Official advises to visit Cambodia

I think trip advises can be relative and, in many occasions, they fall in the perception of every traveler. If you have a great experience, you will give the best scores to the country and you will recommend it to everyone who will ask you about Cambodia. If you have a bad experience, and it is likely possible to have one, then you will by sure say to everybody who intends to visit the country that it is a best idea to go elsewhere than Cambodia. But advises from persons who live in the country or have visited it, have more value than assumptions. Most of the people have ideas about countries like Cambodia according to the level of information exposure they get from the media. If they read reports about Cambodia as its troublesome history, its human rights situations, its difficulties with child and women abuse and so on, it can affect greatly the intention of a tourist visit. How can we get a more objective picture of the country? Let us try something.

One of the most important advises come from the official portals of your own government. They do not work for tourist agencies and they have the mission to protect you as citizen wherever you go in the planet. Then, check first what your government says about Cambodia. Now well, it is not enough of course. Your government can tell you that it is unsafe or safe and you must take it seriously. But you have to look for a balance as well.

Then we have the experiences of other travelers. Now with the Internet, most travelers have blogs or they post their experiences in forums. Sometimes it is so simple as make a question in a forum about how is tourism in a city, region or country and, surely, you will get answers from other visitors, from locals and officials.

Do not despise the information provided by tourist agencies. Of course, they put the best pictures online, on tv, everywhere, to attract you. They will use beautiful slogans – in Cambodia now we have the Kingdom of Wonders. They work with the ministry of tourism that has the interest to improve the tourist industry. It can sound suspicious if you are a very strict visitor. But I would say that no one of the them are authorized to build fake images of a country. The result would be disastrous if they sell a fake image. The true will come out soon and the tourist industry will fall without any change to recover. Then, information from tourist agencies and official departments are rather based in reality. They create it from what the country has to offer in tourism.

Then, before you travel to a country like Cambodia, just create your own research but looking to all those sources: your own government advises, the offficial tourist information of that country and the valuable experiences of other travelers.

Official advises on Cambodia from other countries

Searching around the current official advises from other countries about Cambodia, I found the one of Australia, communicated through the Smart Traveler website of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The advise is quit serious, for example on this sentence of its summary:

‘We advise you to exercise caution and monitor developments that might affect your safety in Cambodia because of the risk of civil unrest, violent criminal activity and terrorism.’

The other items are very similar to this one. You have to be cautious also about health and the Australian government advises you to register your travel and subscribe to their website in order to receive updates.

Other website with very concrete advises is the one of the Department of State of US in its Travel State. It makes a description on Cambodia and continues with its concerns on safety. There is also an alert on the possibility of terrorist plans against US and Western citizens by extremists from the South East Asia region:

‘U.S. 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. U.S. citizens 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.’

The problem of crime is also reported by US as high and you should be aware of it:

‘The Embassy also received reports that hotel rooms of U.S. citizen visitors in Phnom Penh have been burglarized while the occupants were asleep.  If you encounter these circumstances, you should surrender your valuables, since any perceived resistance may be met with physical violence, including lethal force.  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.  Local police rarely investigate reports of crime against tourists, and travelers should not expect to recover stolen items.’

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About Albeiro Rodas

Albeiro Rodas (in Cambodia Sky Ly Samnang), is a MA in Digital Communication, independent journalist and a Salesian of Don Bosco from Amalfi, Colombia, based in Cambodia since 1999. He is the creator of the Don Bosco schools of journalism in Sihanoukville and Kep with young people from poor communities and the founder of the Don Bosco Kep Children Fund. Medal for Social Commitment UPB (2010); among the 100 more upstanding Colombians abroad (Marca Colombia, 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X39xwdGtVXI) and among the 12 Colombians that are making this a better world 2013 (http://www.colombia.co/en/culture/colombians-that-are-making-this-a-better-world.html).

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