The border crossings into Cambodia are notorious for their corruption. Tacking on a few dollars to a standard entry visa – which is equivalent to a days’ earnings in most parts of the country – is commonplace. Things get even shadier with visas outside the standard tourist issue. Officials at the Thai-Cambodia border crossing in Koh Kong once tried extorting an acquaintance of mine for $100 to validate her NGO visa. These are supposed to be free.
Food from nearly all the provinces of Cambodia were represented at the annual Cambodian Cuisine Festival in Phnom Penh. Dishes off all kinds were available for around $2 (or less), including many varieties of noodles, grilled seafood, stuffed frogs, steamed fish, curry and just about anything else someone could desire.
Herbalife Cambodia opened its doors in Phnom Penh promising riches, but its big promises of riches comes across as a scam taking advantage of an impoverished country.
There seems to be a persistent rumor that the popular Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh will be razed for new high-end development. Those rumors are flatly denied, but you can’t blame people for worrying. Some land has already been claimed by developers building secretive high-rise condos and expensive shopping centers. If recent history is any indication, the future is ominous for one of Phnom Penh’s only open spaces.
It’s weird how normal TK Avenue Mall is. The outdoor mall, located in the Toul Kork section of Phnom Penh, is so Western that it feels like another country entirely. Phnon Penh has a number of shopping malls, and while some are quite nice, there’s always something a little “off” about them for an American like me. That’s not the case at TK Avenue.
One of the best ways to get to Phnom Udong near Phnom Penh is by bicycle. Here’s how to do it.
The bamboo bridge in Kampong Cham, a provincial capital of 60,000, is something of an annual tradition. During the dry season when the Mekong River waters are manageable, a hand-crafted bridge of bamboo connects Kampong Cham with the residential island of Paen. When the rains start, the bridge is torn down until the next season and a ferry is used. Read more
Development is booming on Cambodia’s coast. An expat told me that the adjacent Serendipity Beach and Occhueteal Beach were relatively sleepy several years ago. Now, the main beaches in the city are overrun with touts, bars, and bungalows. As rosy as the economic outlook seems, one part of the area seems to have fallen on hard times.
Moving from the U.S. to Cambodia wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s proven to be a rewarding experience. I tried to come as prepared as possible with some basic language skills and two previous trips to the region. Despite my preparation, there was definitely something of a learning curve.
Several Phnom Penh travel companies offer tours to the bucolic Silk Island started at about $25 per person. A couple of my friends highly recommend it, but my brother and I have a bit of an aversion to guided tours and spending money on things we could do on our own. With that in mind, Mark and I ventured on our own for a loop that included three ferry rides, 50 kilometers of riding and less than $15 spent total after we stuffed ourselves with all sorts of snacks.