Cambodia Photo by Paul Szewczyk

Cambodia Driving Guide

Cambodia is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-29 · 9 mins

Cambodia is loaded with 16 million people, of whom the majority are Buddhist. The capital of the country is Phnom-Penh. The official language of Cambodia is Khmer, though, on a smaller scale, you can find people speaking Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cham, the language of a people that lives spread across a number of Southeast Asian countries. One way to make your stay a lot more memorable is by driving in Cambodia.

Instead of the more well-known destinations in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand and Vietnam, more and more travelers are choosing to also visit Cambodia. Discover the beautiful landscapes with white sandy beaches, rice fields, and green hills, and learn more about the horrific yet moving history of the country. But just a reminder for you not to forget when planning to drive around the country, you must have a driving license valid in Cambodia.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Traveling to a foreign country without knowing even little information can lead to a disaster. This guide provides you the necessary information you need to keep in mind before traveling to Cambodia. A majority of tourists driving in Cambodia in the contemporary world prefer driving in Cambodia.

The guide includes the things you can do in Cambodia for a long-term stay and the top destinations you should visit in the country. You could also learn how to renew your driving license in Cambodia if you’re planning for a long-term stay by searching for driving in Cambodia online. However, this experience cannot be complete without knowledge of the driving rules in Cambodia.

As for driving in Cambodia, this guide includes the new driving laws in Cambodia and how it is driving in Cambodia. Therefore, you will learn a lot in the entire driving tour or traveling tour with this guide’s help, including the driving rules in Cambodia and the new driving laws in Cambodia.

General Information

Cambodia is situated in Southeast Asia in the south-eastern portion of the Indochina Peninsula, bordered to the east and south by Vietnam, to the northeast by Laos, west/northwest by Thailand, and west by the Gulf of Thailand. In a moment, it's one spot you'll come back to. Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville were among the highlights. In terms of climate, history, rich, diverse Southeast Asian food, beaches, and so much more, Cambodia is a nation that offers so much.

So before learning how driving is in Cambodia, driving school in Cambodia, and driving school price in Cambodia, here is a little background about its culture and history to make your trip more knowledgeable and enjoyable.

Geographic Location

In mainland Southeast Asia, Cambodia covers an area of 181,035 sq km. Around the Central Plain area, mountains and highlands are located. As seen on the map, the Cardamom Mountains are to the west and southwest, while the Dangret Mountains and the Eastern Highlands are to the north and northeast. Cambodia also has a 443 km-long coastline to the south and southwest along the Gulf of Thailand. About 50 islands are situated off Cambodia's coast.

As noted on the physical map above, Cambodia is predominantly a low-lying nation with an extensive portion of its territory covered by the Central Plain. The plan includes the Tonle Sap Lake delta, the plain of the Bassac River, and the lowest Mekong River floodplains. Lake Tonlé Sap is a wide lake linked to the Mekong River by the Tonlé Sap River, which is 120 km long.

Languages Spoken

There is a single official language in Cambodia, which is Khmer. Nearly 90 percent of the population of the world speaks it. The language is used in government administration and offers education and media at all levels.

The nation's inhabitants are called Cambodians, and the official language of Cambodia is the Khmer language. After a long civil war, the country has just recently emerged free from the control of the Khmer Rouge, a Maoist rebel faction, and is now an ASEAN member. The Khmer people constitute the country's largest ethnic group.

Land Area

Cambodia is around one-third the area of France and quite bigger than the U.S. state of Missouri, borders Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand. The cumulative surface area of the country is approximately 450 km from the northwest and 580 km from the eastward.


Cambodia's economy has been one of the least complex in South East Asia since 1975. It relied solely on two primary products—rice and rubber—and was thus vulnerable to year-on-year fluctuations triggered by weather vagaries and world market prices. Agriculture dominated the economy, with a substantial number of rural families engaged in rice cultivation. While land tenure was large, family landholdings were reasonably small, and the rural population was largely self-sufficient.

Two and a half acres (one hectare) of rice paddy developed for the needs of a family of five and additional requirements have traditionally been met by fishing, growing fruit and vegetables, and raising livestock. Famine was unusual in Cambodia, but the self-sufficiency of the rural family produced a populism that questioned the government's efforts to modernize the country's agricultural practices before 1975.


Under a constitutional monarchy, Cambodia was set up as a multi-party government. The head of state is the king, and the head of the Royal Government of Cambodia is the Prime Minister. After the abdication of his father, Norodom Sihanouk, Norodom Sihamoni, the King, was crowned in 2004. Since 1985, Hun Sen has been Prime Minister. A constitutional monarchy is assumed to be the dictatorship of Cambodia, which means that the king governs according to a written constitution.

The legitimate limits of authority exercised by the king are laid down in this text. In Cambodia, although the King serves as head of state, a symbol of national unity, the Prime Minister acts as head of government. A Parliamentary structure and three branches of government are carried out by the government: executive, legislative, and judiciary. A closer look at each branch is taken in this article.


Cambodian culture includes some of civilization's finest artistic achievements and most horrible past actions. The past is what attracts most tourists here, but this Asian Country has plenty to give for those who stay longer than a simple temple trip. The coastal region with fine sand white beaches tempts every sun sloth. The wilderness countryside is targeted for the most fearless, and the bustling capital of Phnom Penh engulfs tourists in the hectic heartbeat of current Cambodian life in the city.


Your IDP certifies that you are in your country with a legitimate license. It's not a warrant, but it's sometimes used interchangeably with "permit" and "license." It is a text that converts your driver's license details from your home country into 12 languages. If you obtain a valid driving license in Cambodia and on the legal driving age in Cambodia before you plan your trip, driving in Cambodia is allowed for up to 180 days.

When Can I Apply for an IDP?

You may apply at any time for an IDP. Registering for one is done online, and ships are delivered globally by the International Driver's Association. You are free to do so if you want to apply for an IDP after you have arrived at your destination. However, before you depart for your destination, it will be even more convenient to get one.

Who Can Apply for an IDP?

Anyone with a valid driver’s license can apply for an IDP. You should always remember that an IDP is just a translation of your native license. It is a way for local traffic enforcers to know if you’re competent to drive a vehicle. So before getting an IDP, secure a local license first from your home country. Also, a temporary license is not eligible when applying for an IDP. So, just wait until you get a valid license card.

The legal driving age in Cambodia can be a bit complex. Drivers aging 18 years old and above with a valid license can apply for an IDP. Suppose you want to rent a car and drive around. In that case, you can apply for an IDP in the International Driver’s Association for a quick and easy application process.

Getting an International Driving License for Cambodia is not very difficult. You can apply for it before you leave home. You’ll need your original license, two original passport pictures, an IDP application form. But if you’re planning to stay longer in the country, just wait until you get a valid license card and go to a driving school in Cambodia. Then you can take a driving test in Cambodia right after.

Why Carry an IDP While Driving in Cambodia?

In more than 150 countries worldwide, your IDP is a valid form of identification, and it includes your profile, picture, and driver information translated into the 12 widely used languages globally. For most local officials and authorities of the countries you visit, it is understandable.

It translates information about your identification into 12 languages, so it speaks the language even if you don't. In Cambodia, it is highly recommended to have an International Driving Permit, and you are not allowed to drive a vehicle without a valid permit. This is in respect of visitors or drivers in Cambodia with driving licenses who follow driving laws.

What Happens if I Lose My IDP?

If you lost your international driving license, you don’t have to worry as the International Driver’s Association can resend you a replacement free of charge. You’ll just need to pay for the shipping fees.

Simply provide the details of your IDP, such as your name and IDP number, as well as your complete address and zip code in Saudi Arabia. IDA would then send you a link where you can pay for the shipping fees.

Do I Need an IDP?

Definitely, yes! To legally drive in Cambodia, you are required to obtain an IDP. If you have an accident, you need to show an IDP to the insurance provider. You can drive a car if you obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) within your first 30 days in Cambodia. You should not drive in Cambodia if you do not have an IDP unless you have acquired a permanent Cambodian Driver's License.

You must apply for an IDP only if you’re planning to visit the country because it is prohibited to drive without an IDP. Drivers who obtain homeland licenses still have to obtain an international driving permit to drive in Cambodia for a period of up to 6 months from the date of entry into the country.

Drivers who hold local driving licenses usually have to obtain an International Driving Permit to drive in Cambodia for a period of up to 6 months from the date of entry into the country. However, you may need to pass the driving test in Cambodia and study the driving rules in Cambodia if you stay for more than six months. You need to know how to pass a driving test in Cambodia from the traffic department. If your license expires, you can simply apply for a renewal of your driving license in Cambodia.

Renting a Car in Cambodia

In Cambodia, the easiest way to get around is by car. Not only do you get to see the vibrant city life of the country, but you get to witness the land's culture and beauty as well. The bulk of the best roads and trips are secret treasures outside the region, from impressive rock formations to golden dunes.

Renting a car will improve your journey to Cambodia in so many ways! It is understood that it is always exhausting and inconvenient to rely on mass transport and taxis to go to locations in the world. That's something that's going to make you lose patience. Here are a lot of things you need to know about your car rental company in Cambodia.

Car Rental Companies

Professional staff, fresh vehicles, and affordable pricing are part of the daily deal of car rental companies. If you rent a car for business or fun, or you need a vehicle or an SUV, Europcar, Kayak, Avis, and Momondo have the best car to lease for you in Cambodia. They strive to help you in their car hire branches in Cambodia. Make sure to hold your driver’s license, legitimate bank card, and substantial evidence of identification, such as a passport and IDP.

With the number of branches spread around car rental sites in Cambodia, it couldn't be simpler to schedule your trip with those car rental companies. Find all kinds of completely new market and luxury vehicle styles available around Cambodia, with both short and long-term car rental choices available. So if you're searching for an affordable car rental in Cambodia or you want to rent a luxurious car for a formal occasion, they have the right rental cars for you.

Documents Required

You would be required several documents to rent a car. Next, you will need to demonstrate that you have a legal passport and license. You would also need to show a legitimate payment form, such as a credit card, for the vehicle. You are about to fill out several forms when you apply to rent a car. Stuff like signing a tenancy lease and insurance forms will be used. Remember that you have to keep a copy of these documents. These may be significant later when you need to show that you are allowed to self drive the car.

Vehicle Types

You'd like to make sure that the car model you choose is the perfect fit. The model of vehicle you chose would also depend on the type of environment you plan to travel in. For example, you could be better off using a smaller car if you want to stay in the city. Alternatively, it may be cooler for you to pick an SUV if you want to go off-road. It'll have more stability for you. To guarantee you have the kind of car you want, you will need to make sure you book early.

Car Rental Cost

Renting a car is always the least exciting aspect of a journey unless you're splurging on a convertible or some other flashy ride. A pair of wheels to get them from point A to point B is what most travelers need, so why spend a lot on it? On your next reservation, the following car rental hacks will help you save big bucks.

Whenever you think about renting a car in Cambodia, the first question you ask yourself is: how much would it cost to rent a car in Cambodia? Is it worth every penny? If you are striving to make the most of your visit to Cambodia, it is definitely worth renting a car! You can either visit each rental company’s website to check which company gives you the best prices or use RentalCars, which enables you to compare car rentals in Cambodia on the same website and lets you find the best price for your ride.

This is better to do than looking for individual rental companies as all prices are compared on this page with all possible providers, including the tiny local ones. If you drive with an expired license, make sure you apply for renewal of your driving license in Cambodia. You’ll know driving license renewal in Cambodia by searching up driving in Cambodia online.

Age Requirements

Most car rental companies demand a required age of 21 years to hire a car. Regulated car rental firms are typically reluctant to encourage drivers under 21 years of age to hire a car due to widespread incidents of crashes caused by teen drivers.

Car Insurance Cost

Acquiring car insurance in Cambodia will cost you approximately $100 per month. Car insurance helps secure your beloved and protects your interest in your car in the case of a crash, robbery, or arson.

If you are driving for work or fun, or simply if your car is parked, you will significantly minimize the likelihood of spending for maintenance or penalties if your car is involved in a car accident. You can be guaranteed insurance in the case of burglary or fire injury.

Car Insurance Policy

You would not think about these particular things until renting your car, but these are important! If you're used to renting cars, maybe all of these points will be relevant to you, but it can be tricky for those newbies who don't have that much knowledge!

Before you rent a car for your plan on driving in Cambodia, there are requirements you need to present to show proof that you are a responsible driver. On your end, there are also things you have to consider if you want to have the best deal.

  • When you drive around the country, make sure you choose a car where that can fit your baggage and all your traveling buddies
  • Nowadays, even though you all have Google Maps, make sure that your car has a reliable GPS tracker. It will be useful from the moment of searching your way to your hotel in Cambodia!
  • Ensure you have all the documents/requirements you need from your rental company to travel abroad
  • Check the car both inside and outside and take pictures of any possible damages that it comes with. You should make this a habit wherever you go because it's effortless to do it. After all, you don't have to pay insurance charges for injuries or scratches you haven't done on your own
  • For a number to call if you have some car/road difficulties, contact the rental company
  • Check if all the paperwork is in place for the car
  • Ask them about giving the car back: are you just leaving it in one of their buildings, or will someone drop it off there?
Cambodia Road Photo by Sim Kimhort

Road Rules in Cambodia

Tourists driving in Cambodia must follow the driving rules in Cambodia to prevent accidents by determining the systematic flow of public highways by cars, pedestrians, and other users. Know that, for your safety, there are traffic lights and rules. Failure to enforce them can lead to collisions that may seriously hurt or kill you or others. To respect the laws, you must first know and understand them.

You should take the time to study the basic driving rules and regulations before traveling to every country to escape fines and penalties when on a drive. Here are some things to remember in Cambodia while driving.

Important Regulations

Due to the high rate of accidents and conditions that may bring about hazards, Cambodia observes general standards of driving for the public’s safety. These are the basic and commonly practiced standards that drivers in the country must follow.

  • Driving through Cambodia, traffic law sets a limit for the blood alcohol concentration of 0.5 g/l based on the international standards
  • Drivers are obligated to wear a helmet on drivers driving motorbikes in Cambodia, tricycles, driving scooters in Cambodia, and motorcycles with trailers
  • On the right-hand side of the road in Cambodia of the lane, traffic drives
  • The minimum driving age for driving a car is 18 years and for motorcycles
  • Driving on the left-hand driving side in Cambodia is only allowed when overtaking or stopping
  • Drivers must wear seat belts and front-seat passengers
  • During the daytime, it is not necessary to drive with headlights on, except for vision affected by heavy rain or fog
  • Using a phone while driving in Cambodia is highly prohibited
  • The use of high beams is not allowed in cities with streetlights.
  • Helmets must be worn by motorcyclists
  • In built-up areas, the speed limit is 30 km/h for motorcycles, 40 km/h for vehicles. The top speed limit for bikes and cars is 90 km/h outside the built-up regions. For cars, the speed limit is 60 km/h; the speed limit is 50 km/h if a tractor is pulling a trailer. The highest towing speed on a freeway is 60 km/h and 100 km/h outside cities
  • Stopping at a pedestrian crossing is not allowed
  • Kids under ten years of age are not allowed to ride without an adult in the front seat.
  • The driver can use a mobile phone fitted with a hands-free device while driving. The use of cell phones without hands-free devices while driving is banned
  • If a traffic sign signals that a right turn is permissible, turning right at red lights is allowed
  • Buses do have the right of way, and all drivers must slow down and wait at the bus stops if the buses are to be allowed to pass in or out
  • Drivers that are now going anticlockwise have precedence at the roundabout
  • When using their horns or sirens and special warning signs, drivers must make room for emergency cars, armed vehicles, military police vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances
  • Vehicles can be parked in the same direction as traffic moves around roads on the right-hand side. On one way roads, cars can be parked on both sides
  • Vehicles are not required to park on regular roads within 5 meters of junctions and within 10 meters of junctions on major boulevards and any roads outside cities.
  • Parking at the entries or exits of municipal buildings and private residences is not allowed when driving scooters in Cambodia
  • Driving motorbikes in Cambodia and leaving them on public roads for more than 72 hours is not allowed.
  • And if there is no pedestrian crossing, pedestrians still have the right of way, so drivers must pause to allow pedestrians to cross the road safely.
  • Drivers are required to sound their horns only during the daytime to warn other road users of dangers. It is illegal to hear horns in built-up areas after midnight
  • Foreign drivers should attend a driving school in Cambodia if they plan to stay longer in the country
  • Before getting ready for a trip, check your vehicle to avoid any inconveniences along the way. Make sure the dashboard indicators, wipers, and lights are functioning properly
  • Don’t forget to pack emergency devices like a warning triangle and fire extinguisher. Adjust your mirrors and check if your doors would close
  • Clean your vehicle’s windows and windshield surfaces, and make sure your seatbelts and tires are in good condition
  • When you’re finally on the road, keep enough distance between your vehicle and those ahead of you
  • Give way to other cars, and don’t forget that pedestrians have the right to cross the road, particularly children, persons with disabilities, and the elderly
  • Animals crossing highways are not uncommon, so always pay attention. If there are sand storms and unstable weather, slow down your vehicle and flash your headlights to avoid accidents
  • If you want to park your car, you can leave your vehicle in designated parking areas. If you don’t want to spend, there are a lot of on-street parking areas available.

General Standards

When driving, safety comes first. Driving is pretty straightforward in Cambodia. It's better not to pick up your rental car right away if you feel a bit apprehensive, but instead, take a taxi to your hotel and get acquainted with the street signs and speed limits. To keep your trip safe, here are the basic traffic rules you must know when driving in Cambodia:

  • Cambodia employs mechanical transmissions, which do not normally employ clutches. The automatic transmission, on the other hand, uses a torque converter to shift gears
  • Never drive an automobile that does not have a legitimate identification number that complies with the law. Failure to do so is a serious offense in Cambodia, and it can result in a hefty fine as well as the seizure of your vehicle for up to three months
  • Driving activities that threaten people's lives are specifically prohibited. Similarly, failure to stop after causing an accident that causes damage or death is considered a major felony offense and is dealt with accordingly
  • Because of Cambodia's status as an international transportation and freight hub, heavy vehicle drivers have a special responsibility to drive safely and face harsh penalties if they do not
  • Car windows are only tinted up to 30% of the time, with the remaining 70% becoming partially transparent

Speed Limits

There are stringent speed limits and many radar speed signs in most significant Cambodian towns. Be aware that Cambodia's metric system is used, so velocity limits are shown in km/h (kilometers per hour). 100 kph or 60 mph, for comparison.

Seatbelt Laws

A safety belt is a necessity for anyone in the car, including the driver. T here are also laws that you will have to abide by if you had children with you. It is important to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities incurred by automobile crashes by using a seatbelt.

Cambodia has a law on seat belts that requires all front and rear riders to use safety belts and on infant supervision. This law states that children under four years of age and above must use a front seat, whereas children under 12 years of age are prohibited from using a front seat.

Driving Directions

Traveling across Cambodia's area of land is convenient if you figure out how to access boundaries and local transport. Traveling down this path is no longer as dangerous and risky as it was back in old days, but there are always a few useful things to remember before you go. When you travel across Cambodia or its other towns, you can use the routing map that offers a free, up-to-date travel planning system.

At the roundabout with the Give Way sign, you must yield to the cars on the other side of the lane. And if there are no signs or markings, give way for cars approaching from the right.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic laws are designed for your welfare, and there should be no reasons against why, whether driving or walking on highways, you should ensure that you follow traffic rules. As well as anyone else driving in the same lane, traffic laws help protect you on the road. The simple traffic signs and guidelines that should be observed when driving any car on roads should be understood by people.

Owing to the many blind spots that are created by the large scale of the vehicle, people driving larger cars need to be extra vigilant. You can commonly see road signs such as prohibitory, mandatory, priority, warning, and direction signs.

Also, anyone behind any larger vehicle should therefore realize that the driver's vision is restricted, and they should not attempt to get in the way of certain vehicles that can be unsafe to all parties. Prevention is still safer than treatment, but there are insurance companies who also have personal injury insurance in case any mishap happens because of errors by either side.

Right of Way

Knowing the rules of a foreign state will take you away from future problems with other riders. Any car outside the intersection has the right of way in Cambodia. The traffic runs on the right side of the road. Don't get lost on the open lane.

Drivers with no valid national driving permits and drunk driving are not allowed to drive. Even if you have a valid license but are not accompanied by an IDP, it’s best if you let someone take the wheel. The driving age in Cambodia is not below 18 years old. If you are not still 18, you are not allowed to drive.

If you intend to visit Cambodia, an IDP together with your homeland license will be enough. But if you plan to apply for citizenship, you must have a Cambodian driver’s license. International travelers will be expected to take the driving test; a legitimate driver's license from their home country may be appropriate in certain situations. For general medical checkups, drivers over 65 years of age are paid. To receive a Cambodian driver's license, a foreign driver must have the following:

  • Three photos in the passport size
  • National driver license and a translation of driver's license if not in English or French
  • Medical certificate
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of valid entry visa

Laws on Overtaking

Drivers in Cambodia are advised of improper overtaking that could result in severe fines and disqualification. Overtaking them needlessly and carelessly could lead to a fine on the guilty drivers. Two-lane asphalt roads can be used in high-crowded locations, and most of them have clear lines drawn along the middle or dotted lines. Dashed lines indicate that all lanes should be crossed openly since fewer drivers access the routes.

Driving Side

One of the traffic rules says that you should always drive on the right side of the road. It is encouraged to abide by what the government has put, in particular its traffic and road laws. If you're going at a higher pace, use the outermost lane and hold your head on the path ahead.

Driving Etiquette in Cambodia

It is often easier to avoid than heal. Sometimes, on road trips, the unimaginable may arise, but it's better to know what to do in unpleasant circumstances such as vehicle issues or injuries to keep them from occurring or escalating if they do. With adequate experience, driving in Cambodia is as fun as driving in your home country as long as you know the rules and correct driving etiquette. By gaining patience and practicing defensive driving, you can become a stronger and more courteous driver.

Car Breakdown

There are a lot of types of car breakdown. The most common is having a tire blowout. A breakdown occurs where usually the tire penetrates and goes flat unexpectedly, unlike a sluggish leak, which can cause a tire to go flat over time. If this happens when the car is on a drive, it will cause you to lose control. In the driving test in Cambodia, questions are answered about these conditions

If you witness a sudden tire blow-out, do not fret. Follow these laws to keep track of the car.

  • If required and safe to do so, gently apply the brakes.
  • Grip the steering wheel tightly and take your foot off the pedal to allow the car to roll to a stop.
  • Do not shift until the car has significantly decelerated.
  • If the blow-out causes the car to swerve onto the shoulder, do not get back on the roadway. Let the Coast End the Vehicle. See the instructions above on what to do when the car leaves the driveway.

Police Stops

In Cambodia, security is very tight. If the police stop you as you drive, keep cool and make sure you have all your papers on you in case they want you to see them. It's always nice to verify if the persons to whom you deliver your papers are real police officers, so wait before they show you a verification badge

Your license, IDP, passport, and visa, as well as your car rental paperwork and insurance papers, are the documents you would still carry on you in case you get pulled over. When you are fined for breaching certain road rules and policies, be willing to face the penalties.

Asking Directions

You could ask for guidance in a variety of ways, no matter where you're in the world or what language you're talking about. You can still communicate and ask respectfully. You should carry a guide or a map of where you want to go if you're confused about your expression when asking for directions in a non-native tongue. When you inquire for directions, be as respectful as you can. Start by greeting, then continue to ask for directions.


Documents for verification, use of safety belts, pending arrests, stolen vehicles, and other traffic and criminal offenses can all be reviewed at checkpoints. Officers pull over the vehicles at the assigned location to see if the driver is intoxicated. They're going to stop each car or at a fixed interval. Checkpoints are used to discourage drivers from driving after they have consumed too much to drink by increasing the possible chance of detention.

Other Tips

The goal is to keep safe. Yet, in many cases, actions to keep you safe are still to be considered. It's safe to drive in Cambodia if you continue to follow these laws. Here are important safety reminders:

What Should You Do In Case of Accidents?

When you are involved in a collision, contacting the police is the first thing to do by guaranteeing you and the safety of your passenger. Give them your location and the complete description of the crash. Under no conditions can you ever take responsibility for the crash until the police arrive at the scene. Give the officer your report calmly but detailed.

Never leave the scene if an accident occurs. You and the other driver could park somewhere to avoid triggering a traffic jam if it's a minor accident. The other driver can speak English but is not inclined to, so it is still better to contact the police to fix the situation. If there are casualties, you must call an ambulance.

When it comes to clear traffic offenses, Cambodia is stringent, and if you are found to be at fault, you will be held in their custody until you can pay the damages entirely. Thus, as accidents are uncertain but not unlikely in Cambodia, it is necessary to have car insurance.

How Should You Merge?

To merge, it should be transparent and secure. Before it is time to enter, remain in your lane, then take turns in the other lane to get traffic flowing with cars. Make sure that while you're waiting to go into traffic, there is still enough room and time.

Nobody wants to be held up on Cambodia's highways because another car is camped out at the speed limit in the left direction. Switch to the middle or right lane and allow traffic to pass faster. And if anyone makes way during heavy traffic for you to merge in, give them a smile or a wave. This form of appreciation shows respect and could inspire them in the future to be more courteous. It will light their day, at least.

Don't get caught on an open lane. If you believe you are the heroine by closing the opposing lane to force those behind you to merge when queuing for a lane closure, you need to keep an eye on the zipper merging process.

What Is It to Drive During Winter?

Winter weather will cause many driving risks. Because of the comparatively mild climate, most Cambodian drivers experience driving in winter weather. Here are a few recommendations to help you fly safely in winter conditions:

  • Using chains or snow tires if road conditions need more traction. Be sure to review the manufacturer's user manual for your engine, the tires, and the chains before mounting them on your car and driving on a highway
  • Holding the windows open. Remove snow and ice off all windshield surfaces when driving the vehicle on a highway
  • When you first hit the roadway, get a "feel" for the road and whether it is safe to do so. Check the brakes softly. Decide how the car can respond to turning the wheel by making minor changes. Never apply a fast stopping strategy
  • Maintain a decent distance between you and other vehicles
  • Reduction of speed due to circumstances
  • Monitor ahead for risks or changing conditions on the road

Driving Conditions in Cambodia

It may differ from driving in your home country to driving in Cambodia, and this may take some getting used to. By the criteria of many countries, it can be uncertain and dangerous. When approaching cars driving in your direction, always be alert. Before you are familiar with conditions in cities or medium-sized towns, you are not encouraged to travel. Here are some of Cambodia's driving situations and circumstances, so you'd know what to expect before you hit the lane.

Accident Statistics

A big problem in the Kingdom of Cambodia is road traffic collisions. Every day, three people are killed, and 100 people are killed. On Cambodian highways, they are wounded, and those numbers are increasingly rising. This has a massive negative impact effect on the growth of the region. A recent Asian Development Bank report calculated that The estimated expense of road injuries is US$ 116 million, which constitutes more than 3% of the country's GDP.

Road traffic incidents have a heavy impact on our country's health sector as well. Road traffic victims account for more than 50 percent of the patients. Therefore, this problem needs to be discussed urgently to execute the Road Safety Action Plan prepared by the Government of Cambodia seriously and efficiently.

The setting up of a road traffic collision data collection system is one of the priorities of this action plan. It would make it easier to better understand the present situation and to measure the importance and efficacy of the situation.

Common Vehicles

Standard vehicles are most often used in rural areas as well as on major roads. In the case of heavy trucks and SUVs, though Cambodia has well-maintained roads, drive cautiously around big trucks, never attempt to pass them because it is dangerous to do so, and maintain a reasonable distance from trucks at all times.

Toll Roads

Parts of NH4 were known to be toll roads, with three charging stations. Both the toll booths have since been withdrawn, making the whole route free of charge now. It is also known to be the most hazardous path in Cambodia owing to the incidence of many road crashes and insufficient maintenance by the authorities. Also, the path is hectic and in need of repair.

Road Situations

Bad road conditions, speeding, exhaustion, and drunk driving are the primary causes of road accidents. Highways in Cambodia are perfectly fine, but there are still roads that are bumpy and not in a good situation. You must take extra caution when driving especially on not well-lighted, bumpy, and under-construction roads.

Driving Culture

Drink driving in Cambodia, particularly with people on motorcycles and big cars, is a big problem. Accidents are becoming much more frequent with the rise in cars on the highways. When riding a scooter or bike, don't drive intoxicated. Please wear a helmet and be extra vigilant when you see huge vehicles and cars approaching from the other direction as they normally drive at high speed down the middle of the road with their headlights on complete.

Other Tips

Often, for a mix of causes, collisions occur from poor visibility to dangerous road construction, or other drivers lack caution. Although the causes of collisions can vary, the consequences are always the same, resulting in anything from damage to significant injury to cars and property. One of the common contributing factors is using a phone while driving in Cambodia. Five of the most common explanations, both for cars and commercial vehicles, for road accidents in Cambodia are given below.

Why Shouldn’t You Overspeed?

In Cambodia, speeding is the second most frequent cause of traffic injuries. Since car and truck crashes that include speeding usually occur at high speeds, fatal road injuries are also a significant cause.

For a lot of motorists, speeding over the speed limit is a common occurrence. It's also an unsafe activity that significantly raises the likelihood of losing a vehicle's balance and causing a crash. In the case of an obstacle, the further a car drives, the more it takes to slow down.

Even a minor rise in speed will lead to a significantly greater risk of a collision or some form of a crash being involved. As such, it is necessary for drivers to be conscious of the speed at which they drive and maintain within the legal limits.

Why Shouldn’t You Drive While Drunk?

Another big cause of injuries, especially on weekends and holidays, is drunk driving. When people drive after alcohol intake, their reaction speed and ability to concentrate on the road can be significantly diminished, raising the likelihood of an accident.

Although a small amount of alcohol will be enough for certain vehicles to cause a substantial rise in crash risk, drunk driving injuries are easily preventable. But anytime you need to drive or go out without a designated driver if you intend to drink alcohol, it is crucial to avoid alcohol.

Why Shouldn’t You Drive Recklessly?

All the classic signs of dangerous driving include speeding, shifting lanes without looking, tailgating other vehicles, and ignoring road signs. It is an illicit driving habit that is now Cambodia's frequent cause of traffic injuries.

Usually, dangerous driving requires a motorist who is not concerned about all road users than themselves. Mostly, in tandem with DUI, it is carried out by a drunken motorist anxious to get to their destination.

What Should You When Driving During Rainy Season?

Believe it or not, in Cambodia, rain is one of the leading causes of road accidents. Cars will lose their hold on the road and roll over the road surface as the road gets too slippery, limiting control for motorists and raising the risk of an accident.

Weak car repair, such as tires that don't have a deep enough grip or are not fully inflated, also amplifies rain-related driving risks. Often, in rainy weather, an inexperienced driver may panic, resulting in the loss of vehicle control. It is important to be mindful and alert of road conditions, speed limits, and traffic during rainy weather because of the safety hazards involved with driving in heavy rain.

Things to Do in Cambodia

Before you check for tour packages to Cambodia and book tickets, you now need to do some proper background study about the region. This definitive guide to things to do in Cambodia will explain all your questions and queries concerning this beautiful land.

Here are some things you should know before moving to Cambodia if you've wanted to extend your stay and travel to the region. When you're from other nations, those laws apply differently, so it's good to know what they are.

Drive as a Tourist

You can drive as a visitor in Cambodia if you have a valid driver's license and an IDP. If you intend to stay in Cambodia, you should learn how to drive or take driving lessons. As a tourist, though, holding an International Driver's Permit is often beneficial. You would be able to drive across the country if you fulfill all of the driving requirements and have the requisite qualifications.

Work as a Driver

You can work as a driver, but you must comply with the requirements. Foreigners living permanently in Cambodia must register for a "Type A" or "Type B" driver's license by buying a Cambodian visa. A driver's license applicable to foreigners from Cambodia is valid for one year. And a Cambodian driving license is lawfully recognized in Malaysia and Thailand under the 1985 Agreement on Domestic Driving License Acceptance issued by ASEAN countries.

Work as a Travel Guide

You can serve as a travel guide in Cambodia, but you must meet some conditions to do so legally. Three factors decide whether or not ex-pats need a working visa for Cambodia. You would require one if and only if the following requirements are met:

  • You worked when you were in your country
  • A job prospect exists when you are in Cambodia on a tour or tourist visa
  • You already have a presence in Cambodia and want to extend your activities

Apply for Residency

The standard qualification for residency must be accomplished. An individual has to spend at least five years living in Cambodia. A migrant who marries a local is legally qualified for citizenship upon application. Dual citizenship is recognized, but when you become a citizen of Cambodia, you don't have to give up your previous citizenship.

Living in Cambodia is one of the best ways for a migrant to earn a living. You can travel on a provisional visitor's visa and then apply for a resident visa after you have settled in. Khmer is the common language used in the cities; if you don't know it, you won't be able to get a career in Cambodia because you can't communicate.

Other Tips

In Cambodia, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to process and issue the Cambodian Driver's License application. The procedure takes place at all of their Phnom Penh headquarters in Aeon Mall I and Aeon Mall II and all of their Public Works and Transport Regional Agency offices. Here are other things you can do in Cambodia.

How Can I Apply for a Cambodian License?

You may apply to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport for your Cambodian driving permit. If you apply directly to the ministry, your license will be valid for one year (five-year permits are no longer available for foreigners) and will cost US$35. Driver licenses appear to be processed remarkably fast, and the next day you could get a provisional license. A month after, you can then hope to obtain your proper license.

You should be prepared to request your passport with a valid visa, five passport photographs, and a valid driving license from your home country to qualify for a Cambodian driving license. If you do not have your original license in English or French, you would need to request a translated copy that your embassy has notarized. If you don’t obtain any driving license at all, you would be expected to pass a series of computerized theory exams and a practical driving examination after taking lessons if needed at a nearby driving school.

Do I Need to Convert my License in Cambodia?

In Cambodia, an international driver's licence is not recognized after its expiration, and your health or travel insurance can not support your claim if you have an accident while driving without a proper Cambodian permit. Although once you are arrested, you might only choose to pay (or avoid) the minor fee for driving without a license, it is possible that as time goes by, the fines will get more serious, and having a Cambodian license will save you a hassle later down the road.

While many ex-pats still want to take the gamble of not having a driver's license from Cambodia, it's not very hard to obtain. You may choose to have an A2 license for motorcycles greater than 125 ccs, or a B license for vehicles holding less than nine people to drive in Cambodia. You can drive motorcycles smaller than 125cc with a B license, but if you plan to drive a larger motorcycle as well, you will also need an A2 license

Note that you don't legally need a license if you intend to drive a motorcycle or scooter that is less than 125cc, but often the laws get a little blurred when it comes to foreigners, so it might be worth applying for a license anyway.

The Top Destinations in Cambodia

If you want to indulge yourself in culture and history or just escape from busy city life, it will already give you a lot of choices to discover the best road trip destinations in Cambodia.

Angkor Wat Photo by Paul Szewczyk

Angkor Wat

Cambodia's number one drawcard is this temple town. The temples of the Angkorian era, accessible from the town of Siem Reap, are so ambitious in size and the beauty of their design that Angkor Wat is rated as one of the world's ancient sites that must be visited.

During the Middle Ages, it was the largest city in the world and the vast powerhouse of the Khmer rulers, built between AD 802 and 1432, who sought to outstrip their counterparts in the glory of their building. As the wooden houses of the city were overrun by the surrounding forest and then decayed, what remains today are only those mighty temples.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Phnom Penh International Airport, head southwest.
  2. Turn left.
  3. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit.
  4. Sharp left onto Airport Road.
  5. Continue onto Airport Road.
  6. Go straight.

Things to Do

If you want to explore the area, here’s a list of the available things to do in the place.

  1. Take a temple hop

    The temple of Angkor Wat itself, the largest religious building in the world, is just one sliver of the site in all, and if you want to appreciate the scale of the architectural accomplishments of the Angkorian period, the sprawling circuit of temples deserves three days to visit.
  2. Go to a café

    Deserted entirely after the chaos of the Khmer Rouge and left to wither and die, Phnom Penh has regained its status and became one of the most vibrant cities in Southeast Asia. This is the most cosmopolitan destination in Cambodia for tourists, with a café and restaurant scene unrivaled in the rest of the world.
  3. Visit Museums

    A stunning visual of Khmer sculpture that traces the past of the country from the pre-Angkorian period to the phenomenal glory of the god-kings of Angkor is housed in the National Museum. The Royal Palace offers splendid examples of traditional artistry, while the Tuol Sleng Museum and Choeung Ek's killing fields speak of the terror and violence endured under Khmer Rouge rule by the people of this land.
Ratanakiri Province Cambodia Photo by Bram Wouters


This is Outback Cambodia, and the region's endless red-dirt tracks, which lead to ethnic minority villages, are the joy of an intrepid adventurer. You could go hiking in Virachey National Park, home to elephants, lions, and sun bears. There are also more soothing options for sale. A peaceful swimming spot is the emerald water of Yeak Lom Crater Lake just outside Ban Lung city, while the waterfalls of Chaa Ong and Ka Tieng are enjoyable diversions that provide more wetting possibilities.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Phnom Penh International Airport, head south.
  2. Turn left.
  3. Continue straight.
  4. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit and stay on NR64.
  5. Turn left to stay on NR78A.
  6. Slight right onto Pr 3 RK 2.
  7. Turn right.

Things to Do

If you want to explore the area, here’s a list of the available things to do in the place.

  1. Go hiking

    The province is one of the best locations for trekking for anyone with an adventurous streak in Cambodia. You can try spotting gibbons at Veun Sai-Siem Pang Conservation Area, where overnight trips entail staying in hammocks and early rising to track buff-cheeked gibbons.
  2. Sightseeing

    Sitting atop the Dangrek Mountains, Prasat Preah Vihear is a colossal temple complex of intricately carved pavilions connected by long causeways, originally constructed to honor the god, Shiva, on an escarpment with dizzying views across the Cambodian floodplains.
  3. Take a day trip

    However, for the more adventurous, this is also an excellent base to explore the South's surrounding sights. The old French summer break from Bokor Hill Station, with its deserted church and wild, empty shell of a once-great hotel, is a simple day trip from the area, as are the limestone caves of Phnom Chhnork and Phnom Soria, both of which have ancient temples inside.
Kratie Province Cambodia Photo by britt gaiser


You've chosen the right destination if you're here for the full Mekong experience. Stretched along the banks of the mighty Mekong, Kratie, thanks to its dolphin-watching tours, has become a major destination for travelers. The endangered dolphins of Irrawaddy are native to the Mekong, and environmental initiatives have already been placed in place to try to help their numbers decrease.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Phnom Penh International Airport, head northeast.
  2. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto NR78A.
  3. Turn right to stay on NR78A.
  4. Continue onto 23.
  5. Slight left onto AH11/NR7.
  6. Make a turn to the right.
  7. Turn left.

Things to Do

If you want to explore the area, here’s a list of the available things to do in the place.

  1. Watch the dolphins

    By providing an alternative economy to fisheries, tourism has played a good part in helping to preserve the dolphins. Go to Kampi, just north of Kratie, to see the dolphins, where there are plenty of boat tours available.
  2. Get a glimpse of its architecture

    Kratie's laid-back riverine town has oodles of old-world ambiance. It is a delight to ramble through the compact central district, full of remaining shop-house architecture, some of which have been painstakingly renovated. In its highly chilled-out environment, Kampot's charm lies, and many a traveler finds himself waylaid here longer than they planned, having succumbed to his easy-going pace.
  3. Go for a swim

    It is one of the most scenic of all the islands, with a dozen beach hut resorts in the long, sandy Saracen Bay providing a welcome respite from the world. It really is all about hammock-time here, but for the more adventurous tourists, there are lots of scuba diving experiences on sale.

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