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Cambodia - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Cambodia due to an increase in thefts, robberies and opportunistic crimes.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Cambodia. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Preah Vihear temple area and surrounding border region
There have been frequent clashes between Thailand and Cambodia over a border dispute in the region surrounding Preah Vihear, including exchanges of gunfire and artillery that resulted in numerous fatalities and the evacuation of civilians.
In 2013, the International Court of Justice ruled that Cambodia has sovereignty over the entire territory of the Preah Vihear temple. While the situation has improved, tension remains.
Demonstrations take place frequently. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Street crime targeting foreigners, including pick-pocketing, is common in urban areas, including:
- Phnom Penh
- Siem Reap
- Sihanoukville, particularly in the Boeung Keng Kang area south and west of the Independence Monument
Crimes occur any time of day or night.
Armed assaults, although increasingly rare, may occur in Phnom Penh and on isolated beaches in Sihanoukville. Canadians have been injured during assaults and armed robberies.
Thieves, sometimes on motorcycles, grab bags and other valuables (including passports) from pedestrians, motorcycle drivers and motorcycle passengers.
Firearm ownership is high, and guns are often used in cases of robbery and personal dispute or disagreement, including those involving foreigners. 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 the journey between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Banditry poses a risk, particularly at night, in rural areas and on routes between Snoul, Kratié 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
- Ensure personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times
Sexual assaults against women have occurred.
Safe-travel guide for women
Scams targeting tourists occur. Card games are often involved. Some travellers have been taken to an ATM and forced to withdraw money.
Travellers have been the victim of scams and extortion at border crossings. Travellers have reported that border officials demanded they pay extra charges before they can enter Cambodia.
In other cases, travellers were taken by strangers to isolated areas for extended periods and were intimidated and pressed for payment. Carefully consider accepting assistance from individuals offering to help with documentation or transportation.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Extremely poor road conditions, local disregard for traffic laws and drunk drivers result in frequent accidents.
Only undertake travel by road in daylight hours, by either scheduled bus or cars travelling in convoy.
Travel by motorcycle
Motorcycles are a common means of transportation in urban areas. Motorcycle accidents kill or maim several Canadians in Cambodia each year. Avoid riding motorcycles in Cambodia as it is dangerous— even for experienced motorcyclists.
Rental agencies often request passports 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. If you plan to rent a motorcycle, purchase your own locks and chains.
You must not use your Canadian passport as collateral (e.g. as assurance for debts or rental of motorcycles). 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.
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. Accidents occur due to poor track maintenance and to drivers trying to beat the train at crossings.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
With the exception of flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, domestic air service can be unpredictable, and flights may be cancelled on short notice.
Travel from Laos should be undertaken by air only. The Laotian side of the border is often closed to international travellers. For travel to Laos from Cambodia, you must obtain the relevant visa prior to arriving at the border.
General safety information
Tourist facilities are well developed in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, but limited elsewhere.
Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. There are landmines in rural areas, especially in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Thom, Pursat and Siem Reap (except in the town of Siem Reap and the Angkor temples, which are safe).
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 heavily mined areas of Phnom Kulen and the River of a Thousand Lingas.
Unexploded ordnance is also found throughout the country and could explode if handled.
Strictly observe warning signs and do not handle any unknown object.
Illicit drug use has led to the death of several Canadians in Cambodia.
More information on how to avoid difficult and dangerous situations related to illegal drugs
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Cambodian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into Cambodia.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Tourist and business visas allow entry to Cambodia for 30 days only, counting from the date of entry.
Travellers must pay a fee in cash of US$30 for tourist visas or US$35 for business visas and provide two passport-sized photos. The photos can be purchased at the airport for US$3 each.
You can request a single-entry tourist visa online through Cambodia’s e-Visa service.
Apply for an e-visa - Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Visa expiry date
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.
Where to get a visa
Tourist and business visas can be obtained at:
- a Cambodian embassy abroad
- upon arrival at the airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
- at certain land borders
You can get a 30-day visa at any of these Cambodian-Thai border crossing points:
- Cham Yeam, Koh Kong Province
- Doung, Battambang Province
- Osmach, Odor Meanchey Province
- Poi Pet, Banteay Meanchey Province
- Prum, Pailin Province
If entering Cambodia from Vietnam, you can get a visa at the international crossing points at:
- Bavet, Svay Rieng Province
- Kha Orm Sam Nor on the Mekong River, Kamdal Province
You can’t purchase Cambodian and Laotian visas at the Cambodia–Laos border.
Border with Laos
If entering Cambodia from Laos, note that the Laotian side of the Dong Kralor–Veun Kham border crossing is often closed to foreign travellers with little notice.
Other entry requirements
An onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required to visit Cambodia.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - January 17, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Schistosomiasis can be spread to humans through freshwater sources contaminated by blood flukes (tiny worms). The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in freshwater sources (lakes, rivers, ponds). There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas of Southeastern Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country.
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms correctly or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country or after onset of illness due to Zika (whichever is longer) before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 3 months after returning from this country or after onset of illness due to Zika (whichever is longer) before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Southeastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Hand, foot and mouth disease
Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that mainly affects infants and children. Travellers are at increased risk if visiting or living in overcrowded conditions. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against this disease.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
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 adequate treatment. Seek immediate assistance in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap and consider leaving the country if you experience medical problems.
Psychiatric or psychological facilities and services in Cambodia are almost non-existent.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Expulsion, deportation and limitation of visit
Cambodian authorities can expel, deport or limit a traveller’s visit if the traveller is accused, or suspected of, having:
- violated local laws, which include possession of invalid entry documents and requirements
- possession of a criminal record
- involvement in criminal activities
- mental illness or serious transmitted diseases
Detention during the investigative period, before charges are laid, is common and can exceed 6 months.
Illegal or restricted activities
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and steep fines.
A permit is required to purchase, export or possess cultural or archaeological artefacts.
Exploitation of minors
There are harsh penalties for sexual exploitation of minors. It is a serious offence in Cambodia.
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
All forms of commercial surrogacy are illegal in Cambodia. Penalties for surrogates, as well as operators of clinics and hospitals providing surrogacy services, may include imprisonment and/or fines. If you have already entered into a surrogacy agreement, you should seek advice from a local lawyer on how these guidelines, including its exit requirements, apply to your situation.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Cambodia.
If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Cambodia, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
You must have and carry a Cambodian driver’s licence.
Helmets are mandatory for motorcycle riders, but many helmets do not meet international safety standards. Ensure your medical insurance will cover you when riding as a driver or passenger.
The number of foreign tourists detained in Siem Reap has increased since early 2018. The detentions are typically tied to activities local authorities suspect are illegal, but also to culturally offensive activities surrounding the tourist “party culture” that has formed in recent years.
Local authorities seem to be cracking down on events such as pub crawls, raves, booze cruises and pool parties, as well as other events where recreational drugs may be present. Avoid these types of events.
Behaviour that is deemed scandalous, drunken or disorderly is considered highly disrespectful to the local culture and population, especially given the sacred Angkor temples nearby.
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- Dress conservatively
- Behave discreetly
- Respect religious and social traditions
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.
Credit cards are not widely accepted.
Some banks in Phnom Penh accept Visa and MasterCard for cash advances. There are ATMs in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
Natural disasters and 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. Flooding can affect wide areas in numerous provinces. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 117
- medical assistance: 119
- firefighters: 118
Phnom Penh - Office of the Embassy of Canada
Bangkok - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Office of the Embassy of Canada in Phnom Penh and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are 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 to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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