Cambodia // Sihanoukville and the south //

Avoiding fines on the road

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While there is no more exhilarating way to explore Sihanoukville’s dispersed coastline than on the back of your own rented motorbike, you need to be on your guard for prowling policemen looking for a bribe. There is currently no legal infrastructure in place that requires tourists to hold a license but the police have come up with a few reasons to pull you over and take your money. There are some measures you can take to keep them at bay.

The first, and one that we would recommend regardless of police interference, is to wear a helmet; it’s every man for himself on the road, so safety should be your number-one priority. Riding without a shirt on is enough to have you pulled over and, bizarrely, driving with your lights on in the day is unacceptable. This is allegedly because that privilege is reserved for travelling dignitaries, which the Western tourist is not considered to be.

Being stopped for any of these offences will result in you being asked to hand over a fistful of dollars (up to $100). However, in almost every case you can barter this down to one or two. If you know you haven’t done anything wrong, insisting on handling the situation down at the station is a big deterrent as the police are not actually charging you with anything.

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