Introduction to Cambodia

Poipet Travel Blog

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Poipet border crossing
On Monday I crossed into Cambodia.  It involved an early wake-up and a longer than expected bus ride to the border, but was otherwise straightforward and boring.  Poipet is hot, dusty, and disorganized at best -- clearing immigration took over an hour.  Not the most fun I've had.

At the Poipet bus terminal I was the only person out of about a hundred that was not going to Siem Reap.  I was also the only one who refused to exchange baht or dollars for riel; apparently the only who knew everything in Cambodia is on USD and change is given in riel and you cannot exchange it back, so once you have it you're stuck with it.  So no, I do not want to exchange anything for riel, thankyouverymuch.  I also refused to pay more than I was told the share taxi to Battambang would cost, more than was listed as the price in BIG BOLD LETTERS right above the ticket window.  And then told I needed to buy two tickets.  Uh, no thanks, I'll sit right here and wait for someone else to come along.

Apparently being smart about travel and refusing to be taken for a ride was rather unusual and bewildering, because no fewer than four Cambodians tried to talk me into all of the above.  After they finally relented and I got my ride for the advertised price, each of them took turns approaching me and asking if I spoke Khmer.  And then interrogating me with the same questions: "Where are you from? Where in Cambodia do you live? You work here? What do you do? How do you know how to speak Khmer?"  It was hilarious.  The more I insisted I didn't speak Khmer, the less they believed me.  They'd take turns approaching me and quizzing me and speaking to me in Khmer, and it was like dudes, I have no idea what you're saying.  The giant backpack really does mean I'm a tourist. 

I guess that means everyone crosses from Thailand, hands over wads of cash, and heads straight for Angkor.  Fucking fools.  People like that, who don't know or worse, don't care, are the reason why touts and scams exist.  The world needs more responsible travelers.  In every sense of the word.
sylviandavid says:
LOL you go, Girl!
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010
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Poipet border crossing
Poipet border crossing
photo by: iMush