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Anyone been to Cambodia?


RoryQ
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I'm going to be in Cambodia for a little over a week next month, and was wondering if any forumites have been there?

Any tips or general observations would be welcome. It's more or less a sight-seeing trip. We'll be staying in 'nice' hotels, and staying in the capital and Siam Reap for all of it. We're vaccinated, taking malarial tablets and will keep things fairly low-key I expect.

From a tattoo perspective I was considering covering up the buddha on my arm with long sleeves while I'm there, not sure how the locals might feel about that?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks. I'm going on from the London Convention (there on Friday, we're flying onwards on Saturday). Just packed a bunch of long sleeve linen shirts as well as t-shirts, so if the sun is beating down I'll chuck them on. I was half-tempted to get something small as a walk-up when I'm at the London Convention but I don't know if it's worth the hassle...

I'll take some pics of Angkor Wat..

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Wouldn't sweat the Buddha...most Cambodes are Buddhists, and the days of Pol Pot are long gone. You might want to go for the long sleeves in any temple just to be respectful. Since they are back to being a Kingdom, things are much mellower for outsiders.

Guess I'd worry more about what I ate and drank, and if I was looking for companionship, I'd worry about that too!

AIDS rate is like .5% of the population, which is pretty bad for a country that small, and it only considers adults. There are about 63K people with HIV/AIDS in-country.

A more likely risk is Hep or malaria. I can tell you for sure that the anti-malarials don't always work, so take them like religion!!! Still get the shakes and it's been 40 years since I was bitten. Usual stuff, if you eat off the street, make damn sure you see the stuff get cooked through, and the dishes washed with boiling water. Brush your teeth with bottled water, even if the hotel says their water is "safe". That kind of thing. Beware of salads...worst offenders there are.

And that's just the Hep A & B.

I'm sure there must be some good, clean parlors in Phnom Penh, but I sure as hell wouldn't chance it!

Overall, Cambodia has one of the highest incidents of disease in S.E. Asia, but hey, ya gotta die of something!!!!!

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Which ant-malaria meds are you taking? I've heard lots of horror stories about Larium nightmares: incredibly vivid and violent dreams. I took malarone and fared better. As always, your mileage may vary.

Oh, and have a great trip! :)

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I spent three months in Thailand, and flew over to Siem Reap for a week. I really enjoyed it, but I had already been in Thailand for a few weeks. I think that helped with getting used to the poverty in Southeast Asia. Cambodia is a poor country. You will be asked for money constantly, and most of the time by small children. It is very hard to say no. My buddy and I gave away a lot of money during the week we were there. The money didn't matter, but it was hard for me to not feel guilty about having so much and them having so little.

Otherwise, it was an incredible place. Everyone we encountered was kind and friendly. It seemed like nearly everyone spoke English so communicating was no problem. We were treated so well, and ate so well that I was sad to leave. Angor Wat is a special place, and I hope that I get to go back someday. Rent a scooter to get around on. We rented bicycles, and I probably sweated out six gallons of water (by water I mean beer) a day. Some of the temples are pretty far out there, and you might get a little lazy on a bicycle in the heat.

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Thanks for the info guys.

We've got malarone (sp?) for the anti-malarials, but I think the only place on our list which is border line malarial is angor wat.

Should be a cool trip but yeah, it's a poor country, I'm sure there will be grim bits, particularly given the history.

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oh man when I was IN vietnam we were all over the country even the sticks and I ate street food everyday and didnt even think about it. 10 cent PHO was even great at 106 degrees but probably wasn't too sanitary. We stayed 2 days in yu yaih (sp) I think i was the first mechong(white american) some of these people have ever seen. I hope you have a blast @RoryQ and remember when in rome as long as it wont kill you

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@Scott R, don't get me wrong, the street is the ONLY place to eat! Thing is, ya gotta watch the stalls ya eat from. I'm in Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Bangkok) pretty regularly, and I dount I spend $2 a day on food. Most of the street-vendors are clean, but some of them, especially in the tourist areas, just swish the bowls around in klong water...not good.

Best place to see the craziness and kick back with a good bowl of pho is just off the corner of Sukumvhit and Nana Soi...go there around 2 or 3 in the morning and you can see every variation of human ever made-it's a trip. The people are almost always friendly, the pho is great, and you just can't beat the atmosphere. But stay off Nana Soi itself, less watching the sick-ass sex-tourists is your thing.

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oh man when I was IN vietnam we were all over the country... I think i was the first mechong(white american) some of these people have ever seen.

Mechong = 'merican.

In Viet, "My" is an American, a White is a "da Trang", so a White American in "My da Trang".

Numbuh ten talk all time hahd unnastan.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, we had a pretty cool eight days in Cambodia. We arrived home yesterday morning, only for me to have to get on a plane for Holland four hours later- work... It was pack a bag, take a shower and back on a plane.

Took some good shots of various temples we saw. Some really striking sculptures, particularly of giant naga (five headed serpents). When you walk through some of the temples at anghkor wat, or others the jungle has reclaimed, , and consider the scale of them you realise what a potent empire the Khmers must have been...

...Now:, not so much. It was a depressing trip in that you look around and realise how staggeringly poor the vast majority of the country is today: it's grim stuff in terms of the available health care etc. Hard not to feel like you're exploiting them somehow when you realise exactly how little things cost there.

Recent Cambodian history is bloody. We saw S21, the Killing Fields etc. Found myself Wondering if in 30 years will we be wandering around similar exhibits in the former N. Korea? ... These camps exist under various regimes even now.

Sounds like a heavy trip (and I didn't even mention the Mosquitos) but it was certainly memorable. On the plus side I managed to avoid getting food poisoning, unlike the missus (3 days .. Uh oh).

I did like the khmers, I must say. They struck me as a naturally friendly people, which sounds a little cliched, but there you are.

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Welcome home, oder willkomen am Hollander!

Glad you enjoyed, and definitely understand where you are coming from as far as conditions-it is truly the 4th world, and a combination of that kind of poverty and a military dictatorship can get kinda spicy.

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