Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cambodia's Travel Tips

When people around me found out that I'm going for a trip to Cambodia, they shot me a worried look. Why Cambodia? It is a post war country, it is a third world country. Is it even safe? These are some of the questions being asked to me.

Well, honestly I had no idea what to expect prior to the trip. Just like any other trips that I had had, I was excited. I mean, it is a new country and surely will warrant me new experience, something that I had been thirsting for.

And yes it delivered. So here are some tips for you guys if you're planning to visit Cambodia in the future.

At the street of Phnom Penh

Tips No 1: Bring your own masks and sunscreen.

Because you will need it. My very first impression of Phnom Penh was the land is very very dry and humid and dusty too. From the plane when we were about to land, everything look yellowish. The grass, the land and even the buildings. And the weather is extremely hot, it is mostly around 35 degree Celsius. So sunscreen is your best friend, the higher the SPF, the better.

Since you will use tuk tuk to get around town, getting your own masks beforehand is better. Because you will need it the moment you left the airport. In Phnom Penh, it is as if there is no traffic rules on the road. Everyone is driving everywhere in every directions. Like seriously.

The roads are normally congested due to the chaos and they honk all the time. Don't be surprise when you reach your destination and wipe your face with tissue, the tissue turns black. This is true story guys.

This is how we looked like for our whole tuk tuk journey

Talking about tuk tuk, here is my tips no 2.

Tips No 2: Always always always discuss your tuk tuk price beforehand with your driver before getting on his tuk tuk 

This is very crucial because tuk tuk drivers earn their money through tourists. You are their money tree because I didn't see much local using tuk tuk. We almost got conned when we got back from Central Market. The tuk tuk driver agreed for 3 USD per ride. We got on his tuk tuk and suddenly his friend said it is 1USD per pax. We're 6 by the way. We threaten to get off so he maintained the original price.

When we reach our hotel which is just 10 minutes away, he asked for 1USD per pax. We got angry, gave him 3USD and ran off into the hotel afterward wtf.  Lucky he didn't chase us down.

Tips No 3: Never give money to beggars

This one is my personal opinion. We had beggars from children, senior citizen and disabled people approached us. They are very persistent, one old lady followed us for the whole street for money but we ignored her. I never agree with the act of asking money from strangers, be it using your kids or yourself.

The kids do not go to school and begging on the street with their mother.

Tips No 4: Same as tips no 2 but for massage. Settle on the price that you willing to pay before let them massage you.

We searched around our hotel area for cheap foot massage at night and found one that offered 4USD instead of 5USD. We agreed and walked in. Lied down on the mattress and waiting for our massage ladies. They came in and started the massage as usual without oil/cream.

Foot massage usually using oil and body massage is not. So we confirmed again with the ladies that we wanted foot massage and they said it is full body massage wtf. We argues and stressed "Foot Massage Only" They gave in but wanted to charge us 5USD.

Walao wei...at the counter we already said foot massage 4USD and they agreed. Now that we lied down already straight marked up to 5USD. They even show us menu so we had no choice but to carry on.

Turned out the massage was good. But they could have told us it is 5USD from the very beginning instead of making us feel like getting cheated.

Tips No 5: Must take care of your belonging especially during massage. 

During one of my massage in Siam Reap, my massage lady stole money from my bag pocket. I put some crumpled dollar notes in the front pocket so that I could pay anything easily. When I'm done massage and wanted to pay her, my money was gone wtf.

I suspected she did it when she massaged my back because she was behind me the whole time and my bag was right next to her.

In my 8 hours bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap

Tips No 6: Check your receipt. They tend to sneakily adding items and overcharged you.

This happened when we were having lunch in a cafe in Pub Street. We each ordered whatever we like and paid accordingly. But our money was short if compared to the receipt that the waitress shown us. So we thought someone must have count their food wrongly.

We checked with menu and nobody counted wrong.

Turned out, they added one coke in our receipt. We told them it was wrong. The waitress looked annoyed and unwillingly change the receipt.

They didn't even apologize wtf.

This is the cheater restaurant

The food was mediocre too.

The last tip is to check your food.

Yes, you should in fact check every cafes/restaurant/pubs that you walked in to whether the food is clean or not. Cambodians are not known for they hygiene. The kids even played barefoot on the road and peed there too.

We got a few surprise visits from cockroaches when we were in Temple Club. The cockroaches were crawling on our table wtf. We screamed and the waitress came and smacked it with the menu. And asked us to resume as if nothing happened wtf. And they overcharged us too ='= the price on the menu was different from what the waiter asked us to pay.

When we asked for receipt, he just walked away and ignored us. Rude much eh!

So these are some of my tips for Cambodia. Not all Cambodians are rude and ruthless. We did encountered some good ones but I'll say do keep an open mind when you visit Cambodia and put up your guard to the highest. I'm sure you will enjoy Cambodia like I did.

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