Cambodia – Overall Summary

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Cambodia – Overall Summary Reviews

Tannith Tannith
45 reviews
Cambodia - Overall Summary Mar 29, 2008
I didn’t see much of it in 8 days, though maybe I saw more than most people who just go through Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Though I still only saw Ban Lung in the North-East. The landscape is much like the south of Laos but not as picturesque. The roads really are hellish, especially “off the beaten track” – they joke that your butt will never be the same but it really won’t. Contrary to many reports I heard, most people speak good English as they learn it at school and naturally the wages/tips are higher for those that can communicate. Ban Lung is well worth the effort getting out to, make sure you give yourself enough time to see everything but don’t wear anything you want to keep as the orange dust from the dirt roads (no, there is no tarmac here) will ruin your clothes. Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples are truly one of the Great Wonders of the World; if you are anything like me you will go with low expectations of a bunch of falling down old buildings and be blown away by the magnitude and beauty of these. Travel takes less time than in Vietnam and Laos, merely because the shape of the country means you are not covering such massive distances to get from place to place. It’s not as dirty as Vietnam though there is also some pollution here. Phnom Penh is (in my opinion) quite regally beautiful in a Parisian sort-of-way: wide, sweeping avenues lined with trees; little sculptures and statues and plenty of beautiful Wats. $1=4111 riel, but for everyday purposes $1 = 4000 riel, so pay in riel where you can. I’d suggest that you use US dollars 70% of the time compared with riel 30% of the time, mostly with taxi drivers. I cleaned my teeth with the water, used ice cubes, drank the milk, cream and ate ice cream and was fine.

If/when I return I will definitely explore some of the south (Cambodia’s only beaches, though I don’t really need to see beach towns, they tend to have a lot in common!) I’d spend more time in Ban Lung, stay at the eco-accommodation up there and do some boating/trekking in the jungle. I’d also visit some more of the temples at Siem Reap and re-visit some of those that are being refurbished as they will change with time, and go to some of the other rural areas. I’d also re-read Tony Haing’s Surviving the Killing Fields whilst there.
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