Our journey has started, leaving Brisbane airport last night at 11.40pm. We headed out with Thai Airways from Brisbane to Bangkok and transferred to a flight from Bangkok to Phnom Penh.
First impressions, Phnom Penh is hot and humid! We arrived at 32 degrees and walking off the plane you can instantly feel the temperate difference. If you are looking to travel to Cambodia, one thing I would recommend is having some recent passport photos handy for your tourist visa application. If you don’t have photos, you are slugged with a $3US fee, whilst not a lot of money, if you have them at home like we did, it would have been easier to just bring them with us.
The visa process in Cambodia is quite straight forward, you fill in the application form provided on the plane and hand it in to the border protection officers with your $30US application fee. If you don’t have a recent passport photo to attach, you also have a $3US fee as well. Once you submit your paperwork, you move to the collections line where you wait for your passport to be held up. Once held up you can collect your passport, pay your $30US and you are on your way.
Upon leaving the airport you are presented with two things. There are about 5 shops all selling SIM cards and phone plans (very cheap), and about 50 people attempting to gain your business and usher you into a cab or tuk tuk.
The best value for money plan at the moment is with a company called cell card, they have the “Big Love” plan which gives you 80GB of data and free calls to anyone on the cell card network for about $10.20US.
Tuk Tuk drivers will approach you wanting your business, it pays to haggle them down. If you have a bit of luggage they will insist on 2 cars but if you push it hard enough, you can get it all in 1 and just put a bag on your lap. We made it from the airport to our hotel about 40mins away for $15US, this is a bit expensive but our driver was amazing. He sung the Cambodia song to us and just made the whole trip very pleasant.
Upon arriving at our hotel (Queen Grand Boutique), the hospitality shown by all of the staff is absolutely incredible. Cambodians are so nice! Nothing was too much trouble and the staff have gone out of their way to ensure that everything we need is taken care of. If you are wanting a massage you are looking at about $15US for 60 minutes, the bar fridge has beer, nuts and other goodies for about $2.50US each and the hotel has a pool and restaurant as well. All in all very cheap.
Walking around the area today sheds light on a very different culture and way of life. Safety standards to not exist, there are holes in the sidewalk, electrical wiring is visible and accessible by anyone walking around the streets and there are no road rules. Some of the photos attached to this post show the insane wiring lining the air above the streets and things like lights in a park have been ‘repaired’ with external wires which are both exposed to the elements and anyone who may be walking past them. These are not isolated either, it is just the norm over here.
We are having a great time so far taking in the culture and looking around. We are about to head out to dinner with a friend who moved over here from Australia which will be awesome. Tomorrow we head out on the road to look at the Killing Fields, Genocide Museum and a few other must see places.