Places in Cambodia
Stay – Your stay in Cambodia won’t cost you a thing. The most expensive will be if you stay in the cities. The least expensive will be around less popular regions. In cities like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh you can find hostels for about four, five, euro’s. In dollars that would be about the same. A budget hotel won’t cost you much more. For about seven to nine euro’s (8 to 10$) a night, you can find yourself a pretty decent hotel.
Going to four or five star hotels where we live is pretty much filing for bankruptcy. But in Cambodia you can find these huge resorts for only 70 tot 150 euro’s a night. In dollars that is about 75 to 165.
Eat – Treat yourself for no money. If you want to eat cheap but good, you’d better ignore the tourist hotspots. These places are still quite cheap, but if you know that only a few blocks further away you can get the same food for only two or three euro’s (same in dollars)… Then I think your choice is made rather quickly. Street carts and food stands are always the cheapest. But not everything has a strong stomach, since cleanliness is often overlooked at these places.
Transport – Tuktuks are EVERYWHERE in Cambodia. Fast, easy and and everywhere makes this type of transport definitely the easiest way to move around. If you want to bridge bigger distances (for example: from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh or the other way around) then a tour bus might be a better solution. The cheapest busses stop a lot but only cost you 6$. The faster busses are still very cheap; between 12$ and 15$. The trip between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap takes about six to seven hours.
Ignore touristic parts – Cambodia is incredibly cheap, so trying to pay even less is a hard thing to do. If you are staying in a big city in Cambodia, then you better try to find lodging out of the touristic area’s. Both for accommodation and food. The tourist hotspots do offer great bars, clubs and restaurants but on average you pay triple in comparison to less touristy areas in the city.
Angkor Wat – Go to Cambodia and don’t go to Angkor Wat? Don’t! The impressive temples are a very nice layover and if you hurry up a little, you can even do them in one day. However, I personally recommend to take at least two days, because the temples are so vast and impressive that you definitely want to see them again. Although all of the temples are ruins, they all offer something very different.
Enjoy the beaches – Go visit the beaches outside the main hubs in Cambodia. Beautiful white beaches with azure oceans that for once are not crowded with tourists. Take your own snorkel gear (or rent it), because the ocean is filled with beautiful corals and fishes.
Killing Fields – A horrible piece of recent history in Cambodia. Under Pol Pot millions of Khmers died. The feeling on this heavy loaded place is quite similar to some of the European concentration camps.
Kampong Cham – The third biggest city of Cambodia is overlooked by a lot of tourists. Because of this, a lot of the original Khmer culture is still visible throughout the city. With its own tempel area, this city is definitely worth a visit.
Bed bugs – In warm countries bedbugs are not uncommon. These little bugs love human blood and leave you behind with a horribly itching skin. Not very appealing and definitely not an advantage if you’d like to brag with your vacation pictures.
Corruption – Cambodia is beautiful, but the police is incredibly corrupt. Westerners who drive without helmets on their scooter get fined, while the locals don’t. I got this tip from a Scottish guy who lived in Cambodia for a couple of months already: “If the police signs you to get off the road, just ignore them and drive on. If it’s important, they will hop on their own scooters and chase you.” Hmmm… Not sure what I would do.
Driving yourself – Cars, scooters or maybe even a tuktuk? Cambodia is known for its many (lethal) accidents. People in Cambodia are crazy in traffic, on the other hand the old infrastructure isn’t very helpful for safe traffic either…
Certain elephant tourism – Go away from places where you can climb on the back of an elephant. Fun? Not really. For you it is incredibly uncomfortable and for the animals it’s just plain animal cruelty. The elephants aren’t made to walk with heavy people on their backs. If you really want to sit on an elephant, search for a place where you can sit in the neck of these friendly giants. There they won’t develop any back problems, since they can have more weight on that part of their body.