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Experiences of Thailand and Cambodia

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posted on Dec, 4 2005 @ 06:02 AM
Has anyone got any experiences of Thailand or Cambodia they would like to share? Or tips, for that matter. I am going there, you see.

posted on Dec, 5 2005 @ 08:04 AM
yeah....looks excellent!!...sadly ive not been there yet but both places are on my pal John went through cambodia 6 years ago, he said it was awesome, if not a bit dodgy...he paid 30 US$ for a go on an AK47....when he was getting ready to fire it down some locals garden a young kid of about 10 came and stood next to him with a beretta 9mm and stood there just staring at mate inquired to the guns owner that the kid looked a bit young to be using a fire arm.....he replied..."you go crazy with son shoot you!" an extra 10$ the guy was going to release his chickens for my pal to shoot at!!.....he declined.

Regards and good luck with your travels.

posted on Dec, 5 2005 @ 10:43 PM
ohhhh hell yeah, I'd do that.

posted on Dec, 6 2005 @ 05:59 PM

I posted a massive reply to this and then it timed out, I lost the post...

Anyway. Here goes, again.

Lived in Cambodia for two years.

Yes, you can still go out to the firing ranges. Do. Have fun. Please, don't buy animals to shoot, it doesn't make westerners look good in that Buddhist country.

If you have an embassy close to home, try getting your visa there. You may save money. If you fly into Pochentong International Airport you will pay the correct price for your visa. If you cross the border anywhere else you will pay more. If you go to the embassy in Bangkok you will pay more.

Don't get a tourist visa. It lasts a month and can only be renewed once, then you have to leave the country.

Get a business visa, it also lasts a month but can be renewed infinitely. When you want/need to renew it take your passport to Lucky Lucky Motorcycles on Monivong Boulevard. Trust me on this.

Catch a Cyclo at least once.

Use the motodops (motor-scooter taxis). Wear a helmet.

You may be tempted to hire a motorcycle. Think very carefully about this. Remember, the rules of physics still apply, accidents kill you in Cambodia too and there are no ambulances worthy of the name. Plus, check your travel insurance very carefully, you may void it by not wearing a helmet or driving unlicenced. Please take this advice seriously.

DO NOT try to learn to ride a motorbike in Phnom Penh. I see on average, when I'm in the country, a fatality a week. The traffic does not follow the law. 99% of motorcycles do not have rear-view mirrors and they do not check before they turn, nor do they indicate. Most Cambodian drivers are unlicenced.

If you can already ride a motorbike (trail, not road-) then your best bets for hire are Lucky Lucky on Monivong Boulevard or Phnom Penh Bike Shop (better) on St 302 off Monivong. Avoid New New Motorbikes, there are some (very healthy) rumours about them. U2U me for explanation.

Unless you have cash the local doctors will not help you.

Visit Tuol Sleng, the genocide/torture musem, and Choueng Ek, the killing fields.

Visit the National Museum and the Royal Palace.

Definitely get up to Siem Reap and see all the Angkorian temples, plus the river of 1,000 Lingas.

If you have the opportunity, get out to Preah Vihear temple. It sits on a mountain and faces the Thai border.

Don't talk politics. Most of the people with English good enough to debate the subject are connected to the government.

The government and PM are in a really ugly mood at the moment. They just put an opposition MP in prison for 7 years for forming a rebel army. The words "sham" and "grotesque" describe the trial best.

Don't insult the King, or his father. The people love the old man. Since he abdicated they call him Samdech Ta Sihanouk, it translates roughly as Lord Grandfather Sihanouk.

Read the Lonely Planet.

Do do some reading. I strongly reccomend a book called Sideshow: Kissinger Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia by William Shawcross.

There are two Enlish-language newspapers. The Cambodia Daily, kinda self-explanatory, and the Phnom Penh Post, which comes out every fortnight. You can subscirbe to the Post from anywhere. You probably should for a while before you come.

Check out before you leave.

Do practice some charity while you're there. But, remember, the beggars in front of the big supermarkets are there because you are and the motodops and tuk-tuk drivers on the riverfront earn in the hundreds each month. Find a better target. If you're eating breakfast al-fresco and the monks come past, giving to them is good for your karma!

Except at restaurants, bargain well. You will be charged white-man's-tax for everything. Hey, you're rich, you can afford it. Many of the vendors don't appear to have realised that the UN and its pay packets left 12 years ago.
Restaurants have pretty set prices and most will have them in English, even the most illiterate peasant recognises which notes are which.

Don't let a motodop tell you he'll be your driver for the day for $10. That's bollocks. Most trips around the city will cost you around 2000 riel (US50c). You might do $4 worth in a day.

The cops are effing useless and unbelievably corrupt. They will fine foreigners for the most mendaciously, moronically, mind-numbingly stupid reasons. One tourist in Siem Reap was "fined" for impersonating a policeman. He as wearing a t-shirt and camo/cargo pants. A woman in Phnom Penh was fined for wearing her seatbelt!

Did I tell you what I think of the cops? The police in Cambodia are not your friends. At least they make it obvious. If you are in Thailand and cops ask you to drink, run away. I am deadly serous. People die from drinking with Thai cops and it isn't the alcohol that kills them. At least, not the alcohol they drank.

Phnom Penh is pretty safe, but westerners do still get robbed. It's a matter of common sense. A mate of a mate was robbed recently, he was going home after closing his bar at 3am.

Beer costs US$1 in foreign-owned bars and half that in local places!

[edit on 6-12-2005 by HowlrunnerIV]

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 06:02 AM
I just finished reading The Killing Fields, still got to see the movie, and I've gone through the Lonely Planet, so I know to talk to he tourist police only. I still cannot wait to go to the firing ranges. Thanks for the reply. I like the point about not talking politics with anyone that speaks good English.

posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 01:11 AM
Was in Cambodia and Thailand about 4 months ago. HowlrunnerIV mentioned so many good things about Cambodia but also must suggest Angkor Wat. Im sure that is already part of the reason you are going there but its worth the trip. It is a crowded place but one of the 7 wonders of the world and worth a look. Dont bother with the one day pass as you cant even scratch the surfce in one day and the three day pass is a better deal. Head out well before sunrise at least one of the days and get to a less popular Temple, climb to the top and soak it all in

As for Thailand dont know where to start, it all depends on what your into. The country can be the most touristy place you've ever been to or somewhat remote, both have their + & -'s. If you can post some of your hobibes and or things you'd like to see there and ill get back to you. I loved SE Asia and unless I get world cup tickets for this summer (trying desperately) will probably head back to check out Vietnam and Laos.

posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 05:30 PM
I was also in Thailand about 4 months ago (Maybe I met you Bandaar... you never know). It is really an amazing place. But as Bandaar said, tell us a bit about the kind of things you like to do. If you like to party, then you can find a place in almost any town. Ko Pah Ngan has a full moon party which is pretty crazy; something like 20 000 people on a beach drinking buckets (literally) of cheap rum and soda.

The south of Thailand has some amazing island life, you can go and just chill there for weeks, tanning, exploring, drinking, getting some action-jackson...
The north, around Chiang Mai is incredibly scenic. I would highly recomend going there. Places like Pai are remote, yet still cater for western needs and are just stunning.

How long are you going for? I suggest packing light, there are plenty opportunities to get your laundry done, so you never need more than 3 or 4 t-shirts. There are also plenty internet cafe's, so you can keep ats updated

posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 04:52 PM

Originally posted by Bandar Paul
Was in Cambodia and Thailand about 4 months ago. HowlrunnerIV mentioned so many good things about Cambodia but also must suggest Angkor Wat.

Hmmm, perhaps I've spent too long there and wasn't clear, happens when you assume others share knowledge you have. Angkor Wat (and its city Angkor Thom) are just outside Siem Reap town in Siem Reap province.

If you want to avoid the hordes of Asian tourists at Angkor Wat, there are temples all over the country.

40 klicks outside Phnom Penh in Kandal province is Tonle Bati, a temple from Jayavarman VII, the king who built Angkor, the Bayon etc. and there are no crowds there. Another 30 klicks down the road is Phnom (Mt) Chisor, a hilltop (mountain-top if you're a dwarf!) temple about as old.

Further down the road (Route 2) is Angkor Borei, a major archeological dig that is the site of the capital of the old Chenla "water" Kingdom that pre-dates the Angkorian Empire.

There are Khmer temples in Laos and Thailand as well, 600 years ago the Cambodians ruled the lot.

There's a major temple in Kampong Thom province, on the way to Siem Reap, another in Kampong Cham, there are hilltop temples in Kampong Thom.

Definitely get a hold of the Bayon Pearnik, there's one guy who specialises in riding his trailbike out to forgotten temples, taking photos and writing the story. Loads of info.

Of course, none of these temples, with the exception of Preah Vihear, is as big or well-preserved as Angkor Wat.

But outside Siem Reap is the Roluos group of Temples, Preah Kahn (an old capital city) Prasat Ko Ker...the list goes on.

posted on Dec, 14 2005 @ 09:10 PM
Wow. it jsut gets more and more intresting the more I read. I'll take that advice and get up hell early to see Angkor Wat.

posted on Dec, 21 2005 @ 05:53 PM
If you're looking for places to stay in Phnom Penh I recommend the Golden Gate Hotel (old building, not the new one ove the road!). It's small(ish), cheap and comfortable. Right next door is the Newbird Bar, a favourite hangout of resident expats with great food and very friendly staff (no, not that kind of friendly).

Or there's Tiger Feet Guesthouse, near the riverfront.

Or the Tonle Sap Hotel, which has the Pickled Parrot bar and restaurant on the groundfloor. 24hrs, good food, sports on a projection screen and one of the few (like 4!) slate pool tables in Phnom Penh.

If you need sports, go to the Gym Bar, 8 screens including two "giant" projection screens and great food.

If you're American and want some like-minded company, hit the Freebird.

If you're American and need some loud music (not live) and a lot of pool, hit Sharkey's.

If you want live rock music then your only choice is Memphis Pub.

If you want traditional Khmer food and incredibly reasonable prices, go to the Khmer Angkor Restaurant on st 278, a couple of doors down from the Golden Gate Hotel.

If you're a backpacker and you need to be surrounded by other backpackers and aren't really interested in the city you're in, go to the Boeng Kak lakeshore area and forget all about the rest of the world. Just don't contemplate swimming.

And avoid "the western begger". I've been getting reports about a Yank who's going around Phnom Penh begging off the other expats in town. Rumour has it he has a steady income from the states but is shovelling it into his arm. When that's gone he literally begs off the other foreigners.

Pathetic. A white man begging in a country that poor.

posted on Nov, 14 2006 @ 09:38 PM
Okay, heading off in a week.

I'm going into Cambodia to do some aid work for a week in an orphanage, which should be good.

After that, mostly touristy stuff. Are there any secret spots in Bangkok anyone knows about? Like non-mainstream markets and such, (promise I won't tell anyone

Wish me luck!

posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 02:41 AM
Good luck.

Which orphanage, by the way?

posted on Nov, 15 2006 @ 03:50 AM
Not exactly sure. One outside of Phnom Penh.

Not too happy about the time I have to get up to see Ankor Wat before sunrise, but yeah . . .

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