TRAVELING IN CAMBODIA
Getting into Cambodia
Traveling by land into Cambodia can be problematic from Laos and only marginally less so from
Thailand. This necessitates writing about transportation which we rarely do.
Mild but annoying corruption and scams can be prevalent upon reaching the Cambodia side of the
border, worse from most accounts for those coming from Laos. Transportation also is not always
evident or easy from the border into a town. It is extremely wise to get your Cambodian visa while in
Laos or Thailand before going to Cambodia for those traveling throughout South East Asia.
The Embrace Founders opted to re-enter Thailand for one night from Laos and then cross into
Cambodia via Thailand, much to the amusement of the Thai officials who laughed heartily at this
maneuver. We arrived in Cambodia at Poi pet. It is a confusing arrival point, so let us offer directions
for anyone who might be approaching this way.
When you debark from your vehicle in Thailand walk towards Cambodia on the left side and enter
the building to get your passport stamped out of Thailand. After getting stamped out of Thailand,
walk towards the Golden Gate, which is the welcome sign for Cambodia. You will be crossing a
small bridge over a creek. Then walk across the street (to the right side) and a little further down
and enter Cambodian Immigration to stamp your visa. Remember the visa issuing office is different
from immigratiion. If you need a visa then go to visa office is approximately a hundred yards prior to
the immigration office. If you do not need to purchase a visa, keep walking towards the immigration
office. Donot get a health check up. (It is not required.) Again, we strongly recommend getting your
Cambodia visa before arriving in Cambodia.
If you fly in or out, there are no problems whatsoever.
Don't Change Your Money, Yet
You do not need to change your money at the convenient bank on the border. Cambodia prefers
using all Euros, Commonwealth currencies and the U.S. Dollar. (The world economic war is on and
has been heating up, so we seriously doubt this will continue to be the case in a year or two.)
Getting to Siem Reap From The Border
There is a bus stand that is supposed to take you to a local bus stop for free. From this bus stop one
is supposed to be able to transfer to a bus heading for Siem Reap. However, we never saw anyone
boarding any of these “free” buses.(Not a good sign) The idea is that passengers actually get
dropped off at a place where the buses are never around, but a place convenient to many taxis.
Can you guess where this is going? Siem Reap is a long, long way from the border. A taxi may not
be what you want.
If you wish to go directly to Siem Reap for a reasonable rate, do the following.
Watch where the Chinese tourist groups get off their private bus. Go to one of the men unloading
the luggage after his job is completed. Tell him you want to take the bus to Siem Reap (they usually
go back empty). Give him the small amount of money he asks for or agree to pay the bus driver
when you get at your destination the amount he and the driver decide upon. You will get an entire
bus to yourselves or if any other people are as enterprising as you, a bus including a few other
people as enterprising as you.
SIEM REAP, ANGKOR WAT & SURROUNDING AREAS
Siem Reap is the small city visitors stay in to visit the Angkor Wat ruins. It is a truly lovely place
where the people are incredibly appreciative and good natured. A considerable amount of work is
being done by many volunteers and independent entrepreneurs from Western nations who are
contributing to the employment skills and job market of Cambodian people.
The first Angkor ruins are approximately 8 miles from Siem Reap's main center on the route of a
broad boulevard. The primary mode of transport is some variation of the motorcycle rickshaw,
(otherwise known in other parts of the world, as a tuk-tuk, or a Bajaj. - Bicycles are also available:
Euro 2.70/ 3 U.S.)
We strongly urge visitors not to be unreasonable in negotiating the price for transport. The drivers
have to support families, buy gas and wait around for their passengers which prevents them from
making additional money. In general, just a ride from town to the first / main building of Angkor in a
two person vehicle should be a minimum of Euro 7.5 / $8 U.S. for an hour and a half of taking
evening photos in 2015. On longer outings and for longer periods of time, give more. The Embrace
Founders always contribute additional in tips. For example, for those going to Banteay Srey Temple
which is 37K from Siem Reap - Euro 23 (U.S. 25) is a fair price in 2015 The temple is relatively
small and the most time you will spend there will be an hour and a half. Remember, there is an
admissions fee to the park which at this point is: Euro 18/ $20, one day, Euro 36/ $40 three days
within a week and Euro 54/ $60 seven days within a month. Every time anyone enters the park,
they have to make a slight detour to check in. Hours are 5:30 am until Sunset.
Due to the heat and humidity, it is recommended breaking up the tour during the afternoon. There
are a few very basic food/ beverage stands near most temples, however for those who would really
like to be out of the heat and relax, it will necessitate going back to Siem Reap and then rehiring a
driver for another round trip.
There are numerous excellent travel books on the Angkor Wat complex, so we will not elaborate on
NOTE FOR THOSE COMING FROM WEALTHIER NATIONS: Tourists are often uncertain of how
or what to do to assist people in difficult economies. One of the most constructive ways to give is to
generously tip those who do a good job for you or a service. Unless, you are requested not to tip,
do so. Waiters/waitresses, housekeepers and drivers are people you see firsthand working hard
and usually for long hours in low paying jobs with whom you deal with directly. It is unlikely tipping
by tourists will disrupt the community cultural norm as people in the service industry know that
locals are usually coming from a similar background as themselves, They rarely expect locals to
tip them, even if tourists do. By tipping, you are helping working people increase their standard of
living and the standard of living for their whole extended family.
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