At the end of March, I finally left Thailand to do some traveling for visa purposes. Despite getting a multi-entry visa ($200USD) I still had to leave the country or renew it by March 31st. I decided I wanted to leave the country.
I woke up at 5am to catch a bus at Lumphini Park, which a great park where lots of people go to exercise. It’s a bit far from where I live though, so I prefer to just work out on campus at Muay Thai club. Lots of exchange students do muay thai at the school, the coach is great and super friendly!
Back on subject, me and two Japanese friends leave Bangkok at 6am and arrive at the Poi Pet border around 10am. You can get the visa to Cambodia really easily and quickly. We had no trouble getting through. I did get a lot of “anyeong” though, which means ‘hello’ in Korean. And when I would shake my head, they would quickly give me a “ni hao” Hello in Mandarin)—they had a hard time believing I was American. This would continue as I made my way through Cambodia.
The visa was about $20 USD and I had to pay 200 baht extra since I couldn’t find my passport photos to attach with the on-arrival form. After we crossed the border, there were free shuttle buses to take you to the place where you can grab a taxi or bus to where ever you wanted to get to. We wanted to go Siem Reap, which is where Angkor Wat is. We got grouped up with this older Australian lady and paid $12 each for a taxi there, but a promise that the taxi would drop us off to our hotel. It took us I think around 4-6 hours to get to Siem Reap and the taxi lied. We were not dropped off where we needed to be, but managed to talk to this guy to take us to a cheap place where we would pay $15 total per night. And we didn’t have to pay for the tuk tuk. They will definitely try to rip off foreigners in Cambodia. I will let you know that now.
Food in Cambodia is slightly more expensive than Bangkok. Also, they don’t use change in Cambodia. Everything is in cash, cost is in USD. So for example, if we bought a dish that was $3.75, you would get .25 cents worth back in Cambodian riel. I literally had a mango shake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in Siem Reap; it was so delicious and $1! I had Khmer curry and burned the roof of my mouth that lasted the whole trip…had a very hard time eating.
We went exploring at the Old Market and just walked around to find something to do. Ended up at this place called Blue Pumpkin. It was great! If you go upstairs, there was beds that you can sit and just enjoy your drinks. Then we tried to go to get on an hot air balloon that was suppose to give us this awesome view of Angkor Wat. However, they wouldn’t let us go because of air conditions. But our tuk tuk driver told us that we could go to Angkor Wat at 5:30 for free! So that’s what we did and took great pictures of Angkor Wat during the sunset. Afterwards, we went to go explore the night market. Shopping in Cambodia is really meh—I got tired of hearing “Would you like to buy something LADY??” Every sentence ended with ‘lady’ and I was really tired of that word by the end of it.
Next day, we woke up at 5am to go explore the temples. You have to pay $20 to get a ticket to go see all the temples. I got to see the sun rise at Angkor Wat. It was awesome…but to be honest, I got really tired of seeing it. I did have a great time looking at the outfits tourists were wearing. I had a great time guessing where they were from by the clothes they were wearing. I was right every time. Afterwards, we went to go see Angkor Thom and got miserably lost and had no clue where to find our tuktuk. We then realized we had to walk through all the other temples to go to the restaurant where he took us to go eat breakfast. It was hot and we had been up for 6 hours…I don’t know how the other tourists did it!!
My friend Ayumi and I had planned to go Sihanoukville, while my friend Minami stayed in Siem Reap to meet up with her sister. We bought tickets for a sleeper bus at left Siem Reap at 7pm. We arrived in Sihanoukville at 6am to meet up with her friend, who was working at one of the fanciest hotels I have ever seen! The lowest cost room was about $200USD for a night. But lucky enough for us, we stayed with Ayumi’s friend who lived just down the road at where the Soukha Beach Resort staff lived for free.
We got to explore the markets and beaches but it started to rain while we were exploring Serendipity Beach. We ended up waiting out the rain in this bookstore closeby. However, the best part was going to Independence Beach hotel and paying $5 per person to have access to their pool and private beach. It was gorgeous!! I loved it and had a great time just playing in the water. It was a long day and then we decided to all get body massages. Ayumi’s friend recommended this massage place where you get a massage from the blind. I didn’t know how comfortable I would be but when I got the massage…my complaints fled my head. It was definitely one of the BEST massages I have ever had. And it was only $6, but when I gave the lady a $10; I got my change all back in Cambodian riel (which means I got a huge stack of cash back).
4000 riel is equivalent to $1USD. Then we ended the day with a legit Cambodian meal…3 seafood dishes (squid, lobster, and crab) totaled $9.50. It was so good but it was hard communicating with the waiter since he didn’t speak English. But the food was delicious and it was so cheap too! I definitely enjoyed my time in Cambodia. I ended up spending a little less than $200USD for everything.
However, the bus ride back to Bangkok was brutal. We left Sihanoukville at 7am and arrived back at 9pm. I do not enjoy long bus trips.