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Drugs in Cambodia can be your friend or your enemy, just be careful.
Home / Countries / Cambodia / A warning about weed and other drugs in Cambodia

A warning about weed and other drugs in Cambodia

no drugs in cambodiaIf you like weed, more power to you, enjoy learning about how common marijuana is in Cambodia and even follow this step by step guide towards fun. However, if you’re not so into cannibals then let me send you a small warning. In Cambodia, and in many places in South East Asia, weed is very common. So common that many restaurants and bars sell it in one form or another. On pizza, with noodles, in fruit shakes, mixed with alcohol.

There are hundreds if not thousands of business around Cambodia that sell marijuana and other drugs. Sometimes these are in the city, sometimes in small towns, sometimes they target foreign tourists at other times they target locals. If you want something it’s easy to find, if you don’t want something then I hope you don’t find it.

Drug Rule 1: If something has the word “happy” in it, it is spiked with a marijuana.

happy mohito - drugs and alcohol mixed A couchsurfer of mine told me her unforgettable experience. She was out at a bar in Phnom Penh, drinking with her friends. They were sampling different cocktails, ones with unusual names, a Bayan Margareta, an Angkor Sunrise, and a Happy Mojito full of diced swirling leaves. “I just thought they were silly names slapped onto the usual drinks. The Happy mojito was just like any other mojito, until about an hour later when everything changed.” She told me, her face red at remembering her stressful ordeal.

Alcohol and cannabis spun her world. She accused her friends of spiking her drinks and tried to walk the dark streets of PP herself. It took a staff intervention to explain that she had ordered a drink laced with weed and a self-proclaimed spiritual healer to help her escape her paranoia.

Drug Rule 2: Marijuana isn’t just for taste

I watched as Rachana bent over and snipped off vines, leaves and buds from his Cannabis plants. “No, no, this just isn’t acceptable” he shook his head and threw some into the pile of rice straw the cow was eating. The cow ate them as well. He finished and came over, his short skirt dancing in the soft breeze. He threw his harvest into the boiling pot. “For taste!”

I’ve met a lot of locals who eat weed “for the taste” at breakfast and then spend the rest of the day relaxing under the thick bars of shade, only moving as the shadow moves. If your up for this, enjoy, if not then just tell people you don’t eat it, they will understand.

Drug Rule 3: Drugs are deadly in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

With lakeside’s glory days in the past, some of the more unfortunate events are now becoming rarer. If you walk around lakeside today you can still find many who have been there for years, they will tell you the stories of the days where tourists packed the street and bodies packed the morgue.

“The touts would go aroun saying they got cocaine for sell, but nobody got cocaine aroun here” Simon told me as he sipped on his Phnom Penh beer. “No, they only sell heroin, really cheap heroin cut with whatever shit they can find. And they sell it like cocaine. So in come these tourists and they want to try everything. If they want to try heroin, fine with me. Fine with everyone. Nobody cares, this is Cambodia.” He raises his beer in the air “choin gao” Cambodian for cheers. “They just need to be safe and follow the rules.”

Simon’s fall to the ground and stay there, he falls silent. He looked back up at me, his eyes are not as energetic as before “It’s when they want to try cocaine that the problems come. See you can snort a 12 inch line of cocaine and you’re gonna have a bitchen time, but if you do that with heroin, well you’re not waking up in the morning. So once, maybe twice each month for years this kind of bull shit happened. Sometimes the kids had death wishes, they came here to die, but other times the kids where happy and just wanted to experiment when they experimented with the wrong thing.”

Rule 4: Don’t take a hit from her cigarette.

The smoke piled from her nose and a smile rose from her lips. All around, they all smiled. Women with the most difficult lives, women who charged $5 or less for a fuck, women who lived harsh lives, smiled. “Want a hit of my Ice cigarette” her eyes were glowing.

Methamphetamine laced cigarettes are common in many of the bigger cities, tuktuk drivers sell them on the streets and prostitutes tend to smoke them by the pack. “Two or three dollars and you’re smiling all night.” They tell me, their eyes lit up like fireworks.

Drug Rule 5: Valium, is 60 tablets for a dollar.

generic Valium in cambodia, super cheap Valium relaxes you, and soothes your nerves like a few beers. In some of the smaller towns you can always find people abusing it, buying boxes of 60 ten milligram tablets for a dollar and taking 15-20 pills at once. Can you die from this? Yes. Is it relaxing? I’ve never tried it but the people who have become corpse-like for 4 to 5 hours. They just lie there, their eyes staring off into nothingness. It is creepy.

In the bigger towns you can find people selling  overpriced Valium on the street, and people using it as a party drug. 2 tablets, 2 beers and your partying all night, well that is if you don’t black out. Be really careful if you try this because beer and Valium have side effects like amnesia, irritability and anger, and they interfere with your motor cortex (part of your brain) and can make it difficult to do things like walk, talk, pick things up.

Hey, I’m Eric, is my travel blog. I write this website to show you how easy it is to live, work and travel all around the world. I’ve been traveling almost 8 years now. I’m just about to publish my new book Where the Wind Blows: Traveling around the World on $5 a day

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  1. Is it fair to say if you want to buy cocaine don’t because you’ll get heroin, or do they say heroin and fob you off with shit?

    • Because heroin is so cheap and widespread I think it’s more likely that people would give heroin instead of something fake. Overall this means its a lot more dangerous to people who go to Cambodia for Cocaine, but more safer for those going for Heroin. There are a lot of people going there for Heroin.

  2. One issue is that tourists don’t act courteously around others. Everyone gets off the plane, takes a taxi or tuk tuk to their hostel, and then assumes that it is legal, and ok, to light up, without asking those nearby. If someone next to you is not drinking, not smoking a cigarette, or not enjoying a joint, then it’s not likely that they are going to enjoy you lighting up while they wait for their lunch to arrive at the hostel you both are staying at.

    • Fred I agree about the cocaine issue, but sometimes sellers will sell people heroin instead. While I was there were maybe 2 accidental overdoses a month from people not understanding what you understood.

  3. Think about it, all cocaine is produced in South America, none is produced in Asia. Think how expensive it is in Europe and the U.S. Think of how much more expensive and difficult it would be to get it to a poor country on the opposite side of the world. There is coke in Asia but you have to be really well connected and it ain’t cheap. You’re not going to get it on the streets of Phnom Penh. It will be heroin that’s cut to shit with something nasty.

  4. Of course Heroin is much more widespread here since the production is just next door in Burma and China. And it is of a very high purity, sometimes up to 90% (Europe has an average of 10%). Even if you are a heroin user back home, use it with extreme caution. It happened to quiet a few ‘wise’ guys, who thought they can ‘handle’ it and who ended up being dead.
    Cocaine used to be quite shit and useless, but in recent years you get medium quality Coke for around $120-$140/gram. There is more and more coming for the rich Thais, most of the time via Cambodia so some get stuck here. However, as mentioned before, it is rather unlikely that a Tuk Tuk driver will offer you Coke – you need to have some connections. Coke on the street is either bad heroin or other stuff you don’t want to take.

    Please be extremely careful with any drugs in Cambodia. Since a few years the Prime Minister declared war to all the drugs and it gotten really expensive to buy yourself out of prison, sometimes even impossible! Methamphetamine, also widely called ‘ICE’ (in Khmer ‘Tuk Koh’) is the number 1 consumed drug in Cambodia. Per capita Cambodia is the number 1 user worldwide! It is highly addictive and very very destructive to your body and mind.

    • So can you get in Cambodia, I’m planning a trip so wanted to know if you found the trees you were referring to.

  5. My drink was spiked with Ice at Tiger Sizzler opposite the Amari hotel on Riverside in Phnom Phenn last night. 16 March 2017.
    It is 5pm and I’m still awake. It is not a nice experience and feeling as I value my health.

    I heard from the Nordic guesthouse which by the way is run excellently that this is common for the whole street. The Ankor draft tasted bitter. I questioned it and they acted dumb.

    They do it to make you drink more. That didnt apply to me. I felt like a few drinks anyway having not had any for about a week and only realised that something was wrong this morning at 8 am when I couldnt get to sleep. I went to bed at about midnight but couldnt sleep.

    As an aside prices have really shot up in Cambodia. So much so I wont be coming back. Dont believe the fake news on the internet. Its not cheap here. Its not like 2003 when I loved this place.

    The same room at House of Malubu on Serendipidty beach in Sihanoukville cost me $8 a year ago. Now it costs $20. Ive had to look at prices the whole 6 weeks that I’ve been here and Im not poor.

    Food is also expensive compared to Vietnam and food everywhere in Sihanoukville is in the $4.50 to $7 range and upwards and there is too much development going on and new fancy restaurants $5 upwards. Even the cheap stalls near the lions have pushed their prices closer to $3 than $1.50 a year ago.

    In 2003 everthing in the capital cost between $1 and $3 Ive seen food on menues priced between $15 and $25. Ankor is also rip off. $15 a scooter. Entry $37 etc. If the country continues to demand top dollar for a third world destination tourists wont come back.

    I saw it in Goa where the prices doubled a year ago.
    Back to the topic the bar in question has no right to jeopardiae my health and mind. I reported it to the tourist police.

    Watch your drinks.

  6. Cambodia is overlooking a massive revenue income opportunity. Their HAPPY PIZZA and the MOJITA’S would bring in billions in cannabis and marijuana business. This would rapidly make Cambodia among the major tourist destinations. Expect Legalized international sales of marijuana to increase exponentially. Not only is T.H.C. safe and beneficial it attracts the more intellectual and nonviolent people. Anyone who can not tell the difference between a dangerous and destructive chemical like meth and a beneficial and harmless plant such as marijuana does not need to be in any position of responsibility.

    • TOPDOG1, you have hit the nail on the head. Legalising or decriminalise Cannabis would be a stroke of genius. Over 2 million tourists a year visit the Netherlands(Amsterdam) each year to enjoy a smoke. And I don’t think it should just be a 3rd world solution but a global solution. Think of the medicinal qualities it has saving money on man made drugs, a very good revenue stream helping lots of different and diverse companies. So I’d like to finish by saying I agree with you TD1 but I would love it if Britain got in on the act and other 1st world countries aswell, but I expect it well know that governments will not accept the evil empire of THC over the pharmaceutical companies, but fingers crossed.

    • I agree, but my question is can you easily get good cannabis in Cambodia or is it just a backpackers urban myth??????

      • Yes, you can get it easily…just ask a Tuk Tuk driver. You will need to be somewhat discreet about buying as well as smoking since things have changed over the past few years. It’s weak weed, but just take a few extra tokes and saul goodman. Approx $15 for about a 1 oz.

  7. Okay, so i take the valium but not to get high. I take it due to severe anxiety on flights and buses. I take 20 mg at the most. I hardly think that will kill you. On some occasions, I would have horrible panic attacks without using it. I am thankful that you can get it in Cambodia and Vietnam

  8. Can anyone tell me, if I DON’T want to eat weed (because I get drug tested) is there a chance it’ll happen without them telling me?

    Other than $0.50 “happy hour specials” on beer, nothing I’ve eaten is “happy”!

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