Surely when you see the word Cambodia on a map you think of Angkor Wat and its temples eaten by vegetation. Instead I think of its people. In fact, if I had to name one reason why I would travel to Cambodia again, it would be because of the smiles and kindness of the Cambodians, and it is that in Cambodia even the tuktuk drivers are friendly. It is a small country full of people wanting to share everything they have, and that is what makes Cambodia remembered as one of the most endearing countries in Southeast Asia.
In this guide you will find practical information and tips (based on my own experience) to travel to Cambodia with as much information as possible.
First of all, it is important to know that to travel cheaply to Cambodia you must …
– Get around on local buses. You must buy the ticket in advance at the box office. Do not listen to the drivers who demand the payment of the ticket.
– Haggle over the price of tuktuks and accommodation. They do not usually claim crazy prices, so haggling should not be based on offering an extremely low price to go up during the negotiation, but on saying the figure that you think is the most fair and showing you as inflexible as you can.
– Diligently looking for information about cheap Cambodia travel deals. Click here if you want to know about the deals.
Enter Cambodia by land
If you want to cross the Cambodian border by land, you can do it through any of its neighboring countries: China, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. From Laos there are many agencies that offer transportation and visa management. Both agencies and border officials will tell you that the visa costs $ 30, when in reality it is $ 20. If you want to save those $ 10 and cross the border with a transport already paid from Laos, you can refuse to pay those $ 30 of the visa, but then you will have to manage it yourself.
There is no quality public health system in Cambodia, although to solve minor inconveniences, a doctor is not going to charge you a lot to visit you and recommend the medications you need. However, in the event of an accident or serious illness, it is recommended that you take out travel insurance, as hospitalization can make your trip very expensive.
Cambodia’s border is one of the most corrupt in Asia. The price of the visa is $ 20 and they will surely ask you for $ 25 or $ 30, the difference will be shared between the border officials. Some tricks to deal with this situation are: Insist that you are not going to pay more than $ 20 (in the end they will get tired), say that you only have $ 20 in your pocket (it worked for me), ask for a ticket or official proof of what you are paying for the visa (because you enter the country for work reasons and you have to present an invoice, or any other excuse); Or tell them to give you a moment to call the embassy and check the price of the visa.
The official currency is the Riel, but the country’s local economy is so depressed that dollars are also accepted. In fact, ATMs also dispense dollars and the premises themselves mix rails and dollars with total ease. At first it seems complicated but in the end you just get used to it.
There are internet cafes on almost every street and although hostels usually have Wi-Fi, this is not very reliable.
How to communicate
In tourist places, English is understood and spoken well enough to facilitate the most basic communication. Although to interact with the locals or move through areas less used to tourism, you need a good dose of mimicry or, even better, a good basic vocabulary of Khmer, a language related to that of its neighbors Thailand and Laos.
That’s my experience. Hope it can help you on your tour in Cambodia.