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Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

Level Contributor
7 posts
12 reviews
8 helpful votes
Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

If you are planning to visit Cambodia, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat complex, avoid at all cost Phnom Penh!!

It is a city with no law, full of bag snatching, scam, corruption and thieves.

In just 1 and a half day, I saw too many crimes.

I was myself robbed in the street by 8 boys driving 4 motorcycles. We were 4 friends walking in the sidewalk when I was thrown to the ground violently and they stole my mobile phone. It could have been worse because when they pushed me in the middle of the street I was hit by another motorcycle. There were people on the street and nobody did anything. There was even a security guard from a near building who just watched what was happening, he didn't move.

It was impossible to find a policeman.

With pain and bruising we went to the nearest hotel and ask for help. We tried to locate the mobile phone but the staff from the hotel persuade me about it. They explained to me that everybody gets robbed, specially mobile phones. All her family had been robbed at least once, and that is was much worse trying to locate them. They advise me to just forget about it, there was nothing to do. I told them about going to the police and make a complaint. And they even suggested me not to do that.

When we went back to the hostel, we realized that someone had stole money from our bags. Complaining to the hotel staff was no good either. So we decided to run out of town and never come back.

After sharing our experience with other local people and travelers, we have realized that we have not been the only ones.

So while the situation does not change in this city, avoid it at all costs.

However, It is a pity because it is a beautiful country and full of people that deserve more than what they are getting. Just a handful of undesirables, scammers and criminals are spoiling everything, and the government seems not to worry about it.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

103 replies to this topic
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
18,028 posts
5 reviews
12 helpful votes
1. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

Hello kiops

Your post is sensationally alarmist.

I spend a couple of months every year in Phnom Pen and find it a fascinating and very enjoyable city. As do countless thousands of other visitors.

Yes, opportunistic crime exists here as it does in most poor countries and else where in the world.

It's your job to remove the opportunity from opportunistic crime. Prevention is better than cure.

Any reading of this forum prior to travel here would have more than alerted you to the presence of opportunistic crime in Phnom Penh in particular and how best to avoid it.

No where in your posting do you say whereabouts or the Street #, or at what time of day this took place. Nor do you name the hostel at which this alleged theft took place. Bags are hardly secure - where they locked with a quality lock? As the saying goes...cheap locks only keep out honest thieves...

Why did you not go to the Tourist Police whose contact particulars are easily found in free tourist information information handouts and the like?

Best regards. Ian/Angkorlad

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Level Contributor
800 posts
38 reviews
18 helpful votes
2. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

I'm from Australia but have called Phnom Penh Cambodia home for 8 years and in this time know no one who has ever been robbed or seen anyone being robbed .

You mention ( Hostel ) and being robbed ,did you have your belongings in a safe ?.

I see you're from Spain ,I think after watching the news on TV in the last few days , Phnom Penh is a thousands times more safe than Spain .

Walking around carry your mobile devices in full view of the general public and/or wearing gold chains ,with open neck clothing leaves yourself open to robbery in any city/ town worldwide .

Phnom Penh is one of the safest cities in the world and CAMBODIA one of the safest Countries in the world .

Edited: 3 years ago
Pattaya, Thailand
1 post
3. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

you are the unluckiest guy i know.Basic security rules apply but the city is not that bad.

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
4,441 posts
96 reviews
45 helpful votes
4. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

OP you are really the unluckiest guy I know .. I agree with Post#3... really..

I am a solo walker in my 40s .. the latest times when I reach my own hotel by walking , is sometime near 3am , while I am in Phnom Penh... I also like to take late night massages after midnight followed by supper ...

I walked from River side area after drinks back to my hotel... sometimes just do not feel like paying the high tuk tuk prices after midnight..

Never been robbed so far , not even an attempted 1... not only Phnom Penh but anywhere else..

I always lock my Samsonite hardcase luggage & Backpacks(with secure locks) & my luggage has never been prised open..

I felt safer in Phnom Penh in the wee hours , then while I was in Manila , Ho Chi Minh , Kuala Lumpur , Phuket .. I could go on & on.. only the feral dogs were more fearful in the wee hours..

Sorry that you suffered but simply Do not agree with your Topic Title telling travellers to avoid Phnom Penh at all costs ..

Newcastle upon...
Level Contributor
16,973 posts
196 reviews
136 helpful votes
5. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

Obviously there is crime in the city, as there is in most cities, and tourists are often targeted. I can see why the OP's bad experience made them post such a dire warning

It is a place where I would advise extra caution, especially in the later hours of the night. Luckily I've not had a problem yet in my several short visits, but I'm only there for a night or two each time & tucked up in bed by midnight

Wyong, Australia
Level Contributor
5,012 posts
77 reviews
59 helpful votes
6. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

I suppose we base most of our beliefs on our own experiences. I too enjoy our Samsonite luggage.

Thanks for the warning.

Have fun

Liston, Australia
Level Contributor
2,787 posts
49 reviews
25 helpful votes
7. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!


In Australia we have a DFAT / Smartraveller site that gives advice to people going overseas - possibly the Spanish Government will have something similar.

For Cambodia it mentions that overall - "exercise normal safety precautions" and under "safety and security" it mentions the issues you have elaborated upon so that travelers are prewarned.

Tourists can be victims of petty crime and so we need to be aware and prepared so we avoid being targeted by incorporating "safety precautions" into our travels so we can enjoy what the places we visit have to offer.

Perth, Australia
Destination Expert
for Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangkok
Level Contributor
25,716 posts
163 reviews
100 helpful votes
8. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

I am sorry that you had such dreadful experiences while you were in Phonm Penh. As Ian in post #1 mentioned, it would be helpful if you could give more more information regarding time of day, location and the name of the hostel.

I also visit Phonm Penh often and have never come across anyone who had been subjected to what happened to you.

This is not a criticism but just a suggestion for other visitors - John's comments about phones and wearing expensive jewelry is very wise. I realise that it's fashionable to walk around clutching expensive phones but as the OP discovered, it is so easy for an opportunistic thief on a motor bike to snatch it out of your hand. These items are easily on sold, so for safety, keep them in a secure pocket or bag and certainly out of sight.

Level Contributor
742 posts
27 reviews
6 helpful votes
9. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!

I agree with travelkat's sensible advice. I am appalled by John D's comparison.

An additional aspect to consider might be: Why using hostels in a country full of drug using backpackers when a hotel room is often cheaper - even for single travelers? The staff is underpaid and has zero authority to do anything beyond their so-called tasked. They might risk their badly paid jobs.

About the police: Your describes the general state of affairs despite some well-publicized cases to the contrary. I see them almost daily making money along the main streets of SHV.

My advice for SEA in general - avoid hostels and so-called party hostels even more so - whenever you can.

Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
97 posts
1 review
10. Re: Avoid Phnom Penh at all cost!!!!


Hits the nail on the head. Imho there is "opportunistic crime" and their is orchestrated crime.

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