Travel Trouble

3 travel scams to look out for in Cambodia

3 travel scams to look out for in Cambodia

Exploring the world and what it has to offer can be exciting for tourists, especially when they reach their destination after a long flight of cramped quarters and noisy eaters.

There are issues that you should look out for when you’re travelling. 

1. Border patrol scams

One writer for Stuff NZ detailed their experience as they were scammed at the border of Cambodia.

The writer was approached by a well-dressed border patrol worker and said that they would be taken to a separate checkpoint to analyse their passports and be issued with a visa.

It was only when they reached the office that the writer realised something was amiss as the border patrol worker demanded more money and their passports.

The scam is a common one, where people try to get more money out of unsuspecting tourists. The average visa should cost around $US 25.

2. Traffic police bribes

Ideally, bribing police should not be on your list of things to do in Cambodia.

Being pulled over by the police is a scary experience, but there are rumours that the traffic police in Cambodia are corrupt and will come up with reasons you should be fined until you bribe them.

As traffic police tend to pull over tourists and not locals as they are aware of how much the real fines are, it can be scary when you’ve rented a vehicle and get pulled over. 

Some fines might be legitimate, but the money you pay to the traffic cop will go into their pocket.

3. Being stopped by a fake monk for donations

Some tourists delight in seeing monks and a photo of a monk outside a temple can be a holiday treasure for some.

As locals are aware that there is a demand for tourists to see monks, many have taken advantage of this, according to Move To Cambodia.

There are fake monks scattered throughout Cambodia, but there are a few ways to figure out whether or not the monk you’re seeing is legitimate.

Fake monks are usually middle aged whereas legitimate Cambodian monks are in their twenties or even younger. Try to resist when they ask for more money, despite your donation already.

Aggressive begging is also another tip-off, as reported in a New York Times piece about fake monks.

“Aggressive begging is utterly unheard-of in the Buddhist tradition. The monks typically do not even acknowledge the offering,” says Robert Buswell, director of the Centre for Buddhist Studies at UCLA.

In Cambodia, most monks stand quietly outside of businesses or traffic-heavy areas and hold their begging bowls while waiting to be noticed.

If a monk comes up to you asking for donations, they are most likely a fake monk.