Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia. Along with the entire country, this city strives to completely get away from its dark history marred with wars and internal conflicts, and into becoming one of the leading mega-cities in Southeast Asia. Poverty is quite apparent in Phnom Penh, which explains the presence of so many international humanitarian foundations and non-government organizations. Visiting tourists are often concerned about their health in Phnom Penh and for good reasons.
As in most Southeast Asian countries, The Phnom Penh air is teeming with hordes of bugs, especially when darkness falls. Some bugs could be icky and scary-looking but that is the least of a tourist’s problems. The real health concern is mosquitoes. They thrive in dark and damp areas and could induce dengue fever or malaria. While these illnesses are deadly, they are easy to avoid. When in Phnom Penh, tourists (and even locals) should take simple but very helpful measures to avoid being bitten by these pesky, Asian flying critters. As much as possible, tourists should stay inside air-conditioned rooms especially during nighttime. If going out is unavoidable, they should put on mosquito repellants or simply cover up.
In addition to the tiny critters, stray dogs are also a problem in the capital city. It is common knowledge that rabid dog bites can kill. Again, it is best to stay inside the comfort of one’s hotel room whenever possible, and when going out, avoid walking through back alleys and back roads where stray dogs “hang out”. Foreigners must keep in mind that most of the dogs they see around the capital city are not friendly pets.
Another concern when in an Asian city is the scorching tropical sun. The heat can cause rashes, dehydration and dizziness for the western tourist who is not used being in hot weather. No one can shut off the sun, and so again the most practical and helpful way of solving this problem is to stay indoors whenever possible. However, one of the primary reasons for visiting a tropical country is, of course, to stay outdoors to visit attractions or take a swim. When doing so, tourists must put on sun-block lotion to protect the skin, wear glasses to protect the eyes, and a hat to protect the top of the head. Finally, it is very helpful to always carry a bottle of mineral water to regularly rehydrate.
To fully enjoy one’s vacation, the idea is to stay healthy. When visiting Phnom Penh, each visiting traveler must be responsible for his or her own health. Needless to say, one must bring along all prescription drugs necessary and enough pieces to last the vacation. Taking vitamins regularly is also helpful. Also, it is important to maintain healthy habits such as sleeping early, avoiding too much alcohol, avoiding unfamiliar foods, and wearing protection when deciding to be intimate with a stranger.
If for unfortunate reasons the above health problems become unavoidable, a tourist must immediately contact the nearest medical center. Here are a few: The Camette Hospital along Monivong Street, Community and Family Medical Clinic on Kampuchean Krom, Clinic Kirirom on Street 115, and Hospital Bayon on Norodom Street, among many others. Needless to say, tourists and vacationers must do all that they can to maintain good health in Phnom Penh.