Day 1 – Siem Reap, Cambodia : Pretty Little Town

28th February 2016

Took nearly 1 hour for me to go from Capsule Hotel to the departure gate. My flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia schedule to depart at 1.20pm Malaysia time. 2 foreigners seat next to me in flight: a guy from Spain planning to do some volunteering for few months in Cambodia & another lady from England that had been in Siem reap for past one year teaching in an international school. The time in Cambodia is 1 hour behind Malaysia. The flight took 2 hours and although the flight schedule to arrived at 2.20pm, it is actually 3.20pm in Malaysia. The Spain guy seating next to me get confuse about this and that the start of our short conversation.

Info for beginner: In any country you going to, we need to fill in an ‘arrival’ or ‘entry’ card, usually given by flight attendant, to be submitted at the immigration counter upon arrival. Bring your on pen during flight to ease the process.

During take off, a women seat in front of me probably have flying phobia, she suddenly crying during the take off. An older lady across the aisle try to comfort her, giving her bit of food as distraction while saying “it’s okay”. Lovely. While watching The Killing Field movie on my tablet, it got me thinking that foreigners that choose to go to developing country like Cambodia are humble people seeking humanity and unique cultures. Some of my friend wouldn’t want to come here as it is too much to ask from their comfort zone. Funny that i can wrote this much while still in flight to Siem Reap. Indeed as Ibn Battuta say: Traveling- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

Pre-booked meal in AirAsia flight.

Tips 1: When travelling to non-Muslim country, I always book 2 meal. One to eat in the flight (always served warm), and another to take away as my next meal. This will save me from difficulty of searching halal food on first day in foreign country. If you took midnight fight (for example: 8 hours flight to Korea), you can ask to serve one of the meal during breakfast (one or two hour before landing) and another one to take away for your lunch.

As promised, a tuk-tuk driver assigned by the guesthouse waiting for me at the airport door. Actually, there’s line of tuk-tuk driver with name signs.. you know like in a movie or dramas, so its an amusing experience for me. I tell the tuk-tuk driver to wait for me while i’m purchasing a cellcard.

There’s row of cell card sell right outside the airport doors. I survey around and found second cheapest plan which is unlimited data for 7 days for only $3. The cheapest one is $2 that is limited to 1.4GB, that usually not enough for me for one week.. haha. (Note: at end of the trip, I use probably less than 1GB..haha…we keep exploring, who have time for internet? LOL)

The simcard here are called ‘cellcard’, tho that also a name of the telco brand. The above rates are from Metfone (green color). The staff will help you do the setting, super convenient.

Travel from airport to the guesthouse took only 20 minutes. It is very relaxing despite the hot & dusty environment. I booked a single room for 2 nights, and room for 2 for the remaining days. But they give me room with queen bed so i don’t need to move room later on. We request additional bed for 1st & 2nd march, just need to add $3/night. Room is very spacious. The TV and the mini fridge is not working.. well i don’t bother to use them anyway. There’s aircond in room, but since i opt for cheaper rate, so only fan is working..good enough for me.

According to RunKeeper, I only walk 2.72km.

After Asr prayer, i start walking toward the pub street. I aim to go to night market, but i only found old market & pub street.. haha. Most likely the Night Market only open at night, well obviously. It actually less than 3km walk.. and i manage to come back to the guesthouse after an hour.. haha.

Tips 2: Install MEPS.ME, an offline maps apps with GPS, in your smartphone and don’t forget to download Cambodia map. I just use this to find my way.

Tips 3: Since i have unlimited internet, I open the ‘RunKeeper’ to keep track of my evening walk.


Tips 4: This Cambodian Public Bank is located intersection of Sivutha Boulevard & Preah Sangreach Tep Vong Street (near the 2km mark at the above Runkeeper map). As you can see from the map, it is very close to Night Market, Old Market & Pub Street area: happening and safe to walk at night, but not as noisy as in Pub Street. It is best if you can find accommodation near here so you don’t need tuk-tuk to explore around here until night. The guesthouse where I stay is slightly far and very quite (and dark) at night.

I love street fruit stall like this

I initially want to go to Central Market, but not really sure where is that. The Central Market Street is bit quite. So I just walk toward the Old Market.

Randomly found the Old Market..haha
Love this picture so much

I bought a cup of mango at pub street for $1. Then I found a decent mini mart: Asia Market. This shop have almost all you need. Too bad most guesthouse here did not allow for cooking. I bought a shower foam, a knife and mangoes which is cheaper here, $2/kg = $1.45 for 2. I end up buying and eating mangoes everyday in Siem Reap (cheapest bought at Angkor Wat, only $1 for 2).

 Shopping in Siem Reap

In Siem Reap town, most people use USD, even the local. Their currency Riel will be use as the change. 1USD = 4000-4100 Riel. I do received the 10000 Riel note too, but didn’t have chance to take picture of it. Bit confusing to use both currency in first few days, but by the fourth day, I can estimate paying in Riel too..hehe.

For this trip, i do forgot a lot of thing. I didn’t bring the face  mask (to cover from dust) & my travel adapter. Apparently, my phone charger cannot fit the power point. Luckily my camera charger is 2-pin plug. So i charge my phone using powerbank, and i recharge the powerbank using the camera charger.

Expenses note:

Prepaid expenses:KCH – KL flight: RM6 airport tax + RM8 CC pf + RM1.50 KLIA2 fee = RM15.50
KL – REP flight: RM62 + RM8 CC pf + RM24 meal = RM94
Hotel booking: $3.22 (2 night single room deposit)

Cash expenses:Internet Plan: $3
Mango: $1
Hotel: $10.78
Shopping: $5.28
Total cash expenses: $20.06

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