- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions.
- Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- You should avoid protests, demonstrations and political gatherings as they may turn violent.
- There have been reports of an increase in assaults and armed robberies occurring at the Riverfront area in Phnom Penh, and in the town of Sihanoukville (particularly at isolated beaches). You should exercise vigilance when travelling through these areas at all times but especially after dark.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Cambodia for the most up to date information.
Australians visiting Cambodia require a visa. The Cambodian Government has introduced an electronic tourist visa ("e-visa") facility. Travellers are able to apply for a tourist visa on-line through the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation?s website . E-visas are only valid for entry through Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, Koh Kong City (Cham Yeam), Poipet (Banteay Meanchey) and Bavet (Svay Rieng). E-visas are not supported at other entry points. Your passport must have at least six months? validity remaining when you arrive in Cambodia on an e-visa.
Cambodian visas are normally available on arrival as well. Your passport must have at least four months' validity remaining when you apply for a visa on arrival in Cambodia. You should be aware that all neighbouring countries (Thailand, Vietnam and Laos) require passports to have at least six months? validity. Local immigration authorities may deny entry and deport people who do not meet this requirement, even if they intend staying only for a short period.
Tourist visas are valid for thirty days only. If issued outside Cambodia, tourist visas will often provide for a validity period that is in excess of thirty days. This validity period refers to the period in which you are able to commence your thirty day visit to Cambodia. It does not extend the time you are permitted to stay in Cambodia beyond thirty days. Tourist visas must be renewed if you intend to stay in Cambodia in excess of thirty days. Tourist visas can be renewed once.
Ensure you have a valid visa for the duration of your stay in Cambodia. Penalties for violating immigration laws include fines and/or deportation, at your own expense, and you may be prohibited from entering Cambodia in the future. Australians have been detained for violating immigration laws.
If your passport is stolen during your stay in Cambodia, you will require a police report to obtain an exit visa. The police report must be applied for in person at the tourist police station closest to where the incident occurred.
Cambodian-Thai Border: Six legal international border crossing points are open for foreign travellers on the Cambodian-Thai border at Koh Kong City (Cham Yeam), O Smach (Oddar Meanchey), Poipet (Banteay Meanchey), Prum (Pailin), Dong (Kamrieng Battambang) and Caom (Oddar Meanchey). Cambodian visas can be obtained at these border crossings.
Cambodian-Vietnamese Border: Cambodian visas can be obtained at the international border crossing points at Bavet (Svay Rieng), Kaam Samnor (Kandal Mekong), Trapaing Sre (Kratie) and Phnom Den (Takeo). The Cambodian Ministry of Tourism also reports that Cambodian visas can be obtained on arrival at six other border crossings between Cambodia and Vietnam, but you should confirm this prior to travelling, as entry and exit conditions change regularly. Vietnamese visas must be obtained prior to travelling to the border.
Cambodian-Lao Border: The Lao side of the border crossing at Dong Krolor-Veun Kham is often closed to foreign travellers with little notice. The border crossing is in an isolated location 50km to the north of the Cambodian provincial centre of Stung Treng. It is not serviced by public transport, although rudimentary and unreliable private motor bike and truck services run to Stung Treng. Cambodian and Lao visas cannot be obtained at the border.
If travelling by air between Cambodia and Laos, Cambodian visas can be obtained on arrival at Siem Reap or Phnom Penh international airports.
When travelling overseas, make sure your passport has at least six months? validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world, including South-East Asia. You can find more information about this threat in our General Advice to Australian Travellers .
In recent years Cambodian authorities have averted a number of attempted bomb plots. An incident occurred on 3 January 2009 when three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were found in two locations in Phnom Penh. Two of the IEDs were destroyed while the third was disarmed. In 2011, three men were sentenced to gaol after being convicted of threatening the security of the Australian, UK and US embassies in Phnom Penh.
Terrorist attacks can be indiscriminate and may target Western interests or places frequented by tourists.
Civil unrest/political tension
We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Cambodia. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
The security situation in Cambodia has the potential to deteriorate quickly. You should avoid public gatherings or demonstrations, particularly near political party offices, the National Assembly building, the Prime Minister?s residence, the Phnom Penh Municipal Government Office, and military buildings or compounds, as they may turn violent.
Cambodia-Thai border: Australians intending to visit temples along the Cambodia-Thai border should be aware of the ongoing border dispute that has resulted in fighting as recently as April 2012. In recent years conflict has occurred in the area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple (known as Khao Pra Viharn temple in Thailand) located in the border region between Preah Vihear Province in Cambodia and Sisaket Province in Thailand. Conflict has also occurred in the area surrounding the Ta Krabei (known as Ta Kwai temple in Thailand) and Ta Moan (known as Ta Muen Thom temple in Thailand) temples along the Cambodia-Thai border in Oddar Meanchey Province. Fatalities have been reported. Tourist attractions and border crossing points may be closed with little or no notice. There is a risk in border areas from landmines and unexploded military ordnance along the border.
Opportunistic crime is common in Cambodia and the frequency of incidents is increasing. Thieves frequently snatch foreigners? bags and pick-pocketing is a problem in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap. Several foreigners have been injured in the course of these incidents, in particular when bags are pulled from passengers on moving motorbike taxis or in tuk-tuks. Bag-snatching, other robberies and assaults often occur during daylight hours.
Travellers have had valuables, such as money and passports, stolen from locked hotel/guesthouse rooms, particularly in cheaper accommodation. Items have been removed from luggage stored in the luggage compartments of buses, especially on bus journeys between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
There have been reports of assaults and armed robberies against foreigners, especially in areas frequented by tourists and expatriate residents, including the Riverfront area in Phnom Penh and the town of Sihanoukville (particularly at isolated beaches). You should exercise vigilance when travelling through these areas at all times, but especially after dark.
You should limit night time travel around Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap to well-lit public areas and travel in groups. At night, travel by car is safer than motorcycle, tuk-tuk or cyclo (cycle-rickshaw).
Foreigners have been the target of sexual assault in Cambodia. Due to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
Levels of firearm ownership in Cambodia are high and guns are sometimes used to resolve disputes. There have been reports of traffic disputes resulting in violence involving weapons. Bystanders can get caught up in these disputes. Foreigners have been threatened with handguns for perceived rudeness to local patrons in popular Phnom Penh nightclubs and elsewhere.
Tourists invited to private homes for a number of reasons, including to play cards, have been the victim of gambling scams. Some tourists have lost large amounts of money, or been forced to withdraw money from an ATM.
Banditry and extortion, including by military and police personnel, continue in some rural areas, particularly at night in areas between Snoul, Kratie and Stoeng Treng in the north-eastern provinces.
Piracy occurs in the coastal areas of Cambodia. Armed gangs have robbed boats in recent times. See our advice to Australians travelling by sea for further information. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways of accessing your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, US dollars cash and in case of an emergency from family/friends. Australian currency is not accepted in Cambodia. Small transactions use Cambodian riel, however most purchases occur using US dollars. Visitors should take a reasonable quantity of US dollars to cover basic travelling expenses. US dollars are widely accepted throughout Cambodia although notes that are excessively dirty or torn, or of high denominations, may not be accepted. Counterfeit bills have been detected in circulation in Cambodia.
It is important to ensure you have access to money to cover unexpected costs in case of an emergency. Restrictions such as non-refundable or non-transferable tickets apply to most discounted airfares so you may have to pay a substantial fee to change the dates of your travel. If you require medical treatment you may have to cover some costs, even if you have travel insurance.
Consult with your bank to find out whether your ATM card will work overseas. Credit card cash advances and travellers' cheque cashing services are available at banks in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Battambang for a fee. ATM facilities are widely available in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Sihanoukville. Travellers should exercise caution when using ATM facilities as there have been reports of people being robbed after withdrawing cash.
Make two photocopies of valuables such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery, cameras and other valuable items may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering and theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority .
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen while in Cambodia, report it online or contact the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh as soon as possible .
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. At the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh passport fees must be paid in cash in US dollars. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
Funeral commemorations for the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk will take place on 1 and 4 February 2013. Very large crowds are expected in Phnom Penh which could cause significant congestion and road delays. Large crowds may present an added safety risk and Australians in Phnom Penh should remain aware of their surroundings. You should show an appropriate level of respect, particularly in areas where commemoration activities for the King Father are taking place.
Landmines remain a danger in many parts of Cambodia, especially along the border with Thailand. Large areas of rural Cambodia are still contaminated with unexploded ordnance. Visitors to the north and northwest of Cambodia should not stray from clearly marked pathways. Exercise caution if travelling beyond the Angkor Wat temple complex to outlying temples in Siem Reap.
Travel by roads, especially at night, is dangerous because of poor road conditions, vehicle maintenance, wandering livestock and the risk of crime. You should take precautions, including the use of a helmet and protective clothing when travelling on a motorcycle or moto-scooter (even as a passenger). Large crowds can form quickly after road accidents and the occupants of the vehicle are at risk of becoming victims of extortion. For further advice, see our bulletin on Overseas Road Safety .
Given the common use of motorcycles for urban public transport, you should ensure that your insurance policy provides coverage for riding motorcycles either as a driver or passenger.
Public transport, particularly rail, is poorly maintained. You should avoid travelling by trains because of the high risk of accidents.
Travel by boat in Cambodia can involve safety risks. Even modern vessels may be overcrowded and lack basic safety equipment (such as life jackets, life rafts and fire extinguishers).
You should be aware of concerns about the safety and maintenance standards of aircraft owned by local airlines operating internal flights. This caution includes Royal Cambodian Government aircraft, including those managed by the Royal Cambodia Air Force. Local airlines often cancel or reschedule internal flights at short notice.
For further information, please refer to our Aviation Safety and Security travel bulletin .
When you are in Cambodia, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter .
Penalties for drug offences, including those involving "soft drugs", are severe and include lengthy jail sentences.
Cambodian authorities are committed to protecting their cultural heritage. A permit is required to purchase or possess cultural and archaeological artefacts. The penalty under Cambodian law for an unintentional act concerning cultural heritage property is a minimum of six months and a maximum five years imprisonment and a fine equal to the value of the cultural object. An intentional act attracts a minimum of two to eight years' imprisonment and a fine equal to double the value of the cultural object.
In 2011, the Cambodia government changed the requirements applying to marriages between foreign men and Cambodian women. Foreign men wishing to marry a Cambodian woman must be under 50 years of age, and have a monthly income of at least US$2,500 at the time their marriage was approved by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The requirements do not apply to people who are dual Australian/Cambodian citizens, or Cambodian citizens who hold a permanent resident visa in Australia. They do not apply if both people are over 50 years of age. For further information contact the Legal and Consular Department of the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on +855 23 212 641, or visit www.mfaic.gov.kh .
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian and Cambodian authorities are committed to combating child sex tourism. There are severe penalties under both Australian and Cambodian law for those participating in such activity. Australians may be prosecuted either in Cambodia or at home under Australian law. Australian law prohibits Australian citizens and residents from engaging in sexual activity with children aged under 16 years while overseas. It is also an offence under Australian law to facilitate or benefit from sexual activity with children under 16 years of age, including while overseas. These offences carry penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for individuals and up to $500,000 in fines for companies. In Cambodia, penalties for child sex offences are also severe.
Photographing members of the public without prior permission, especially monks and other religious figures, is considered culturally inappropriate. You should avoid taking photographs near sensitive sites such as military zones, assets or personnel, transportation facilities and government buildings.
Information for Dual Nationals
Under Cambodian law, Cambodian citizenship cannot be relinquished, even if a Cambodian citizen acquires the nationality of another country. We strongly advise you to travel on your Australian passport at all times.
Any Cambodian dual national aged 18 to 30 who resides permanently in Cambodia may be liable for military service. According to Cambodian law, military obligations for female citizens are applied on a voluntary basis.
For further information on issues relating to dual nationality contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Cambodia before you travel.
Our Dual Nationals brochure also provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our Travelling Well brochure also provides useful tips for travelling with medicines and staying healthy while overseas.
You should not consume home-made or unlabeled alcohol as it may be adulterated with harmful substances, such as methanol.
Hand, foot and mouth disease: There was an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) in Cambodia which has resulted in the death of a number of children in 2012. HFMD is common in Cambodia with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. It mostly affects children under the age of 10 years but adult cases (particularly young adults) are not unusual. Normal hygiene precautions should be taken including careful and frequent hand washing. For more advice and information please see the WHO website.
Health and medical services in Cambodia are generally of a very poor quality and very limited in the services they can provide. Outside the capital there are almost no medical facilities equipped to deal with medical emergencies. Hospitals and doctors generally require up-front payment in cash. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with the appropriate facilities would be necessary. Costs could be considerable. Take care if purchasing local medication. Local pharmacies may sell counterfeit medication which is often indistinguishable from authentic medication.
Despite the efforts of Cambodian authorities and other agencies in reducing the overall rate of HIV/AIDS, there remains a significant risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in certain high risk activities such as unprotected sex and injecting drugs.
Mosquito-borne diseases (including malaria, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis) are prevalent in Cambodia. We encourage you to: see your doctor about vaccinations before travelling; consider taking prophylaxis against malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases where necessary; and to take measures to avoid insect bites, including using an insect repellent at all times, wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof;
Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including cholera, hepatitis, tuberculosis, typhoid and rabies) are common with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before travelling. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to parasitic diseases such as schistosomiasis (bilharzia). Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea or an animal bite.
Avian influenza : The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed human cases of avian influenza in Cambodia.
Australians intending to travel to Cambodia should discuss the risk of avian influenza with their doctor as part of their routine pre-travel health checks. Australians in Cambodia should monitor the travel advice and Avian influenza bulletin for updated information and advice.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has confirmed cases of avian influenza in birds in a number of countries throughout the world. For a list of these countries, visit the OIE website .
Where to get help
In Cambodia, you can obtain consular assistance from the:
Australian Embassy, Phnom Penh
No. 16B, National Assembly Street
Sangkat Tonle Bassac
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telephone (+855 23) 213 470
Facsimile (+855 23) 213 413
Public opening hours (for all consular, passport and notarial services): Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 12.00pm and 1.30pm to 3.00pm.
If you are travelling to Cambodia, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate . The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Severe storms and widespread seasonal flooding, including flash floods, can occur without warning in Cambodia, particularly during the local wet season from July to November. These floods may disrupt travel to some provinces. The Mekong River Commission website contains information on flood levels for the Mekong River.
Further information on natural disasters, including flooding in Cambodia, is available from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service . If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Australians are advised to respect wildlife laws and to maintain a safe and legal distance when observing wildlife, including monkeys, marine animals and birds. You should only use reputable and professional guides or tour operators and closely follow park regulations and wardens' advice.
Australian travellers should be aware that there are severe penalties under Cambodian law for wildlife trafficking and illegal hunting.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children brochure.
If you are planning on placing your children in schools or childcare facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments.