- 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.
- A number of demonstrations are planned to take place along national highways throughout the country, including in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to coincide with International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2013. Additionally, demonstrations have been announced by the main opposition party to take place every Sunday from 15 December. You should continue to monitor local media, avoid the gatherings and follow the advice of local authorities.
- Small scale protests are ongoing and are likely to continue. You should avoid protests, demonstrations and political gatherings as they may turn violent. You should monitor local media for information about protest locations. See Safety and Security for more information.
- Violent outbreaks have occurred during protests, particularly in Phnom Penh. On 12 November 2013, several people were shot resulting in one death during a protest held by factory garment workers. While most political protests in Cambodia are generally peaceful, a death and several injuries also occurred during clashes between authorities and protesters in September 2013.
- There have been frequent roadblocks restricting access through Phnom Penh. Allow extra time for journeys and follow the advice of authorities.
- On 13 September 2013, an improvised explosive device (IED) was found and detonated by authorities outside the National Assembly Building near the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh. A second IED was located at the Naga Bridge on Norodom Boulevard near Wat Phnom. See Safety and Security for more information.
- Australians planning to participate in “Schoolies” events, or volunteering in Cambodia should see our Schoolies page or our Volunteering Overseas page for information on staying safe.
- There have been reports of assaults and armed robberies against foreigners. In 2013 a number of incidents have resulted in foreigners being shot and seriously injured, and in one case killed. You should exercise vigilance when travelling at all times and especially after dark. Areas frequented by tourists and expatriate residents are particularly targeted, including the Riverfront areas, Tonle Bassac and Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1) in Phnom Penh, as well as the town of Silhanoukville (particularly at isolated beaches).
- 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.
- 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. Overstaying your visa in Cambodia can be considered a serious offence. Travellers who overstay entry permits may not be allowed to leave Cambodia until a fine is paid. For overstays of less than one month from the visa expiry date, travellers can pay a fine at the airport on departure. Travellers who have overstayed their visa by more than one month may face severe penalties including imprisonment, deportation and/or being placed on an immigration blacklist to prevent them from returning to Cambodia.
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. You will also need to apply for a new exit visa with the Cambodian immigration authorites. Approval for an exit visa will take around 3 working days from the Cambodian Department of Immigration.
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 motorbike 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
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.
Australians should be particularly vigilant in the lead-up to and during religious or national festivals, days of national significance and commemorations. Large crowds may present an added safety risk. You should show an appropriate level of respect, particularly in areas where commemoration activities for the royal family or religious activities are taking place.
Political protests: Cambodia held its national election in July 2013. The main opposition party has disputed the results and did not attend the opening of parliament in September 2013. The security situation remains uncertain and protests may occur throughout Cambodia for the current time. You should monitor the media for information about any protests or political rallies and follow the advice of authorities.
A number of demonstrations are planned to take place along national highways throughout the country, including in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to coincide with International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2013. Additionally, demonstrations have been announced by the main opposition party to take place every Sunday from 15 December. You should continue to monitor local media, avoid the gatherings and follow the advice of local authorities.
The main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), continues to arrange demonstrations in Phnom Penh and occasionally in other parts of the country. While previous CNRP gatherings have remained largely peaceful, one death and several injuries occurred during clashes between authorities and protesters in September 2013. There have been frequent roadblocks restricting access through the city. You should monitor local media for information about protest locations.
Australians should avoid public gatherings or demonstrations. In Phnom Penh, possible sites for rallies include political party offices, the National Assembly building, the Prime Minister’s residence (by the Independence Monument), Freedom Park (also known as Democracy Park – on street 106, between street 61 and Norodom Boulevard), Wat Phnom, the Phnom Penh Municipal Government Office, and other government and military buildings or compounds.
Local police and security forces have been known to respond with force and may not distinguish between demonstrators and bystanders.
IED detonation – 13 September 2013: On 13 September 2013, an improvised explosive device (IED) was found and detonated by authorities outside the National Assembly Building near the Australian Embassy in Phnom Penh. A second IED was located at the Naga Bridge on Norodom Boulevard near Wat Phnom.
Events associated with political parties may be used to mount attacks. Symbols and infrastructure associated with political parties, government, military or Western interests, such as embassies, public transport, oil and gas infrastructure, government buildings and premises of transnational and multinational companies are potential targets.
Australians can be caught up in attacks directed at others. Pay attention to your personal security, be vigilant at all times and monitor local media for information about possible new safety and security risks.
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.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. 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. In the early hours of the morning of 7 August 2013, an improvised explosive device (IED) was detonated outside the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. No injuries occurred. On 3 January 2009 three 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.
Opportunistic crime is common in Cambodia. Snatch-and-grab crimes against tourists by thieves on motorcycles are frequent and have sometimes resulted in injury to victims. Several foreigners have been injured in the course of these incidents, in particular when bags are pulled from passengers on moving motorbike taxis or tuk-tuks. If travelling by tuk-tuk, consider utilising tuk-tuks which have barriers (such as curtains or netting) covering the passenger sides to reduce the opportunity for thieves to snatch-and-grab your possessions. These types of crimes can also occur when crossing the street or walking along footpaths. Pay close attention to your personal possessions at all times, particularly items that can be easily grabbed. Bag-snatching, pick-pocketing and other robberies can occur at any time, particularly in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap.
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. In 2013 a number of incidents have resulted in foreigners being shot and seriously injured, and in one case killed. You should exercise vigilance when travelling at all times and especially after dark. Areas frequented by tourists and expatriate residents are particularly targeted, including the Riverfront area, Tonle Bassac and Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1) in Phnom Penh, as well as the town of Sihanoukville (particularly at isolated beaches).
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 may be exposed to scams and more serious criminal activity in Cambodia. 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 at gunpoint. Tourists should be wary of accepting invitations from strangers or return to private homes or river cruises in order to play cards.
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 piracy bulletin 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 valuable documents 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.
If your passport is lost or stolen in Cambodia, in addition to obtaining a new passport you will also need a new visa. You must obtain a police report from the local police office. You will then need to submit the police report to Cambodian immigration authorities together with a request for an exit visa. An exit visa will take around 3 working days to approve with the Cambodian Department of Immigration. Ensure you give yourself adequate time to obtain a new passport and exit visa before your planned departure.
Failure to hold a valid visa in your passport may delay departure from Cambodia and can sometimes result in fines and detention.
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.
Making false statements to police is a crime. Falsely reporting a crime, or the circumstances of an incident, may result in charges being laid against you.
More than 100 people have died in recent weeks due to flooding in Cambodia. Heavy rain has fallen across the country resulting in the release of flood warnings for many provinces, particularly along the Mekong River. You should monitor local media and avoid affected areas.
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, wandering livestock and the risk of crime. Driving standards and vehicle and road maintenance are generally poor. Serious injuries from road accidents occur daily in Cambodia. Motorcycle and coach/bus travel have particularly high accident rates. 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 road travel page.
Streets are crowded in major cities and road rules are routinely ignored. Be very careful when crossing busy streets as traffic can appear from any direction.
There is no formal public transport system in Cambodia. Motorcycle taxis (moto) and motorised three-wheel vehicles (tuk-tuk or remork) are commonly used for short distance transport. Fares are not metered and may be set according to distance travelled, number of passengers and time of day. Negotiating the fare prior to travel can help to avoid confrontation on price. Occasionally drivers accept passengers without full comprehension of the requested destination.
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. 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.
You should avoid travelling by bamboo 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 on aviation safety, please refer to our air travel page.
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.
Local laws prohibit possession or production of pornographic material, including personal images taken on mobile phones, cameras or computers for personal use. The purchase of sex is also a criminal offence.
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, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, 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 page 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.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
You should not consume home-made or unlabelled alcohol as it may be adulterated with harmful substances, such as methanol.
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. Air evacuations, often to Bangkok or Singapore, are very expensive. All medical costs, including evacuations, are at the traveller’s expense.
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 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 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 over 25 human cases of avian influenza in Cambodia in 2013. See our health page and Avian influenza bulletin for further information.
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.
Where to get help
You can obtain emergency consular assistance by telephoning the Embassy or emailing: email@example.com
Australian Embassy, Phnom Penh
No. 16B, National Assembly Street
Sangkat Tonle Bassac
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telephone (+855) (0) 23 213 470
Facsimile (+855) (0) 23 213 413
Normal 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.
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 page.