted by claireh (Respected Member 318 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I did Phnom Penh alone and was fine. The usual common sense safety rules should be followed, of course! If you want to venture out into the sticks, I would recommend though to join a tour as there is still a lot of problems with land mines etc. Also...the kids...the worst that will happen is they will take a dislike to you when you don't buy something (or buy something from the wrong person) and pull faces and call you names. All very childish stuff you just have to laugh at! Just make sure you keep your belongings safe when they are around. I don't know anyone that was robbed by the children, but I heard it can happen.

6. Posted by emma1979 (Full Member 126 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I had one trying to steal the tattoo off my wrist cause he thought it was a bracelet!

7. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3580 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Phnom Penh does not have a public transport system that services the city. Everybody uses pedicabs, taxis & moto taxis or their own transport. I would advise caution on getting on the back of any motodop for transport around PP, esp. at night. Not a great idea for a female traveller to go off into the night behind a strange motodop driver. You can solve this problem easily by staying at the Capitol GH or another GH close by. The Capitol GH runs tours to everywhere you want to to see while in PP. Get on an a/c tour bus/van rather than take moto taxis or walk around the city. Also, if you stay/eat at the Capitol, you will certainly meet other single ladies doing just what you are. Chat with them while eating and see if you can join them on sightseeing trips. Always more fun & safer to have others around.

I have many photos of PP in my gallery. Send me a PM if you have questions.

8. Posted by TunaOK (Budding Member 107 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Quoting emma1979

I had one trying to steal the tattoo off my wrist cause he thought it was a bracelet!