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CAMBODIA - Exercise a high degree of cautionThere is no nationwide advisory in effect for Cambodia. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to an increase in thefts, robberies and other opportunistic crimes.
Regional Advisory for the Preah Vihear temple area and surrounding border regionForeign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada advises against all travel to the Cambodian-Thai border area in Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces. This includes the Preah Vihear temple area between Preah Vihear Province and Sisaket Province in Thailand. Consult the Security tab for more information.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice. In the event of a crisis situation that requires evacuation, the Government of Canada’s policy is to provide safe transportation to the closest safe location. The Government of Canada will assist you in leaving a country or a region as a last resort, when all means of commercial or personal transportation have been exhausted. This service is provided on a cost-recovery basis. Onward travel is at your personal expense. Situations vary from one location to another, and there may be constraints on government resources that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide assistance, particularly in countries or regions where the potential for violent conflict or political instability is high.
The Preah Vihear temple area and surrounding border region (see Advisory)
There have been frequent clashes between Cambodia and Thailand over a border dispute in this region, including exchanges of gunfire and artillery that resulted in numerous fatalities and the evacuation of civilians. The presence of landmines has been reported. The situation could deteriorate without warning. Exercise a high level of caution if travelling to any other areas of the Cambodian-Thai border.
Parliamentary elections were held on July 28, 2013; however, the main opposition party has demanded an inquiry into alleged electoral irregularities. Demonstrations have been taking place since the elections and are expected to continue until the situation is resolved. They are scheduled to occur every Sunday starting on December 15, 2013. Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, especially near the National Assembly Building, the Prime Minister’s residence, the Phnom Penh Municipal Government Office and military buildings or compounds in Phnom Penh, as well as in the provincial capitals and near political party offices. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
In recent years, Cambodian authorities have averted a number of attempted bomb plots. On September 13, 2013, explosive devices were found in Phnom Penh, near the National Assembly Building and near Freedom Park.
Street crime, including pick-pocketing, targeting foreigners has been occurring with increasing frequency in urban areas, including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, even during daylight hours. Armed assaults along the riverfront in Phnom Penh and on isolated beaches in Sihanoukville also occur. Canadians have been injured in the course of assaults and armed robberies. Thieves, sometimes on motorcycles, grab bags and other valuables (including passports) from pedestrians, motorcycle drivers and their passengers. Personal belongings have been stolen from locked rooms, particularly in low cost accommodations. Items have been removed from luggage stored in the luggage compartments of buses, especially on journeys between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Banditry continues, largely at night, in rural areas and on routes between Snoul, Kratie and Stung Treng in the northeastern provinces. Foreigners have encountered difficulties with ill-disciplined police and military personnel. Exercise a high degree of caution at all times, avoid travelling alone, especially at night, and ensure personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Firearm ownership is high, and guns are often used in cases of robbery and personal disputes or disagreements, including those involving foreigners.
Sexual assaults have been reported. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Guide to Safe and Successful Travel for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Scams targeting tourists occur. Card games are often involved. Some travellers have been taken to an automated banking machine and forced to withdraw money.
Travellers have been victims of scams and extortion at border crossings. Some have reported that border officials demanded they pay extra charges before allowing entry into Cambodia. In other cases, travellers were taken by strangers to isolated areas for extended periods of time where they were intimidated and pressed for payment. Carefully consider accepting assistance from individuals offering to help with documentation or transportation.
Road conditions are extremely poor. Travel by road should be undertaken in daylight hours, by either scheduled bus or cars travelling in convoy. Boats are often overcrowded, lack adequate safety equipment and are susceptible to robbery by armed gangs. Boat owners accept no liability for accidents. Avoid travelling by train due to poor track maintenance.
With the exception of flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, internal air service can be unpredictable, and flights may be cancelled on short notice. Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Travel from Laos should be undertaken by air only. The Lao side of the border is often closed to international travellers. For travel to Laos from Cambodia, you must obtain the relevant visa prior to arrival at the border.
Travel by motorcycle
Motorcycles are a common means of transportation in urban areas. Motorcycle accidents kill or maim several Canadians each year. Driving or riding on motorcycles in Cambodia is dangerous and should be avoided, even by experienced motorcyclists. Substandard road conditions, local disregard for traffic laws and drunk driving result in frequent accidents.
Although motorcycles can be easily rented in Cambodia, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle without a valid Cambodian motorcycle licence or an International Driving Permit with a motorcycle endorsement. Helmets are mandatory for motorcycle drivers and passengers, but many helmets do not meet international safety standards. Ensure your medical insurance will cover you when riding as a driver or passenger. Tourists in Siem Reap are not permitted to rent motorcycles. Foreigners who do not adhere to this law may be stopped by local police and told to return the vehicle immediately.
Passports are often requested as a guarantee when renting motorcycles. Unscrupulous owners have followed renters and taken the motorcycle by removing the lock and chain when the vehicle was parked, leaving the traveller without a motorcycle or passport. You should purchase your own locks and chains.
Canadian passports may not be used as collateral (as assurance for debts, rental of motorcycles, etc.). If your passport is inaccessible or stolen as a result of such misuse, you may be subject to investigation by Passport Canada and may receive limited passport services.
General safety information
Tourist facilities are well developed in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, but limited elsewhere.
You are encouraged to register with the Embassy of Australia in Phnom Penh, in order to receive the latest information on situations and events that could affect your safety.
Cambodia remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Landmines can be found in rural areas, especially in Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap (except in the town of Siem Reap and the Angkor temples, which are safe), Battambang, Kampong Thom and Pursat provinces. The border area with Thailand is especially dangerous. Do not walk in forested areas or in dry rice paddies without a local guide. Areas around small bridges or secondary roads are dangerous. Do not visit outlying temples, particularly in the areas of Phnom Kulen and the River of a Thousand Lingas, as they are heavily mined. Strictly observe warning signs and do not handle any unknown object. Anything resembling a landmine or unexploded ordnance should be reported to the Cambodia Mine Action Centre.
Illicit drug use has led to the death of several Canadians in Cambodia. For more information on how to avoid difficult and dangerous situations related to illegal drugs, consult our publication entitled Drugs and Travel: Do’s and Don’ts.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Cambodian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Cambodia, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from Cambodia.
Tourist and business visas can be obtained at a Cambodian embassy abroad, upon arrival at the airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, or at certain land borders. Tourist and business visas allow entry to Cambodia for 30 days only, counting from the date of entry. When issued outside Cambodia, visas have an expiry date, which refers to the date by which the visa must be used, not the length of time allowed in the country. Visas must be renewed for stays in excess of 30 days and may only be extended once. Travellers must pay a fee of US$20 for tourist visas or US$25 for business visas (cash only) and provide two passport-sized photos. Single-entry tourist visas may also be requested online through an e-Visa service provided by Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. For additional information, consult the Ministry of Tourism.
Thirty-day visas can be obtained at six legal international border crossing points at the Cambodian-Thai border: Cham Yeam (Koh Kong), O'Smach, Poipet, Prum, Dong and Caom. The fee is 1,000 Thai baht for tourist visas and 1,500 Thai baht for business visas.
If entering Cambodia from Vietnam, a visa can be obtained at the international crossing points at Bavet in Svay Rieng Province and Khmorm Samnor on the Mekong River.
If entering Cambodia from Laos, the Lao side of the border crossing at Dong Krolor/Veun Kham is often closed to foreign travellers with little notice. Cambodian and Lao visas cannot be purchased at the border.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
An onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required to visit Cambodia.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing entry. Consult the World Health Organization’s country list to obtain information on this country’s requirements.
A departure fee of US$25 cash is required at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap international airports.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Cambodia.
Several Canadians each year suffer episodes of psychiatric distress, which can be brought on by pre-existing mental illness or as a result of illicit drug use. Cambodia’s heat, noise and large crowds may also prove a challenge for some travellers. Psychiatric or psychological facilities and services in Cambodia are almost non-existent. Families and travellers should consult a medical professional before travelling. Many travel medical insurance policies explicitly do not cover psychiatric care.
With the exception of some Thai-run hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, medical facilities throughout Cambodia are extremely poor and very limited. Doctors and hospitals may demand cash payment or written guarantees from insurance providers in advance for health services. Medical evacuation to Thailand or Singapore is often required in order to obtain acceptable standards of treatment. Seek immediate assistance in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap and consider leaving the country if you experience medical problems.
Laws & Culture
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
A permit is required to purchase or possess cultural or archaeological artefacts.
Procedures exist to address marriage requests between Cambodian citizens and foreigners, including formal application processes. For more information, contact the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The sexual exploitation of minors is a serious offence in Cambodia and is subject to harsh penalties. Canadians may also be subject to criminal proceedings in Canada for acts of this nature committed while abroad. Consult our publication entitled Child Sex Tourism: It's a Crime for further information on the risks of committing this form of sexual abuse abroad.
An International Driving Permit is required, and must be exchanged for a Cambodian driving licence. A fee of US$25 is charged for the exchange.
Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Do not photograph airports or military installations, and ask permission before photographing individuals, including Buddhist monks.
The currency is the riel (KHR). U.S. dollars are also widely used. Only newer, undamaged notes are accepted. Notes with the slightest tear will not be accepted. Personal cheques and credit cards are not widely accepted. Some banks in Phnom Penh accept Visa and MasterCard for cash advances. Traveller's cheques are accepted by major hotels and banks. There are a few automated banking machines (ABMs) in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Natural Disasters & Climate
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from May to November. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, resulting in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and hampering the provision of essential services. In 2011, heavy monsoon rains caused severe flooding, including flash flooding, in 17 of the 24 provinces in Cambodia. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities. For Mekong River conditions, consult the Mekong River Commission.
Consult our Typhoons and Monsoons page for more information.
There is no resident Canadian government office in Cambodia. You can obtain consular assistance and further information from the Embassy of Australia (under the Canada-Australia Consular Services Sharing Agreement) in Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh - Embassy of Australia
Bangkok - Embassy of Canada
You are encouraged to register with the Embassy of Australia in Phnom Penh in order to receive the latest information on situations or events that could affect your safety.
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Australia in Phnom Penh and follow the instructions. You may also make a collect call to the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.