Cambodia Part One - First Thoughts
Updated: Jul 10, 2018
After a very short, very bumpy flight from Vietnam to Cambodia we finally got off the plane and made our way to collect visas. Stupidly we thought this would be a quick and easy process. We were wrong. Standing like lemons, having no clue what counter we needed to go to and having very little signage or people that spoke English, we felt lost.
Please note.. If you visit Cambodia bring a passport picture with you for your visa or you'll find yourself having to pay $5 for them to scan your passport.
After 90 minutes we were eventually sorted and made our way through security. Which, was an equally unpleasant experience. There were no smiles or pleasantries. Only a stern looks over the counters.
My partner even got screamed at as he approached my counter checking to make sure everything was ok!
We felt unwelcome already and we hadn't even left the airport!!!
We'd been pre-warned that the main mode of public transport in Cambodia was the TukTuk! Taxis were scarce, which meant the few around majorly ripped you off. Unsure if our bags would fit in a TukTuk, we pre-booked transport through our hotel. I would recommend doing the same if you are a first time visitor, it can be quite overwhelming landing in a country that's so different from home, especially with the humidity turning your brain to mush.
The traffic in Phnom Penh is fascinating to watch as you drive through it. The city whizzed at an unrelenting pace. The driving style was similar to that of Vietnam, hundreds of Scooters weaving their way along the packed roads. The streets had no crossings, no stop signs, no street lights and limited pavements. The pavements that we did come across were almost always utilized as extra parking!
We arrived at the Juliana Hotel in the early evening, bags dumped and the hunt for food began!
We asked reception on our way out the door if they could point us in the direction of a cheap restaurant, it turned out that our hotel was no where near any restaurants or bars.
Regardless, we went for a wander to see what we could find. After half an hour of dodging scooters in dark alleyways we turned back and very begrudgingly paid $20 each (I hear you ask, "Seriously?" and the answear is Yes $20 each!!) for what was probably the worst buffet I've ever had. We had a bowl of RICE each!
Lessons learnt for the day; be prepared before you arrive at the airport, check the location of your hotel before booking it and bring an emergency pot noodle so you don't have to fork out $40 on food your first night!!!
As I lay in bed trying to sleep after what felt like the longest day of our trip, all I could think about was how many days until our next flight!
Four days and counting... Surely it can only get better from here!
Look out for Cambodia Part Two - The Good, The Bad and The Amusing...