Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
- Safety and security
- Local laws and customs
- Natural disasters and climate
- Additional information
We advise you to take normal precautions.
We advise against all travel to the area of the Preah Vihear temple on the Cambodian/Thai border.
Latest Travel Alert
Political tensions have increased in Cambodia and it is possible further protests may take place in advance of elections scheduled for 29 July 2018; you should avoid all public gatherings and monitor local media closely.
Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Cambodia, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Hanoi.
We suggest you learn as much as you can about Cambodia before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Cambodia, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
Safety and security
Safety and security
In Cambodia, there's a risk of violent incidents and we advise you to avoid crowds and in particular political demonstrations, in particular in the run-up to elections scheduled for 29 July 2018. We also advise against publicly expressing strong political views.
The sovereignty of land adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple on the Cambodian/Thai border is the subject of a dispute and tensions continue to run high there. The temple is closed at present and you’re advised to avoid the area.
Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
Although the threat from terrorism in Cambodia is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates.
Unexploded mines and ordnances are a continuing hazard in former battlefields, particularly in northern Cambodia. Don’t stray off main routes in rural areas and check with your tour operator before travelling to affected regions.
Petty Crime is common in Cambodia, particularly in urban areas you should take sensible precautions at all times and especially during the summer peak travel period;
- The Embassy is aware of a number of cases of tourists being lured into private homes under the pretext of discovering a new bar, and assaulted or robbed. We recommend that you exercise caution if you are invited by locals to visit a bar outside tourist areas, or to visit someone’s home for a game of cards or other form of gambling;
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport and original birth certificate (as well as travel insurance documents and other important documents) with family or friends at home;
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together, leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place;
- Be aware that bag snatching occurs frequently and there is a significant increase in theft in the lead up to local festivals;
- Avoid placing bags in the front basket of bicycles;
- Bag snatchers on motorbikes are also a problem;
- When travelling by air, bus or train, stay vigilant against petty theft, particularly in busy rail and bus stations and in crowded airports;
- Avoid isolated areas after dark, including beaches in the Sihanoukville area, where there have been an increasing number of violent
- Travelling by car will reduce the risk as will limiting night time travel around Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap to well-lit public areas;
- You should be aware of the risk of robbery and other crime (including sexual offences) especially in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, particularly after dark.
Lost or stolen passport
If your passport is lost or stolen, report this to the Police immediately and obtain a Police Report. Irish Citizens should be aware that if this occurs, it will delay your travel plans considerably, and cost you money. Along with the time taken to arrange a new travel document, you will subsequently need to get a replacement visa and an exit visa from immigration and this can take at least three working days and may delay your onward travel plans considerably. Please be aware that the nearest Irish Embassy is in Hanoi, Vietnam and dealing with a lost or stolen passport can be extremely inconvenient for you and can take time to resolve.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Cambodia, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Hanoi if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Cambodia, you should be extremely careful as driving standards can be erratic and sometimes dangerous. If you want to drive, you’ll need a Cambodian driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance. Be aware that driving without a licence may invalidate your travel insurance if you have an accident.
Motorbikes and scooters
Accidents involving motorbikes or scooters, often causing serious injury, long-term brain damage or death, are a common occurrence in Cambodia. If you decide to rent or buy a motorbike or scooter please take the same precautions as you would at home. These include wearing a helmet, observing speed limits and obeying the rules of the road.
Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Failure to follow this advice is likely to invalidate your insurance coverage if you are involved in an accident. Please note that the use of crash helmets is compulsory for motorbike users and passengers in Cambodia.
Taxis are a common way to get around but be careful, as the standard of driving may be poor. Always use licensed taxis or pre-arranged hotel pick-ups when transferring from airports. You shouldn’t accept offers of free transfers to hotels as these are likely to be bogus.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Pedestrians should take particular care when crossing roads in major cities as driving in Cambodia can be erratic and sometimes dangerous.
A number of energy drinks, which are banned in European countries due to the high levels of stimulants they contain, are available in Cambodia. Many but not all carry health warnings.
Consumption of these drinks, on their own or with alcohol can pose a serious danger to health, particularly to people with pre-existing cardiac or other health conditions.
Outdoor adventure sports
Before you take part in any outdoor or water-based sports or activities, such as kayaking, rock climbing, hang-gliding, etc., check that your travel insurance will cover you in the event of death or injury to yourself or a third party.
You should also be aware that the health and safety requirements in Cambodia aren’t as stringent as in Ireland and are often neither observed nor enforced. This means the risk of a serious or fatal accident while taking part in these activities is much higher.
Local laws and customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Visitors should not engage in any illegal activity. Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. Illegal drugs procured in Cambodia are likely to have been tampered with or spiked.
You should be aware of spiked drinks, particularly late at night in bars. Don’t leave food or drink unattended or accept food or drink from strangers.
Home-made alcohol may be contaminated with bacteria or with toxic chemicals from pesticides and should be avoided.
Crimes such as sex offences or fraud can result in long prison terms. The Cambodian legal system is not very well developed and the standard of prisons is very poor.
Photography of, or near, military installations is generally prohibited.
The Cambodian Government has lifted its suspension on marriages between Cambodians and foreign nationals in Cambodia. If you want to marry in Cambodia, contact us in Dublin or the Irish Embassy in Hanoi for details of the new regulations.
The procurement of surrogacy services in Cambodia is illegal and punishable as an offence under the criminal code. Any Irish person seeking to source surrogacy services in Cambodia should be aware of this, and should additionally note that outside Phnom Penh, access to healthcare and medical services can be basic.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters and climate
The rainy season in Cambodia runs from approximately mid-April to the end of October. The water levels of rivers and lakes will be high during the rainy season and flooding is increasingly common in a number of provinces. Check with your travel agent and your hotel staff for details on which areas to avoid during the rainy season
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
All visitors to Cambodia must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months from the time of entry into Cambodia and contain at least one blank page for a visa stamp.
You can get a visa on arrival at the Cambodian border. You’ll need to bring two passport photographs with you. A tourist visa costs US $30 (with an additional $7 processing fee) for one month and can be extended for only one extra month. Payment for visas is accepted in US dollars only. For business visas, we recommend that you contact the nearest Cambodian Embassy before travelling.
The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs operates an electronic visa (e-Visa) facility for tourist visas only. The e-Visa costs US $20 and can only be used at the main entry crossings with the immigration IT system. You can apply for your e-Visa online to the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where full terms and conditions are also listed, with information on which border entry points accept the e-Visa.
Tourist visas issued by a Royal Cambodian Embassy abroad may appear to have a longer validity than one month. Their validity refers to time to enter Cambodia. The visa is valid for 30 days from the actual date of entry into Cambodia. Make sure your passport is stamped on arrival, whether entering through an airport or land crossing.
Overstaying either business or tourist visas without the proper authority is a serious matter and you can be held in detention until a fine is paid ($5 per day for the first 30 days, followed by $6 thereafter). Travellers have been imprisoned and deported at their own expense for overstaying. Please note that there is no upper limit on the amount of the fine that can be imposed and travellers who have overstayed have often been required to pay upwards of $1000 USD upon departure.
If you have any queries about visas or entry requirements, check with the The Royal Cambodian Embassy.
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Cambodia.
The standard of health care in Cambodia is sufficient for treating minor injuries in the major cities but if you need more complicated treatment you may need to be evacuated to another country. This may be expensive, so please ensure that you have reliable travel insurance that will cover medical evacuation if required.
There have been outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) in Cambodia and a number of human infections and fatalities (believed to have arisen through close contact with infected poultry) have been reported.
The risk from avian influenza is believed to be low, as long as you take certain precautions. Avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds and make sure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
Cases of dengue fever are showing a steady increase and it’s common in both rural and urban areas of Cambodia (including Phnom Penh). When you arrive, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, especially just after dawn and before dusk, by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers.
Malaria and Japanese encephalitis occur in rural areas of Cambodia and are transmitted by mosquitoes. Your doctor will advise as to appropriate prophylactic measures or vaccines, depending on the length of your stay and the areas you intend to visit. Before travelling, get up-to-date medical advice as to whether you will need anti-malarial medication.
The local currency is the Cambodian Riel and US Dollars are widely accepted and used for most transactions. You can also use the Thai Baht in border areas with Thailand.
ATMs are not widely available outside the major cities and tourist areas and some ATMs may not accept international cards.
Credit cards are accepted in some hotels and by some businesses in larger cities, but outside the main centres you may find that cash is the only acceptable currency.
You can cash travellers’ cheques in many banks and bureaux de change.