Cambodia. Anyone been? Any tips?

Cambodia. Anyone been? Any tips?
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#1

We need a break from Europe. We love it and love friends family & football but have done it for 4 years in a row & it is exhausting (& a strain on mates because we need somewhere to stay)

Anyway decided to have an actual break & are now planning an “expedition” to Cambodia over Xmas. Mainly because its cheap!

I’m doing all the research for a work client (wants a travel app) so we’re going.

I know it’s a long shot but any of you lot or your mates been? Or am I gonna have to rely on bloody TripAdvisor?


#2

I have a friend/ex-workmate who ran a Photography Tours business in Cambodia for around 15 years. He’s just moved back to Southampton. He still has a FB link to his company (partner’s company?) https://www.facebook.com/PeaceofAngkorTours/?pnref=lhc & http://www.peaceofangkor.com/about-us.html Dave is the one in the middle (legenday on the OS as one of the most accident prone men…ever) but that’s another story.


#3

Yep, went some years ago.

Don’t spend too much time in Phnom Penh. There are the standard things to do there - the temples, the palace and the rather chilling genocide museum.

Then, get on a boat up to Siem Reap. The Angkor temples are sprawling and vast - not just the famous one but a whole load of temples and other monuments and remains of ancient cities. My advice would be to hire a bicycle, plan your route and take at least 3-4 days (we spent nearly a week) going around the main sites. Have a nice place to retreat to - we stayed in a French run hostel with the rooms all on stilts.

From there, we went across country to visit some amazing (and very different) brick temples and then took a boat all the way up the Mekong in a very ‘Apocolypse Now’ style trip. Ostensibly, this was to see the Irrawady fresh water dolphins (which we did see and was an amazing thing to do) but the whole diversion was a fantastic experience - at the time, quite a bit off the beaten track.

If you get a chance, head down to the tiny bit of coast for some very quiet, unspoiled beach time at Sihanoukville.

Oh, and top tip, for a break from the ubiquitous noodles and french bread, go the the Foreign Correspondents’ Club - when we went, they had one in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.


#4

Watch out for landmines.


#5

Cheers gang. Planning has started. Will update when I get bored at work tomorrow!

:sunglasses:


#6

Oh, am I part of a gang now? Cool, I always wanted to be in a gang. Is it like the Red Hand Gang that used to be on telly?


#7

guy at work went. he said the ladyboys out there are fkn amazing, and overall much cheaper than i.e. thailand (where he normally goes).


#8

Ahem.

That’s the other Phil…


#9

I went in 2000 and it’s one of the best places I have ever been.

I went by minibus from Bangkok. And yes. That was fucking mental.

The roads were so bad that we had to drive through farmer’s fields. The enterprising farmers had fashioned makeshift toll gates so the driver would have to get out and pay them a few pence to be let through. This was all working pretty well until the driver got pissed off with it and decided to get his gun out (I found this quite concerning) and threaten the farmer.

One bloke on the bus had done so many drugs to get him through the journey that he didn’t even wake up when his head cracked the window after we hit a particularly large pot hole.

Still, we made it to Siem Reap. I believe you can fly there now and stay in one of the posh hotels which were being built :lou_wink_2:

We stayed in a pretty nice guest house for a couple of dollars per night.

It had magic mushroom omelette on the menu and I purchased one of these along with a big bundle of weed from a 9 year old boy. The locals were pretty enterprising and very friendly. When we were on a boat going down the Mekong we would throw 35mm film cannisters with a few dollars in to kids running along the bank. They would fill them up with weed and throw them back :lou_smiley:.

Anyway, Siem Reap is a must. Allow yourself a few days to explore the temple areas. Angkor Wat is truly stunning, one of the most remarkable places in the world but there are many other temples to visit. Angkor Thom is cool. We hired a moped rider/guide to show us around. Threes up on a moped is common!

Phnom Penh is also a must.

We didn’t have a great start there as it rained so hard we had to wade to our guest house.

The eerie Tuol Sleng prison and the Killing Fields have to be experienced. The shocking part of Cambodia’s history is that the horrors are so recent. Not many old people in Cambodia.

Just go Phil. You’ll love it. Don’t get as pissed as I did at the shooting range as handling an M-16 or an AK 47 isn’t really for the inebriated. Good fun firing from the hip though :lou_wink_2:.

We also went to a nice beach resort that I can’t remember the name of.

I’ve got loads of other stories swilling around in my addled brain but I don’t want to bore/scare you.

edit: beach resort is Sihanoukville- Cheers Bathsaint!


#10

Booked a bungalow already in Sihanoukville GB! Plan to be in country for Xmas 3 full days in Angkor & couple of half days. Just now depends on vacation days exactly how long we will stay as we plan NYE in Bangkok


#11

Hmm Weed…


#12

Wow thanks for that link LITSL, while their FB page is pretty “ancient” but the info and advice on that web site was really helpful, given me some more ideas for the planning stage.

I love these types of “exploring projects” we’ve already set a few “anchor points” for the trip when we knw we want to be at a certain place at a certain time (Christmas Day, Mrs D_P’s Birthday) and stuff like this web site really helps explain where we need to add more time.


#13

Yep I think their website would be the main point of contact…if you want to talk to Dave Perkes to pick his brains this is his FB page… https://www.facebook.com/dave.perkes?hc_ref=ARTAzEAR5TyKuim2tkj23DUs2JE5abIxsK4bVmJlFZYqSy7uw27Bhr7SxlzDElmP2GQ&fref=nf


#14

Today’s planning update.

Interesting that I can save 5 quid a night on some web sites but have to pay in advance. So took the decision to use Booking.com and avail their free cancellation policy and still get some bargains (by “western standards”)

Based on your recommendations, we will actually spend 4 more days in country WOOHOO!

We now plan 5 nights in Siem so we don’t kill ourselves or overdose on temples, then go down to Goaties Hippy Heaven at Sioubeach place thingy ville for 4 nights of chillin, and then added an extra night in Phnom Phenh so we can do it justice.

Not easy mixing vacation days with wanna sees with XMas & Birthdays but I reckon we have the outline of a plan that gives a balance between sights and much needed downtime.

One thing we learnt is that we may use our (limited mobile ap developer) skills to create an offline tour guide app so I can even now claim I am doing all the research for work as well. Heck with a good travel agent mate here I may even be able to sell it and cover some costs!

20 quid a night for 4 Star hotel De-Luxe rooms including Breakfast - my sort of budget!

(And that is splashing out! found some hostels for 1.50 a night - probably got soe of Goaty’s left overs in them1)

ONLY 129 days to go!!


#15

Glad I have the story straight now :wink:


#16

I am v. jealous D_P.


#17

Update:

Thanks to the delights of Booking.Com and their ability to book now with free cancellation, we are now fully booked up and planned accomodation & internal flights wise.

5 Nights in Siem Reap - allows for a recovery afternoon from an overnight flight, 3 Angkor days and a Tonle Sap day. Nice little “boutique” hotel close to the centre but still quiet and an extortionate $35 per night (inc Breakfast, Airport Transfers and a Complementary Gala Dinner!)

Then hop on Angkor Air down to Sihanouk Ville for 4 days at Otres Beach area - again a small property owned by Italians, 4 Star at a rip off $38 per night inc Breakfast (but tight buggers don’t include transfer!)

Taxi ride up to Phnom Penh (yes there are buses, but they eat too much time out of the trip and train would have been cool but only runs at weekends)

2 Nights in the Centre of Phnom Penh giving us 1.5 days to tour the “Killing Fields” and stuff - not sure how bothered we are by Temples and Palaces having done all that stuff over the years in Thailand & Vietnam - but the Khmer Style hotel there is walking distance to the Palace & Riverfront. This place was a real rip off - we booked the bigger sized room and it’s $43.20 a night (inc Brekkie)

Then have a Thai Air flight back into Bangkok for NYE and shopping before back to the sandpit.

Only thing we won’t book yet are the actual flights to Bangkok & in to Cambodia. Emirates flies direct to Phnom Penh BUT the plane spends hours on the ground in Myanmar (Rangoon) and costs 250 quid pp MORE than flights into Bangkok which actually has 6 flights a day 5 of them on A380 so we have more choice.

IF you ever travel this way, The trick with Emirates when booking is that they have 3 grades of Economy Ticket. Their SUPER Saver is only ever sold as a “Sale” from 1st to 12th of each month and relates only to travel 3 months ahead. So for example the current ticket cost is 700 Quid in economy, but in the “sale” they cost about 380 quid. (I’m actually using airmiles so that simply means I use half the miles for each ticket!)

The AMAZING thing about the research and booking process is how much information there is out there - LITSL’s mates Photo Tours site was a huge starting point, Goatie and the minibus idea set us thinking about more than and ditto Bath’s input.

And the other sweet thing? Each hotel I booked sent a personalised welcome email - not some standard bullshit template but actually looked like someone had typed them! Things to do, email names if we had questions, (obviousl) their Tour Desk contacts.

To be honest, the only issue we now have is that the trip is still 120 days away! BUT while I am normally a book at last minute type, I had seen prices and availability of a lot of hotels changing for the worse (and yes, obviously I was clearing Cache & Cookies when searching! - another trick to keep costs down)

So, will be back to this nearer Christmas and will link some of the pics to here.

Can’t wait!


#18

If Bazza tells you the place is a shithole…don’t listen. :lou_wink_2:


#19

@dubai_phil you make a good point re airline tickets. We are heading out Sri Lanka way soon but booked the flights last year. Because the dates were really important, we were looking at the flights as they were released. The tip here (thanks to a travel agent friend) on scheduled flights is NOT to book on release. They are released at RRP to pick up all the panickers. Two weeks later the prices tumble to about 60% of what they originally were put out at. The savings become really significant the further up the plane you travel


#20

Yeah, there are a lot of tricks to Long Haul flying. The Ryanair mentality is that people think when the new schedule is released they often sell the $12.99 tickets.

Lass in the office is heading back to Capetown to get married then back through here to Thailand for honeymoon. It took about 5 minutes extra work to book her flights “back to front” and saved her over 400 quid.

BA, Virgin, Etihad all run sim ilar systems to Emirates and they know someone booking 4 or more months in advance simply HAS to travel on those dates. It’s a patience game, BUT sometimes you can come unstuck.

(For example, IF anyone wanted to fly out of here on 13th-15th December and had NOT booked in February you’ll be paying almost Business Class rates, yet by 19th they are back on sale on KLM!)

Anyway have a great time in Sri Lanka - I do hope you can get up to Nuwara Eliya!