I am extremely cautious and thought I would share some of my tips - they may save someone some heartache.
Feel free to add your own safety tips so we can hopefully create a really helpful document.
In general I feel a lot safer in Siem Reap than Phnom Penh, but one can never be too cautious!
THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT THINGs TO REMEMBER:
- Always keep your handbag on the opposite side of your body to the road.
- Always know where it is!
I generally hang my bag diagonally across my body and sometimes wear a light jacket over the top.
Make sure the strap is sturdy and can’t be ripped off easily.
HOWEVER – if someone manages to grab it, don’t fight to get it back if it means you could be pulled out of a vehicle. It’s not worth your life.
Use a bag that has a zip and a flap, not just a flap. It’s very easy for a little hand to slip under a flap while you are not paying attention, so make it difficult to get inside.
Don’t walk down tiny, dark streets, stick to well-lit, populated routes. If you need to walk - Hold your head up and walk confidently.
BEFORE LEAVING THE HOUSE:
If you are on a moto, tuck it on your lap under your shirt with no strap dangling.
I always call a PassApp and if I am going any sort of distance, I take a car.
I take out the fare before I leave home, so I don’t have to open my purse in front of anyone, I just roll the cash up and hold it in my hand.
Make sure you have closed your bag before exiting your front door.
Don’t stand on the street scrambling through your stuff – you could drop something or become easily distracted, and that is when you become a target.
Once you leave the house, stay focused until you are in the vehicle.
If you are in a car, keep the windows rolled up so nobody can reach their hand inside.
If you are in a tuk tuk on your own, sit in the middle with your bag on your lap. It’s habit for me to hug my bag while I am in transit.
If you are in a tuk tuk with someone else, place your bag between the two of you or cradle it in your lap. Do not place your bag in a position where someone can reach in a grab it.
KNOW WHERE IT IS AT ALL TIMES!
Pay the fare inside the car and close your handbag before exiting.
WALKING IN THE STREET and CROSSING ROADS:
If the road is on my right, my handbag is on my left.
As I cross the road, I am moving my handbag to the other side. This is now habit.
If at all possible stay off the road – walk on the sidewalk, preferably with motos and food carts creating a barrier between you and the road.
TAKING PHOTOS and MAKING CALLS:
Do not take out your phone in the middle of the street. Just don’t.
If you absolutely desperately HAVE to have the photo of the tangled cables, get off the road, position yourself behind a pole or bike or food stall or something that will block direct access to your hand from the street.
You want to protect your phone from being grabbed out of your hand while your focus is elsewhere. Don’t make yourself a target!
The same goes for making a call – I usually step off the sidewalk into a shop if I need to make a call. I almost never take out my phone on the street.
EATING AND DRINKING:
Always know where your bag is, don’t hang it over your chair then get up to go to the loo. You have no idea who is sitting watching, just waiting for you to get a little bit tipsy and lose focus.
One method used by thieves is to distract you.
One will come and ask for a donation or try to sell you something. While your head is turned, another will slip their hand into your bag.
When I am eating, I either place my bag behind my back on the chair or hanging over the chair, as long as there is no access to the bag from behind. If someone comes and talks to me, I automatically place my hand on my handbag, it’s become second nature.
Know where it is and don’t be a target.
When going out for drinks, I usually leave my handbag at home. Oops, I meant man-bag.
Also, when going out at night, I only take as much money as I expect I will need.
Twenty years ago, Phnom Penh was quite dangerous at night. There was a time when I was the only expat that I knew who hadn't been mugged/held up at gunpoint. It was a common occurrence.
Whilst a very good tip, I have first hand experience of a handbag being stolen from between the rider and passenger in this manner. I think it definitely lowers your risk if you must take a handbag, but I'd possibly recommend that the RIDER conceals it under his/her clothing entirely, and the passenger is entirely hands free & not a target. Of course this only works if you know the rider very well, so don't ask any old motodop to tuck your Gucci petite up his shirt!!
And yes, that robbery was really quite staggering (I was the rider), wife (Khmer) the victim - they got her swimsuit and bugger all else, the rest (phone/ID card, etc) was in my pockets!!! It was that smooth that I honestly thought she was waving to her friends before she started yelling "Jao!"
ut sint Guinness proxima morientis ori.
tunc cantabunt letius angelorum chori:
"Sit Deus propitius huic potatori."
Sorry girls/ladies but it's that simple
when are the womans fashion going to catch on to this idea they'll make a fortune if designed right
What's a poor man do when the blues keep following him around.(Smoking Dynamite)
I always do this, no matter what I am carrying. switch hands when crossing the road etc. it just becomes second nature.
tbh I quite often walk along with my phone in my hand, but use the same premise - hold away from the road and switch hands.
Thats why I use Grab (or tada/ taxi phumi), no need for any cash, saves so much hassle
Pretty much covered already by Roz but If you stop to wait, make a phone call, get a PassApp etc stand somewhere that is away from the possible path of a motorbike. For example on the other side of a steep curb, near a pole, shielded by a parked car etc.
Hold your head up and walk confidently.
This is important, if it looks like you are comfortable and know exactly where you are going you will avoid being targeted much of the time. Looking lost, checking maps on corners or staggering around aimlessly drunk are going to attract blaggers. If you are hammered drunk you need to get the hell home fast in a taxi.
Solves all problems promptly.
Next thing all of us women are labelled butch lesbians, dressing like men, with shit bulging out our pockets.
It's NOT that simple.
ATMO I am in a european coutry where people still leave their doors open and the keys in their bikes and no one steals (except tourists who have run out of beer money)
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