Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Welcome to Cambodia... country number 68

Long travel night, with very little sleep.

Our one hour flight from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur actually departed and arrived early. Then we had a six hour layover at Kuala Lumpur airport (KUL). It was after midnight when we arrived. But we hadn't had much for dinner, so we were hungry. 

And it turns out there is a brand new premium lounge at KUL and it's located land side before you go through security. Perfect for us! So we once again made use of the free airport lounge passes that came with our Scotiabank Passport Visa card in Canada.

This is definitely a pleasant way to waste time in an airport!

Big comfy chairs, and there was hardly anybody else there. There is supposed to be a three hour time limit, but I guess because it wasn't busy they didn't care. We had some drinks and food and the time passed fairly quickly. 

We flew with AirAsia which is a popular low cost airline in this area. But they're always trying to sell you something, right from the time you buy your ticket. Of course we don't do any of the add-ons, and when they issue the boarding passes they purposely seat you apart and then try to charge you extra if you want to sit together. 

So I'm in seat 11A, and Ruth is in 23C. I ended up with two empty seats beside me, so asked if Ruth could join me and they quickly approved that

We paid extra for the checked luggage because our belongings weigh more than the 7kg max carry on limit. With that, the total for the flights from Langkawi to Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap came to €99 ($108 USD, $145 CAD) each. Why it was priced in euros, I have no idea. 

Arrived at 7:30am at the brand new Siem Reap airport that only opened in November. Had no problem quickly getting our 30 day Cambodia visa on arrival which cost $30 USD ($40 CAD) in cash. We've been carrying around about $300 USD in cash since we left Canada in October, specifically for this type of thing.

Cambodia has a bit of a strange monetary system where they use two different currencies. The $USD and the Cambodian Riel. The exchange rate is pretty much pegged together, and the $USD is more popular in the tourist areas, and the Riel is more common in the rural areas.

The airport isn't that busy, and the first bus into town didn't leave until 9:30am. We bought the tickets that were priced at $8 USD ($10.75 CAD) each for the one hour ride to the city center.

While we were waiting, we went over to the cell phone stalls and bought a SIM card for Cambodia. Very cheap! $4 USD ($5.40 CAD) for 25GB of data. 

Fancy dash and interior of the bus!

Tough to get decent photos through the tinted bus windows.

Scenery along the way.

Motorcycles and scooters everywhere.

Through the bus front windshield.

Conveniently, the drop off from the bus was located only a five minute walk from our guesthouse. 

We had booked the guesthouse using booking.com which we have used many times, so we have "Genius Level 3" status which is their loyalty program. This guest house was well located, had decent reviews (although most were old), and the description of the room was as follows...

Featuring free toiletries, this double room includes a private bathroom with a shower, a bidet and a hairdryer. The air-conditioned double room features a flat-screen TV, a mini-bar, a tea and coffee maker, a seating area as well as city views. The unit has 1 bed.

We were shown to our room, and while at first glance it wasn't great, but we were so exhausted we didn't think much of it, and quickly hit the sack. After a short nap, we got up and it gradually occurred to us that this room wasn't at all like what we thought we were getting. There was no "bidet", there was no hairdryer, there was no TV, no minibar, no coffee maker, no seating area, no city view... and 2 beds!

And, it wasn't very clean. In fact the more we looked around, the more we were turned off. Yes, we knew it was a "lower end" place, and we were only paying $15 USD ($20 CAD) a night, but while we don't normally mind a lower end place, we do have our standards! Plus of course the fact that it didn't match the description.


The top of the bathroom mirror... disgusting.

Bathroom ceiling. Nasty.

City view out the window!

We went and talked to the guy who checked us in, and he called "the boss" who would be there in 20 minutes. We were starved, so we said we would go get something to eat and come back.


Walking by the river in downtown Siem Reap.

Elephant statue. Too bad the baby's trunk is broken.

Another statue.

Our first meal in Cambodia, and we were drawn to this Mexican restaurant!

Definitely a Mexican theme to this place!
It was the middle of the afternoon, so not busy.

My first Cambodian beer.
$1.25 USD ($1.68 CAD). Not bad.

Me.

We both had the enchiladas. Really good. We can see us going back for more!

While we were waiting for our food, we came to the decision that we were definitely not staying in that room. And looking at the map around the area, there were quite a few other choices. So when we finished lunch, we walked over to check out the first one. At the Uncle Sam Villa 3* hotel, they said it was $20 USD ($27 CAD) a night. They showed us a room that was totally suitable and in fact did have all the amenities that were promised in the first one.

The guy (Johnny) who showed us the room said he would take us in his tuk-tuk to ick up our bags at the other place.

Johnny the tuk-tuk driver.

Ussie in the tuk-tuk.

The boss was there when we arrived to get our stuff from the dumpy guesthouse. We explained the problems and he offered us a discount! Of course at this point, we wouldn't have stayed there for free!

Back at the new place, we were so much happier...

Yes, this will do!


The facilities.

We had a 5:00pm appointment at a bar to meet up with some more people from the Senior Nomads facebook group that we belong to.

There were nine of us!

PJ and Chris (Philadelphia), Pierre (Quebec), Bert and Myriam (Netherlands and Belgium), and Susan and Blair (Calgary).

Susan and Blair are the couple we met up with in Chiang Mai, and are coincidentally here at the same time as us!

Busy downtown at night.

We went for supper with some of them to an Italian place, and they have a big gluten free selection. Ruth was pretty happy with her lasagna! It's all a bit pricey by local standards, especially by the time you change those $USDs into $CADs. But we've also seen some reasonable priced street food stands, so we'll do fine. We also knew in advance that Cambodia is probably the most expensive overall of the SE Asian countries.

Dog and kitten having a sleep.

We stopped by a grocery store to pick up some things...

I might try some one day!

Back at the room, we hit the sack!

Nothing much planned for today. We'll probably wander around the central area, and see if I can find a decent deal on a rental car. Of course the main attraction here in Siem Reap is the Angkor Wat Temple Complex. It's very expensive though, so we haven't totally decided if we are going to do it. There are other cheaper and less visited ruins areas, although everybody raves about Angkor Wat. We'll see. Haven't decided yet. 

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5 comments:

  1. Oh wow, what a difference between the two rooms and only $5 difference in cost. A no brainer! I hope you leave an "appropriate" review on booking.com for the first one, which was completely misrepresented.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a huge difference between the room and yes, for not much more money. We are so much happier here.

      Kevin is going to leave a review but not yet, we are first making sure that we don't have an issue with them over not paying because we left. They had notified booking to say that we didn't arrive so we sent booking a note as to what happened. Once we know that everything is fine, then Kevin will leave a review.

      Delete
  2. I hope the "CRUD" i mean KRUD beer is better than the first room. Enjoy the country

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, I am sure it will be! Kevin said he was going to give that beer a try, we'll let you know! :-)

      Delete

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