Feedback on Cambodia: Smiles, temples and poverty

Administrative

  • Visa (Tourism) 30 days validity, single entry (30$/pp + 5$/pp bribe + 2$/pp Stamp fee if you cross the border by land. According to the Belgian embassy in Cambodia, there is no way around it and you have to pay…). You have to pay in USD and they only accept either 1$, 2$, 10$ or 20$ notes (they are afraid of fake notes)!!
  • Currency: American Dollars (USD) and Riels (KHR); 1€ ~ 1,20 USD (April 2018) ; 1€ ~ 5000 KHR or 1$ ~ 4000 KHR. You usually pay everything over 1$ in USD and anything lower that 1$ in Riels. In that situation, you get the change in Riels.it is also possible to pay for everything in KHR.
  • Local bank fees : 4$ at each withdrawal in Cambodian banks (Maximum withdrawal of 1000$)
  • Languages : Cambodian and dialects, some French, some English, …

 


Our itinerary

 


Our stay

28/03/2018 – 11/04/2018 ; 15 days

 


Our best pictures

Siem Reap Angkor Temples replicas (1)
Angkor Wat replica and the author: Mr. Dy Proeung, Siem Reap
Angkor Wat (1)
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
Angkor Wat (4)
Carvings, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap
Bayon Temple (2)
Bayon Temple, Siem Reap
Ta Prohm (1)
Ta Prohm Temple and its rock-eaters trees, Siem Reap

Ta Prohm (3)

Bantey Srei Temple (4)
Banteay Srei Temple
Bantey Srei Temple (2)
Carvings in Banteay Srei Temple, Siem Reap
Ta Som Temple (10)
Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap
Ta Som Temple (9)
Carvings in Ta Som Temple, Siem Reap
IMG_20180408_163146
Fountain and statue made of firearms, Battambang
IMG_3727
Bones and remnants in the Killing Caves, Phnom Sampov Hill, Battambang
IMG_3825
Bat cave, Phnom Sampov Hill, Battambang
IMG_3858
Bats path in the sky
IMG_20180407_133416
Banan temple, Battambang

 


Global and average daily expenses for two people

  • Admission (visa, temples and caves): 203€ (including 29€/pp Visa fee, 50€/pp Angkor three days pass and 17€/pp Angkor Small and Grand Circuit with guide and transport included)
  • Transport (Bus, minivan and tuk-tuk): 74€ (18,5€/pp bus, 6,5€/pp tuk-tuk, 12€/pp minivan)
  • Food: 191€ (1-2€/pp for a dish, 1€/milkshake or iced coffee, consider spending 6-7€/pp a day)
  • Hotel: 68€ (3-5€/night)
  • Tips (bank fees): 6€
  • Others (laundry, SIM cards, movie theater): 24€ (2,5€/pp to watch a movie in 3D in Siem Reap!, 3,5€/pp SIM card fee – 5Gb for 15 days)

 

Global expenses: 565€

Avergae daily expenses for two people: 36€ (excluding visa fees)

 


Global feedback

  • + + :
    • Siem Reap city (nice, lots of green spaces, breathable, quite clean and modern)
    • Angkor Temples
    • Battambang Bat Cave
    • History of Khmers civilisation
    • Nice people who smile a lot, like in Laos
    • Cheap accommodations (3-5€/night for a decent one)
    • Cheap food in general (1-2$/dish for local food)
  • – – :
    • English is not that widely spread, which blocks communication (even in tourist information centers!)
    • Corrupted borders (5$ bribe to get a visa and it is not negotiable…)
    • Beverages contain too much sugar, as in Laos (you have to ask for it to be sugarless every time)
    • Crappy roads (even worse than Laos)
    • Mass tourism in Siem Reap and they tend to overprice everything
    • Expensive transports (35€/pp to travel 200km, in opposition with 15€/pp by 500km in Laos)
    • Expensive Angkor temples pass
    • No local buses. They consider that minivans from private companies and tuk-tuks are local transports.
    • Harassment by taxi drivers and tuk-tuks (similar to India)
    • Scams by English teachers. They get to you with a nice sign and ask you to help teaching their students for a few weeks. As you usually do not have that much time, they ask for money. It may seems genuine, but people approached us the same way with identical signs in different cities. What a shame. As Europeans, you are always seen as bank accounts L
    • Buying toilet paper is a pain in the ass in small cities like Battambang (they use water to clean themselves, like in India)
    • Looks and behaviours from men towards me were sometimes weird and I was not comfortable with it. Two times I saw a man  slowly approaching me from my back, sit down for a few minutes to have a look at what I was doing on the computer, copy my facial expressions and throw me kisses…

 


Feedback and feelings

As we visited only two cities in Cambodia, it would be quite difficult to give an objective point of view about the country, globally speaking.

We loved Siem Reap for its modern feeling, is atmosphere and its trees along the river. Angkor temples are incredibly gorgeous, but the high price may be unaffordable for backpackers (We decided to buy the three days pass for 50€/pp).

We would have wanted to go for jungle trekking, in the Eastern part of the country, but we quickly dropped it out as it aws too expensive (350€/pp for a three days trek, including both guide and food).

Battambang was quite nice, but as we went to Siem reap right before, we were disappointed by that smaller, rural town. In Laos, we were bothered by ants colonies in the bathrooms and rooms generally speaking, but Battambang will remain the town in which we saw the most cockroaches ever (in streets and our rooms!).

In opposition with Laos, transportation costs are quite expensive, both within towns and from a town to another (Let’s say 0,8€/km with tuk-tuks and 17€/km per person with minivans). Organization is crap as it was in Laos (In Siem Reap, we booked tickets  to Battambang, but they forgot to pick us up at our hotel…) et drivers drop people off anywhere they want (not always when they were supposed to).

English was not common among Cambodians and even asking for a price was troublesome most of the time.

How about you? Ever been to Cambodia, or maybe planning to go there? Share your feelings with us!

 

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