As much as Phnom Penh is a rising community with tremendous history and cultural offerings, it's also a city on the edge of civilization. Everything is in sale: young girls, drugs, guns... you name it, you can get it in Phnom Penh. An entire cottage industry of underage prostitution arose in Phnom Penh, drawing unscrupulous males from throughott the Western world, including, famously, Gary Glitter.
Recently, the government has realized that being the world capital of underage prostitution is not exactly good for marketing brochures. As such, they have started to crack down, even to the point of deporting Mr. Glitter.
So be careful. While everything in your wildest imagination might be available in Phnom Penh, the insides of a Cambodian jail might not be your dream vacation.
IF YOU ARE CROSSING THE BORDER OVERLAND (does not apply to those entering via air): I heard several horror stories from fellow travelers about the visa process at land crossings. The customs officials will demand more than the $20US fee and you will have to pay in either Thai Baht or US Dollars. I’ve heard stories of extorted fees from an extra $20US on up. If crossing into Cambodia overland I recommend procuring your visa beforehand to avoid the corruption at the border or be prepared to shell out some extra cash.
When renting a motobike in Phnom Penh, be careful not to break any traffic rules. There are huge numbers of policemen who just wait until a foreigner violates a rule. Then they stop you and demand money. Keep in mind that everything can be bargained - I was meant to pay 20$ for violating a noright-turn (which, I guess, wasn't even wrong: Have you ever heard of no right-turn signs?!), but I ended paying just 4$. Still, it's an annoying experience. Watch out for the police!
If you are travelling by plane outside of a tour group be warned that even though your reservations were made, money can buy anything there and you could just as easily loose them. The plane was free seating to and from Siem Riep. Be prepared for a bag search at Siem Riep - everyone had it.
'Be very careful in Phomh Penh.
At daytime I was invited home by "'Filipinos'' visiting their ''uncle'' , because the 'sister'' was supposed to go to my country and they wanted some information. They served food etc., but the uncle then talked about his job in a casino and that he could help me win money to continue the trip for a longer time. Luckily nothing bad happened - but still - I was very stupid to believe them. Dont go !
At night dont go out with a visible bag.
Just next to Sisowath Quay a moto came by and tried to steal my bag. They didnt suceed, but I fell down, so I recommend not to walk alone when its dark, take a tuk tuk or taxi and better dont go alone.
I'm going to directly contradict the advice on visas left here in the past. Do get your visa at the border but only after you have passed through Thai immigration and onto the bridge. You will be ripped off a little, but only a little. Expect to pay approx. $3 as a premium for rapid, efficient service - or you can wait for an hour or so and pay the going rate.
If you think you're going to hang around in Cambodia - then get a business visa, because being able to extend forever is much easier than a trip back to the border and at $5 extra from a tourist visa price, it's a bargain.
DO NOT - whatever you do, buy a visa on the Thai side - you will be robbed and they cannot get you a business visa. We paid $45 (a $25 premium) for a tourist visa the first time, never again. Just pick up the visa after immigration - it's easy.