Although the area had been a Khmer Rouge stronghold in the 1970s, Angkor is an incredibly safe and convenient destination. Happily, the Khmer Rouge regime came to an end in 1979 and is no longer a threat to the public. Siem Reap is, in fact, one of the safest destinations in Southeast Asia but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on your guard at all times! Angkor has become a well-visited tourist hotspot with plenty of food stalls, refreshment vendors, and quality restaurants catering to the needs of visitors. There is a special tourist police force with officers monitoring the Kingdom and confiscating illicit drugs.
Travelers will have no problems whatsoever in Cambodia, as long as you have common sense. Although crimes against travelers are universal, everyone agrees that Siem Reap reports very few incidences of petty crime.
It’s far safer than many tourists realize, but you still need to follow sensible precautions. Beware of thieves that travel on motorbikes as your valuables can be snatched! Most hotels provide safety boxes for guests to store their items, so use them to good advantage. Our Vespas have storage compartments to easily hide your things!
Never leave valuables unattended anywhere, leave expensive items at your stay, and make sure to carry a modest amount of money. ATMs can be found everywhere in Siem Reap and most places will have plenty of change if ever you are looking to exchange large bills.
It’s warm throughout the year but it doesn’t stop tourists from traveling to Siem Reap the whole year-round. The best time to visit Siem Reap is from November until March which is the peak tourist season. Although it tends to get crowded during this period, our tours are designed to avoid any inconveniences. At this time of year, the skies are clear which is perfect for sunrises and sunsets at the temples.
We offer the perfect tours for this occasion with our Angkor Wat Sunrise tour. It’s also the coolest time of year! From April to June, it gets pretty hot and humid but the temperature is endurable! Soon after, the monsoon season arrives and heavy rain comes pouring down at unexpected moments from May to October. But let’s not fear the rainy days as they aren’t necessarily a waste. Brisk forest air, breathtaking landscapes, blooming meadows, lush vegetation, they're back! As the rain sets in, the water levels in the Mekong and Tonle Sap rise high enough for tourists to witness the culture and wildlife of the lake area.
We recommend wearing appropriate clothing that is suitable for the heat, particularly lightweight, light-coloured, and loose-fitting clothing. It will keep you cooler! To add more style and protection, do bring a pair of sunglasses and a hat as well as sunscreen.
Some travelers to Cambodia are concerned about malaria. There is a very low if no transmission rate for malaria in Siem Reap. But it is necessary to take care to avoid mosquito bites alone. "Tiger mosquitoes'' can give a nasty bite compared to their North American or Antipodean cousins. With summer heat and mosquito activity peaking, it’s recommended you bring mosquito repellant and cover up with clothing.
One precaution before you travel is to find the name of a health clinic/doctor in Siem Reap and record their phone number in case of emergency. In Siem Reap, there are a few international doctors. If you need some help, we can send you an updated list of them or you can check with your embassy.
Ninety-nine percent of visitors to Siem Reap visitors endure no more than a few mosquito bites and an upset tummy. Probably the most consistent health issue is dehydration, so drink water at all times. Bottled water is available everywhere! A good tip is to bring sachets of isotonic salts (to give the energy drinks effect that people like) to replace all the salts that you'll lose through sweating. Having Travel Insurance for precaution is a must. If your health’s at risk, you are covered if, for example, you require flying to a top-class hospital in Bangkok.
Take a peek at these tips to prevent food poisoning and waterborne illnesses. Avoid drinking tap water in Siem Reap and stick with labeled water. Don’t worry, it’s normally safe to use tap water to brush your teeth! Foods that are cooked thoroughly to kill most types of food poisoning bacteria are ideal, especially for those who are novices to Southeast Asian travel (stomach flora need time to acquire the proper "bacteria"). If you are fond of such dishes, try our After dark Siem Reap food tour! See and taste some of the most famous exotic delicacies in Cambodia.
Siem Reap is an easy town to walk, but it’s also known for its bustling streets. Unless you’re not interested in escaping to the countryside, steer away from motorbike rentals! You can easily find almost everything anywhere within the town’s limits. You’ll find that tuk-tuks usually charge a price ranging from $2 to $6 for an in-town trip, whereas a trip from the airport into town costs no more than $8 dollars.
Negotiate your fare upfront to make more successful deals when necessary. No one wants to be cheated! Local transportation services such as PassApp or Grab can be downloaded on your mobile phone. These booking services make ordering a rickshaw, tuk-tuk, and car in Cambodia easier than ever. The interface is just like Uber which, is no more available in Southeast Asia.
As a tourist, you are unlikely to encounter a landmine in Siem Reap! While this is not a threat in Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, be sure to keep away from remaining areas that are marked and bordered with barbed wire. If you stick to the well-known paths when visiting outlying temples, you will be fine. There are a few organizations operating in Siem Reap that have cleared mines in numerous areas.
The people of Cambodia are very welcoming to visitors and if you encounter them in a friendly manner, they will gladly offer assistance with a smile. Buddhist ideas as well as the law of Karma have guided and influenced the lives and thoughts of many Cambodians. It is said that good karma will be invited to your life if you practice kindness among those you meet, thus it’s important to stay calm.
If a local doesn’t understand your request, do try to explain using different forms of expression and all will be resolved in no time. Communication will never be an issue because they love to meet new faces and English is widely spoken in Siem Reap!
Now being reassured? Check our article about Siem Reap beyond Angkor... Worth a visit?