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The security situation in Cambodia cannot be unambiguously defined as "it is safe enough for tourists in the country" or "a tourist should be afraid of everything in Cambodia". The fact is that, on the one hand, crime in the country is low, and the population is friendly in a Buddhist way and you can safely travel to the most remote and remote places of the country. On the other hand, after the war, there were a lot of anti-personnel mines and aerial bombs left on the fields, the population has a lot of weapons in their hands, and in some remote and hard-to-reach areas, heavily armed Khmer Rouge detachments are still hiding.", there is a possibility of encountering a poisonous snake or catching a tropical disease. According to the rating of safe countries of the world (GPI – Global Peace Index) in 2011, Cambodia took an honorable 115th place out of 153, however, ahead of Russia, which is already in 147th place.
Fairly simple precautions when traveling in Cambodia will help to minimize the dangers. And now more about each type of danger.
Crime, crime and laws
The crime rate in Cambodia is low. Most Cambodians are peaceful and treat foreigners well. Attempts on life and health are very rare, and the target of criminals is usually money or valuables.
A higher crime rate, as usual, persists in large cities, among which Phnom Penh is the leader. Robberies with the tearing out of bags, wallets and equipment (photo and video cameras, phones), pickpocketing are typical. To avoid these problems, try not to carry bags with documents and money (it is enough to carry a photocopy of your passport), do not have large amounts of money with you, always carefully monitor your portable equipment. Try not to walk the dark streets alone. Well, if you get into trouble, then you shouldn't be heroic, but it's better to give the criminal the required.
Cambodia has a very high level of corruption. Bribed police and courts easily leave wealthy criminals unpunished. This should be borne in mind if you plan to do serious business in Cambodia. Although, in general, the police in Cambodia are very friendly towards tourists and do not bother with nothing. For minor offenses, such as driving a motorcycle by a foreigner with an invalid license, the police often turn a blind eye or allow the problem to be solved on the spot for a symbolic "reward."
Drugs are illegal in Cambodia, but widely distributed and available. The police turn a blind eye to the use of light drugs of plant origin, because they simply have no time to deal with such violations. In recent years, the situation has changed somewhat. The famous "happy pizza" (pizza with the addition of hemp), previously sold everywhere and openly, is now sold somewhat more modestly. But no matter how the police treat drug use, this is not the same as selling or smuggling, so we strongly recommend that you refrain from trying to take drugs out of the country even to neighboring Thailand or Vietnam, where you can get the death penalty for it.
If you are traveling to Cambodia for exotic sex tourism, be aware that sex with a partner under the age of 15 will be considered pedophilia and can be punished with 30 years in prison.
Mines and partisans
After the war, a huge number of mines and unexploded bombs remained in the lands of Cambodia, which still pose a serious and real danger to local residents. For tourists, the possibility of being blown up by a mine is incredibly small, unless you wander through fields and forests, not paying attention to warning signs and flags. All tourist areas have long been cleared of mines, and work is constantly underway to clean up the rest of the territories. Nevertheless, up to 2,000 people are blown up by mines every year, but fortunately, the number of victims decreases every year.
It is extremely difficult to run into guerrillas and bandits in Cambodia now. They are hiding in dense forests from the military and police, and are unlikely to catch your eye.
The level of healthcare in Cambodia is at a low level, so you should not count on serious qualified assistance in public clinics. In rural areas, there are often no medical facilities at all. For at least some treatment you will have to go to the capital, and for serious treatment you will most likely have to go to one of the neighboring countries with advanced medicine, for example, Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore. Therefore, we recommend that you take care of insurance that operates on the territory of both Cambodia and one of the neighboring countries, and ideally also covers the cost of transportation to a medical facility.
The country has a high HIV rate, so be sure to protect yourself if you go here for sexual adventures. According to some estimates, up to 40 percent of prostitutes in Cambodia are infected with HIV.
In Cambodia, the possibility of contracting one of the tropical diseases that have long been defeated in other countries of Southeast Asia is not excluded. There are cholera and other water-borne infections, amoebic and bacillary dysentery, typhoid fever, hepatitis A, B and C. There is a possibility of infection with fasciolopsidosis (giant intestinal worm), clonorchosis (eastern liver worm), opisthorchiasis (feline liver worm), paragonimosis (eastern lung worm). The likelihood of malaria is quite high, especially during the rainy season.
To avoid these troubles, it is necessary to carefully monitor hygiene, protect yourself from mosquitoes with the help of repellents. There are no mandatory vaccinations, but it is recommended to get vaccinated before visiting the country: from hepatitis A and B, diphtheria, typhoid, tetanus, Japanese encephalitis. Use only bottled water.
There are many deaths with tourists from the use of hard drugs, mainly due to overdose.
Rules of conduct and traditions
- It is forbidden to photograph military facilities and structures, airports and railway stations. Before photographing temples and people, especially monks, you should first ask for permission. Often, you may be asked for a little money for photographing.
- When visiting temples, houses, you should take off your shoes.
- It is forbidden to stroke children or adults on the head (as in all countries of Southeast Asia, the head is a sacred part of the body).
- Don't point fingers at anyone.
- Do not pass or accept things with your left hand, it is considered unclean.