Home Travel Guide Popular tourist scams in Cambodia

Popular tourist scams in Cambodia

by VV
Sihanoukville tourist information
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”I’ll get the visa for you ma’am”

Cambodia is infamous for its border scams. Travellers have landed into major problems while crossing the border overland. When it comes to visa, Cambodia offers Visa on arrival facility to all nationals.  Though, I recommend e-visa for first-time travellers. Apply, pay and get it online and cross the border without needing anybody’s help. Check this – How to get a Cambodian Visa

Bus ticket for free!

This is one of the biggest scams in Cambodia. Never buy your bus ticket from anywhere other than its authorised source. Popular tourist destinations and overland border crossings are full of notorious activities related to bus transportations. Travel agencies pose themselves as partner agency of the real bus company. Avoid such fake agencies. If possible, book it online

‘Sorry Doctor, You are not qualified’

 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 stabilisation. Medical care outside these two cities is almost non-existent

US Embassy in Cambodia

Take utmost care of your health in Cambodia. As mentioned above, not only the medical standards in major parts of the country are below international standards, but counterfeit medicines and quack are few other reasons which can pose a serious threat to your health. So, either carry all necessary medicines with you or evacuate from Cambodia to Thailand in the case of emergencies.

(Check this page for links to authorised agencies = Useful links for Thailand & Cambodia trip)

Prefer travelling in Day 

This does not mean that night travelling in Cambodia is discouraged. Although, several old pieces of information on the internet still mention that Cambodia is not safe for night travelling. Times have changed now and Cambodia is developing its basic infrastructure on a fast track. Main highways connecting popular tourist destinations have either already been developed or on the verge of completion. There are few transport companies which you can rely upon for night travelling. Though, travelling solo in a taxi in the night time is still not recommended.

Learn ‘’No English..’’

Virak Buntham bus service : most negatively reviewed by travellers

Virak Buntham bus service : most negatively reviewed by travellers

There may be a situation when somebody might insist you to buy their product or service and despite refusing them politely their level of insistence raise. There have been awkward situations when the tourist was harassed or even attacked by such elements. The Golden Mantra to avoid such situation is to pretend that you do not understand their language. Saying ‘No English, No English..’ can save you from such awkward moments. Always remember to be humble, polite and stay calm in such situations.

Free mobile sim in Cambodia

When I was travelling in Siem Reap, I saw a lot of travel agencies displaying ‘Free Sim’. Just ignore them. Instead of getting a free siem, you may get ripped off. Always buy a sim from the official sim shops.  They will give you the authentic information, plus the cheapest rate and plan as per your need.

Don’t read this 

A little information beforehand can save you falling prey to scammers. Do a proper research before starting your trip. Information sources like ‘touristhelpline.com’ help in getting reliable information.

My Worst nightmare during Cambodia trip

Based on my experience, I can say that you are more prone to frauds and tourist traps in Cambodia than Thailand. I myself went through a nightmare at the Poipet border while entering Cambodia, when a person approached us right at the entrance of the visa office of Cambodia.  Despite our several polite refusals, he kept on insisting us to take help from him. While filling up the visa-on-arrival form he stood with us and started guiding us how to fill up the form. I was surprised why such persons were allowed inside the visa office! The authorities should ban entries of people who do not hold a passport.

Inside the Cambodian visa office

When we were done with all the formalities at Cambodian Visa and Immigration office, this man started insisting us to take a taxi from him. We could sense the foul by the way he was persuading us. Till then we were joined by two European tourists and  we were 4 tourists now. He started bothering all of us by compelling to take his taxi to Siem Reap. So, in order to get out of the mess, we thought to go away from that place. We took a tuk-tuk to reach the international bus station near the Poipet border. But it was quite late and the bus station was closed. We approached few people for seeking information on alternatives.

We had to call Police

Suddenly this man appeared again and started abusing us. He even threatened us with dire consequences. We really did not expect such violent behaviour. Every one of us was astonished, but not intimidated. We kept walking and approached a nearby fuel station. It which had CCTV cameras, so the person did not come inside. We told everything to the  lady manager and she called the police. But, before the police could come the man flew away from the spot.  The lady then arranged a taxi for us to Siem Reap. Thanks to her ?

Comment below to add or modify information in this article.


Shuvayu Biswas January 10, 2018 - 2:39 am

Do you require multiple entry visa for Thailand for this(To Visit Cambodia & return to Thailand) . If yes, how much does it cost? Did you get those Thailand Visa on arrival or applied in Thai Embassy?

Manish Rai October 14, 2017 - 1:20 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this valuable info. You are the best.

VV October 23, 2017 - 2:56 pm

Thanks Manish :)

Varun Vagish October 23, 2017 - 3:25 pm

Thanks Manish ?


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