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Cambodia - Exercise a high degree of caution
There 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.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Preah Vihear temple area and surrounding border region
There have been frequent clashes in the past between Thailand and Cambodia over a border dispute in this region, including exchanges of gunfire and artillery, which 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 may remain. The presence of landmines has been reported in this area. Exercise a high degree of caution if you are travelling to all other areas of the Thai-Cambodian border.
Political and labour protests take place frequently and violent clashes during these demonstrations resulted in deaths and injuries in the past. Although an agreement was reached between the ruling and opposition parties in July 2014, protests relating to ongoing labour disputes may still occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Developments on May 26-27, 2016 resulted in an increase in political tensions. There is a possibility of large-scale demonstrations in and around Phnon Penh in the coming days. Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
Street crime targeting foreigners, including pick-pocketing, is common in urban areas, including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, even during daylight hours. Armed assaults also occur, especially along the riverfront in Phnom Penh and on isolated beaches in Sihanoukville. 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 motorcycle 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 the journey 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 and 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 dispute or disagreement, including those involving foreigners.
Sexual assaults have been reported. Consult our publication entitled Her own way - a woman’s safe-travel guide for travel safety information for 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 the victim 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 and were intimidated and pressed for payment. Carefully consider accepting assistance from individuals offering to help with documentation or transportation.
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.
Extremely poor road conditions, local disregard for traffic laws and drunk drivers result in frequent accidents. 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.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
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 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.
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.
Cambodia remains one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Landmines can be found in rural areas, especially in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap (except in the town of Siem Reap and the Angkor temples, which are safe), Battambang, Kampong Thom and Pursat. 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.
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 Alcohol, Drugs and Travel.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Cambodian authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. 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 entry into Cambodia. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
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$30 for tourist visas or US$35 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.
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, note that the Laotian side of the border crossing at Dong Krolor/Veun Kham is often closed to foreign travellers with little notice. Cambodian and Laotian 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. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider 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.
There is a risk of polio in this country.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
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 (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
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.
|* 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.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
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!
Cholera is a bacterial disease that is most often spread by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated. It causes diarrhea and in severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.
Most travellers are at very low risk. Travellers at higher risk include those visiting, working or living in areas with limited access to safe food, water and proper sanitation, or to areas where outbreaks are occurring. Travellers at higher risk should discuss with a health care provider the benefits of getting vaccinated.
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 pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- 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.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Locally acquired mosquito-associated Zika virus is currently being reported in this country. Zika virus infection is primarily spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can cause fever, rash, and joint pain. It can also be transmitted through blood, semen and from an infected pregnant woman to her developing baby. Most people do not develop symptoms and recover fully without severe complications. There is scientific consensus that Zika virus infection is a cause of both microcephaly and Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Other neurological disorders have also been associated with Zika virus infection. Protect yourself from mosquito bites in daylight and evening hours. There is no vaccine for Zika virus infection.
- 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 provider 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
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 provider.
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 acceptable standards of 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.
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
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and steep fines.
An International Driving Permit is required, and must be exchanged for a Cambodian driving licence. The same applies for riding motorcycles; an International Driving Permit with a motorcycle endorsement must be exchanged for a Cambodian motorcycle licence. A fee of US$32 is charged for the exchange. 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.
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.
PRAKAS on the expulsion, deportation and limitation of visit
Cambodian authorities exercise the right to expulse, deport and limit a traveller’s visit if the latter is accused, or suspected of, having violated local laws, which include possession of invalid entry documents and requirement; possession of a criminal record or involvement in criminal activities; mental illness or serious transmitted diseases, among others. Check with the Ministry of Interior for more information.
Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Cambodia. However, Canadian officials may be limited in their ability to provide you with consular services if local authorities consider you a Cambodian citizen. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Cambodian passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
On November 7, 2016, the government of Cambodia issued a prakas (proclamation) imposing a temporary ban on all surrogate pregnancy arrangements in the country. Penalties for surrogates, as well as operators of clinics and hospitals providing surrogacy services, may include imprisonment and/or fines. If you are visiting Cambodia for the purposes of commercial surrogacy arrangements, you should seek independent legal advice before entering into any agreement. If you have already entered into such an arrangement, you should also seek advice from a local lawyer on how this legislation could affect your situation and, in particular, on any exit requirements.
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 automated banking machines in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.
Natural disasters and 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. Flooding can affect wide areas in numerous provinces. 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.
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 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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