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Is Sihanoukville the most dangerous place in SE Asia?


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Is Sihanoukville still the most dangerous place in SE Asia?

It certainly was around 2008. I was robbed and beaten viciously on a beach at 5pm one afternoon by 3 guys- one of whom had a wooden batton and used it on my face and head. I was lucky enough to survive and later met (in bkk hospital) 2 Australian girls who were also robbed- in town 8pm by a crazy guy with a knife who cut both of their arms.

What is snookyville like now? Maybe its not as bad anymore? Have things improved or are there still guys high on yabba robbing and attacking tourists?

I expect if you own a bar or business in the area you will no doubt say all is well in paradise.

On lonely planet thorntree forum thread the most recent attack was the following:

‘’ Hi all.

I just met an Irish Lady in Siem Reap who had been robbed and injured coming from the beach in broad daylight in Sihanoukville. This and many other stories I heard along the way make me avoid the place alltogether. I have been travelling in Cambodia for three weeks now, and nowhere have horror stories arisen in any way as they do in Sihanoukville.’’

Please share your opinion…

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Judging from what appears on social media platforms, blogs, etc., it does seem that the crime rate has risen significantly in Sihanoukville over the past few years (no official statistics sorry). Although some of what I read does sound like BS, people wanting to have a "war story" to brag to their friends back home about. I don't live there, but travel there on the odd occasion to get away from PP, and have many friends there.

As for calling it the most dangerous place in SE Asia...not by a long shot! I have been to much worse places. In my opinion it is a s**thole on the most part, but definitely not the most dangerous in SEA.

Apparently due to local pressure from the ex-pat and local community, a new Chief of Police has been posted there and has begun to hold public meetings with Snooky residents to discuss the crime and other issues,.which is a good step in the right direction, maybe he will actually start doing something about it.

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Good heavens no, not even the most dangerous place in Cambodia. Let alone SE Asia.

But reasonable caution is indicated, especially in terms of thieves snatching things, and also in taking mototaxis alone.

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I wonder if 'sheryl' has even been to snookyville? It is a dodgy place for tourists to visit and a high percentage do get robbed or worse in that place. Maybe PP is rated worse on the danger aspect but this is only due to population numbers. For a small place like snookyville with small population it does have a high danger element to it and backpackers should be aware.

I personally cant think of anywhere more dodgy in SE Asia than Sihanoukville for a backpacker and I have travelled everywhere

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I wonder if 'sheryl' has even been to snookyville? It is a dodgy place for tourists to visit and a high percentage do get robbed or worse in that place. Maybe PP is rated worse on the danger aspect but this is only due to population numbers. For a small place like snookyville with small population it does have a high danger element to it and backpackers should be aware.

I personally cant think of anywhere more dodgy in SE Asia than Sihanoukville for a backpacker and I have travelled everywhere

Let me tell you...

I've been working in PP over 2 years and we travel down to Sihanoukville every time we can. Never in my or any of my expat friends have experienced any danger, violence or even police intimidation in Sihanoukville.

Perhaps there is the odd tale here and there but let me tell you from first hand experience Sihanoukville is one of the best, laidback, relaxing, cheap, unpoluted (the water is actually clear and full of fish), safe and pleasureable places in SEA.

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I wonder if 'sheryl' has even been to snookyville? It is a dodgy place for tourists to visit and a high percentage do get robbed or worse in that place. Maybe PP is rated worse on the danger aspect but this is only due to population numbers. For a small place like snookyville with small population it does have a high danger element to it and backpackers should be aware.

I personally cant think of anywhere more dodgy in SE Asia than Sihanoukville for a backpacker and I have travelled everywhere

I wonder if YOU have ever been to Sihanoukville...or maybe you have as a backpacker/tourist?

Have you really travelled everywhere? And you still reckon Sihanoukville is dodgier than anywhere else in SE Asia?...I call bullshit!

It is true, a lot of backpackers get shit stolen, because they get drunk out of their minds and fail to apply basic personal security tactics...but this happens everywhere in the world.

I am not a huge fan of Snooky, but there is a lot of misinformation and unnecessary scaremongering occurring about the place lately. Anyone who says it is the most dangerous/dodgy place in SE Asia has either spent their time "flashpacking" or has no fkn idea what they're talking about!

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Been there no less than 20 times, never had a problem but then I stay sober, speak the language and know the culture (can read the people/recongnize danger signs) all of which make a difference.

If you want to experience a genuinely "dodgy" place in Cambodia I suggest you hang out in Poipet or Noek Loueng (Prey Veng ferry crossing). Or Bavet.

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I hate Skooky and it is a right sh*thole! Bit the most dangerous place in SE Asia? Nope. Been many times and never had any trouble, but I have often seen twatpackers that were heading for trouble getting hammered and/or stoned and hanging out with their good Tuk-tuk driver "friends".

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oh, and lets not forget all the idiots who leave their belongings unattended on the beach while they go for a swim and then cry about their stuff being stolen! C'mon, most sensible people wouldn't even do that in their own countries

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Tuk - tuk driver friends ????

A lot of the banana-pancake eating crowd want to show how tuned in they are with the locals be befriending every Tuk-tuk/Cyclo/moto dop driver they come across. Usually not a good idea!

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I wonder if 'sheryl' has even been to snookyville? It is a dodgy place for tourists to visit and a high percentage do get robbed or worse in that place. Maybe PP is rated worse on the danger aspect but this is only due to population numbers. For a small place like snookyville with small population it does have a high danger element to it and backpackers should be aware.

I personally cant think of anywhere more dodgy in SE Asia than Sihanoukville for a backpacker and I have travelled everywhere

I wonder if YOU have ever been to Sihanoukville...or maybe you have as a backpacker/tourist?

Have you really travelled everywhere? And you still reckon Sihanoukville is dodgier than anywhere else in SE Asia?...I call bullshit!

It is true, a lot of backpackers get shit stolen, because they get drunk out of their minds and fail to apply basic personal security tactics...but this happens everywhere in the world.

I am not a huge fan of Snooky, but there is a lot of misinformation and unnecessary scaremongering occurring about the place lately. Anyone who says it is the most dangerous/dodgy place in SE Asia has either spent their time "flashpacking" or has no fkn idea what they're talking about!

Whats the name of the bar you own Rarky????

If anyone googles 'dangers of sihanoukville' you will see numerous threads on snookyville. There's a story on trip advisor (copy and paste below). This is a typical snookyville story and thus one should be careful if visiting snookyville which I agree has to be one of the dodgiest places in Asia. I've been there many times and know fully well how shady the police are, the dodgy tuk tuk drivers and all the problems with the guys on yabba. 'Travellingmark' has an interesting blog on this subject matter if you want to google it.

''Me and my partner and best friend are in Sihanoukville now, after spending 6months travelling in South-East Asia. We have genuinely loved Cambodia so far... until 2 nights ago when we were brutally attacked... TWICE.

My boyfriend and I were walking along the beach in the evening on our way home from a bar, when a Cambodian man ran past, grabbed my bag from my shoulder and bolted into the darkness. (In it was my camera, both our phones, ipods, money etc). We walked about 40 meters from the beach to the main road looking for help. We both looked obviously upset and distressed, and to add insult to injury (or injury to insult in this case) a middle aged white man who was sitting in a tuk-tuk by the road ran at us from behind, beating my boyfriend around the head with a metal bar. I started screaming as my boyfriend fell to the floor, at which point the man turned around, ran at me, and smashed my face in with the bar. He then got back in the tuk-tuk and drove away. He didn't speak, or take anything (we clearly had already been robbed minutes earlier). The tuk-tuk driver, a Cambodian man, just watched. A group of Cambodian people who were sat eating nearby immediately ran away also, clearly not wanting to get involved. We staggered up the street hysterical and bleeding, when another Cambodian man turned up and took us to the police booth. The policeman on duty took one look at us and laughed, telling us it was not his problem, and to go away before he arrested us for disturbing his nap. Within minutes, a group of about 70 people were surrounding us trying to help, including a Cambodian man who said "I saw everything, I was the man's tuk-tuk driver." When asked where he took the man, he promptly changed his story and left. Someone rang the police who were annoyed that there was no money in it for them (they wanted us to pay them to find the criminals), and told us to go to hospital. Some friendly Russian men took us to hospital, paying for the tuk-tuk. The hospital staff would not treat my partner for his head injury, then proceeded to stitch my face up without anaesthetic! Horrific pain. One of the Russian guys helping us was actually weeping seeing the distress we were in. They did not treat me for my clearly broken nose, or ask if we had other injuries. Then, they were reluctant to let us leave because we couldn't pay the bill - even though we explained we had just been robbed and needed to get in touch with our insurance company.

My mum, back home in England, got in touch with a member of the British Embassy based in Sihanoukville, who came to our hotel and helped us. He first took us to the general purpose chief of police who said it was not his problem - we needed to go to the tourist chief of police. We went there, and this policeman accused us of everything being our fault, and told us to go back the next day. We returned the next day to get a police report, which we had to write ourselves, and it had a word limit! They also demanded that we omit the whole metal-bar violent attack part because it would look bad on their records!! We wrote it on anyway because none of them could speak or read English. The British Ambassador told us no investigation would take place, as the police worked pretty much solely on bribes, and even if they did catch the two separate criminals, they would be able to pay off the police so there would be no just outcome.

The horror of this ordeal has left us distressed, traumatised and massively out of pocket (but thankfully our insurance are going to cover it). Since then I have read up about the vast amount of crime that occurs and goes unreported or unsolved in the area. I still love Cambodia, but would advise anyone who visits Sihanoukville to exercise extreme caution, even when traveling in groups. And if you are unlucky enough to experience crime, make sure you get all the correct documentation needed for insurance, and do not have faith in the police.''

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Whats the name of the bar you own Rarky????

If anyone googles 'dangers of sihanoukville' you will see numerous threads on snookyville. There's a story on trip advisor (copy and paste below). This is a typical snookyville story and thus one should be careful if visiting snookyville which I agree has to be one of the dodgiest places in Asia. I've been there many times and know fully well how shady the police are, the dodgy tuk tuk drivers and all the problems with the guys on yabba. 'Travellingmark' has an interesting blog on this subject matter if you want to google it.

I don't own a bar...where did I say that???

Yes, because everything you read on the internet must be true! Google knows it all!!!

I would take what ever you read from TravellingMark ( http://www.travelingmark.com/cambodia/is-travel-to-cambodia-safe-personal-experience/ , http://www.travelingmark.com/cambodia/first-day-at-angkor-what-is-it-really-like/ ) or AdventurousKate ( http://www.adventurouskate.com/cambodia-has-changed-and-not-for-the-better/ )with a grain of salt.

I am not saying that there is NO crime...but to label Sihanoukville "the most dangerous place in SE Asia" is absurd!

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Whats the name of the bar you own Rarky????

If anyone googles 'dangers of sihanoukville' you will see numerous threads on snookyville. There's a story on trip advisor (copy and paste below). This is a typical snookyville story and thus one should be careful if visiting snookyville which I agree has to be one of the dodgiest places in Asia. I've been there many times and know fully well how shady the police are, the dodgy tuk tuk drivers and all the problems with the guys on yabba. 'Travellingmark' has an interesting blog on this subject matter if you want to google it.

I don't own a bar...where did I say that???

Yes, because everything you read on the internet must be true! Google knows it all!!!

I would take what ever you read from TravellingMark ( http://www.travelingmark.com/cambodia/is-travel-to-cambodia-safe-personal-experience/ , http://www.travelingmark.com/cambodia/first-day-at-angkor-what-is-it-really-like/ ) or AdventurousKate ( http://www.adventurouskate.com/cambodia-has-changed-and-not-for-the-better/ )with a grain of salt.

I am not saying that there is NO crime...but to label Sihanoukville "the most dangerous place in SE Asia" is absurd!

Both TravellingMark and AdventurousKate are a bunch of losers who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. They are hyping up something that doesn't exist. Unlike them, I have lived in Cambodia foe 5 years and not once have I encountered what they supposedly dod in their 3-week visit.

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This reminds me of the hysteria that gets thrown around every time a tourist gets beaten or robbed in Pattaya - suddenly the city itself is full of violent thugs hellbent on taking your wallet. We have a particular talent for exaggeration on TV :D

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Is mrworldwide an armchair critic sitting in his air con flat in bkk or sitting on a bar stool in pats? When was the last time you went to snookyville or lived there?

YOU ask a lot of questions but contribute NOTHING.

You have had a pop at two highly respected forum members (and flamed them) but fail to add anything of substance to the discussion.

YOU tell us, davidst01 - what exactly are your personal experiences of Sihanoukville.

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Wherever people gather, crime happens. Petty crimes such as pickpocketing occur the most in tourist areas. According to statistics, 9 out of 10 worst cities for pickpockets are major tourist centres in Europe, with Hanoi coming in 10th place. Nevertheless, Sihanoukville still gets singled out for crime. Local business owners are well aware of this and have been tackling crime in Sihanoukville in a positive way.

The Sihanoukville Tourist Association (STA) spearheaded the campaign to take proactive steps to reduce crime rates in tourist areas of the city. It started with a petition to hold a meeting with Sihanoukville’s Chief of Police and other officials to discuss the issue with them. The first public forum, held on the 7th of November at the Sihanoukville City Hall, was a positive first step. According to attendees, a mutual understanding of the problems and possible solutions was achieved.

Read the rest here... www.sihanoukville-cambodiajournal.com/2013/11/29/tackling-crime-sihanoukville/

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Is mrworldwide an armchair critic sitting in his air con flat in bkk or sitting on a bar stool in pats? When was the last time you went to snookyville or lived there?

YOU ask a lot of questions but contribute NOTHING.

You have had a pop at two highly respected forum members (and flamed them) but fail to add anything of substance to the discussion.

YOU tell us, davidst01 - what exactly are your personal experiences of Sihanoukville.

Jip99, thanks for that, but I'm happy for davidst01 to focus his efforts on me, particularly as I've never been to S'ville and have no plans to do so, sheryl dispenses a mountain of info on TV and doesnt deserve this guy's skepticism.

@davidst01, if you are going to malign me for my location, get it right - I'm a weekend warrior en route to retirement in Pulau Penang in early 2014, but you did get one thing right - I hope to have my butt planted on a Pattaya barstool very, very soon. Flame on.

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I live in Sihanoukville. Moved here end of July from Bangkok, and I feel infinitely safer than I did there. So here are some facts from someone actually on the ground here.

Yes, there was an increase in crime, especially around the time of the election and its aftermath when lots of SHV police were sent up to Phnom Penh and a lot of the crims went the opposite way

Yes, bag snatching can happen a lot, but can be avoidable with a little common sense. (I lose sympathy when I see someone walking down the street using an ipad openly)

Yes, if you leave your bag unattended on beach, there is a good chance it will get stolen by one of the super fast kids

But...

There has been a lot of work and liaison between the tourist association and the police. Police now have visible presence in town and on expat pages here. Arrests are up, crime is down a little.

The incidences of violent crime against tourists is VERY VERY low compared to many other parts of SE Asia. In 4 months I have seen one violent incident and that was Khmer on Khmer

So, to summarise; SHV is as safe if not safer than most tourist destinations in SE Asia and if you apply a little common sense to your stay here, you will not be a victim of any crime

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Is mrworldwide an armchair critic sitting in his air con flat in bkk or sitting on a bar stool in pats? When was the last time you went to snookyville or lived there?

YOU ask a lot of questions but contribute NOTHING.

You have had a pop at two highly respected forum members (and flamed them) but fail to add anything of substance to the discussion.

YOU tell us, davidst01 - what exactly are your personal experiences of Sihanoukville.

Jip99, thanks for that, but I'm happy for davidst01 to focus his efforts on me, particularly as I've never been to S'ville and have no plans to do so, sheryl dispenses a mountain of info on TV and doesnt deserve this guy's skepticism.

@davidst01, if you are going to malign me for my location, get it right - I'm a weekend warrior en route to retirement in Pulau Penang in early 2014, but you did get one thing right - I hope to have my butt planted on a Pattaya barstool very, very soon. Flame on.

I have been to Sihanoukville 4 times and prefer it Pattaya for a whole raft of reasons.

I have never experienced, or witnessed, any incidents. I think the post from Dr Strange is spot on - commonsense and the usual due diligence will keep you away from most trouble.

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Well I must say some of this is a little narrow minded and labeling Sihanoukville as the worst crime town is just a utter load of rubbish and a joke.

I have been living working and traveling here in cambodia for a little over 9 years now and 6 of theses years in Sihanoukville.

I am not a bar owner I am a resort owner with my resorts on the islands but I live in Sihanoukville in a house close to the beach.

I have seen no more crime here anymore than any other town in any other country in the world In fact I would be incline to think it's more safe here than in my home city of perth..

One thing I must say after watching many tourist here for many years is ....

If you were in your own town would you go wondering around dark street late at night? Well ? Tell the truth would you ?

My answer to that is no...

For some stupid reason a lot of tourist seem to think is fine and safe to wonder around the streets and beaches of Sihanoukville until all stupid hours of the nights and mornings they do this with some crazy mindset that's it's safer here than home and without any thought about there own safety or there own property..

Well if you won't do it in your own town or city DONT DO IT HERE....

Yes crime happens here but no more than any other town or city..

And please have a little respect for the people here trying to make a living and supplying job to Khmer people to help improve there lives...

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If you were in your own town would you go wondering around dark street late at night? Well ? Tell the truth would you ?

My answer to that is no...

For some stupid reason a lot of tourist seem to think is fine and safe to wonder around the streets and beaches of Sihanoukville until all stupid hours of the nights and mornings they do this with some crazy mindset that's it's safer here than home and without any thought about there own safety or there own property..

Well if you won't do it in your own town or city DONT DO IT HERE....

Fair enough, Gazza, but you DID say you felt S'ville was safer than Perth at night ! :D

Mate, I know where you're coming from, but I really think Thailand lulls many of us into a false sense of security. I've gotten away with early AM strolls in BKK/Patts/Hua Hin that I would *never* contemplate in Sydney and I've done much the same in KL, but I exercised a lot more caution in Jakarta. I refuse to visit Manila - even AC is low on my list of priorities - but I know that if I did I wouldn't be wandering around town at 2am without a care in the world. I sure as hell wouldn't be happy to drink in a bar full of locals, as I have done in Thailand on many occasions.

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I think it worth noting that Cambodia in general is not a "late night" country. Stores and restaurants (except in a few tourist ghettoes) close early and locals are home in bed at a comparatively early hour. ..and then up at the crack of dawn. 7 or 8 AM being considered normal hours for starting work and (as many of us have learned to our dismay) 6 AM is considered a perfectly normal time for visiting or calling upon friends.... that's just the way it is here.

As a result, streets are dark and quiet much earlier than they would be in other places. and here as anywhere else, a dark quiet street is not an advisable place for a stroll.

Simple rule of thumb: if you don't see "normal" (i.e. not dodgy, and both men and women) looking locals walking about, it is not the best idea for you to be either.

The problem of course is that most tourists and many expats want some nightlife. fair enough. But have it with due caution keeping in mind that say 10-11 PM in Cambodia is analogous to maybe 2-3 AM in your home country in terms of safety walking the streets: all the (local) decent folk are home asleep already.

This is true everywhere in Camb, nothing unique to SHV. It is just not a country of night owls, much the opposite.

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Just a guess, but maybe backpackers are singled out because they're carrying all their belongings, or because they have "rob me" tattooed on their foreheads. Culturally unaware, unconnected, less likely to 'tip' the police for solving the crime, etc etc.

I feel for the two who were attacked, but it would appear that they didn't even have enough cash to pay the hospital, probably the hospitals are used to backpackers coming unstuck and expecting treatment for free. I wouldn't be surprised if the locals are given a free pass to rip off backpackers seeing as they won't be back, whatever happens, and don't appear to spend much money, despite having iPhones etc. I can imagine how that could wind up the locals, over time.

Expats are generally more savvy, culturally aware, less likely to be picked as targets because of possible connections, repercussions if they're robbed.

Probably they spend more and tip as well, and stay in proper hotels with room safes.

BTW Ive been many times and always enjoyed it :)

Sent from my iPad using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

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I think it worth noting that Cambodia in general is not a "late night" country. Stores and restaurants (except in a few tourist ghettoes) close early and locals are home in bed at a comparatively early hour. ..and then up at the crack of dawn. 7 or 8 AM being considered normal hours for starting work and (as many of us have learned to our dismay) 6 AM is considered a perfectly normal time for visiting or calling upon friends.... that's just the way it is here.

As a result, streets are dark and quiet much earlier than they would be in other places. and here as anywhere else, a dark quiet street is not an advisable place for a stroll.

Simple rule of thumb: if you don't see "normal" (i.e. not dodgy, and both men and women) looking locals walking about, it is not the best idea for you to be either.

The problem of course is that most tourists and many expats want some nightlife. fair enough. But have it with due caution keeping in mind that say 10-11 PM in Cambodia is analogous to maybe 2-3 AM in your home country in terms of safety walking the streets: all the (local) decent folk are home asleep already.

This is true everywhere in Camb, nothing unique to SHV. It is just not a country of night owls, much the opposite.

Really? That may be true of Kampot, Kep and Battambang, but not really of SHV. Plenty of 24 hour pubs across the city, all night dance bars on Serendipity beach, Khmer food at the market till around 5am. But yes, some areas are deserted after midnight because the Khmers are early to bed and early to rise (though trying to get the GF out this annoying habit)

A lot of the crime takes place in or around Serendipity which is pretty much 24/7. Glue sniffers do the bag snatches during day when folk are in sea, and then the ice heads come out at night and do snatches on motos. There have also been a few incidences of drinks being spiked at said dance bars.

But still feel safer here than many other parts of Asia. (the 10,000volt taser helps)

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This is true everywhere in Camb, nothing unique to SHV. It is just not a country of night owls, much the opposite.

Not entirely true, when I run past Pub Street at 4 am, there are usually still quite a few people out and about. And many of the Karaoke sessions my staff do last until the wee hours....

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