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
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 them.
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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