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Travel Security Advice for Cambodia Print

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COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Cambodia is a developing country with a constitutional monarchy and an elected government. King Norodom Sihamoni is the constitutional monarch and head of state. Elections for Members of the National Assembly were held in July 2008 and are scheduled to take place again in July 2013. Following the results from the July 2008 elections, representatives from five different parties have been elected to serve in the National Assembly, with the political party, Cambodian People Party, holding a majority. The country has a market economy, with approximately 80 percent of the population of 13.4 million engaged in subsistence farming. The government has generally good relations with its neighbors despite strains over residual border disputes and other historic antagonisms. The quality of tourist facilities varies widely in Cambodia with the highest standard found in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Cambodia for additional information.

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS:

A valid passport and a Cambodian visa are required. Tourist and business visas are valid for one month beginning with the date of entry into Cambodia. Cambodia offers on-line visa processing at http://evisa.mfaic.gov.kh/You may also apply in person at the Cambodian Embassy located at 4530 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011, tel. 202-726-7742, fax 202-726-8381. Tourists and business travelers may also obtain a Cambodian visa at the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and at all major border crossings. Any method of obtaining a Cambodian visa requires a passport-sized photograph and a passport that is valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of entry into Cambodia. A departure tax is charged on all domestic and international flights. This tax must be paid in U.S. dollars. Travelers should note that Cambodia regularly imposes fines for overstay on an expired visa. If the overstay is 30 days or less, the charge is USD 5.00 per day, while for overstays of over 30 days, the charge is USD 6.00 per day. Overseas inquiries may be made at the nearest embassy or consulate of Cambodia or visit the Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia web site http://www.embassyofcambodia.org/ for the most current visa information.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

The State Department is concerned that individuals and groups may be planning terrorist actions against United States citizens and interests, as well as sites frequented by Westerners in Southeast Asia, including in Cambodia. Extremist groups present in Southeast Asia have transnational capabilities to carry out attacks against locations where Westerners congregate. American citizens traveling to Cambodia should therefore exercise caution in clubs, discos, bars, restaurants, hotels, places of worship, schools, outdoor recreation venues, tourist areas, beach resorts, and other places frequented by foreigners. They should remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and avoid crowds and demonstrations. From time to time, the U.S. Embassy places local establishments off limits to Embassy personnel due to safety and security incidents. You can contact the Embassy for notification on the current restrictions in place for Embassy personnel.

National Assembly elections in July 2008 were peaceful. Political tensions have eased, and the current situation is relatively stable; however, Cambodian political activities have turned violent in the past, and the possibility for politically motivated violence remains.

On July 29, 2007, three improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were planted at the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Monument in Phnom Penh. One of the IEDs partially exploded, but the others failed to detonate and were recovered by Cambodian authorities. No one was injured, primarily because the explosion occurred during the early morning hours. Police subsequently arrested several individuals suspected of constructing the devices and planning the bombings. On January 2, 2009, three explosive devices were found near the Ministry of National Defense in downtown Phnom Penh. One of two alleged suspects was later arrested. While there is no indication these incidents were directed at U.S. or other Western interests, the possibility remains that further attacks could be carried out, harming innocent bystanders.

The U.S. Embassy has been receiving a growing number of reports of random gunfire incidents, frequently in the vicinity of bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment venues. While U.S. citizens have not been injured, and do not appear to have been targeted, the potential exists for serious injury, and American citizens are cautioned to be vigilant in these areas. The U.S. Embassy also advises U.S. citizens to avoid large public gatherings and crowded public areas.

The U.S. Embassy recommends that American citizens defer travel along the Cambodian-Thai border in the area of the Preah Vihear temple because of a border dispute between the two countries. Thai and Cambodian soldiers have been stationed along the border in this area since July 2008 and exchanged gunfire on October 15, 2008. Until the situation has been resolved, American citizens should exercise extreme caution if they must travel to areas along the Thai-Cambodian border where troop activities are reported.

Land mines and unexploded ordnance are found in rural areas throughout Cambodia, and especially in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, Siem Reap, and Kampong Thom provinces. Travelers should never walk in forested areas or even in dry rice paddies without a local guide. Areas around small bridges on secondary roads are particularly dangerous. Travelers should not touch anything that resembles a mine or unexploded ordnance; they should notify the Cambodia Mine Action Center at 023-368-841/981-083 or 084.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site at http://travel.state.gov/, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

CRIME:

Cambodia has a high crime rate, including street crime. Military weapons and explosives are readily available to criminals despite authorities’ efforts to collect and destroy such weapons. Armed robberies occur frequently in Phnom Penh. Foreign residents and visitors are among the victims. Victims of armed robberies are reminded not to resist their attackers and to surrender their valuables, since any perceived resistance may be met with physical violence, including lethal force. Local police rarely investigate reports of crime against tourists, and travelers should not expect to recover stolen items.

The U.S. Embassy advises its personnel who travel to the provinces to exercise extreme caution outside the provincial towns at all times. Many rural parts of the country remain without effective policing. Individuals should avoid walking alone after dusk anywhere in Sihanoukville, especially along the waterfront. Some of the beaches are secluded, and post has received reports that women have been attacked along the Sihanoukville waterfront during the evening hours. Take security precautions when visiting the Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) area. Travelers should be particularly vigilant during annual festivals and at tourist sites in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, where there have been marked increases in motorcycle “snatch and grab” thefts of bags and purses. A group of young men sexually assaulted a foreigner in Phnom Penh in November 2006 while she was taking a moto-taxi from a nightclub. In August 2008, the Embassy received reports of unaccompanied females being robbed at knifepoint during daylight hours in Sihanoukville.

Pickpockets, including some who are beggars, are present in the markets and at the tourist sites. Persons visiting Cambodia should practice sound personal security awareness by varying their routes and routines, maintaining a low profile, not carrying or displaying large amounts of cash, not wearing flashy or expensive jewelry, and not walking the streets alone after dark. In addition, the Embassy recommends that Americans travel by automobile and not use local moto-taxis or cyclos (passenger-carrying bicycles) for transportation. These vehicles are more vulnerable to armed robberies and offer no protection against injury when involved in traffic accidents.

To avoid the risk of theft or confiscation of original documents, the U.S. Embassy advises its personnel to carry photocopies of their U.S. passport, driver's license or other important documents.

INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. The embassy/consulate staff can assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds can be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. The American Citizen Services (ACS) unit is located in the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy at #1, St. 96 (entrance on St. 51 between St. 96 and 102), Phnom Penh. Consular Section telephone number is +855-23-728-801Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and +855-23-728-000 after business hours and weekends.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Cambodia is: 117 for police, 118 for fire, and 119 for ambulance.

See our information on Victims of Crime.

MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION:

Medical facilities and services in Cambodia do not meet international standards. Both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have a limited number of internationally-run clinics and hospitals that can provide basic medical care and stabilization. Medical care outside these two cities is almost non-existent. Local pharmacies provide a limited supply of prescription and over-the-counter medications, but because the quality of locally obtained medications can vary greatly, travelers should bring adequate supplies of their medications for the duration of their stay in Cambodia.

For information on avian influenza (bird flu), please refer to the Department of State's Avian Influenza Fact Sheet.
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Cambodia.

For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith/en.

MEDICAL INSURANCE:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our information on medical insurance overseas.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Cambodia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving at night in Cambodia is strongly discouraged. Road maintenance is sporadic in both urban and rural areas. Roads between major areas are adequate; however, roads leading to areas that are more rural are poor. During the rainy season, both urban and rural road conditions deteriorate considerably. Roadside assistance is non-existent. The safety of road travel outside urban areas varies greatly. Cambodian drivers routinely ignore traffic laws, and vehicles are poorly maintained. Intoxicated drivers are commonplace, particularly during the evening hours, and penalties for DWI offenses vary greatly. Banditry occurs even on heavily traveled roads, so all travel should be done in daylight between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m.

Serious flooding occurs in both Phnom Penh and the rest of Cambodia starting at the end of July or early August and continues into November. The unimproved highways to Prey Veng, Pailin, Stung Treng and Poipet become more difficult and dangerous during this time of the year, and travel on unpaved or dirt roads is virtually impossible. The National Route highways are the only roads that can be traveled, with caution, this time of the year.

The U.S. Embassy advises Embassy personnel not to travel by train because of low safety standards and the high risk of banditry. Travel by boat should be avoided because boats are often overcrowded and lack adequate safety equipment. Boat owners accept no liability for accidents. Travelers also should exercise caution when using intercity buses, including those to popular tourist destinations such as Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Moto-taxis and cyclos are widely available; however, the Embassy does not recommend using them due to safety concerns and because personal belongings can be easily stolen. Organized emergency services for victims of traffic accidents are non-existent outside of major urban areas, and those available in major urban areas are inadequate.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:

As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Cambodia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Cambodia’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s web site at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/iasa/.

The U.S. Embassy strongly discourages its employees from using domestic air carriers due to safety concerns and incidents that have occurred in recent years. Embassy employees are permitted to use the international carrier Bangkok Airways between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:

Customs: Cambodian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Cambodia of items such as drugs, firearms, antiquities, or ivory. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Cambodia in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Dual Nationality:

Dual nationality is not prohibited under Cambodia's 1996 nationality law. In addition to being subject to all Cambodian laws affecting U.S. citizens, individuals who possess Cambodian nationality may also be subject to laws that impose special obligations on Cambodian citizens.

Business Transactions: Some U.S. citizens have reported threats of personal injury, extortion, detention or kidnapping related to personal business disputes, in particular those involving real estate. The Embassy urges any American citizen planning to engage in real estate deals or other significant financial transactions to proceed with caution. U.S. citizens who do not have confidence in the ability of the local police to protect them may wish to depart the country expeditiously.

Financial Transactions: The U.S. dollar is widely used, especially for larger transactions, and most prices are quoted in dollars. Ripped or torn U.S. bills are not accepted. The Cambodian riel can also be used, but is less favored and is mostly given to tourists as change for dollar purchases. The riel is commonly used in smaller towns and rural areas. Credit cards are increasingly accepted within Cambodia, and a number of banks in Phnom Penh accept Visa cards for cash advances. Credit cards are often subject to a service charge. Banks and major hotels accept travelers' checks, but usually charge a service fee. Several international banks operate ATM machines that allow travelers to obtain U.S. dollar currency in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and other urban centers. Personal checks are not generally accepted. Several banks serve as Western Union agents in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and other provincial cities to which funds can be wired. Information on Western Union can be found at http://www.westernunion.com/.

Photography: Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest — including government buildings, military installations, airfields, bridges — may result in problems with the authorities and confiscation of the camera.

Please see our Customs Information.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Cambodian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession of, use of, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Cambodia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

For information see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

Americans living or traveling in Cambodia are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department's travel registration web site and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Cambodia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the embassy or consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at No. 1, Street 96 (near Wat Phnom), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The telephone number is (855-23) 728-000; fax (855-23) 728-600. Additional information about American Citizen Services can be found at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh at http://cambodia.usembassy.gov/.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Cambodia dated June 5, 2008, to update sections on Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, Information for Victims of Crime, Medical Facilities and Health Information, Aviation Safety Oversight, and Special Circumstances.

 

 


 

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has information on Cambodia HERE....

Looking for an Embassy ?, You can also check out our World Wide Embassy Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens)...........

Regards

The SW Team......

 

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