by Kay McMahon
First Edition: published 24 September 2012
The second of our …Basics – 101 Tips books, this is another collection of useful tips for visitors based on the author’s personal experience and on-the-ground research, amassed in over six years of visiting Siem Reap and Phnom Penh – the two cities on which the book focuses.
Cambodia’s recent past was notoriously horrific and dominated by civil war, genocide and extreme poverty. Although the country’s now emerging from that past, the economy and infrastructure are still a long way behind what most of its visitors will be used to from their own countries and their travels elsewhere. This book helps the newcomer to Cambodia smooth off some of the rough edges they might otherwise encounter in travelling around the country, and make the most of their time among the charming and hospitable Cambodian people.
Subjects covered include:
- Transport – Cambodia’s own particular take on the tuk-tuk, the perils of water transport, and the absence of a rail network mean that getting around the country will be a decidedly new experience for most!
- Where to eat and drink. Deep-fried tarantula is probably not at the top of most travellers’ must-try lists, but there’s a surprising variety of good places to eat.
- Places to stay in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, the country’s two top destinations.
- Money – the riel versus the dollar and the baht, which ATMs charge and which don’t, and tipping.
- Angkor Wat – national symbol of Cambodia and the country’s top tourist attraction, this is not just one building but a vast complex of temples that was the hub of a mighty kingdom in its time. How do you make the most of it?
- Health – how to stay healthy, what precautions to take in case you don’t, and what to do if you need hospital treatment.
- Poverty. You can’t escape it (unless you’re staying in a resort and never go out) and the temptation to do something to help is huge. But some ways of giving make a positive difference, whereas others don’t help and may even be harmful.
And more besides…