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Phnom Penh Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2024?

Planning a trip to Phnom Penh? Its vibrant culture and history are enticing, but like any city, it poses safety concerns. Is it safe for travelers?

Tobi Miles
April 1, 2024
Phnom Penh Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2024?

You'll be relieved to know that with the right precautions, your adventure in Phnom Penh can be both safe and unforgettable. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about staying safe in Cambodia's capital, from navigating the streets to safeguarding your possessions. Let's dive in and discover how you can make the most of your Phnom Penh journey without compromising on safety.

Key Takeaways

  • Phnom Penh is generally safe for travelers, but like any major city, it requires visitors to take precautions against petty theft, especially in crowded areas.
  • Navigating the city's chaotic traffic safely is crucial, with a preference for reputable taxi services or verified ride-hailing apps like Grab and PassApp to avoid accidents and ensure fair pricing.
  • Health and food safety in Phnom Penh are important, with recommendations to drink bottled water and eat at reputable establishments to prevent foodborne illnesses.
  • Investing in comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, theft, and travel disruptions is advisable for peace of mind.
  • Being aware of and respecting local customs and sensitivities, such as dressing modestly when visiting temples, contributes significantly to a safe and enriching experience.
  • Safeguarding possessions through vigilant personal security measures, like using anti-theft bags and limiting the amount of cash and valuables carried, is essential for a worry-free visit.

Understanding the Safety Landscape in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Cambodia's bustling capital, serves as a fascinating destination for travelers worldwide. While it's a city steeped in history and culture, like any major city, it comes with its own set of safety concerns. Navigating these concerns is essential for a hassle-free visit.

Firstly, it's crucial to understand that the overall crime rate in Phnom Penh is relatively low compared to other Southeast Asian cities. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag-snatching are the most common issues tourists face, especially in crowded places such as markets and tourist hotspots. By staying vigilant and adopting simple measures such as not flaunting valuables, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering such problems.

Crime Type

Incidence Rate

Petty Theft


Violent Crimes




Traffic in Phnom Penh can be chaotic and unpredictable. Road safety is an area of concern, with traffic laws loosely enforced. When using tuk-tuks or taxis, it's best to agree on a fare beforehand to avoid overcharging. For those brave enough to navigate the streets on a motorcycle or bicycle, wearing a helmet and being extra cautious is vital.

Equally important is the aspect of health safety. The city has made strides in improving healthcare facilities, but it's advisable to have comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergencies. Avoiding tap water and street food from questionable sources will also minimize health risks.

As a traveler, respecting local customs and traditions goes a long way in ensuring your safety and creating a positive experience. Dressing modestly, especially when visiting temples, and being mindful of local sensitivities can prevent any cultural misunderstandings.

In sum, understanding the safety landscape in Phnom Penh revolves around being informed, cautious, and respectful. With the right precautions, your journey through the heart of Cambodia can be as safe as it is thrilling, allowing you to immerse yourself in the unique charm and heritage of Phnom Penh without undue worry.

Crime Rates and Common Safety Concerns

When considering a visit to Phnom Penh, it's crucial to look into the city's crime rates and the most common safety concerns that travelers face. While Cambodia’s capital offers a rich cultural experience, understanding the safety landscape is key to a worry-free visit.

Petty Theft and Pickpocketing are notably the most frequent issues tourists encounter, especially in bustling markets, crowded tourist spots, and when using public transportation. Despite efforts to curb these activities, they remain a concern due to the high volume of visitors and the ease with which thieves can operate in crowded settings.

Crime Type

Incidence Rate

Petty Theft


Violent Crime

Low to Moderate

Traffic Incidents


Scam Operations


Traffic safety in Phnom Penh is another significant concern. The streets are often congested, and traffic laws are not always followed rigorously. Motorbike theft is also an issue, so always ensure that your transportation is secured and parked in a safe area.

Regarding health safety, while not directly a crime, it's essential to be cautious about food and water consumption. Stick to bottled or purified water and dine at reputable establishments to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Before embarking on your journey, invest in comprehensive travel insurance that covers theft, medical emergencies, and any trip cancellations or interruptions. This step is vital for safeguarding against unforeseen circumstances that might occur during your stay.

Awareness and preparation are your best tools. Being mindful of your surroundings, avoiding risky areas after dark, and keeping your belongings secure can significantly reduce your risk of encountering these common safety concerns. Stay informed about the latest local news and updates, and do not hesitate to ask your accommodation staff for safety tips and advice tailored to your itinerary. By taking these precautions, you can focus on enjoying the incredible experiences Phnom Penh has to offer.

Safety Tips for Travelers in Phnom Penh

Venturing into the vibrant city of Phnom Penh can be an enriching experience, but staying alert and informed is key to ensuring your safety. With the right precautions, you can minimize risks and fully enjoy the Cambodian capital's unique offerings.

Stay Vigilant in Crowded Places

Petty theft, including pickpocketing, is more common in crowded spots such as markets, tourist attractions, and public transportation. Always keep your belongings secure and close to your body. Consider using anti-theft bags or wallets that offer additional protection.

Choose Your Transportation Wisely

Navigating Phnom Penh's streets can be chaotic. Traffic incidents are a significant concern, with motorcycles and tuk-tuks weaving through the traffic. Opt for reputable taxi services or book rides through verified apps to ensure safer travel. Always wear a helmet if you decide to ride a motorcycle or bike.

Health Is Wealth

Food and water safety in Phnom Penh is crucial. Stick to bottled water and restaurants with good hygiene practices to avoid foodborne illnesses. Street food can be safe, but opt for stalls where you can see food being cooked thoroughly.

Scams to Watch Out For

Be aware of common scams targeting travelers. These can range from overpriced tours to counterfeit goods. Always verify the authenticity of any service or product and agree on prices upfront to avoid being overcharged.

Protect Your Health and Belongings

Investing in travel insurance is a wise decision. Ensure your policy covers medical emergencies, theft, and accidents. This small investment can save you from significant losses and give you peace of mind as you explore.

By following these safety tips, you're setting yourself up for a memorable and trouble-free visit to Phnom Penh. Stay informed, be cautious, and embrace the adventure with confidence.

Navigating the Streets and Public Transportation Safely

When you're exploring Phnom Penh, the hustle and bustle of the streets can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. It's essential to navigate the city with caution and awareness to ensure your safety.

Traffic in Phnom Penh can often seem chaotic to newcomers. Motorbikes, cars, and tuk-tuks weave through the streets, sometimes ignoring traffic signals. To avoid accidents, always look both ways before crossing the street, even if you have the right of way. Pedestrian crossings are rare, and drivers may not always stop for you.

Regarding public transportation, options such as tuk-tuks and taxis are abundant. However, it’s crucial to choose wisely. Opt for reputable taxi companies or use verified ride-hailing apps like Grab and PassApp. These apps offer transparent pricing and the ability to track your route, adding an extra layer of safety to your journey.

Ride-Hailing App

Average Rating

Key Feature



Wide Availability



Transparent Pricing

Another point of concern is motorbike rentals. While renting a motorbike gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace, it's not for the faint-hearted. Traffic conditions can be challenging, and accidents are not uncommon. If you decide to rent a motorbike, ensure you're experienced and always wear a helmet.

Finally, always keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded areas like markets or the riverside. Pickpocketing can happen, particularly if you're not paying attention to your surroundings. A cross-body bag or a money belt is safer than a backpack when moving around the city.

By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can enjoy all the sights and sounds of Phnom Penh without compromising your safety.

Safeguarding Your Possessions in Phnom Penh

In Phnom Penh, safeguarding your possessions isn't just advisable; it's essential for ensuring a worry-free visit. The bustling streets and crowded markets of Cambodia's capital can be a paradise for pickpockets and petty thieves who often target unsuspecting tourists. Yet, with the right precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk.

Always Be Attentive: The first rule of thumb is to be constantly aware of your surroundings. Distraction is a pickpocket's best friend. Keep your bags and valuables secure and within your sight, especially in crowded areas like the Central Market or along the riverside.

Utilize Anti-Theft Bags: Investing in anti-theft travel bags can make a big difference. These bags are designed with reinforced straps to prevent slashing, RFID-blocking pockets to protect your cards, and locks that deter would-be thieves. They're a practical and stylish way to keep your belongings safe.



Reinforced Straps

Prevents slashing


Protects credit cards and passports

Lockable Zippers

Deters pickpockets

Limit What You Carry: Minimize risk by limiting what you carry on you. Use hotel safes or other secure locations to store extra cash, passports, and any items you don’t need for your day's adventure. Carrying only what you need reduces potential losses if you do encounter a thief.

Stay Digitally Secure: Lastly, digital security is as crucial as physical security. Use passwords and biometric locks on your electronic devices. Avoid using public Wi-Fi for financial transactions or sensitive communications. Consider using VPNs to encrypt your data and safeguard your privacy.

By following these steps, you can enjoy Phnom Penh's vibrant streets and rich culture without worrying about the safety of your possessions. Stay vigilant, and you'll navigate the city with confidence and peace of mind.


By taking the necessary steps to protect your belongings, you're setting yourself up for a fantastic experience in Phnom Penh. Remember, it's about being smart and prepared rather than anxious. With the right precautions, you'll navigate the city's bustling streets and immerse yourself in its culture without a hitch. So, pack those anti-theft bags, stay alert, and get ready to explore all that Phnom Penh has to offer with confidence and serenity. Your adventure awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to safeguard your possessions in Phnom Penh?

It's crucial due to the high prevalence of pickpockets and thieves targeting tourists. Secure protection of your belongings ensures a worry-free experience while exploring the city.

What are anti-theft bags?

Anti-theft bags are specially designed bags with features like reinforced straps and RFID-blocking pockets to prevent theft. They offer added security for your belongings in crowded places.

How can you limit what you carry in Phnom Penh?

Prioritize only essential items for your day out, such as a limited amount of cash, one credit card, and a photocopy of your passport. This minimizes potential losses in case of theft.

What does staying digitally secure mean while travelling?

Staying digitally secure involves protecting your digital information, such as credit card details and personal data, by using secure networks, avoiding public Wi-Fi for financial transactions, and utilizing VPNs when necessary.

Can these precautions ensure a completely theft-proof experience in Phnom Penh?

While no measure can guarantee a completely theft-proof experience, taking these precautions significantly reduces the risk of falling victim to theft, allowing visitors to enjoy Phnom Penh confidently.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
April 1, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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