Cambodia Travel Advice – Our Best Tips for a Transformational Trip

The best sights, the perfect itinerary, cost of travel in Cambodia and more

cambodia travel advice

Read this guide before you visit Cambodia! Cambodia is one of our favourite countries and we’ve explored it from top to bottom. This post covers all the vital Cambodia travel advice you’ll need for an amazing trip!

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

On our first Cambodia adventure, we cycled across the Thai border at Aranyaprathet — and into a whole new world! Almost immediately we fell in love with Cambodia’s slow pace of life and the warm smiles we received everywhere we went.

First, we biked to Siem Reap to spend days exploring Cambodia’s most famous attraction, Angkor Wat and the Angkor Temples. Then, we took a boat to Battambang, cycled the countryside to Phnom Penh and finally visited the south coast, where we quickly fell in love with the beaches and islands.

cambodia travel tips
Want spectacular beaches and islands? Cambodia has them!

Recently, I returned to Cambodia for a solo trip, entering overland from Vietnam. I spent a few days enjoying the comforts of Kep and Kampot before heading into the wild northeast. There I experienced elephants up close, trekked through the jungle, and saw the variety of Cambodian wildlife, including Kratie’s river dolphins, Stung Treng’s leeches, and everywhere’s mosquitos!

Cambodia really has something for everyone, whether you’re backpacking Cambodia, want luxury on a budget, tropical islands, or old-fashioned jungle adventures. We’re so excited for your trip!

Read on to discover our best…

Cambodia Travel Advice – Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

Let Cambodia Transform You

Our FREE don’t-miss list gives you access to the 12 best transformational experiences in Cambodia. Don’t miss out!

Best Places to Visit in Cambodia

Though we love Laos and Vietnam (and have mixed feelings about Thailand), Stephen and I agree that Cambodia is our favourite country in Southeast Asia.

  • First, there are such a great variety of experiences to be had in such a small area.
  • Second, it’s well set up for tourism but not so sanitized that there’s no adventure left.
  • Third, it’s easy to join in on eco-friendly and socially responsible activities and tours, meaning your travel dollars contribute to the well-being of the people who need it most.

Here’s what to do in Cambodia.

Angkor Wat & Angkor Temples

cambodia travel advice
Angkor Wat and the Angkor Temples are just one of the many reasons to visit Cambodia.

The famous ancient temples of the Angkor Wat complex get more than a million visitors every year. It is by far the most famous of the Cambodia tourist attractions — and is definitely worth the trip! But, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Angkor Wat is the only thing to see in Cambodia. Start your journey there and then head out to experience the diversity of this amazing country.

If you want to fully explore Angkor Wat, try this small-group guided tour

Beaches & Islands

Exotic beaches and deserted islands are probably not the first things to spring to mind when you think of Cambodia. The southern shores of Cambodia lie along the Gulf of Thailand. The same environment that created the famous Thai islands and beaches is at work here.

The major difference is that, in Cambodia, it’s easier to find deserted beaches and islands with no electricity and water – just tiny huts in paradise!

Community Based Eco-Tourism

cambodia adventure
Don’t miss a visit to Chi Phat eco village on your Cambodia adventure.

While the government of Cambodia doesn’t seem to do much to build infrastructure in Cambodia or support tourism initiatives, they do have a fairly open-door policy when it comes to letting non-profits operate in the country. Many of these non-profits have created Community Based Eco-Tourism (CBET) projects which are set up to help local people attract tourists (and deal with tourists) to their part of the country.

We love the Chi Phat eco-tourism village in the Cardamom Mountains, where villagers who used to turn to illegal activities like poaching and logging, now earn a living running home stays and guiding treks, boat trips, and cycling tours in the area.

Here are some of the CBET projects you can visit in Cambodia:
Want to Jungle Trek?
Don’t miss our post about the best places to trek in Cambodia.

Culture & History

There is a very dark side to some Cambodia attractions.

In the late 70s, the Khmer Rouge carried out the slaughter of millions of Cambodians. You can’t visit the country without being aware of how such a tragedy will affect the culture for generations to come.

Visiting the various sites and museums dedicated to keeping the memory of those lost alive — like the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh or the Killing Fields — is equal parts horrifying and absolutely necessary.

This half-day tour of Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields will help you understand this brutal piece of history.

Elephant Adventures

In the northeast of Cambodia lies a huge jungle wilderness where the last of Cambodia’s wild elephants live. The Cambodians living in Mondulikiri Province traditionally used elephants to transport goods and help with heavy jobs, such as logging. Now, in the machine age, elephants are rarely used this way, which has created a new elephant industry — tourism.

By all means, go visit the elephants in Cambodia. Just make sure you choose an elephant friendly organization!

cambodia bike tour angkor temples
Don’t miss your chance to do a bike tour of the Angkor Temples.

Independent travel in Cambodia is great but there are some places and experiences that you might never see on your own. If you’re thinking of taking a Cambodia tour or doing a short tour while you’re there, these are the ones we recommend.

Grasshopper Adventures Cycle & Boat Tours

We recently travelling with Grasshopper Adventures in Thailand and the experience was terrific, taking us to hidden areas where we were the only tourists.

In Cambodia, you can join them for a 1-day Angkor Wat tour, a 9-day tour of the Mekong by bike and boat, and everything in between. If we could pick one, we’d go on their 9-day Cycle Angkor to the Sea trip.

See all of Grasshopper’s Cambodia adventures

Intrepid Travel

If you’re not into cycling, then check out the offerings by one of our favourite travel companies, Intrepid Travel.

Their 3-day Secrets of Angkor tour will take you away from the Angkor crowds to hidden temples where you’ll learn the stories of the god-kings and lost civilizations of ancient Angkor. For a more in-depth Cambodia experience, try Intrepid’s 12-day Cambodia Adventure.

See all of Intrepid’s Cambodia adventures

More Cambodia Tours
We did an architecture tour in Phnom Penh, a fun zipline tour in Sen Monorom, plus a great intro to rock climbing tour in Kampot.

How Long Do You Need in Cambodia?

cambodia travel advice
There’s so much to see in Cambodia, you’ll want to stay there as long as you can!

Though I have happily spent weeks and months travelling in Cambodia, you can comfortably see the major sights and make time for a few beaches and adventures in two weeks.

One week will feel rushed and you’ll miss out on the off-the-beaten-track experiences that make Cambodia so special.

With three (or even four) weeks, you’ll get to really explore the country, from the frenetic streets of Phnom Penh to the narrow jungle tracks in the Cardamom Mountains.

Best Time to Visit Cambodia

There is really no bad time to visit Cambodia, so if you have a window in your schedule, take it!

Dry season in Cambodia is from November to March and is also when most tourists visit.

May to October is wet season and is the best time to go to Cambodia! Crowds thin out and you get a short but impressive rainstorm almost every afternoon. This cools things off and keeps the dust down — very helpful for travel in Cambodia. If you don’t like heat, avoid April, when the country is oppressively hot and humid.

(Related: This month-by-month guide to Cambodia will help with your travel plans)

Cambodia Itinerary 2 Weeks

With 2 weeks in Cambodia, you do have to pick and choose your experiences a little. That’s why we created three separate Cambodia 2-week itineraries for different types of travellers.

Culture & Mindfulness

Our Culture & Mindfulness Itinerary is perfect for spiritual travellers who want to experience the awe of Cambodia’s ancient temples and immerse themselves deep in Cambodian culture.


Our Adventure Itinerary is great for travellers who want to meet Cambodia’s diverse wildlife and challenge themselves in the great outdoors.

Beaches & Islands

Our Beaches and Islands Itinerary is perfect if you want to spend most of your time lounging on the beach, swimming in the sea, and soaking up the laid-back vibe of Cambodia’s incredible south coast.

Cost of Travel in Cambodia

cambodia adventure
Budget travellers will have no problem living cheaply in Cambodia.

How much does it cost to travel in Cambodia? We might as well ask “How long is a piece of string?”. Travel in Cambodia can cost as much or as little as you want.

Super-Budget Travellers

If you’re on a tight budget, you can visit Cambodia for as little as $15 per day for one person.

To stick to this budget:

  • Stay only in hostels and home stays
  • Eat street food and at markets
  • Take busses and minibuses (or rent a motorbike) between destinations
  • Don’t use taxis or tuk tuks
  • Limit your drinking to cheap Angkor beers

(Don’t miss: If you plan on backpacking Cambodia, read our guide to the 13 things you need to know before you go)

Mid-Range Travellers

If you have a little more wiggle room, you can have a very comfortable experience in Cambodia for $30 per day. Couples can easily do $50 per day.

To stick to this budget:

  • Stay in guest houses (or jungle huts!)
  • Eat mostly at low-cost restaurants
  • Take busses and minibuses (or rent a motorbike) between destinations
  • Use tuk tuks in town, rent a bike, or walk
  • Take advantage of 2-for-1 cocktail happy hours

High-End Travellers

The sky is the limit! Your biggest expense will be accommodation but you can also spend a little more on tours and transportation, too.

If you have more money than time:

  • Stay in boutique hotels or luxury resorts
  • Eat at mid-range or high-end restaurants
  • Take private taxis between destinations
  • Use taxis or tuk tuks in town
  • Drink whatever you like!


trekking in Cambodia
Bamboo House homestay in Banlung gave me a taste of real Cambodian family life.

Cambodia has a wide range of accommodation, from the downright disgusting to the purest luxury. I have stayed in the worst and the best — and have lived to tell the tale. Here’s what you can expect from Cambodian accommodation.

Home Stays

Usually the cheapest option, home stays in Cambodia cost around $4/night including dinner. They are very basic but should be experienced at least a few times on your Cambodian trip. Staying in a home stay gives you insight into Cambodian life in a way that no other experience will.

Your bed will be a mattress on the floor, often only separated from the family bed by a curtain. It’s common for parents and children to share one mattress in Cambodian homes.

The bathroom will be in a tiny outbuilding and will be very basic — and probably very dirty. The kitchen is also outside and, if you are squeamish about food, it’s best not to look. Usually, the hosts do not speak any English, but you will get to be a part of family life for a night.

Guest Houses, Tree Houses, and Jungle Huts

Next up the ladder, cost– and comfort–wise are guest houses. These are everywhere in Cambodia and cost $10-20 per night, depending where you are and how nice the accommodation is. We usually stay in simple guest houses in Cambodia, where you’ll likely get a bed off the floor with clean sheets and a simple private bathroom.

In the wilder parts of Cambodia, you might get a hut to yourself. I love these huts, but be warned, I have shared huts with huge spiders, never-ending troops of ants, and frogs. Not for the nature-phobe!

In Kampot we loved our budget stilt hut at Samon Village and our sublime tree house at Sabay Beach Resort. If you’re looking for comfy city centre accommodation in Kampot, try this hotel.

Boutique Hotels

For around $50 per night, you can get a beautiful room in a boutique hotel in Cambodia, where you’ll be treated to excellent service and an excellent night’s sleep.

Whenever I stay in a boutique hotel in Cambodia, I always marvel that for the same price back home, I might be able to get a dirty room in a roadside motel! For those who need four solid walls and a properly plumbed bathroom, aim to stay at boutique hotels in Cambodia.

In Phnom Penh, check out Blue Lime for tranquility and TeaHouse for boutique family fun.

Luxurious Resorts

If you like to live it up when you travel, Cambodia also has some dreamy luxury resorts, at a cheaper price than almost anywhere in the world. If you have a little stretch in your budget, I highly recommend indulging in some serious pampering at least for a few nights, just to find out how it feels to be part of the one percent!

If you’re into luxury, we recommend Templation in Siem Reap, Samanea in Kep, or 4 Rivers Floating Lodge in the Cardamoms.

Find Your Accommodation in Cambodia

Food & Drink

cambodia travel guide
Food in Cambodia is delicious and can be found for a few dollars per meal.

Try a Khmer Cooking Class

The best way to sink your teeth into any new cuisine (sorry for the horrible pun), is to join a cooking class.

Not only will you learn the ins and outs of preparing Cambodia’s signature dishes — like Khmer curry, fish amok, spring rolls, pumpkin custard — but you’ll also come away with a better understanding of Cambodia’s culture.

Plus, you’ll get an amazing meal, made all the better because you cooked it!

Find the best cooking classes in Cambodia

What You Need to Know About Cambodian Food

Cambodian cuisine might be the most underrated food in the world, so you’re in for a treat.

For omnivores, eating in Cambodia is easy. From creamy Khmer curries, to fish amok, fragrant noodle soups, to simple pork and rice, food is tasty and cheap! You can easily find food stalls selling local specialities where you can get fed for a dollar or two. But you can also have a sit-down meal in a nice restaurant for $5.

If Cambodia has some of the best food in SE Asia, it also has some of the worst. If you stray away from the cities and tourists hot spots, like Kampot, Kratie, and Sihanoukville, you might end up eating sticks of barbecued grilled mystery meats or plates of greasy fried noodles a few too many times. But this is the exception and, usually, you can find amazing food.

Cambodia for Vegans & Vegetarians

Surprisingly, if you’re staying mostly on the tourist trail (which, to be honest, is most of Cambodia), then it’s easy to find amazing vegan and veggie food in Cambodia.

Much of the Cambodian tourist industry is run by NGOs, which means foreigners are involved at some level of the business. This leads to a better understanding of Western eating habits and more options for those of us who like to keep a plant-based diet.

In the cities and touristy towns, of course, you can find a few dedicated vegetarian restaurants and most tourist-oriented restaurants have lots of veggie options on the menu.

Even in the more adventurous destinations, like Mondulkiri and Stung Treng, there is always a good selection of places to eat. If you venture further afield, you might find yourself eating fried rice or fried noodles a few too many times — but you’ll be doing so in the company of your omnivore travel companions, since that’s all there is to eat!

Happy Pizza and Other Delights

Putting weed into food is nothing new in Cambodia. It’s not uncommon for grandmothers to mix a little into their morning soup to give it just the right amount of buzz.

Now, this has spread into lots of restaurants serving “happy” foods (mostly pizza) to tourists. There is plenty of happiness to be had in Siem Reap, Kampot, Sihanoukville and beyond. It’s easy to find — just look for restaurants with the word “happy” in their name.

A Few Our Favourite Restaurants in Cambodia

Phnom Penh Restaurants

Cafe Soleil and Vitking House were our favourites of many vegetarian restaurants we tried in Phnom Penh, while Friends The Restaurant does great food with a socially responsible twist.

Restaurants in Kampot

There are so many great places to eat in Kampot. We liked the Khmer curry and the atmosphere at Rikitikitavi, the cheap dumplings at Ecran Noodles, the great vegetarian options at Simple Things, and the socially responsible vibe at Epic Arts Cafe.

Sihanoukville Restaurants

We could have gone to Sandan again and again (but we didn’t want to spend any more time in Sihanoukville). The service is fine-dining quality while the food is plain delicious.

They were happy to make vegetarian versions of many of their dishes with tofu for protein. It’s also part of TREE Alliance, an NGO that helps Cambodia kids get off the street and learn to work in the hospitality industry.

Alcohol in Cambodia

visit cambodia
Happy hour cocktail deals can be found all over Cambodia.

Happy Hour. You’ll find happy hour 2-for-1 drinks deals in almost every corner of Cambodia. The drinks won’t be the best quality, and the alcohol might be bootleg, but a couple of cocktails for a couple of dollars is undeniably a great way to end a travel day in Cambodia.

Watch our for Bootleg Alcohol. If you’re drinking in a well established restaurant, you don’t need to worry too much about what’s going into your glass. But, there is a ton of bootleg alcohol in Cambodia, often sold to unwitting tourists (by the glass or bottle) as the real thing. If you suspect some funny business, stay away. Having a few too many of Cambodian moonshine can end you in the hospital or even the morgue.

Mindful and Responsible Travel in Cambodia

cambodia travel advice
Cambodia makes it easy to be an eco-traveller but you still need to watch out for common pitfalls.

What to Wear in Cambodia

You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but Cambodia is a modest country and Cambodian people dress modestly. That means that you should respect the culture and dress that way too!

As a solo female traveller, I felt most comfortable in long loose trousers and a t-shirt that covered my shoulders. Shorts and tank tops are best reserved for the beach, and when you’re visiting temples and wats, show respect by covering your legs and arms.

A bikini is hardly ever appropriate in Cambodia (yes, even on the exotic beaches), so make sure to bring a beach cover-up.

Socially Responsible Businesses

A great way to support Cambodian people with your tourist dollars is to visit some of the dozens of socially responsible businesses in Cambodia. The Tree Alliance organization runs four fabulous restaurants in Cambodia, while Epic Arts runs an amazing cafe in Kampot.

You can also support the various community-based eco tourism projects around the country by visiting and participating in their activities.

Travel Sex Trade

A sad truth about tourism in Cambodia is that many (disgusting and outright evil) men travel there to get involved in sex trade tourism. Unfortunately, the child sex trade is also doing a booming business in Cambodia.

This industry is also supported by backpackers who think it might be a great idea to hire a girl for the night, not understanding that their money goes to support human trafficking and child sex slavery.

Even if you’re not into sex tourism (if you are, please leave this blog and never come back), you can help by following the rules laid out by Child Safe.

Child Beggars

You can’t go to Angkor Wat without meeting the kids of Angkor, who sell trinkets and postcards at the site. In other places (mostly in Siem Reap), kids will just ask outright for money, or women might ask for cash to buy formula for her baby (which is a scam, by the way).

In all instances, the best policy is to say “no”.

Many of these kids are forced to sell or beg and most of the money you give them goes to their bosses. Much better to donate to an accredited Cambodian kids’ charity, where the money will actually help children in need.

cambodia adventure
These kids at Angkor Wat were excited to show off their counting-in-English skills.

Charities and Social Enterprises

When you visit a country like Cambodia, which has more than its fair share of poverty and social problems, it can be a moral dilemma. It’s easy to feel guilty about spending more money on a holiday than most Cambodians will see in their lifetime.

It’s important to remember that when you spend money at independently owned businesses, you help locals earn a living, so your dollars have a positive impact. We also like to donate to local charities when we visit low-income countries, as a way to show our gratitude for the warm welcome we always receive.

Here are a few Cambodian non-profits we suggest:

Practical Cambodia Travel Advice

cambodia travel tips
A few practical travel tips will help you get the most from your trip to Cambodia.

Travel Insurance for Cambodia

Though Cambodia is a safe country to visit, I wouldn’t go anywhere without travel insurance. If anything happens, from motorbike accidents, to losing your luggage, or getting an unexpected illness, you’ll be happy to be covered. For the average traveller, insurance only costs a few dollars per day. It’s worth every penny.

One of the most popular travel insurance companies for adventurous travellers — because it is affordable, reliable, and easy to apply for — is World Nomads.

More about why you need travel insurance and how it works

Or get a quote now:

Getting a Visa

Almost all travellers need a visa for Cambodia.

The current Cambodian visa cost is $30 for a 30-day visa on arrival. ASEAN passport-holders can get a free 30-day visa on arrival.

You can apply ahead of time and get an e-visa for Cambodia which makes sense if you’re arriving from the e-visa entry points.

The tourist visa can be extended in Phnom Penh but it costs $45 for an additional 30 days. Better to apply for a 60-day visa at the outset.

Our complete guide to getting a visa for Cambodia will help you get the right visa for your trip.

Vaccinations for Cambodia

You don’t need a lot of travel vaccinations for Cambodia, but there are a few that the CDC recommends for all travellers:

All routine vaccinations. Includes MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella), diphtheria, tetanus, and polio.

Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Can be contracted through contaminated food or water in Cambodia.

Some other travellers will need more, depending on the type of activity they plan to do.

Hepatitis B. Can be contracted from needles or sexual contact, so if you plan to get a tattoo or piercing, or get jiggy with a stranger, this one’s for you.

Malaria. There’s not a huge malaria risk in Cambodia and most travellers won’t need anti-malarials. If you plan to spend a lot of time in rural areas, especially sleeping outside, then ask at your local vaccination clinic.

Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies. You probably won’t need these unless you’re planning on taking up residence in the countryside or will be working with animals during your visit.

As always, with any medical concerns, you should check with a specialist — in this case, you local travel vaccination clinic or your doctor — to make sure your specific situation is covered.

We wrote a guide to vaccinations for Cambodia to get you started.

Online Security in Cambodia

If you’re worried about hackers stealing your passwords and data as you travel Cambodia, consider getting a VPN. Using public WiFi can leave you open to attacks, but with a VPN, all your data will be encrypted, making it almost impossible for hackers to steal your info.

As a bonus, a VPN lets you connect to sites like Netflix as though you were at home. Instead of seeing Cambodian Netflix, you’ll have access to your normal home-country movies and shows.

Check out to compare VPNs and find out if you need one.

What to Pack for Cambodia

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Always pack light so you’re ready for anything Cambodia throws at you!

This is not a comprehensive packing list — you can figure out how much underwear you need on your own. But there are a few items that are essential for Cambodia travel.

Things to Bring from Home

Travel backpack. Cambodia is not the kind of place you want to be wheeling a hard-sided suitcase around. Bring a travel backpack, the smaller the better, so you can easily run for the bus, walk to your hotel, or hop into a tuk tuk.

Lightweight rain jacket. When it rains in Cambodia, it pours, so if you’re travelling in rainy season or shoulder season, pack a rain jacket. Just make sure it’s light and breathable, or you’ll create a greenhouse effect inside your own clothes.

Bathing suit. Lots of people don’t realize that Cambodia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, not to mention some pretty great pools. Bring your swim suit!

A travel dress. In the heat, I find it’s so much more comfortable to just throw on a travel dress. Try to get one with pockets so you have a good place to store your valuables.

Travel sandals. If you invest in a good pair of travel sandals, you can get by in Cambodia with just one pair of shoes. We love our Keen Sandals and found they were versatile enough to handle almost everything Cambodia could deliver.

Trekking shoes. The only reason you need to bring trekking shoes to Cambodia is if you plan to go on a jungle trek, either in northern Cambodia or the Cardamom mountains. Jungle trekking means leeches and sandals are not going to protect your feet from those ooky bloodsuckers.

Long socks. This is another essential that’s only necessary for jungle trekking. Bring a tall pair of socks (up-to-your-knee soccer socks are perfect) to keep those leeches from your legs.

Things you Can Buy in Cambodia

If you fancy giving Siem Reap’s markets a try, leave some space in your luggage and buy these essential when you get there.

Light, loose clothes. It’s going to be hot in Cambodia, no matter what season you visit, so leave the jeans at home and wear light loose-fitting clothes. If you can, bring a light long-sleeved shirt and long pants, with UV protection, which protect you from the sun and from mosquitos.

Light scarf or sarong. In Cambodia, I’ve worn my sarong as a long skirt, short, skirt, and beach cover-up. It’s also a beach towel, a bed sheet/blanket, and a shoulder covering for visiting temples and showing respect at Cambodian war sites. It’s just the most versatile thing ever, so make sure to get one.


Cambodia travel advice
In Cambodia, you’ll ride in tuk tuks, boats, busses, and more!
Getting to Cambodia

By air. You can fly into Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Choose the one that’s most convenient for your itinerary.

By land. There are plenty of border crossings into Cambodia from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The land borders can be a bit hectic and the border guards will definitely charge you “convenience” fees of a few dollars. But if you’re travelling to a few countries on your trip, I highly encourage you to use land transportation and border crossings. It’s much more fun than flying and so much better for the environment.

Don’t miss our complete guide to getting to Cambodia by land from its neighbouring countries.

Getting around Cambodia

Between destinations. Though the roads are not brilliant, it is relatively easy to make your way around Cambodia. There’s no train but the main routes are covered by bus or mini-bus. Busses tend to be slow, not that comfy, and late, while mini busses can be crowded and also slow. Treat getting there as half the fun in Cambodia, or you’ll have a miserable time.

To plan your route, is an indispensable resource. It shows bus routes, times, and prices for any route you might want to take. You can also book your tickets online, avoiding hassle at the bus station.

Powered by 12Go Asia system

Dangers, Scams, and Cautions for Cambodia Travel

cambodia travel tips
Mostly Cambodia is very safe but there are a few things you need to be aware of.

Before we get into this list, rest assured that Cambodia is one of the safest countries in the world for travellers. Together, Stephen and I cycle toured extensively and never had a single problem. I have also travelled alone through lots of off-the-beaten path destinations and again, had zero problems!

Still, there are a few things you should be aware of before you go.

Tuk Tuk Drivers and Marketeers

One of the biggest irritations to visitors in Cambodia is the persistent tuk tuk drivers in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. You will be offered so many tuk tuk rides, the phrase “No thanks, we’re walking.” becomes like a mantra. The same happens in Cambodian tourist markets with people offering you things to buy.

If you want to have a little fun and a meaningful cultural exchange, stop and chat with the drivers or market-stall owners. When you break away from the roles of tout / customer, you’ll be able to act like human beings, chatting about your lives and discovering more about each other. We found when we did this we were always met with warm-hearted, funny, friendly people.

Even if you feel irritated by the constant offers (it can be really annoying!), always remember that you are on holiday, having the time of your life, while the drivers and touts are trying to earn the money to feed their families. Be polite, be friendly, and be grateful for the experience.

things to do in kampot
Cambodians tend to be friendly, funny, and welcoming if you take a minute to get to know them.

Bag Snatching

On my recent trip to Phnom Penh, I was frequently warned that bag snatching from tuk tuks was a big problem. I have no idea how big a problem this is (and how much is just tourist hysteria) but it’s a good practice to keep your bag, your phone, and any other valuables well inside the tuk tuk, so a passing motorcyclist cannot snatch it.

When you’re on the street, don’t wave your phone around or dangle your bag from your arm.

Don’t act like a target and chances are you won’t become one.

Orphanage Scam

Visiting an orphanage in a poor country is a common tourist activity — and one you should never do. Using poor orphans as a tourist attraction is awful on its own, and made even worse because it has turned into a scam.

According to Orphanages Not the Solution, more than 74% of kids in Cambodian orphanages are not orphans — their parents place them there as a way to earn money. Many orphanages are unsafe for kids and some have been created just to earn money from tourism.

(Related: Instead of visiting orphanages, here are some other ways to help kids in Cambodia)

Sex, Drugs, and Pretty Girls

Every country has scams targeted at horny men who want to party. The easy way to avoid these scams (which can leave you drugged, robbed, arrested, or dead) is to not get involved in the seedier side of local life.

Don’t take a girl home and don’t pay for sex. Don’t buy drugs from strangers. Don’t get shit-faced and pass out. It’s easy to avoid this category of scams: just try and be a good person and respect the culture!

When you head out on a Cambodia adventure, you’ll experience a huge variety of culture and activities in a tiny country. Take your time, travel slowly and don’t try to fit too many adventures into too little time! You’ll want to reserve plenty of hours for sitting back and watching the vibrant culture in action.

Want to Know our Cambodia Secrets?

Let Cambodia Transform You

Our FREE don’t-miss list gives you access to the 12 best transformational experiences in Cambodia. Don’t miss out!

We hope our Cambodia Travel Advice has helped on your trip planning for Cambodia. Our goal is to help you make every trip you take truly transformational – and Cambodia is a perfect destination for change.

♥  Happy mindful adventures, Jane & Stephen

Discover everything you need to know if you're going to Cambodia. Find the best places to go, cost of travel, where to eat, practical info about visas, what to pack and more. Read before you go to Cambodia! #cambodia #travel #adventure #traveltips #myfiveacres #mindfultravel
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Discover everything you need to know if you're going to Cambodia. Find the best places to go, cost of travel, where to eat, practical info about visas, what to pack and more. Read before you go to Cambodia! #cambodia #travel #adventure #traveltips #myfiveacres #mindfultravel
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