don't give into the burger craving
I’m not one to get a burger craving often and I never go to McDonald’s, even when I’m home but after two months in Southeast Asia, I found myself wanting just that; a big juicy burger. The Ivy Bar was supposed to have the best bar food in town and it looked like the real McCoy with its big wooden bar and typical clustered tables emanating from it. We sat ourselves down and ordered a couple of brews and two burgers for $12.50. The beers went down easily enough and though the burgers were big and looked good on arrival, we greedily bit into what turned out to be very dry examples of the form. Doreen’s particular choice was drenched in HP sauce, an English condiment that seemed incongruous on the American standby.
Fun Alternatives: Sometimes I guess you should just wait until you get home for the thing you are missing. Of course, now I miss the Cambodian stew I could have had instead.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Taxidrivers at the airport
These taxidrivers drag you to their cars, there is no other way to reach Siem Reap from the Airport, no motos, no Tuk-tuk only taxi. Dont pay more than 3$ for the ride, they ask for 5-8$.
During the ride the driver is talking and talking.... he want to drive you to the "best" hotel, but remember that those hotels he is showing you are not the cheapest and he is a companion with the hotelcrew, he think that you will choose him for all of your rides during your stay.
Unique Suggestions: Insist that he drives you to the hotel you want, check fex Lonely planet guide or any other guidebook before You reach Cambodia.
Fun Alternatives: Take my tip and go to Skyway Guesthouse, it is good value for your moneyRelated to:
- Historical Travel
Shops you didnt ask for
Most of the driver asks you to visit some shops so they can get their petroltickets by the shops owner, this is terrible and a waste of time.
Unique Suggestions: Alright, I visited some shops because Mr Pidor was really a friend of us, but I told him that after 2 shops it was finished.
Fun Alternatives: A bit more expensive Taxi never do this thing, so if You have a lot of money this is the way for You.Related to:
- Budget Travel
The EU is funding this school of artisans, sculptors, painters etc and some money they get by selling produced artifacts, such as buddha heads and other stuff. The school was a nice place to visit, but better made buddha heads can be found at the market.
Once You are Up...Know How to Go Down
Going up the stairs is one of the greatest accomplishments done inside Angkor Wat. The problem lies in going down. The stairs is very steep and the spacing between the steps is smaller than the usual foot size. Even with the hand rails, one could easily slip if one is not careful.
Unique Suggestions: Be sure that you are not prone to dizziness. Going down the stairs with that condition is nearly impossible. Have a good grip. Placing your bag closely to your body (and not let it go dangling) would help. From experience, it is easier to go down facing the front than doing it on backward steps.Related to:
- Women's Travel
Roads in Angkor don't close
It was on our second day going around the temples. since we got already tired around late in the afternoon, we told the driver of the tuktuk to bring us to the town center but use the longer way instead so we could pass by other temples that we haven't seen cos we plan to bike the next day. but he said, they close the roads during that time which was around 3pm. the next day when we went biking around Angkor, we never saw anything about roads being closed during that time.
Unique Suggestions: Insist on the driver that you wanna go there. maybe tell that you've been there already. i learned that some tuktuk drivers would tell you that the restaurant you wanna go to is close instead they'd bring you to the restaurants which give them big commission.
Try to support Cambodia - not France.....
We were amazed by the local living standards in Siem Reap - in the surrounding of a relatively small country town, with seemingly dozens of high class European hotels. Whilst these hotels must generate much local employment, the incomes of the locals are very meagre. Roughly US$10 per week, have been told. A bottle of water at the side of the road is typically US$1.
We asked to be taken to Camodian places, which our driver was happy to oblige with. When we went shopping for silk, also asked to be taken to a Cambodian co-op, rather than buying from the French controlled silk farm.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
To book or not to book?
During discussions with other guests at the second guesthouse we stayed in in Siem Reap recently, we discovered that while we were paying US20 per night, they were being charged US$45, for virtually identical rooms - they had a bigger bathroom.
Unique Suggestions: If you have a prearranged driver, ask him if he has an "arrangement" (as ours did) with a guesthouse, and that the rate works in your favour. Don't be nervous about talking to other guests about what they are paying, and make a bee-line for the owner if you are getting a bum deal.
Fun Alternatives: If you have an idea of a guesthouse you want to target, either before or after you get to Siem Reap - check it out on VT - and ask other members about costs as well as general experiences.Related to:
- Budget Travel
A visit to Angkor Wat and you will be undoubtedly confronted with children selling various souvenirs and trinkets. Shouldn't they be in school?
They make such persuasive entrepreneurs, it is hard to say no to a darling smiling child...and the items are just a few dollars. However, they will appear in every temple attraction so after a while, you may become hardened to their sales pitch.
Fun Alternatives: The items make good souvenirs but you can only buy so much.Related to:
I went mad for a while
The things happened once I get down from tuk-tuk at Aranyaprathet border. I reached there about 10.55am. It was hot and humid as usual. Me and Clare was delighted to accross the border as we were planning to be in Cambodia before 12.00noon where I supposed the border gonna packed up with travellers who came with package through Khao San Road agency to enter the Poi Pet border. We made it up before noon, yeah!.... we've been happy for a while.
It is quite easy to get your passport stamp over the Poi Pet border. I have done the visa requisition just for about 5 minute time. Amazing! No doubt but however before I got it done I had been through with some small argument with the Visa assistant who were asking me 1200baht instead of 1000baht.
Funny though, I was just making my bloody face innocent and I just say 'I dont have money to pay your tips'............
Both of us was planning to walk a little farther out of the bother at first when those local Cambodian guy who following us since in Thai border seems doesnt show any reaction of giving up to let us free looking for transportation beside they just following us until the deal is done.
Finally, we cant get rid off this circumtances and we have no choices and we get on the pick-up truck where the pick-up full of dead chicken and half dead bird were hanging around on the back of the truck where I just found out that they were putting my back pack just right on top of the dead pig. yearrghhhh!!!
Unique Suggestions: We are not even get to Battambang straight away eventhough we had made the deal at first. They make us changing trucks and pay more money for the other transportation. That is really F****d up in the head. They really get us into nerve which we had always went to arguments. Everything settled, yeah,... thanks god!
The road as bumpy as ever. In the middle of the way to Battambang, rain had approching the Cambodia earth and the peoples on the back at the pick-up truck was showering by rain. Pitty them!
I could not even sleep eventhough I pretty sleepy that time. Both of us were sitting at the back sit. Damn! we are 6 of us sitting there instead of 4 persons were allowed as usual for a car in my country. I tell you, I could lied down in bed for two days just for having a back ache, butt-ache and everything is ache.
Finally we arrived at Battambang at 4.00pm. Cool! Arrived before dawn just what I expected!.
Fun Alternatives: Alternative- perhaps just grab the offer without any question. But no argumenebt no fun, sometimes.
P/S: The picture captured from Poi Pet border. Cambodia Immigration is on the left side. I dont believe that I was already been there. wow!
Practically anywhere touristy that you go, your car will be surrounded by throngs of beggars or people selling books before you've had the chance to even get out.
At Angkor you will find many children running up to you, all wanting to sell you their books. They will usually start off at around US$2 each if you say you are coming back. They try to "bags" you and say that you must buy from them when you come back. When you do return (and they are waiting), the books will no longer be $2, but up to $10 each. They will argue that the other book was different. For the sake of giving them a go, because at least they weren't begging, I did pay up to $5, because it is cheap really, even though they insisted it was $8.
The books seem to be seconds with some pages having blurred pictures (as I found out later), but they do have some good books.
Don't get caught paying over $5 each though, unless you're feeling generous. Most should be $2-$3.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
There is a possible problem with the post office. I bought my stamps and applied them to the post cards that I was sending and asked the lady to cancel the stamps but she wouldn't she just set them to the side. (In some 3rd world countries this is a scam to remove the stamps and resell them after you leave.) I didn't check with all of my friends to see if they all received their cards or not. So it's only a POSSIBLE problem. One other post office possible scam is there are only a couple of designs to choose from at regular price for posting. If you want any of the REALLY NICE stamps they come in packets and cost more.
Central Market, we bought a painting from a seemingly reputable shop, it was still a little wet, so the shop-keeper promised he would deliver it to our hotel, but never showed up....We gave him directions, a map, and hotel phone number...he promised he would deliver but didn't come. We had to catch a flight so we couldn't go back...
Be careful, pay on delivery...or just cash and carry-maybe that's best
This is not a reflection of all vendors, but something one should be aware of what might happen.Related to:
- Family Travel
NO FREE tour guide here- ANGKOR
Remember there's no free lunch in the world. So, when there's a guy who said to be a FREE tour guide in Angkor or Siem Reap and willing to show you around, simply say thanks and NO. All these TOUR Guides will eventually ask some tips from you after the tour if you take them.Related to:
The Infamous 'Toilet Stop'
Our driver seemed to enjoy stopping the bus in little towns which had hard to find toilets. The real purpose seem to be to allow locals to sell postcards, bracelets, etcs. By locals I should say kids. They are bright, funny and have no problems communicating in English.
Unique Suggestions: The kids appreciate pens, paper, crayons, stamps, pennies, etc. Of course, they prefer cold hard American cash BUT graciously accept any of the above.
They really do seem to just want to touch and talk to you. Be prepared to be mobbed, hold your pockets, smile and enjoy their chatter.
Fun Alternatives: FlyRelated to:
- Budget Travel
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