Phnom Penh is the capital and most populous city of Cambodia and it is located on the Tonlé Sap and Mekong River. Once it was known as the “Pearl of Asia” because it was considered one of the loveliest French-built cities in Indochina.
Due to its French history, Phnom Penh offers a variety of temples, palaces, and the remnants dating back from the French colonial history, if you decide to explore the city. Some of the most visited tourists sites are the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum and the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum.
As the biggest city in Cambodia, Phnom Penh is the cultural, political and economy center of the country.
Warnings & Dangers in Phnom Penh
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Cambodia is a safe country for travellers as well as Phnom Penh. Although it is not as dangerous as some other capital cities, it is important to take care and stick to marked paths.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
The possible risks in the public transport are very high in relation to some other capital cities. Trains and buses, as well as train and bus stations, are the main destinations of pickpockets. The traffic is also chaotic, and traffic signs are not respected, so if you want to tour the city, it is better to avoid driving.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Bag snatching and pickpocketing are two real problems in Phnom Penh, and targets are both tourists and citizens. Areas around popular markets, tourist sites and crowded streets are the major destinations for thieves, but tourists need to be aware that they can strike any place.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Typhoons, flooding and Tsunami happen frequently in Cambodia, so there is always a risk of them, particularly during the monsoon season. There is no threat of erupting volcanoes or earthquakes.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Kidnapping and mugging have not been recorded in recent years. However, the potentiality exists, so remote areas of the city should be avoided as well as walking alone at night.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Considering the fact that terrorism is possible everywhere in the world and that the target cannot be predicted, you should look out for doubtful activity, even though Cambodia is not under terrorist threat.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scammers tend to take advantage of tourists performing different criminal acts on them, starting with unlocking the rented motorbike by their copy of the key, then by giving them fake and damaged banknotes or even driving them around the city, so as to increase the price of the ride.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Phnom Penh is, unlike Siem Reap, safer for female travelers, due to the fact that recorded sexual assaults occurred in Siem Reap. Women are advised not to use a tuck-tuck at night if they are alone and avoid empty and suspicious streets.
So... How Safe Is Phnom Penh Really?
Numerous cultural and historical attractions, such as temples, museums and the Royal Palace can be found in Phnom Penh for those who want to experience the ancient history, while those who want to enjoy a vibrant nightlife can visit both nightclubs and numerous dining places at the luxurious hotels and restaurants.
Nevertheless, those pleasant sides of each tourist attraction are unfortunately always followed by the dark side. The most reported crimes are pick-pocketing, bag snatching and scamming. Wat Phnom and Northern Part of the City are the areas which are visited by the richest tourists, so they are the most dangerous areas in terms of thieves and robberies. Riverfront Area, three kilometers long promenade, is risky at night due to the possible intoxicated individuals so it should be avoided.
People from Cambodia are friendly, and may happen to invite you to their homes. This invitation should never be accepted, especially by alone female person. Also, there are areas that are well known for illegal activity like prostitution. Cambodia has the highest HIV rate in the whole Asia.
Besides all those possible risks, tourists should only follow travel guides’ advice, remain vigilant, use a hotel safe for their valuables and do not allow that anything destroys their wonderful journey.
- Visas - All tourists that come from Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines do not need to have a visa. All the other travelers to Cambodia need to pay for the tourist visa which lasts for 2 months.
- Currency - The Cambodia Riel (KHR) is the official currency and tourists need to pay attention when changing the money, because it is very common to get fake, damaged or banknotes with marks on them, which are not accepted. The new hotels, restaurants and bars in the city made an economic boom, resulting in price rise.
- Weather - The country has a warm and humid climate. The abundant rain during the monsoon season, which lasts during September and October, can cause flooding in some areas. The tropical climate, with the average temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, makes Cambodia a perfect place for tourism.
- Airports - Phnom Penh International Airport is the busiest and the largest airport in Cambodia, located 10 kilometers from its capital city. It has two terminal buildings for international and domestic flights.
- Travel Insurance - The medical insurance and the policy which covers the loss of personal belongings is advised to travelers to Cambodia.