Top 5 Scams to Avoid while visiting Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is one of the most famous ancient temple complexes. It’s on every visitor to Cambodia’s must-visit list.

As Cambodia is heavily reliant on tourism, scams are rampant, particularly around popular tourist sites like Angkor Wat. The easiest way to avoid any scam is to know the con. That’s why we bring you this list of the five most common scams in Angkor Wat.

Luckily, all of them are quite passive and easy to avoid. They prey on the basic human nature of greed by offering cheaper or easier alternatives. Oh, and even if we consider some of these offers as genuine, the savings would still be insignificant. So, when you are on a once-in-a-lifetime visit to Angkor Wat, the most successful way to avoid any scam is a polite “no.”

Top 5 Scams to Avoid in Angkor Wat

1. Tuk Tuk & Taxi Scams

When you are in Cambodia, the most common scams involve Tuk Tuk and Taxis. Sometimes they will claim the meter is broken and charge an inflated flat rate. They will take an unnecessarily long route to your destination when the meter is fine. Then there are those tax drivers who claim they have no change so that they can take the extra amount from you. But, all of these scams are common all over Cambodia.

There’s one particular scam involving the Angkor Wat complex. When you’re waiting at the bus station or airport, a taxi driver will approach you with a good price rate for Angkor Wat. They will promise to take you there for the sunrise. As soon as you enter the Angkor Wat park entrance, they will ramp up the price.

As it’s early in the morning, you won’t have any other conveyance, leaving you no option but to accept the extra charge or walk the 5Km to the temple. To avoid these issues, simply book your transport through your hotel. Always plan in advance, leave early in the morning and stick to your plans. Also, make sure you never pay the full fare in advance.

2. Fake Ticket Scams

Angkor Wat complex is home to several temples. When you buy your Angkor Wat Pass, you get free access to all the temples in the Complex. Oftentimes, there are fake temple guards who try to convince you that you have to pay extra to get into a particular temple. You can ask them to show you their lanyard or official ID if that happens.

Remember, the pass is valid for one, three, or seven days – depending on what pass you get. So, you should not be charged an extra fee. After getting your pass, you have to go through several checkpoints to stamp and verify your ticket. And these fake guards often lurk around these areas. Official Sokimex guards wear blue shirts along with a name tag, and they will never ask you for money.

3. Fake Angkor Wat Guides

Becoming an official tour guide at the Angkor Wat complex takes months of training. However, anyone with a basic understanding of English and a little bit of speaking prowess can claim to be a tour guide. You will come across many such people in the adjoining areas. Taxi drivers, shopkeepers, and even some police officers in uniform will ask whether you want to know the history of the place.

The best way to avoid them is to ignore them and continue on your way. Headphones also help, even if you’re not listening to anything. Sure, you can tell them you have no money, but they will keep trailing you every now and then. In case you want to hire a tour guide, always go for official tour guides. They wear light yellow shirts along with official lanyards.

4. Fake Khamer Monks

Another very common scam at the Angkor Wat Complex is fake monks. They ask for cash donations, either for charity or homeless children, and are never satisfied with what you give. Sometimes they come with bracelets that they will tie around your wrist or amulets they will give you and then demand cash in return. Some even mumble some words and then charge you $20 for the holy prayer.

Although Angkor Wat is a holy site, not everyone got the memo. Mainly, these people try to put on the garb of a month and then try to scam as many people as they can. Fake monks are usually non-Cambodians dressed in mustard or brown robes, unlike the bright orange garb of original Khamer monks. To avoid any awkwardness, politely decline their offer.

5. Child Vendors

Angkor Wat is teeming with young vendors. They will run up to you, trying to sell you books or postcards, and tell you the story of how they need money for school fees. It doesn’t matter how authentic their story is. Don’t fall for it. Unfortunately, most of them get taken out of school and get exploited to provide income for either their families or other influential rackets. Due to this, they rarely get any profit from the sales.

After all, there’s a reason why the management of the Complex has signs everywhere not to give money to any beggar or the children. Every dollar they make sinks them deeper into the abyss of child exploitation. Moreover, some of them are also involved in other criminal activities like picking pockets. So, after every encounter with these child vendors, don’t forget to check your wallet to stay safe.  


Hope you all would have liked this effort of ours to bring another informative post for our readers. Meanwhile, till we come up with something equally interesting next, do enjoy reading our unique Travelogues here :

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Photo Credit : Peregrine Images ,Google

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