Are you thinking of retiring to Cambodia and wondering whether it is safe for you to do so? As someone with over 16 years worth of travel experience to many countries including post covid Cambodia let me share with you the real information.
Here is a list of questions most people have on safety in Cambodia:
- Is Cambodia safe for foreigners?
- Is Cambodia safe post Covid?
- What is the safest city in Cambodia?
- What should I avoid in Cambodia?
- Is Cambodia safer than Thailand?
- What are my personal basic safety travel tips?
- Should you walk or Tuk Tuk?
- Is the water safe to drink in Cambodia?
Now that you know what most people are wanting to know about safety in Cambodia below we will look into these in detail and answer each question.
Is Cambodia safe for foreigners?
Yes, Cambodia is safe for foreigners in most areas except in the few shanty towns around Phnom Penh. Rural Cambodia is generally safe as is Siem Reap being roughly a 10th of the population of Phnom Penh. Follow basic travel safety tips and you will be fine.
Is Cambodia safe Post Covid?
Cambodia handled Covid extremely well with a high vaccination rate and with implementing policies to limit the spread of new outbreaks. Most stores you need to show your Covid vaccination status and any foreign proof is ok as well.
They also have a mask mandate country wide and that while a little annoying gives you the confidence to get out and about. Every store on entry checks your temperature for a fever and also dispenses hand sanitiser. You can remove your mask while sitting down and eating and drinking.
What is the safest city in Cambodia?
Siem Reap is the safest city in Cambodia. While all cities are fairly safe, the recent renovations providing proper sidewalks and being 10 times smaller than Phnom Penh means you feel safe walking down any street day or night. It really is a modern tourist haven now and worth visiting to see Angkor Wat and the rest of the temples in the district.
There is also a more visible police presence there and you will see groups of police around the center of town and pub street on the weekends as well. It really is somewhere you could call home and would feel very safe there.
You can also check Cambodia: 5 Best Places To Retire In Cambodia and learn more about the most popular cities or places to retire in Cambodia.
What should I avoid in Cambodia?
Shanty towns near Phnom Penh are really the only places you need to avoid. If you are obeying the basic travel safety tips like not waving cash or wealth around and heading down dark alleys in poor parts of town, then you should be fine. Rarely are their protests in the streets and if so I would just avoid them just like with any other country. You should check your government travel safety sites prior to visiting to check if it is for you like with any travel.
NOTE: Have a look at Retire To Cambodia: The Real Pros And Cons to see what are the most common pros and cons and read what other retirees think about Cambodia.
Is Cambodia safer than Thailand?
At the writing of this article the answer for me would be yes it is due to how each country handled Covid. Cambodia has had less cases and a higher vaccination rate quicker and opened fully before Thailand did. This for me means for any future variant they are likely to do the same.
Cambodia is known as Thailand’s nicer neighbour as the people in Thailand are more aggressive with bartering where prices can be over 4 times the price for tourists when not marked. While the Thai people are just as nice when you get to know them it can take them longer to relax and you have to set boundaries early.
The lower population of Cambodia gives it a big small town feel even in Phnom Penh and as you get more rural the people are even nicer and you feel safer. This is the same for most countries when you go more rural except where there are high levels of poverty which can lead to crime. In Cambodia this does not seem to be the case as the government goes out of their way to make sure everyone has the basics for life. This means less beggars and petty crime.
What are my personal basic safety travel tips?
My personal basic travel tips are simply to be aware of your personal surroundings, keep bags locked during travel and zippers closed, don’t wave your phone around, be mindful in big crowds of pickpockets and don’t flash your wealth in dark alleys at night.
Being aware of your surroundings means just looking around and noticing if someone is paying particular attention to you or something you have like a phone or watch. Most petty crime happens when you are distracted and are not watching your bags, phone or wallet.
Don’t advertise the wealth difference by wearing expensive jewellery, watches or flashing around your latest model iPhone or Samsung phone. And like anywhere in the world don’t go waving large amounts of cash around. Remember Cambodian atms will charge $5 USD per withdrawal and give you USD. Grocery stores are good for breaking 100 and 50 dollar notes.
Should you walk or Tuk Tuk?
The local app for getting a Tuk Tuk or their cab equivalent is Grab app. You don’t need to put your credit card details in as no Tuk Tuk will accept it anyway. You will only get a Tuk Tuk if you use the cash option or else all drivers will reject your job. So why is walking or getting a Tuk Tuk a safety issue? Well basically if it is late at night anywhere in the world taking a taxi, tuk tuk, cab or rideshare is always safer than walking. Especially after a few beers or wines.
Using the app means there is a record of your journey and the driver who picked you up has been recorded so this is also safer than hailing one in the street. The grab app will also give you a cheaper price than bartering with a driver. Feel free to walk around during the day but when in doubt at night get a Tuk Tuk.
Is the water safe to drink in Cambodia?
No, the water is not safe to drink in Cambodia. You will have someone deliver large bottles of water to your home very cheaply and can do this in the Grab app as well. Everything can be delivered in Cambodia like with most countries these days.
PRO TIP: When I am looking at staying longer in a country make sure you get your belly ready for it by having the local probiotics in yoghurt form or from a chemist. This will help your stomach adapt and lessen the chances of long trips to the bathroom.