I've been here since Feb. 27th and I must say the thing that has ruined it for me is the annoying Tuk Tuk and moto drivers who pester me and other tourists constantly, Some places are worse than others. I can't even cross the street or walk a block sometimes without being harrassed. They are every where honking their horn and yelling at me one after another... so much for a peaceful walk or taking a photo, and god forbid if they see you looking at a map.
Yesterday I had a scooter helmet on and a moto driver still asked me if I wanted a ride - it's really unbelievable. The touts on the beach are also quite annoying, it's really hard to relax with these people walking by every 5 min. asking if you want a massage, fruit, bracelets etc. A lot of these hawkers are children who should be in school. I even saw a sign up saying "Don't buy from children on the beach" - but many of the tourists I see are just sucking this stuff up, sad really.
Hopefully, my trip to Koh Rong Samluem, will give me a break from this. I even rented a scooter for a week just to avoid this annoying pests and their overpricing. Can't wait to get back to Thailand.
Just my 2 cents...
I got to agree they are annoying. Unfortunately they are part of the local scene so you have to find a strategy to deal with it. In my opinion the best way is to ignore them completely, as if they don't exist. Be extra careful on the beach as when some friendly tourist shows an interest and is crowded with hawkers mostly selling bracelets it often happens that a thief will be amongst them.
The motorbike helmet won't save you; neither will they stop if they actually see you get off your motorbike. Sometimes a whole line of motodops will ask you if you need them even when they obviously heard you say no to the first. Yes, you can pull your hair out or just ignore them
Don't give to children they are all organised by faginesque gangmasters and although there is always an NGO ready to school them they are trapped by these gangs and forced into making money. It's a sad part of Cambodia. If you are observant you can sometimes see them being dropped off by a tuk-tuk and later collected. Especially in Phnom Penh on Riverside or Street 51.
#2 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
The only thing I'm not liking about Cambodia at the moment is that I'm struggling to deal with some of the poverty / behaviour I'm seeing. Almost a sense of helplessness not knowing what to do personally. Main point being a kid (probably 10 years old) I saw tonight in Siem Reap carting around a baby doing the milk powder scam. Treats the poor baby like an animal. Blows cigarette smoke towards it, drags it around, feeds it red bull. What can somebody actually do then and there that will have some positive effect?
You can't save the world. Don't try. I had this pathetic little girl begging from me outside a restaraunt in PP last month. She was about 8. WEaring dirty rags. I wasn't going to give her money, but something about the kid got to me, so I bought he some food and watched her eat it. I then bought her a bottle of water for her to keep. All you can do it little things, and it all comes with a caution sign that doing so risks breeding more such begging behavior and more dependence on begging from tourists.
I liked PP, but I do not like Cambodian food. That was a huge negative for me.
I didn't mind the hawkers and moto drivers. I just have fun with it. I'm not really into relaxing anyway. Overall the place was OK and I had a good time.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Where in Cambodia? Just Siem Reap and Phnom Penh ? There are quite a few tuk tuk/moto drivers there but it wasn't that much worse then some tourist areas in Thailand, Vietnam or Laos. A lot of it just depends on where you go, if you are on the tourist trail there will be tuk tuks there to bother you. Best way I found to deal with them is to barely acknowledge they are there(don't look at them) and if they ask just wave your hand(don't say anything). The reason this method seems to work is that the drivers actually lots of time just ask as kind of a game to see what your responses are going to be, this is also why as mentioned above drivers will ask when they obviously already heard you say no, if you don't say anything there is no fun for them so they leave you alone. Same thing goes if they ask you something when you are looking at a map etc, just say not interested and start walking away, don't try and get info from them or show any interest at all or else they will play games with you trying to earn a fare.
One nice thing about the Cambodia tuk tuk drivers and moto drivers is that lots of them are actually pretty good guys and the ones I had anyways spoke probably the best English out of all the SEA countries I travelled to. It was easy to have good chats with them and for the most part I found they they also offered the fairest rates for travellers(although same as everywhere you will run into the odd rip off). There is a lot of drivers and high competition because Cambodia is such a poor country and it is one of the few ways for the guys to make a decent living. There are literally drivers that move to Siem Reap and leave their families at home just so they can make a better a living. Same thing goes with all the beggars and hawkers, these people rely on tourism and it is what puts food on their table. At times it can be annoying but you just have to remember how poor these people are and it will help you realize why many of them act the way they do. It is great to help some of them out but beware if there are large amounts then they will bother you even more if you buy or give something, key thing is don't show interest, if you show interest then they will latch onto you like a leech.
I honestly thought Cambodia was a great country and a large part of that was the people. I am guessing that part of your issue seems to be that you have only been to the big cities so far, it was quite easy to go for walks etc in Kratie, Kampong Cham, Battambang and Kampot without much harassment and these were some of the best places. Too many people don't even bother with seeing these parts of Cambodia and just hit the main attractions in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh and imo miss out on one of the nicest people/places in south east asia. I must admit inland the food isn't great(not bad though either, just not on par with Thailand or Vietnam) but on the coast can get good seafood for bargain deals.
I have a Khmer friend who runs a school/club for children on Lakeside. Believe me there is a lot of help for children available. The problem is organised gangs using children to pressurise tourists to give in places like Riverside and St 51 in Phnom Penh .
There are good restaurants unfortunately there are a lot of bad ones. Best places to eat in Phnom Penh are the cook-your-own places. You get the meat and a salad and a little camping cooker to fry it. Usually they are pretty cheap for food and jugs of beer.
#6 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I was in Battambang, Kampot & Kep where it was less of an issue, but unfortunately I had a lousy tuk tuk driver. I booked my tuk tuk with an old driver in Battambang, the next morning a young guy showed up - I was none too pleased. He gave me very little info, and appeared to be more interested in talking to other tuk tuk drivers and pointing out dried rice fields.
I've had some good food here, but was put off when II was served packaged noodles in my soup, prefer fresh.
Children playing in garbage and going through it for food, bottles & cans was a little sad to see, but that's just part of life.
I just don't like being harrassed, They are not as bothersome in Thailand or Laos,
I have to agree with Geer1, we had no problem with tuk-tuks in Battambang or Kampot (both places where we also rented motorbikes). PP was probably the worst, with Siem Reap only a little annoying around the old market. In Battambang we actually had a tuk-tuk driver turn us down and send us to another guy because he was chatting up some pals - rather liked that.
As for the food, I certainly didn't find the Amok or the Lok Lak to be fantastic most the time, and stayed away from ordering noodles after my first experience with instant ramen. However, the BBQ at Rusty in Kampot made up for a lot of the poor quality food and once we got to the south and started eating more fresh seafood I was pleased.
They aren't as bothersome in Thailand because there aren't near as many of them. Imo they are still just as annoying though. The reason there are so more drivers in Cambodia is two fold from what I saw, the first being that they don't really have public bus transportation around town and there are even few taxis and songthaews so most rely on moto/tuk tuk drivers. The second being that there is so little other work available most guys just do it because they need to make a living(2 of my 5 drivers in Cambodia told me they wouldn't drive if there were other decent paying options available and both of them would have been under 35 and spoke good English).
It is just like the beggars, they are not really any more annoying in Cambodia, there are just a lot more of them. It is really too bad but if people keep supporting their tourism things will get better as the country advances.
The instant noodles were disappointing but overall I still thought the food was better then Laos(not near as good as Thailand or Vietnam though).
'The second being that there is so little other work available.'
There's a lot of construction work available in Phnom Penh and as far as Sihanoukville goes there's construction and restaurant work, albeit low paid.
On the beach it's 'the usual suspects' every night.
Most of the beach beggars look fairly able-bodied. Does anybody recall the blind man singing with the little girl leading him? As soon as money goes in the hat he grabs it off her and stuffs it in his pocket which is usually bulging. It's a wonder the guys working long hours in the restaurants can stomach watching these con artists making easy money.
'risks breeding more such begging behavior and more dependence on begging from tourists.''
The little girl is an asset to the gangs, she probably makes a fair bit of money but it's taken off her. It's even possible that she got a beating for wasting time taking food from you. I am very serious about this. Have you noticed how the beggars ignore the wealthy Khmer and home in on the tourists. The locals are aware of the scam.
This doesn't mean I wouldn't help people. I've seen people at the end of their tether lying on the ground or sitting dazed and exhausted with fatigue and malnutrition. We feed these people and call up one of the NGOs that'll usually come out and pick them up.
Please, don't give to children. They DO have an opportunity to go to school and if they were not an asset to the gangs running them they wouldn't be recruited.
#10 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I agree on giving money. Huge problem and giving money isn't helping them. I doubt she got a beating for accepting food though. The gang would just think that's nutrution they don't have to cover down on. But in the aggregate I agree that giving to beggars has a host of hidden hazards.
#11 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hope you are right. Cambodia is becoming two very distinct urban classes. A number of people are making very good money now and you can see this from the number of high end cars in Phnom Phen. On the other hand there are many areas that Dickens wouldn't feel out of place in. Thailand has turned the corner and for various reasons has made some provision for the poor including, I was amazed to fond out, a pension for the old people.
The OP has a very good point. Why do these motodops and tuk-tuks constantly hassle you when you don't get that sort of problem in Thailand?
One answer I've heard is that Westerners by definition are 'wealthy.' Wealthy people don't walk and if they did they would lose face. I think Phnom Penh is such a nice city to walk for exercise unlike Bangkok or most Thai cities where you can't cross a street for traffic. Maybe when they understand the concept of 'dern len'. (enjoying a walk) things will improve.
#12 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Thailand wasn't destroyed like Cambodia was. The war and subsequent KR regime destroyed it's intelligentsia. Infrastructure was badly damaged as well. And then... it languished for over a decade. The war in SEA hurt Cambodia more than any other country. On the other hand, the war was good for Thailand. Investment in infrastructure, massive aid programs to win hearts and minds and defeat the insurgency in Thailand... Thailand came out of the war with better infrastructure and more political stability than it went in with (although it still had some painful periods - but nothing like it's neighbors).
Why do the tuk tuk guys constantly bother you? They're hustling for a buck, that's why. They're desperately poor and are trying to make a little money. Simple really.
Thailand is MUCH richer than Cambodia. WAY more investment already. Thailand is far more developed in every sense. Thailand is no longer a third world country, it is a recently developed country. Big difference.
#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Just want to pick you up on two of them.
You've just got to look at the two countries to see where the growth is now-Cambodia without a doubt. The construction has been phenomenal, rather late in the day but I can't see there being a shortage of work when everyday you hear of a new road or high-rise going up.When I first visited the city of Phnom Penh the roads were not paved and there was hardly any street lighting and every building was under three storeys.
You say you visited recently then you must have seen the construction boom.
A lot of the clothing industry is based there, though admittedly that has been criticised for its bad working conditions.(women often working in overcrowded and badly ventilated factories.
So there is an alternative to sitting on a motorbike all day looking for a dollar fare.
A lot of the poverty you see is because a certain 'elite' have grabbed the wealth and stolen a great deal of land from ordinary farmers (this is a direct result of the KR who burned all records and this included land deeds.) Don't be fooled that Cambodia is a poor country, Google the amount of foreign aid it has received. The problems with Cambodia is the theft of aid money by these elite. It's a rich country with many poor people.
My point was Thailand, whether it be largesse (doubtful) or just fear of the people (more likely) has chosen a path of distribution of wealth. Not to the extent of Europe but it has made a start. I don't know your politics but as an American citizen I expect you'll have a different take on this.
The war was a long time ago. The equivalent to Cambodia now would be Germany in the 1960's which was booming with economic growth.
The second point.
'Why do the tuk tuk guys constantly bother you? They're hustling for a buck, that's why. They're desperately poor and are trying to make a little money. Simple really.'
I can't entirely agree. Why don't they hassle the locals then? They don't get bothered except outside the local markets. You just walk along the street in Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville and they are a constant bother. Sometimes it's amusing. You get off a motodop and another will ask you if you want a ride. Sitting on my motorbike just about to take off I've been asked. Unbelievably stupid or just persistent salesmen? Who knows.
#14 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
"A lot of the poverty you see is because a certain 'elite' have grabbed the wealth and stolen a great deal of land from ordinary farmers (this is a direct result of the KR who burned all records and this included land deeds.) Don't be fooled that Cambodia is a poor country, Google the amount of foreign aid it has received. The problems with Cambodia is the theft of aid money by these elite. It's a rich country with many poor people."
It's not Sayadian. It's a poor country with some rich people. Do not confuse those two things. Cambodia is not a major producer of anything that's not agriculutral. It's moving forward, but it has a long way to go. Infrastructure is crap. Without quality infrastructure, you don't produce anything worth producing. And Cambodia is no different at all than Thailand in terms of wealth distribution. Or even the US or Great Britain. The only states where wealth distribution is level are states where everyone is poor.
"My point was Thailand, whether it be largesse (doubtful) or just fear of the people (more likely) has chosen a path of distribution of wealth."
This is a gross over simplification. Per capita Thailand HAS a lot more weatlh. Thailand's per capita GDP is 8, 646 USD per annum. Cambodia's is 2, 358.
"The war was a long time ago. The equivalent to Cambodia now would be Germany in the 1960's which was booming with economic growth."
Cambodia is the equivelent of 1050s Germjany, not 1060s. Don't let timelines fool you. There was no Marshal Plan for Cambodia.
"I can't entirely agree. Why don't they hassle the locals then?"
Because locals will ignore them. Wasted effort.
"You just walk along the street in Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville and they are a constant bother. "
It's not a big deal. In one ear, out the other. Like you said, sometimes ammusing. I too had that experience where I was climbing off a motorcycle and a guy asked me if I needed a ride. I had to laugh. I said to the guy "Are you ******* high or what? I'm just getting off" at which point he had to laugh.
On the bright side in PP English proficiency ain't bad.
#15 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I am not getting into an argument on GDP for the simple reason I'm rubbish at economics but I do know the country has an abundance of fish and a capability for two rice harvests a year ( unlike Isan). The wealth generated at present is from aid projects not so much from the West but China which is pouring money into the country in return for land concessions (minerals, logging, factory, dam building etc) so in that respect it's wealthy.(The Chinese Marshall plan?) Most of this money is going into the hands of the CPP and the army as are the huge profits from illegal logging (which Thailand seems to have a murky hand in)
Land grabbing is on record so there's no need for me to explain further you can read about it. It still rankles me the way they treated the residents of Boueng Kok.
I was trying (not very well) to put over the argument that there's plenty of work and no need for a guy to be begging or hanging around on a street corner on his motorbike offering dollar rides. Saying that most of them are a cheery lot and can, of course, like this type the world over, get you anything you want. You must have been offered girls and drugs as you passed them? Anything to make a buck, as long as it doesn't involve working. That about sums up your average motodop. I'm certainly not being judgemental just observing. It's a living and good luck to them.
Why don't they hassle the locals, I asked and you replied.
'Because locals will ignore them. Wasted effort.'
and that is exactly the advice I gave the OP.
#16 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
"I was trying (not very well) to put over the argument that there's plenty of work and no need for a guy to be begging or hanging around on a street corner on his motorbike offering dollar rides."
If there were he'd be doing it. Cambodia is having a building boom, but there is no labor shortage. Far from it. Labor availability still exceeds demand. The market handles this kind of problem extremely well.
#17 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
There's no way I can disprove that but from observation I'd say your average motodop enjoys the life he leads. They usually have their fingers in quite a few pies as I've stated, it isn't only rides they sell. Commission is a Cambodian institution and the motodop picks up his share from guesthouses, massage parlours, drug dealers and anything else he can hustle in to. Maybe I've solved why they target tourists as they are more likely to want his extra services. I know a few of them shunt the girls around.
#18 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
See you anwered your own question. Work is always about that mix - do you like it, is renumeration reasonable. There are a lot of them. But hey, that beats not having enough. I remmember in Germany one freezing cold New Years I could find a cab for anything. They were all busy. I had to walk home, drunk, freezing my cajones off. Now that sucked.
#19 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
#20 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I love the way subjects just seem to morph on this forum.
Is it the food you don't like in Cambodia?
You condemn it with faint praise. Lok-Lak and Amok. Yep, and that's it. After Thailand Cambodia can be a culinary shock. Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville (Kampot and Kep if you like) are the exceptions. Phnom Penh has food from all over the world. Whilst Sihanoukville has those lovely $3 seafood barbeques.
It's very hard to get decent food outside of those places unless it's a foreign run establishment. I can't understand why most Khmer restaurants are so bad since Khmer food cooked at home is tasty. Most of the good ones are run by Vietnamese.
#22 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I would say the food is nice in Cambodia but not as nice as Vietnam/China/Malaysia. That's my two cents worth having spent three weeks there.
Seems like you pretty much agree with me!!
#23 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
I liked Cambodian people actually. The place is cool in some ways, crappy in others - like places everywhere on planet earth. It's way better than Saudi Arabia. I mean, if you look for what's wrong with a place, you'll find it.
#24 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The most laid back people on Earth.
Weird comparing it to KSA! I can't think of two places so unalike. OK, There are some nice beaches near Jubail when you get away from the oil refineries.
'if you look for what's wrong with a place, you'll find it.'
I'm struggling to find anything good to say about Saudi, maybe the food?
#25 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Let's not forget these classics - Trying to sell you sunglasses while you are obviously wearing a pair & those coming up to you in a sidewalk resto while you're eating and trying to sell you food? I wonder why resto owners even tolerate this?
Yeh, classic. I just love it. A while back we were in a bar/restaurant in Battambang which has an extensive menu when a Khmer girl brought in a heap of street food and the gob-smacked look on the Western owner's face when she demanded plates and cutlery was priceless. It got better. He told her that she had a cheek (well, he put it a bit stronger than that) and she started screaming at him that it was Cambodian custom and if he didn't like it get out of Cambodia. So, there's your answer-it's a Cambodian custom.
#27 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
You know, I have to write a movie script about this place (Thailand, Cambodia, etc.). I can say it's "based on a true story".
#28 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Ok, besides the sand flies on Koh Rong - Easily solved with coconut oil - There was a problem with the constant saws and hammers next door & everywhere - I couldn't it breakfast for the noise & took it to go... by 5:30 PM they were still at it? Showing my displeasure gets little reaction - Making it unbearable for their present guests - their greedy little palms just want more rooms to fill up, so they build & build clusters of guesthouses next to each other instead of making this a nice quiet place - then there are the drunkards screaming and making noise when they come back - oh geez, glad I'm leaving tomorrow. It's really hard to get quiet anywhere...
Also after you cross the island via the jungle by foot to get to beautiful long beach to watch the sunset, there are boatman touts, wanting to bring you back... annoying, but it's only $2, the point is that they just bother you about it.
"It's really hard to get quiet anywhere..."
I hate quiet. This is why SEA doesn't bother me.
#30 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I like the food at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh. Gecko House in Ban Lung has some pretty good food too, and the food that the highlander porters and guides cook on treks is incredibly delicious. Have a look at the 6th photo down on this article about a trek I just did to see what "minority cooking" in the jungle looks like.
atmtl, if you want quiet go to Koh Tonsay . I thought Koh Rong would be similar from what I heard but from your comment it sounds like it might not be the same. Koh Tonsay is very laid back, a fair amount of day trip people but most of them just relax on the beach or in a hammock. At nights most places shut down around 9 or 10 and up until that point are fairly quiet because so many people just come for the day and then leave. I am not a beach/island guy but I could have easily stayed on Koh Tonsay for a week if I would of had more time, I thought it was one of the most laid back comfortable places I went to in south east asia.
It seems you easily get annoyed and complain about things that for the most part are very minor. Boat touts offering rides to tourists so they don't have to walk back through the jungle at night for example. They "bother" people because 95% of the tourists aren't going to realize they can just hop on one of the boats instead of walking back. They are offering something that helps tourists out and makes it safer for them and yet you get annoyed because they want a little compensation(I doubt you would have complained if they were free). You need to learn to ignore these little hassles and enjoy the country for what it is, they aren't worth getting bent out of shape on. It isn't like you are getting mugged, horribly ripped off, drugged or anything like that which is quite possible in SEA...
Also for someone who I believe loves Thailand I don't get how you can complain about Cambodia being noisy and having loud drunks etc. Not that either place is horrible but imo Thailand was noticeably worse in that regard as you get much more party type traffic even in quieter areas. Construction can be annoying anywhere but it sounds like you should have just moved to another place if it was bothering you so much.
I think complaints about touts in Cambodia are relevant. I found myself getting a little more annoyed by them - because of their persistance and presence in some areas. When you compare these locations to many of the places I've been in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia I found Cambodia to be at the extreme end of tout-nuisance. After a couple weeks it can wear on you - and it is something worth warning travelers about, as some people may really just want to be left alone. We avoided Sihanoukville because we were told it would be a bother on the beach and around town by people settled in at Battambang. Sometimes you just want to walk out onto a view and have the view, not have people coming right up to you.
Long-term will it really hurt Cambodia's tourist economy? Probably not - they have enough to offer. Will it hurt the return-rate of tourism? Here it could be a problem. Yes, this is where people can get work, but if you rely too heavily on tourism economy you can actually hurt it in the long run. People may start talking about Cambodia - where you get in to see Siem Reap but escape quickly before the touts harass you away. So much then for all the build up in other places . . . though the Chinese casino in Kampot is just another extreme example of how Cambodia is approaching sustainable tourism.
I just have fun with it.
"Jesus Christ, I just %#%@#% got here. Are you a #$%#% moron or what?"
"Look dude, don't ask guys who are just getting off a motodop if they need a ride. If they needed a ride, then they wouldn't be getting off. You make yourself look stupid."
#35 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
A lot of the people offering services by hassling you are not the owners of the boats, tuk-tuks etc.They are just looking to get custom for the owners in order to receive commision. Cambodia runs on two principals: corruption and commision.
To give an extreme example: if you are introduced to a person and two years later you married him/her you can bet the guy who made the introduction will expect a commision.
There are so many touts for the above reason.
Now Americans and Brits are too polite with these people. I've heard so many times.
'Not now can you come back later.'
Thinking they've got rid of them. In actual fact they've just made a contract and the vendor/the agent will most certainly return and be most aggrieved if you then refuse the service. After all, you are breaking the contract.
Copy the Russians, they don't take this crap. A Russian will glare at the vendor then go back to doing what they were doing.No contact other than the distainful glare.
Believe me it works. Isn't S.E. Asia complicated?
#36 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I like my method better - it always draws a laugh and guys get the point. I've done it in Thailand too, although obviously less necessary here.
#37 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Depends how long you're there.
If you've got these guys in your face fifty times a day, month after month, the joke wears thin. Still, it'll often depend on your mood and the way you're approached. Screaming across the road or parking his bike right in front of you when you've finally got a gap in the traffic to cross leaves you feeling no goodwill at all. If they joke around you're willing to go along with it.
#38 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
After more than three years living here, these guys still don't bother me. I always say 'no thank you' or smile and shake my head, and that's that. If the guy next to them also offers, or if I've just arrived, I genuinely find it funny. And when I'm carrying a helmet, well, there's plenty of expats who take motos and have their own lid. Think it's just a Pavlov's dog reaction - ooh, there's a foreigner, I'll ask if she wants a ride. I'm with Geer1 - these things aren't worth disturbing your own peace of mind.
Regarding other places, when I first visited Kampot 5 years ago, you couldn't get a tuk tuk for love or money. Had to walk around to find one - imagine! And for every ride I'm offered that I don't need, I'm grateful for the guy still working at 3am who'll get me home safely. Personally, I'm not sure what's wrong with making a living doing something that means you have time for relaxing, chatting with your mates, sharing a meal and having a laugh. Sounds good to me!
The soundtrack to PP, and other places to a lesser extent, is construction. It's a developing country, so that's what you get. And everywhere there will be dogs barking, cockerels shouting their heads off, screeching brakes, people singing, pots clattering from 5am. That's how it is. It's part of the thrill, the difference, the excitement.
As for Khmer food, there's some fabulously tasty food, but it can be surprisingly difficult to find as a visitor! I get withdrawal symptoms if I don't get char kreung on a regular basis. And how about stuffed frogs? Or shrimps fried with basil and chilli? Or squid and Kampot pepper? Or freshly grilled pork and rice. All delicious! The problem is that so many guesthouses don't make decent food (green beans and carrots in amok, really?) and visitors leave thinking that's what Khmer food is. Visit Romdeng or Sovanna or the Street 19 pork and rice man, or one of the big restaurants over the Japanese bridge and tell me Khmer food isn't yummy!
"Personally, I'm not sure what's wrong with making a living doing something that means you have time for relaxing, chatting with your mates, sharing a meal and having a laugh."
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with it - just that if too many people choose the job and so there is this constant competition, it may turn off some travelers and end up having a negative impact on the tourist trade. For every person who isn't bothered by it, and will often say nothing about it - there is a person who is bothered by it and actually raises their voice.
Similar to when a place actually becomes too popular on the tourist trail - at that point it will support locals in a way different than it originally had. When before individuals could set up businesses and run guesthouses, many of those independent travelers that were catered to will be replaced by tour buses and large hotels, often owned by internationals. This will transform life a lot more than having a slow, but steady stream of back-packers. More tour-buses and fewer tuk-tuks as well.
'or one of the big restaurants over the Japanese bridge and tell me Khmer food isn't yummy!'
Well, it is if you like fish, mostly they're out of everything else and if you want the tout experience these places are ideal. The first thing that happens after sitting down is you're surrounded by beer girls trying to shove their brand of beer in your face.Hard to move them on.
I just can't see a tourist finding those places. They cater for Khmer and nobody speaks English and the menu is in Khmer. I doubt whether any but the most adventurous will give it a go. They are the complete entertainment facility for Khmer tastes with fairly good singers and lots of ladies you can invite to your table and get to know, if you know what I mean. They are pretty big too with some built over the water so expect to see some drunken Khmer sway up from his seat and take a leak over the rail in full view of everyone. Maybe some day somebody will explain those girl-boy funny duets they do. They have people roaring with laughter. I wish I could join in. A damn good night.
If anybody fancies the trip, like Abigail says cross the Japanese bridge and there are many on the left and also some further out opposite silk island. Tuk-tuk will know. You can take him in with you and feed him too and I promise you, you won't believe what good value they are.
I think a visit to Oudong is also a must. Not only do you have the amazing pagodas and incredible view but on coming down you can get some excellent food either on the road or in the many restaurants
#41 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Full of US Dollars and pedo's.
Lovely locals but burnt by the flux of crazies from Thailand
OP post was just a bit naive but cute.
#42 hutty has been a member since 4/6/2009. Posts: 19
Hutty - ahhhh, yeah, OK.
#44 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Is that pedo as in pedocycle?
No? I thought not.
'Ok, besides the sand flies on Koh Rong - Easily solved with coconut oil '
I just reread this and was wondering how you stop sand flies with coconut oil?
Do you apply it before or after you are bitten. I ask because IMO they are far worse than mosquitos. A mozzie bite goes in hours but a sand fly bite lasts for days and itches like hell.
#45 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Applied coconut oil for the beach back on Ko Mak (where the sand flies were a little problem) and weren't bothered, acted as a repellent. Probably helped that the breeze picked up after the first day though so can't say how much of it was the coconut oil. Lots of people say DEET still works the best, but then you jump in the ocean and it all comes off into the marine life.