Independent travel in Cambodia
One of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia is Cambodia. And speaking of “business cards,” for Cambodia it will be Angkor Wat and the phrase “one dollar,” pronounced in a compassionate voice. But, fortunately, not all Cambodians are like that. It takes a little to live among them in order to understand these people. An independent trip to Cambodia will provide such an opportunity.
Here we will not describe the sights and routes of tours, but share information that may be useful in travel. The phrase “one dollar” will haunt you from the very border. Only it will not be an ordinary citizen, but a border guard, and he will ask for not one, but five dollars. Well, to whom, to whom, and we are familiar with this situation painfully. The border guard will persuade that a visa costs $ 25, although a price of $ 20 has been announced on the official Cambodian website. So feel free to give $ 20 and stand your ground. Most likely, after that, interest in you will be lost.
I would like to warn against one more unpleasant moment. On the territory of Angkor Vata, children can come up to you and offer some trinkets as gifts. It can be bracelets made of threads that will definitely want to be tied to your hand. Do not be touched by such touching care. This is a well-designed provocation. As soon as you turn around to leave, the situation will immediately change not in your favor. We will not describe the scene that will be played out, but you will be accused of taking the souvenir from the child and not paying for it. And this is a rather serious accusation. Cambodia has a program to protect children from violence. Therefore, be vigilant and do not accept any gifts.
Bus service in Cambodia is well developed, but has its own characteristics. You can meet many agencies, but they all sell tickets for the same buses. It may surprise you that when you arrive at the appointed time at the appointed place, you will not see the bus. He will not be. The Agency on its transport delivers passengers to a passing bus, which can stop in a neighboring city, or simply on the highway. A similar situation occurs on international flights. Cambodian buses go only to the border. On the other hand, agency representatives distribute their clients along the routes of a neighboring state.
If you have already managed to travel a bit to Cambodia, then the situation on the border will not surprise. The usual “divorce” of tourists, and quite rude. First, all luggage from the bus, including yours, will be loaded onto a trolley to transport across the border. No one asks the owners. Perhaps the service is included in the ticket price. And then well-wishers come up to help with the paperwork for the exit. But the process will not accelerate it at all. The well-wisher will also stand in the general queue, and your hand will not submit the passport to the customs officer. But such dubious pleasure will cost you a few dollars. Do you need it? The second act of “Marleson Ballet” will be expected on the other side of the border. They will already begin to extort money for transporting your luggage on a trolley. The price is small, but a matter of principle.
You will have to deal with such situations quite often. But this is typical only for well-developed tourist routes. It is worth stepping back a little, and there you will meet completely different people. Only there you can understand the real Cambodia, with its life and everyday life. Do not divide people into good and bad. You just see different faces from the whole variety of features of the inhabitants of Cambodia.
Cambodia’s transport infrastructure was severely damaged during the Civil War, but Cambodia is currently rebuilding major highways with foreign investments and equipment. Since 2006, the condition of roads has improved significantly, and most major roads are now paved.
Cambodia has two single-track railway lines with a 1 meter gauge and a total length of 612 km. One of the lines connects Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville (built in the 1960s), the other connects Phnom Penh with Battambang and Sisophone (built in the 1930s). The section between Sisopphon and Poipet (on the Thai border) was demolished during the civil war. Until 2009, trains still ran once a week between Phnom Penh and Battambang, but communication has now been discontinued. The government entered into an agreement with private companies on the reconstruction of the railway network, according to which it was planned to open a railway connection between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville by 2011, and between Phnom Penh, Battambang and Sisophone by 2013. In addition, it is planned to complete the railway from Sisophone to the Thai border. In the future, it is planned to build a new railway connecting Phnom Penh with Vietnam.