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Travel Warning & Consular Information Sheet for Cambodia

Cambodia - Consular Information Sheet
February 15, 2001

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cambodia is a poor developing country with a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarch. A coalition government was formed between the two major political parties in November 1998, following national elections in July of that year.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required. Tourists and business travelers may purchase a Cambodian visa, valid for one month, at the airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Both require a passport-sized photograph.

All U.S. citizens departing Cambodia are required to pay a passenger departure tax, payable in U.S. dollars. Current information about entry/visa and other requirements may be obtained from the Royal Embassy of Cambodia, 4500 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20022, telephone number 202-726-7742, fax 202-726-8381. Overseas inquiries may be made at the nearest embassy or consulate of Cambodia.

DUAL NATIONALITY: Dual nationality is not prohibited under Cambodia's nationality law, enacted in 1996. In addition to being subject to all Cambodian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Cambodian citizens. Specific questions on dual nationality may be directed to a Cambodian embassy or consulate. For general information, please see the Consular Affairs homepage on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov for our dual nationality flyer.

SAFETY AND SECURITY: The formation of a coalition government in 1998 has eased political tensions considerably. However, sporadic acts of violence have occurred, such as in late November 2000 when an anti-government group based in the U.S. led an early-morning attack against some government building in Phnom Penh. Grenade attacks and bombings have been used as a form of retribution to settle business and personal disputes. Therefore, the U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens to avoid political gatherings or demonstrations, and to be extra cautious in the vicinity of political party offices as well as military buildings or compounds in Phnom Penh and in provincial capitals.

The U.S. Embassy advises its personnel who travel to the provinces to exercise extreme caution outside the provincial towns during the day and in any place at night. Many rural parts of the country remain without effective policing and are subject to banditry.

Land mines and unexploded ordnance can be found in rural areas throughout Cambodia, but especially in Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, Siem Reap, and Kampong Thom provinces. At no time should travelers walk in forested areas or in dry rice paddies without a local guide. Areas around small bridges on secondary roads are particularly dangerous. Travelers who observe anything that resembles a mine or unexploded ordnance should not touch it. They should notify the Cambodia Mine Action Center at telephone 023-368-841/981-083 or 084.

The town of Siem Reap and the vicinity of the Angkor Wat temple complex remain officially open to tourists, but the U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens to travel only by air and to limit their movements to the city of Siem Reap and the main Angkor Wat temple complexes. The risk of banditry and military activity continues in various parts of Siem Reap Province. Illegal checkpoints, requiring cash payment to pass, have been reported sporadically on the road to the Banteay Srey temple, which is approximately 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) northeast of the town of Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. Americans are advised to consult with local police or tourist authorities before traveling to
Banteay Srey.

CRIME: Crime and banditry are persistent problems in many areas of the country. The U.S. Embassy advises its personnel to review their personal security practices regularly. The severe poverty in Cambodia has contributed to an increase in armed robberies and assaults, sometimes during daylight hours. A number of Americans have been robbed at gunpoint in Phnom Penh. Most individuals were robbed while riding on motorcycle taxis or cyclos (passenger-carrying bicycles) and generally after dark, but such incidents have occurred in broad daylight as well. U.S. citizens should avoid traveling alone, especially after dark and limit outdoor activity after dark in the capital city area and return home or to their hotel early in the evening. The U.S. Embassy advises its personnel to carry photocopies of their U.S. passport, driver's license or other important documents.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh. Useful information on guarding valuables and protecting personal security while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad. It is available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C. 20402, via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov and autofax service at 202-647-3000, or at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh.

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical facilities and services in Cambodia are not up to international standards.

MEDICAL INSURANCE: U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties.

Please check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation, and for adequacy of coverage. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.

TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Cambodia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Driving at night in Cambodia is not advised. In both urban and rural areas, road maintenance is sporadic. Roads between major areas are adequate; however, those leading to more rural areas are poor. During the rainy season both urban and rural road conditions deteriorate considerably. Roadside assistance is nonexistent. The safety of road travel outside urban areas varies greatly. Even on heavily traveled roads there can be incidents of banditry, so all travel should be done in daylight between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Cambodia driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in Washington, D.C. or via the Internet at http://www.embassy.org/cambodia.

OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION: The U.S. Embassy advises Embassy personnel not to travel by train because of the high risk of banditry. Travel by boat should be avoided because boats are often overcrowded and lack adequate safety equipment. Several incidents have occurred en route to Siem Reap, including a boat sinking in 1997 and an armed robbery of a number of tourists on the "fast boat" between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in 1999. Owners of the boats accept no liability for accidents.

Moto-taxis and cyclos (passenger-carrying bicycles) are widely available; however, the U.S. Embassy does not recommend using them due to safety concerns and because personal belonging can be easily stolen.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial air service by local carriers at present, nor economic authority to operate such service between the U.S. and Cambodia, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Cambodia's Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards. However, in an audit of Cambodia's Civil Aviation Authorities in 1999, the International Civil Aviation Organization determined that Cambodia does not have the capability to conduct effective safety oversight of Civil Aviation Activities.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at telephone 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Cambodia customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Cambodia of items such as drugs, firearms, antiquities, or ivory. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Cambodia in Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating the law in Cambodia, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use and trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.

FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS: Personal checks and credit cards are not widely accepted within Cambodia, although a number of banks in Phnom Penh accept visa cards for cash advances. Bank and major hotels accept travelers' cheques, but usually charge a service fee. There are no ATM machines in Cambodia. The U.S. dollar and Cambodian riel are both widely used, although U.S. dollars are preferred, especially for larger transactions.

CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.

REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: All U.S. citizens in Cambodia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh where they may obtain updated information on travel and security within Cambodia. The U.S. Embassy is located at no. 16, Street 228 (between streets 51 and 63), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The telephone number is (855-23) 216-436 or 218-931;fax (855-23)-216-437. A recording of security information is available twenty-four hours a day at telephone (855-23) 216-805.

This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated July 27, 2000 to update the Country Description, Entry Requirements, Safety and Security (incorporating Areas of Instability), Medical Facilities, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, Aviation Safety Oversight, and Financial Transactions (previously called Special Circumstances).

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