Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cambodia Update!

I'm leaving for Cambodia on July 25th. This morning I just booked a hotel in Phnom Penh and in Siem Riep. The hotel in Siem Riep looks amazing and beautiful, and for $8.00 per night and great reviews, I don't think I can be disappointed. The hotel in Phnom Penh is a little more than I wanted to pay per night, $25 per night for the room, so about $12.50 per night, which sounds cheap, but most places are much cheaper. From the pictures, it doesn't look very special, but it has great reviews, a good location and no reviews about bedbugs, rats, cockroaches, theives or pushy staff. It has taken me this long to book a room because every time I find a hotel I think I want to stay at, I find a review or two about one of those problems. Yes, I know I'm going to a third world country and I know I may have to rough it a little, but I don't see the point of putting myself unnecessarily in an uncomfortable position. Our third stop on our trip will be Battambang, a city west of Siem Riep. We've decided not to make any reservations there and wing the rest of the trip after 3 days in Siem Riep.

I'm so excited about this trip. It's only 18 days away! Expect lots of Cambodian updates in August when I return!


  1. Phnom Penh is hella more expensive for like 1/100th the awesomeness of Siem Reap. Siem Reap adds up though because the Angkor tickets are pricey and you'll want to buy some souvenirs. Also pricey, but worth it--a side trip to the floating village.

    And PP is depressing. Really, really depressing. For a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that the main tourist attractions there are about genocide.

    I've heard only good things about Battambang and Sihanoukville (if you were interested in that last one).

  2. It's funny, because a friend of mine yesterday seriously suggested I stay away from the floating village. She said that when she went they tried to get her to buy extremely overpriced school supplies for local school children. She felt that they were really exploiting the children and got the impression that the money she spent there was not benefiting the right people. Did you get any feeling like that, or was it just her particular tour guide?

  3. Well, our tour guide told us that the government runs a tight ship on touring licenses these days so most of the money is going to the gov't. We got a lot of begging... everywhere. But no one asked us to buy school supplies for the kids. Honestly, the kids were harder to resist at the temples than the adults at the floating village.

    And do NOT buy ANYTHING off a street vendor in PP. People run houses for the disabled and for children with sales/begging schemes and they do not get to keep even 25% of what you give them. They will walk up to you at tables in restaurants and stare at you for like 20-30 minutes at a time. We gave some leftover food to kids and Min Gi couldn't take it and gave like $5 to a man in a wheelchair (even though I told him not to because while that man went away, all the other people in the area saw that Min Gi will give money and so they started bugging him). We also bought a 50kg bag of rice for an orphanage in PP. Seriously, it's all just one gigantic, depressing sob story after another.

    Other than that, Cambodia is amazing. Really, I'm not trying to scare you off or anything, just be aware... it was a really emotional experience for me. With the recent genocide, it was a lot harder than Vietnam, although the begging/pestering level is probably similar.

  4. I know I haven't been there yet, but from what I've read, it's hard to imagine that the government runs a tight ship on anything. I was reading that many police officers double as tour guides because the money they make as police officers is so low. Again, I haven't been, but that's what it sounds like to me...