Cambodia, general advice and tips?

Discussion in 'Holidays & Travel' started by dirkmirk, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

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    Going to Cambodia for about 4 weeks give or take, maybe 2 IF I get bored and head to some other S.E asian country I.E Vietnam.

    General Itinerary

    Siem Reap - Angkor Wat, Tonle Sap,War museams
    Battambang - Railway, Killing Caves
    Phnmon Penh - Killing Fields,
    Kep/Krong Kaeb - ??
    Sihanoukville - Casinos, Otres Market
    Koh Rong/Sanolem - Chill out/party

    Fly home from Sihanoukville or Phenom Penh.

    My main concern is the currency and the appetite for US dollars....

    Whats the best way to get large amounts of small dominations like $1-$10 notes?

    So thinking about travelling around like Siem Reap-Battambang-Phnom Penh, By boat by car/bus, might just do by boat as long as the beer is flowing.

    From what I read you can with withdraw the local currency or US dollars from ATMS, should I bother getting any local currency?

    Going with a friend so will be lots of drinking/partying.

    Everything open to negotiation, nothing planned.

    Budget up to $200 auzzie per day/$120-$130USD
     
  2. peg

    peg Member

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    The more touristy places will accept USD, anywhere else just exchange for local currency when you get there. :thumbup:
     
  3. blankpaper

    blankpaper Member

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    Angkor Wat, go very early in the morning, the daytime heat is oppressive. Actually, for any sightseeing do this. I had a tuk tuk hired for the day, the guy was fantastic. Really wish I didn't lose his number, would have happily recommended him. Consider hiring a guy for the day if Siem Reap is busy, that way you're assured you'll get a ride home at the end, since the temples are all out of town. It can be hard getting a ride home some days if it's packed out there. Ton Le Sap was quite underwhelming and they guilt/corner you into forced donations.

    Sihanoukville can be dodgy at night around the beaches, theft/muggings apparently. Sometimes the US Navy stops there and has shore leave, steer clear. They completely trashed the hotel bar in the place I was staying, they get way too wild on shore leave. As is more common with Americans, especially military Americans, they can get all fight-y when they've had a couple of drinks.
     
  4. cynicalmike

    cynicalmike Member

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    from my time in cambodia (slow travel by bicycle through touristy and non touristy regions)

    - if you're paying in USD you'll probably be getting ripped off, but is usually unavoidable for some things like tours, entrances, accommodation etc.
    - so pay in local currency everywhere you can (local food joints)
    - like any other southeast asian country they will try to overcharge. quickly learn what stuff costs and you'll be fine. it is a little higher than thailand for food and drinks and accommodation.

    based on the locations you've listed i can give the following advice.

    phnom penh: do NOT walk around with a sling bag or easily cut backpack, you are quite likely to get it snatched by a motorbike thief. met a german guy that lost his passport like this. i did a few touristy things there the first time i visited but the city is otherwise unremarkable. reportedly dangerous at night (poor lighting) so don't stay out too late. there's an AWESOME and affordable starbucks like coffee chain there that does gourmet breakfast for reasonable prices like 5USD and REAL coffee. -- i wouldn't spend more than 2 days here unless you like the nightlife --

    siem reap: amazing how this place has changed in the 10 years apart i visited. pretty much tourist city. go in for the temples and go out asap. as mentioned it's hot during the day so you'll be buying overpriced water. don't give to beggars. don't allow the locals to give you a tour (they will just start talking quickly and beg for money and it's never enough). find a good tuktuk driver pay him for the day if you're pressed on time (i cycled around but it's time consuming). buy your ticket the day before (heard you can get to go in afternoon that day for free). -- 3 full days for temples (both angkor complex and outside if that's your thing, and partying is possible here too --

    i skipped kep, but i liked kampot. nice small town on the river. lots of backpacker hostels there and some local food options. a big mountain nearby. -- kep/kampot is not a big town, 1-3 days of r&r from partying

    sihanoukville is a waste of time but everyone raves about otres beach, i thought it was average (and everything seemed to be closed when i was there). if you're partying this is probably a good place to go. otherwise the islands have plenty of nightlife with other backpackers. -- if you like otres beach, then you could do 1-3 days of partying here, otherwise just book the ferry for the next day to go to the islands 00

    koh rong (big and little one). i skipped the little one as in low season it's really dead and is more for those lovey dovey couples. the facilities there are very limited so it's a getaway. the big one (samloem) is really awesome (but a few years back they were building a road to connect to another beach (long)) and it's probably finished now. so that illusion of there being no mopeds on the island is probably gone now. biggest advice is BRING COCONUT OIL you will get eaten by the sandfleas there, and its REALLY ITCHY. you won't even know you're being bitten until you start scratching the next day. took weeks to go away. lather yourself with it big boy (post pics here after). and the swimming is top notch (bioluminescent plankton!). -- you can easily spend up to a week here, or more. it's really what thailand used to be, but maybe a lots changed since i've been there 3 yrs ago. --

    if you're going in dry season you won't be able to get a boat as they don't run (i wanted to go between pnomh penh and siem reap but it was too dry).

    i skipped battambang but heard it's ok, probably a few days there.

    oh and vietnam, well that's amazing too. if you split 2v2 then i'd book flights so you don't waste time on long distance buses. vietnam on express would be saigon, hoi an, nha trang (if you want to party otherwise skip), and hanoi. da lat is awesome near saigon and ha long bay near vietnam (i did an overnight boat 2 day tour).
     
  5. doug81

    doug81 Member

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    def killing fields in PP - horrifying, but very good to go once. Of course, you can then go and experience AK-47 fun as well, but I'd do on separate days as it doesn't feel right to go directly from one to the other.

    Siem Reap is fantastic, and worth spending time around the town as well as Angkor Wat. 4 days here would be plenty, and have a 'Happy Pizza' if you get a chance.

    If you've got 4 weeks, I'd be considering 2 in Cambodia, 2 in Vietnam or Laos. Vietnam is awesome and has everything, Laos is way more laid back. Depends on what you're into I guess...
     
  6. AngelMoo

    AngelMoo Member

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    If you buy USD from AustPost they have an option where you can request small denominations

    Read the trip adviser threads about Sihanoukville - so much over-development. A lot of rubbish as well so I'd stay away from beaches if it's rained recently. I think we're spoilt by Australian beaches, they're clean with nice sand and outside of places like Bondi/Gold Coast, they aren't too crowded

    I love Angkor but it does get crowded... the aim of my last trip (third time there) was to relax and avoid crowds. If you see a tour bus roll in, hang back until they pass... they usually rush through each spot, get their selfies then move on. If the weather isn't great, don't bother with the sunrise tour as the view won't be very good. Sunset at Phnom Bakheng gives a great view but it's also on everyone's must see list so it gets super crowded... it's a long walk uphill and they restrict the number of people up there so there's no guarantees you'll be allowed up if you don't get there early. DO NOT RIDE THE ELEPHANTS, they're not treated very well so you shouldn't support their exploitation.

    Some non-temple things to see in Siem Reap: Apopo - land mine rats. Phare - circus performed by disadvantaged youths.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

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    Cheers guys for the tips,I ordered some USD from Auspost and asked for small dominations, I don't mind getting some fifties for the VISA/Angkor Wat.

    Looking to realllllly take my time and relax, see things, meet people, party, drink, eat, etc, I have not booked a return ticket so the whole trip is open ended and have 4 weeks off work.
     
  8. 335 GT

    335 GT Member

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    Interesting the usual tourist honey traps being mentioned.

    I usually come a couple of times a year as I have a brother in the afp office.

    Shame I didn't see the post earlier. If you see this let me know and I'll give you my contact details.
    Returning to Perth on the 28th.

    It's been wet this week.
    [​IMG]
     
  9. 335 GT

    335 GT Member

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    Toul slang S-21 interrogation centre is a much better visit than killing fields imo.
    St 121.

    Don't talk about Khmer rouge outside these places. Not appreciated by locals.
    Saum rikreay ! (Have fun!)
    Arkoun!
     
  10. Myne_h

    Myne_h Member

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    ATMs will give USD. Change will often be in local currency. They know roughly the rate. You may technically get "ripped off" but it's a few cents.

    Get motorbike insurance before you go.
    Scooters should be ~$10/day.
    Some are more, some are less. The bigger, faster and more comfortable is more.

    Do the temples without a guide, on a scooter if you're an independent type who doesn't like depending on others. It's a fun ride.
    There will be plenty of local English speakers. Also Mandrarin, Japanese, French, you name it.

    It's an old street view image, but the chick who runs the place that's now here was decent. Probably not the cheapest, and while on the hussle, was fair to deal with.
    https://www.google.com.au/maps/@13....4!1sGjD8-gF10QpJyTHDy0469g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    DO NOT GIVE YOUR PASSPORT OVER FOR ANYTHING LONGER THAN 5 MINUTES. SCOOTER/HOTEL/WHATEVER. GIVE THEM LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE. A $50 DEPOSIT WITH RECEIPT OR SOMETHING.
    YOUR PASSPORT IS YOUR TICKET OUT OF THE PLACE.


    Get used to being called "Sir tuk tuk Sir". They gotta eat too. Just shake your head.
    I didn't bargain one night and probably made the guy's night with a 2km $3 ride.

    Beer is real cheap. Most stuff there is crazy cheap. Local food can be <2usd. Your budget is massive for the location.

    Also, Ha Long Bay is stunning, but Hanoi is kinda a dump - though the egg coffee is great.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2019
  11. OP
    OP
    dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

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    Still here in Cambodia, the money is okay why the hell they dispense $100 notes? You cant use them , okay for accommodation not much else.

    I was dissapointed in the killings caves off Battambang, I had no idea what I was looking at, no English signage a tour guide would have been fantastic, nice place to visit(Cambodia).
     
  12. Myne_h

    Myne_h Member

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    Oh when did you get there? You didn't put a date on it.

    where you been so far?
     
  13. 335 GT

    335 GT Member

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    I cant see a private message function. Do I not have enough posts?

    We are heading out to riverside tonight.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    dirkmirk

    dirkmirk Member

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    I arrived about 3.5 weeks ago on the Saturday, leaving this Saturday, 4 weeks exactly.

    Flew into Siem Reap stayed at funky flashpacker but was a bit of a trap, maybe 9 nights?

    I did the Temples obviously Angkor Wat was built by God's or aliens, or superhumans, the scale of the place is unbelievable.
    Didn't do much else, War Museam pretty much it, that was cool.

    Then I got a bus to Battambang and stayed for 4 nights, killing caves and bat caves, bamboo railway, that did not feel very safe as they do pick up some serious speed.

    Battambang to Phnom Penh was a crappy 8.5 drive for the 295km distance, stayed for 5 nights, killing fields and S21 prison are a great tourist setup with the audio headphones, I listened to everything, Cambodia has always interested me because of what happened with the Khmer Rouge, I think the people have done well especially how so many can speak English.

    What surprised me was Silk Island, that place is tranquil, lots of trees and shade, nice escape on a hot day.

    Then went to Kampot for 4 nights, didn't see much I was traveling with someone who was unwell, Old Casino, Old church and a big statue... Bokor mountain I didn't do that one right, in the afternoon lots of heavy mist but got cool photos, feels like a spooky place.

    I did go to the Kep crab market and had a feast, I was going to pick some large crabs but before I knew it their was a kilo getting cooked up, wasted on me I basically just ate the middle and didn't bother with the legs I'd be their all day.

    Accommodation I've been in hostels mainly but did 2 nights in a guesthouse in Kampot, you typically pay $15-$20(USD) a night for a private room with bathroom/shower, would never do a dorm room.

    Beers are typically $1 or 50 cents, happy hours or some places are just cheap.

    Right now stuck on a bus to Sihaukanville and I think we'll miss the ferry to Koh Rong Salom, might have a night in Gambleville will know soon.
     
    335 GT likes this.

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