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Any bad experiences in Cambodia?

Are there scams I should be aware of? I'll be backpacking from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap in March. Tips? - O.S. - Guest

bad experiences Cambodia
Stories are varied, but it seems more people are starting to shy away from Cambodia because of safety issues. Some say that the only good thing about the country is Angkor Wat, which itself is slowly deteriorating because of the lack of proper preservation. This said, I would still like to believe that Cambodia (or at least Angkor Wat) is a reasonably safe place to travel to.

Some things that other travelers have warned me about: Aside from the usual taxi scams and rip-offs, Cambodia is also fraught with beggars and peddlers waiting for some alms. Cambodia-veterans advise carrying around baguettes and bread to give the poor instead of spare change, who knows where they'll spend. Also beware of unofficial temple and tour guides that charge a fortune, as well as corrupt border officials that will siphon out inflated visa fees from your pocket. Certain parts of Phnom Penh are also notorious for gang violence and crime, so practice extra care, especially when traveling alone (better yet, DON'T).

Hi O.S.,

I had the pleasure of visiting Siem Reap two years ago with a group of friends -- 2 men and 3 women (including myself). We were lucky enough not to run into any problems related to safety. In fact, we really enjoyed our short holiday. I can only speak about Siem Reap, as we did not go to Phnom Penh. That said, we make deliberate decisions in the interest of safety.

First, we made sure to only hire a government-licensed tour operator to show us around Angkor Wat. Because there were 5 of us, it made sense to hire a mini bus with a guide. I have heard stories about travelers who rented bikes and explored Angkor Wat on their own, only to be shocked that their bikes were stolen. Perhaps if you are going as a group, you should consider hiring a licensed guide and a mini bus like we did.

Second, we always explored the main town as a group. None of us ever went anywhere alone. We felt very safe enjoying the nightlife on Pub Street, as well the Old Market area.

Note that we didn't stay in a fancy hotel; in fact, we chose a friendly little backpacker hostel in the Wat Bo village (you can read about it here). The people in the neighborhood seemed genuinely friendly and we did not feel unsafe at all, even when we were out on the streets late at night.

People are also asking:

Is Siem Reap walkable


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