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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

18 Random Things about Cambodia

Recently, I got to spend 22 days in Cambodia during which I covered Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong Island and Kampot. While I covered these places, I got to experience some very interesting things about Cambodia. I have listed them out below for your reference.

1) In some places a meal is more expensive than stay for an entire day. Generally, food is more expensive in Cambodia than accommodation.

2) Alcohol is really cheap in the supermarkets. Most of the brands are between 30 and 50 percent of the actual cost and this applies to some of the best brands in the world too. I don’t know how they do it, but the alcohol is original for this price.

3) You can get to eat endangered species in Cambodia, for example, Snake-headed fish, which is highly endangered or nearly extinct in the rest of the world is sold openly in Cambodia’s markets.

4) People in Cambodia speak better English than Thailand or Vietnam, the countries on either side of it.

5) The Tuk Tuks in Cambodia are pulled by 110 cc or 125 cc motorcycles, but in spite of the small motorbike size, you get a lot of space and the journey is very comfortable.

6) Prostitution and escort services is rampant here. It is very difficult for you not to see such sights at any time of the day.

7) The ATMs in Cambodia dish out crisp US Dollars. It is very rare for the ATM to give you Cambodian Riels.

8) US Dollar is the de facto currency in Cambodia. Cambodian Riel is used mainly for change and for transactions amongst locals.

9) The people of Cambodia are very nice. They might not have a ready smile like the Thai, but if you strike a conversation with them, they will open up very nicely.

10) Gambling is legal in Cambodia. You can see casinos as soon as you enter its borders. It is no wonder that the Chinese real estate developers are becoming billionaires due to the casino business in Cambodia.

11) It is close to impossible for you to find vegetarian street food in Cambodia. Insects, fertilized embryo eggs, reptiles and regular meat are the norm.

12) Corruption is rampant in the government circles. If you want to set up any business here, you get an approval only when you have sent a healthy bribe to the government.

13) Cambodia follows the American system of driving.

14)  Garbage levels are quite high in most of the places in Cambodia, but steps are being taken in the right direction, albeit slowly.

15) Cambodia is a poor country, but if you see the size of the buildings and the amount of construction taking place in Phnom Penh, its capital, you will tend to think otherwise.

16) The entry fee to Angkor wat is USD 20 per day and about 10,000 visitors pay this fee every day. This equates to 73 million as an annual revenue per year for the temple. But, in spite of this the people living around the temple are extremely poor.

17) Hawkers, Tuk Tuk drivers and most of the people selling wares will try and sell you their stuff, in spite of you not being interested.

18) Bargaining is the norm in most of the developing world. But, in Cambodia, it is inflated multiple times. And generally, without you making any effort, the sellers themselves drop the price by 50% in the second conversation.



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