What to Do When Mugged in Cambodia

Looks about right.

Looks about right.

Okay, Mom. Don’t freak out. I was not mugged.

But my super awesome travel buddy of 6 weeks was. On the day before we were set to fly to Kuala Lumpur. Actually, it was about 12 hours until we had to fly out.

We were walking home from dinner when a motorbike drove up behind us with two men on it. They barely even slowed down as they grabbed my friend’s purse, cut the thick leather strap and drove away with the entire thing.


Step 1: Stand around in stunned silence while the muggers drive away with $35 dollars cash (thank goodness it was not more), a debit card, an Iphone, and various other precious goods (goodbye playing cards and pocket knife…you were dear dear friends).

Step 2: Wait for the onslaught of Cambodians to surround you asking if you are okay.

Step 3: Sit your friend on the curb while frantically muttering, “You’re okay. Everything’s okay. You’re okay.” Then, as calm as you can, ask, “Your passport is in your locker at the hostel…right?”

Step 4: Sigh in relief when she says the passport was not in her purse.

Step 5: Wait around for another 15 minutes in shock, hoping beyond hope that the mugger will change his mind and come back with the bag.

Step 6: When you realize he is not, make your way back to the hostel and double check that her passport is indeed in her bag. Skype her bank to cancel her debit card. Wipe her Iphone so the mugger bastard cannot use it. Drink a Coke. You’re gonna need it for the next part of this adventure.

Step 7: Hire a tuk-tuk to drive you around looking for a police station that is open. When you cannot find one, bribe an off-duty policeman into filling out an incident report.

Step 8: Sit in the police station (can this garage really be considered a police station?) while he takes his damn sweet time filling out the form. It is nearly midnight.

Step 9: When your friend finally breaks down, make sure she has cigarettes and the promise of a nice strong cocktail.

Step 10: When the policeman tells you that you have to come back at 8 o’clock in the morning despite your 6 o’clock flight out of Phnom Penh, beg, plead, and bribe. All you need is one copy of the report for the insurance. When he finally takes a picture of the report for you, give him $5.

Rude, man. We were just mugged.

Step 10: Back in the hostel, agree with everything your friend says (even if you don’t really agree.)

“I should call my parents.” I agree.

“Cambodia sucks.” No it doesn’t, but today it does. I agree.

“I need a cigarette.” I agree.

Step 11: Go to bed. You have a flight to catch tomorrow! And you are practically going to have to drag your sleep-deprived friend through the airport. Goodbye, Cambodia. You were great! (Except for those last 6 hours. Those really sucked.)

Step 12: Start over with some much needed shopping therapy and a haircut in Kuala Lumpur. Also, seeing a movie definitely helps, too. (Hello, Avengers!)

Guys, being mugged sucks.

It was a reminder for me never to carry my passport with me and to avoid carrying around a purse at night if at all possible. My friend and I were very shaken up at the incident, but I’m glad we were together. Always travel in pairs at night. Always.

My friend is finally beginning to feel better after the incident, but it really soured her to traveling over the last week. I cannot say my outlook has been much better. We are just beginning to get on track again and make plans for Malaysia.

In other news: I’m in Malaysia. And I have no idea where to go. There are so many options here. Beach? Jungle? Highlands? Who knows?

4 thoughts on “What to Do When Mugged in Cambodia

  1. Catherine

    Ah, this sucks! So glad you were there for your friend though, sounds like she really needed you! And at least your passports were safe! Got to look on the bright side, right?

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      That was really the bright side! I don’t know what we would have done if her passport was in there. We certainly wouldn’t be flying to Malaysia the next day!

  2. Karyn Jane

    Oh shit! I’m so sorry your friend had to go through this. Was she carrying her purse on the side of her body that was away from the road? That’s one thing I do to try to avoid these situations. There are also slash-proof bags you can get. I daresay you might be able to find them in Kuala Lumpur.

    1. Kendra Granniss Post author

      She was carrying it across her body and away from the road. They literally just pulled on the strap and cut it with a knife! Thank goodness she only got a couple minor scrapes and bruises and not worse!

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