Cambodia Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
The research for this website was carried out mainly in 2011 and 2012. Therefore there is a good chance that much of the information may now be out of date. This is particularly true of countries in the developing world, especially Asia and Africa where conditions can change often. Also, the political climate in many countries has changed a lot in recent years. Therefore the information on this website should be treated with caution. You should always check with your Government’s website or the UK Foreign office travel advice website before finalising plans to drive abroad.
Driving In Cambodia
The majority of roads in Cambodia are in a poor condition. Travel after dark significantly increases the risk of accidents and should be avoided. Hazards include overloaded vehicles, erratic driving, vehicles without lights and stray cattle. Cambodia has one of the highest rates of road traffic accidents in the world, resulting in high numbers of fatalities and serious injuries.
Officially, a Cambodian driver’s licence is required for driving abroad in Cambodia, including for the use of motorcycles. Holders of International Driving Permits can apply for one at a cost of US $25. Some local travel agencies can arrange a licence for an additional administrative fee. In my experience though, when renting a motorcycle its rare the rental company even mention this. If driving a car I’d make sure you ask whether a Cambodian licence is needed and ask them to arrange this prior to your arrival if so. Also check carefully with the rental company what insurance is included in the hire.As stated in my ‘Planning a trip’ section, try and find a company where someone speaks passable English and use them for local knowledge. You may be asked to leave your passport as security for a vehicle-never do this. You should have your passport with you when travelling.
You may be told that it isn’t allowed to rent a vehicle in certain areas at different times-rules seem to change with alarming frequency and its difficult to establish the true situation. You should go on what the rental company tell you-they will know if there is a genuine ban in place and they’ll be in more trouble than you if they ignore any ban. So you may need to be prepared to get an email just before you depart telling you rules have changed and your rental has been cancelled! Self drive is a great experience around the temples of Angkor Wat- worth wading through the bureaucracy to experience in my opinion.You should check the UK Foreign Office website before travel though as there may be areas you shouldn’t travel to at certain times with particular volatility around the Thai border region.
Cambodia Car Rental–
At the time of writing it is apparently possible to rent cars and motorbikes in Pnom Penh and Sihanoukville provinces but not in Siem Reap. I’m always suspicious of this info though. When I was in Siem Reap I was told it was absolutely forbidden to self drive any vehicle, but I still managed to rent a motorbike to visit the temples, and that was a fantastic experience. I was certainly glad I didn’t listen to popular opinion.
This company is one I located that specifically mention self drive, though they want a 500 USD Cash deposit.
I believe this company will also allow self drive –
Cambodia Self Driving Rules –
You will need to discuss terms with the individual companies. I doubt they will allow the cars to be taken out of Cambodia though.