Basic health advise for Cambodia

Cambodia’s health system is vastly improving, but even with these improvements there are still a number of health risks that may cross your path.
With some advance knowledge you can certainly reduce these risks:


Check food for smell and colour before eating it. Peel vegetables and fruit or wash them with bottled water. Make sure your food is fully cooked. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially before eating.
Keep in mind that the local knowledge of hygiene is still basic.
The staff at Rikitikitavi is trained in personal and food preparation hygiene. We practice western health and safety standards throughout the business.
Read more about food-borne diseases.


It’s hot, so drink plenty of water, but never drink tap water. Good quality bottled water is available everywhere, with a quality difference between mineral and purified water. Avoid the cheap, blueish bottles of water.

dirty waterwater that you probably should not drink

Make sure you brush your teeth with bottled water, too.
Coffee, alcoholic and carbonated drinks do not hydrate sufficiently.
Read more about water-borne diseases.


Salt deficiency can cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue and muscle cramps. Add a pinch of salt to your dinner, or supplement with rehydration salts (ORS).


Sun protection

sun protection

Wear sun protection whenever going out, even when it’s cloudy or raining. A hat or an umbrella can keep your face out of the sun. Wear sunglasses to avoid damage to your eyes. Apply sun block frequently. Drink plenty of water to avoid sunstroke. Seek shade.

Prickly heat

In case you are not used to tropical heat, you may develop an itchy rash (often on limbs and abdomen) which is caused by transpiration getting ‘stuck’ under your skin.
Make sure you keep cool, wear clean, airy clothes and dry yourself well after a shower.

dirty waterwe find this prickly heat powder very effective

Prickly heat powder or (medicated) talcum powder gives a quick relief and keeps the skin dry for a longer period. An air conditioned room will also reduce the rash.


The best way to avoid mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites:
Use a mosquito repellent containing 30%-50% DEET or citriol (lemon eucalyptus) day and night; use mosquito devices and citronella only as a secondary control. Citronella may smell lovely, but is not effective.
Wear light coloured trousers and long-sleeved shirts.

stop mosquitoes

Keep doors and windows closed if possible.
Stay in a room with air conditioning if you can afford it and if available.
If you have no air conditioning in your room, use an (impregnated) mosquito net.
Treat, or have your room treated with a flying insect spray.
Avoid bathrooms with bucket shower and toilet; stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquito larvae

Read more about mosquito-borne diseases.


However local pharmacies are very well stocked and incredibly cheap, one should always bring essential medications to Cambodia as there is no guarantee they will be available locally.


Keep your medication in its original packaging and if required, take the original prescription. Make sure you follow airport guidelines for maximum liquid allowance.
When buying medicine in Cambodia, make sure the product is genuine and within the sell by date.

Health Insurance

Local health facilities may not always be sufficiently equipped. We recommend taking out medical insurance including medical evacuation. Check with your insurance adviser what your best available options are.

First-Aid Kit

In Cambodia, the nearest doctor might be far away, so bring a first-aid kit.
Purchase one before you set off on your trip; your nearest adventure store should have a variety of cleverly packed first-aid kits available.

first aid kit

First-aid kit core supplies
Disinfectant for wounds (antibiotic/antiseptic cream)
Plasters and dressings to seal disinfected wounds
Blister plasters
Effective medicines against vomiting and diarrhoea
Sealed sterile syringes and needles with them (usually two to three)
Pain killers

Safe sex

Make sure your method of protection is a genuine product – whether this is prevention of STDs or birth control – consider taking them from your home country.

Road Safety

road safety

Car crashes are a leading cause of injury among travellers. Protect yourself from these injuries by:

Not drinking and driving
Wearing your seat belt and using car seats or booster seats in the backseat for children.
Making sure you understand the local traffic laws before you drive off on your rented motorbike or car. These are different to what you are used to at home.
Wearing helmets when you ride bikes, motorcycles, and motor bikes.
Not getting on an overloaded bus or mini-bus.
Hiring a local driver, when possible.
Avoiding night driving.

by Rikitikitavi

One comment

  1. Larry Mancuso (Nino's dad) said on 16 November, 2014

    Thanks for making our stay enjoyable. Wish we had planned it to be longer. Hope to return. Ciao, LM

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