Trip to Cambodia -- Any pointers?

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alanis0207
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Trip to Cambodia -- Any pointers?

Post by alanis0207 » Thu, 22 Feb 2007 3:12 am

Hi,

I'll be going to Cambodia on a short backpacking trip in March.

Any recommendations on budget hotels in Phnom Penh or in Siem Reap?
Or better still, point out one that should be avoided?

Thanks in advance!

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Bonbon
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Post by Bonbon » Thu, 22 Feb 2007 12:57 pm

this website should gives you enough info on accomodation http://www.canbypublications.com/

I find it very useful. booked both accomodations for phnom penh and siam reap using this website.

Most budget accomodations offer more or less the similiar things with around the same price. so far I haven't heard any bad word for any hotels, but interested you can surely use the thorn tree forum on the lonely planet website http://thorntree.lonelyplanet.com/categ ... untryId=92

Siam reap is easy, most hotels are around the market place, again more or less the same

Phnom Penh maybe a bit tricky, you need to decide wehther you want to stay facing the river, or not, closer to the eatting places or not.

Good luck! :)

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Post by MoTokyo » Thu, 22 Feb 2007 7:08 pm

Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in the world and as can be expected, one of the most dangerous.

I visited in December and decided to skip the capital as I prepared for my trip. Robbery is common and the locals not very accomodating from what I've read. Unemployment is high, wages low, and tourists rare. Read up on virtualtourist about taxis (especially motorcycle taxis) taking tourists off the road and robbing them at gunpoint. The intention isn't to harm you, just to get at your wallet! My guide in Siem Reap reaffirmed my suspicions, Phnom Penh was even a dangerous place for him to live in.

Siem Reap on the other hand is a bustling town that is experiencing rapid growth and revenue from the hordes of tourists that flock to Angkor. High employment = less crime right? Khmer locals were a pleasure and the temples spectacular.

If you are going to visit anywhere in Cambodia, I highly recommend a guide (only 25USD/day) and if you can spare an additional 20USD/day, a driver. Our guide was well spoken, educated, and made the trip rich in memories by taking us to the best places of interest.



Backpacking :

Cambodia is not a backpackers destination. Going anywhere off a marked road could see you going home without legs or an arm. Most of the nation outside of the main cities has yet to be de-mined and there aren't many signs saying when you've walked into a mine field. Red paint on trees should be enough to force any backpacker to float back to the dirt road from which they've stumbled from. Red paint on trees = Good luck walking back. Walking period for that matter!

My advice : Stick with Siem Reap and surrounding areas (floating village comes to mind), and shell out a few bucks for a qualified guide.

alanis0207
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Post by alanis0207 » Fri, 23 Feb 2007 4:41 am

Thanks for the heads up, MoTokyo, but I'm afraid I've already booked the flight tics from Phnom Penh to Singapore.

Looks like I'll just have to brace myself for the adventure.

But yeah, hiking is definitely out of the itinerary.

Bonbon: Thanks for the links. Very informative indeed.

Well, looks like I might just spend more days at the beaches of Sihanoukville and cut short my stay in the city of Phnom Penh. =)

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Post by Bonbon » Fri, 23 Feb 2007 9:54 am

Have a blast, i think backpacking in both places is fine...I enjoyed backpacking there, i didnt sense any danger, apart from the traffic is shocking, with bikes everywhere no traffic rules. People are friendly, things are cheap, the sites are fab. Security is no issue whatsoever.

Just be a humble tourist, look out for your bags, and of course dont do stupid things, ie getting drunk at night *yes alochol is cheap*, and dont draw unnecessary attention to yourself, that's all!

It's just like any other travelling destination, acommodations wise hostels are usually side by side, or around the same block, so even in PP, I think you'll be alright, you'll see lots of other backpackers.

:)
Last edited by Bonbon on Fri, 23 Feb 2007 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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poetry in motion
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Post by poetry in motion » Fri, 23 Feb 2007 11:09 am

This is where I stayed for a few days while in Phnom Penh
http://www.rorysirishbar.com/

Rory and his lovely little Cambodian wife runs the place. The rooms are clean and have attached bathrooms. The reason I chose to stay there was b'cos I didn't want to wander about at night looking for people have drinks with while waiting for my travel companions to arrive. Must say I wasn't disappointed, met several very interesting people there . . . ask Rory about the retired Brit couple who were going to open a pub in Kampot.

Like Bonbon, I didn't feel very unsafe in PP.

Anyway, Rory's is right smack in the middle of town and you can walk to most of the attractions within half an hour north and south. The only time we hired a tuk tuk was to get to the Choeung Ek Memorial and The Killing Fields.

Sisowath Quay, the riverside promenade, is just around the corner from Rory's. There are lots of fabulous restaurants there. Absolutely must try Cambodian food especially the lobster soup (kinda like Thai tom yum) at the Pon Lok restaurant.
=P~

If you are on your own, steer clear of the seedy area along Street 51 at night. We saw a couple of has-been hippy types in their 60s or so making music and hanging out with the local hookers at the Walkabout Hotel. http://www.walkabouthotel.com/
DV8 is also another one of those "oldest profession in the world" hotel.

The backpackers hostels are by the Boeng Kak lake. Lots of European students stay there. Clean rooms, very cheap and good food (had a meal there), about US$2 per bed and common toilet. But not advisable unless you're in a group of about 4 persons or more as the area is notorious for drugs and muggings at night.

A few useful phrases:
Cambodian greeting: Sus die
Thank you very much: Oar khoon cher run

The weather's v v hot and sun intense.
Don't forget a big hat, sun screen and buy bottled water.
Maybe face masks too as the earth roads can be very dusty. You'll see locals on motorbikes wearing them.

A fabulous restaurant in Siem Reap is at the Bopha Angkor
http://www.bopha-angkor.com/restaurant.html

As for abode, women are definitely very safe where we stayed
http://www.golden-banana.com/
:-k

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Post by alanis0207 » Sat, 24 Feb 2007 3:10 am

Bonbon, you were right when you said it's going to be tricky to decide on where to stay in PP. I'm torn between the riverfront and the city centre.

Poetry in motion, you mention "v v hot". Is it hotter than in Singapore?

Usually I would just find a hostel/guesthouse while I'm at the place. But this time round, I'm going to reach PP at about 8pm local time. So, I figure I should book a place first, and preferably one that comes with airport pick-up services.

'Cause I've had a rather scary welcome when I reached Bangkok around midnight due to flight delay and the cab driver couldn't find the place I wanted to go to. :o

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Thanks

Post by Kevedo » Sat, 24 Feb 2007 10:11 am

I am planning a trip to Cambodia myself in April so all of this information is very useful.
Thank you everybody for your advice.

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poetry in motion
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Post by poetry in motion » Mon, 26 Feb 2007 11:03 am

alanis0207 wrote:Is it hotter than in Singapore?
Certainly felt that way. Perhaps because of the longer time we spent outdoors during the day. In Singers, when we go out after work in the evenings, the sun has already gone down . . .

I ended up buying a big-brimmed hat for about US$2 as I found my cap didn’t provide enough shade. Or I guess you could carry an umbrella.

For the latest weather updates, there is always

PP http://weather.cnn.com/weather/forecast ... cCode=CAPP

SG http://weather.cnn.com/weather/forecast ... cCode=WSSS

Yes, it's a good idea to get the hotel to arrange the pick-up.

Most cab drivers would try to take you to a hotel/hostel/other place which have hired them to bring in new customers. Mine tried to do that too but I insisted on going to Rory's and told them I was expected there. It cost ~US$7 from the airport to PP town centre.

In choosing a place to stay, if you mark the location of those you are considering on the map, it's easier to pick a suitable one.
http://www.canbypublications.com/maps/ppmaphhr.htm

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Post by alanis0207 » Wed, 28 Feb 2007 12:34 am

Thanks a lot for all the advice! :D

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