When I took the 6-hour Mekong Express bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to see the countryside, little did I know how fortunate I would be. The Fancy Guesthouse got seat 1D for me. It turned out to be on the aisle in the front row on the right hand side. Not only did I have the best seat for seeing things and taking pictures, but I also happened to be sitting next to Ms. Nara, a professional guide taking a 3-day holiday to visit her aunt in Kompong Thom. She is a very nice lady who really knows the local history and customs, and is happy to share her knowledge. I learned so much during that three hours to Kompong Thom. Awkun choeun (thank you very much) to her! She is not licensed to guide in Siem Reap but can do Phnom Penh and basically the rest of the country. Her phone number is (+855) 12580089. I highly recommend Ms. Nara.
However, Nara sometimes recommends her friend, Heak, as a driver. I used him in Feb 2010 and I do not recommend him. Absolutely do not drive with him at night. He has night vision problems and cannot see well. He is also phobic about going up inclines and getting his car dirty. Why he originally accepted my itinerary to remote sites in Northwest Cambodia, I shall never know. Over and over again, he had excuses why he could not go somewhere, but then we would see cars just like his both coming from and going to the destination. Basically I just had to say that I was paying him $95/day and that he had to go (although I walked up rather than asking him to drive up the steep, paved road to Phnom Kulen). Guess what? We always made it with no problem. Heak is a nice enough fellow and speaks good English. If you only have to drive during the day and on straight, level, paved roads, he would be fine, even if those roads are busy.
be aware what atm to use. anz tries to rip you off with a fee of $4 for a withdrawel.
there are machines from canadia for free, that also give you a better exchange rate, which is also sh at anz.
Favorite thing: When you fly into Phnom Penh, the airline will give you two forms to fill out. You will need them but if you want a Visa on Arrival, you will have to get another form in the arrival area, fill it out, give them your passport and form, and wait as your paperwork is processed real-time behind the counter. You then pay $20 ($1 more if you don't have a passport photo) and get your passport back with the visa in it. Only after doing this can you pick up your luggage and proceed through immigration. I was going to take more pictures of this process, but a guard told me not to take more pictures when he saw me do the first one. BTW, it may cost $20 to get into Cambodia, but don't forget to save $25 to get out (departure tax).
This travel agent gave us the best rate when we wanted to change our US dollars to rial. He was helpful, friendly, honest. He also helped us book the bus to Siem Reap, recommending Angkor Express. He also recommended a hotel, Garden Village at Siem Reap, for us and we found out that both recommendations were good. He arranged for the Angkor Express van to pick us up at our guest house (no extra charge) and got good seats on the bus for us.
His shop address: St93 Sras Chork, Phnom Penh.
Fondest memory: Nice people like this travel agent and the owners at Home Away from Home guest house. Both places are on the same street although there are slight differences in their addresses.
Favorite thing: There are no cash machines in Phnom Penh. Transactions are usually carried out in cash so make sure you have plenty available to you. Hotels will exchange travellers cheques but charge 6% commission for doing so.
Favorite thing: Other than the hotel i was staying in I do not recall seeing any other place in Phnom Penh that accepted Credit Cards. US Dollars cash were universally accepted indeed, the dollar was the currency of choice.