Security Message: Expected Traffic Disruptions and Potential for Increased Crime during the Early November Holidays

November 04, 2019

The Cambodian government officially recognizes holidays on November 9 (Independence Day) and the Water and Moon Festival (November 10 to November 13).  The annual Water and Moon Festival itself will take place in Phnom Penh on November 10-12.  Several hundred thousand people are expected to come to Phnom Penh for this event. During this period of several holidays, employees should expect large crowds, travel delays, traffic disruptions, and the potential for increased crime.

Traffic will be extremely heavy throughout the city, particularly in the afternoon and evening hours, and local authorities will restrict traffic and close some roads  to control crowds.  Due to the extended holiday period, including days immediately prior to and following official holidays, there is likely to be increased congestion and security at Cambodian airports, leading to travel delays.

  • You should exercise caution in large crowds and leave the area if you are concerned for your safety.
  • The ability of the local authorities to respond to emergencies will be severely limited during the Water Festival due to traffic and scheduled road closures.
  • The Embassy encourages you to remain alert to local security developments by monitoring local news reports, and to be vigilant regarding your personal security.
  • Petty crime such as pickpocketing and cell phone and purse snatchings tend to increase during large holiday gatherings.
  • If you plan to take part in the Water Festival, limit the amount of valuables you carry, maintain awareness of your surroundings, and exercise caution. If challenged by criminals, surrender your valuables immediately.

To avoid risk of theft of original documents, the Embassy advises you to carry photocopies of your U.S. passport, driver’s license, and other important documents, and leave the originals in a hotel safe or other secure place.   Please note that the Embassy will be closed on Monday, November 11 and Tuesday November 12, 2019.  We will reopen for normal business hours on Wednesday, November 13, 2019.

For further information about security in Cambodia:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Cambodia Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia, located at No. 1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, at +855 (0)23 728 402 or + 855 (0)23 728 051, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is + 855 (0)23 728 000.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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