Safety in Siem Reap
Most locals are decent people just trying to make an honest living, but a few shady characters try every trick to take advantage of travellers' good will. Be alert to deceptive dealers but don't let suspicion ruin your trip.
Convenience stores have been known to give incorrect change and pocket the rest. Check your change before you walk out of the store and point out any short changing. Most likely they will admit to their "mistake" and give you the right change.
Street vendors and beggars in competition for generous travellers' handouts have developed cunning, if underhanded, techniques to get your attention (and money). The "beggar army" of young children will come up to you in the crowd and grab your hands, leading you to a shop where they will then try and have you buy food/baby milk/water for them. Baby milk powder seems to be a popular one. It might sound like a more humanitarian way to help than simply giving them money, but once you leave the store the goods you bought for them are sold back to the shop owners or to other locals and the cash goes to an adult. Young women with babies cradled in a krama perform a similar trick.
Donation-collectors for orphanages may approach you in the street claiming to be volunteer workers, showing you convincing photos of themselves in the orphanage and a clip board listing the generous donations made by foreign visitors. Though these young adults may be well groomed and speak excellent English it's possible that your donation will go directly into their pockets. A donation (either of money, or your time) to a recognised charity might be a better way to help.
Baby-milk scams may be encountered in the centre of town, outside supermarkets. A very poor looking woman will beg for some milk powder, pointing to her baby. If one cracks and buys the milk, she later returns it to the shop, and the money is split half-half.
Dollar bills need to be checked, as you will find out that you won't be able to change bills with any tiny cut. Fake dollar bills are also wide spread, and can even be issued from ATMs.
NGO safari should be avoided. Do not schedule any orphanage visit unless this is the main purpose of your trip.
Paedopilia scam is a danger for any Western male travelling alone to Siem Reap. Crooked NGO APLE ("Agir pour les enfants"), is trapping individuals with child-abuse related false allegations. Do not stay alone with young people (room, temple, school, countryside, stadium, car) and do not respond to any favour they ask of you (transport, phone call, help, use your toilet or a glass of water)
For general information on health in Cambodia, see the article on Cambodia.
- Royal Angkor International Hospital, National Rte 6, Phum Kasekam, Khum Sra Ngea, . Owned by the Bangkok Hospital Group and caters specifically to tourists. The care is not cheap, but it is of a very high standard. There is a fully stocked pharmacy, general surgeon, orthopedic surgeon, pediatrician and other hospital services such as treatment for fractures and intestinal problems.
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