HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I am super pumped about 2018! I can’t explain exactly why but I feel tremendous optimism about this upcoming year—unparalleled optimism actually. I’ve actually set goals this year, and for the first time ever they’re actually geared towards self-growth.
Last year ended with a marvelous trip throughout Southeast Asia and so I’ll be sharing parts of the trip over the next few weeks. Today we’re talking about Cambodia!
Though my stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia was rather brief, it was truly special. Visiting Angkor Wat (and surrounding temples) will always rank as one of the best experiences of my life. Here are my top five tips for Visiting Cambodia:
- Bring USD with you—US currency is actually the preferred form of currency in Cambodia. The Thai Baht comes in second and the Cambodian Riel comes in third. It is important to know that Cambodians strongly prefer that US bills be fresh and crisp; if your bills have any small tears or are appear dated, they may refuse to accept it. Since I was traveling from Thailand, I had plenty of Thai Baht on me. Baht is widely accepted there however you will have to haggle over the exchange rate—some items were reasonable in USD but outrageous in Thai Baht so do your math!
- Hire a driver with a car—A lot of people ride Cambodian tuk tuks (which honestly aren’t nearly as cool as a Thai tuk tuk) and we did in the night street market/pub street area— which is perfectly fine for short rides or in populated areas. But if you plan on visiting temples, the floating villages or anything requiring a drive I HIGHLY recommend hiring a driver with a car. There is an overwhelming abundance of red clay in Cambodia. You’ll see it in on the roads and it kicks up into the air rather easily, diminishing the air quality. There are a lot of dirt roads in Siem Reap and you’ll likely be covered in dust if you take tuk tuks down them. If you’re in need of an honest and reliable driver, feel free to leave a comment! We had a great driver and I am happy to offer his contact information to anyone who is interested.
- Dress code— The temples in Siem Reap are sacred religious sites; the culture is conservative as is the dress code. This means no bare shoulders, no skirts or shorts above the knee (mostly for women, men should be fine with shorts), and nothing displaying offensive graphics. If you don’t follow the dress code you may find that certain sections of temples are off limits to you (At Angkor Wat I saw people that were turned away from going to the highest point of the temple).
- Be careful what you eat—In Thailand and Vietnam I’m a big supporter of eating street food. It’s often delicious, inexpensive, and will deliver authentic flavor. However, in Cambodia the street food is known for causing serious stomach upset. Our driver even refuses to eat street food as it will make you sick. Unless for you’re looking for a violent cleanse, stay away. Stick to restaurants and trust your instincts!
- Stay guarded— Cambodia is definitely a developing nation. There are stray dogs everywhere. Sales people are aggressive, and children will try to sell you goods/ pick your pockets. Be guarded, and DO NOT give anything to the children. Seriously, don’t do it.
Cambodia is a QUICK one hour flight from Vietnam and Cambodia so if you’re anywhere even remotely close by I HIGHLY recommend a visit in Siem Reap. You really only need two days and the memories will last a you a lifetime. There are so many pictures I would love to share here but I had to be selective. Feel free to leave a comment if you’re wishing to see more pictures!
Peace, love, and adventure for 2018!