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Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
edited May 2021 in Help / Advice Forum
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Andrew_Jay on

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  • JustPlainPavekJustPlainPavek Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Wow, that sounds like quite the opportunity. I was only in Cambodia for a short time, as a traveler, so I can't give too much perspective on what it would be like to live there for an extended period. Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forum would probably be a good place to pose this question, if you haven't already; plenty of expats and longer-term travelers frequent their branches and some would be better positioned to offer advice than I.

    I can tell you that, generally, price-wise your dollars will go a fairly long way there, if you spend them wisely and aren't afraid to bargain. If you're not too picky, it's possible to find a hotel room for $4 a day in Phnom Penh, and I imagine with an extended stay you could haggle a further discount. That's really the bare-bones, though, and I imagine you might want something a little more comfortable (and with more facilities; there was a bucket shower, but nothing like a stove or anything to cook for yourself) if you're going to be living in it for a few months. There are plenty of western cafes catering to the backpacker crowd if you're in need of comfort food; I can't speak from experience, but imagine cooking for yourself or finding local Khmer eateries would be cheaper. I got around fine without speaking any of the local language, but I was mostly dealing with members of the tourist economy.

    For flights, I recommend the price aggregator Kayak.com. I don't know about your departure/return dates, but I found some flights around $1700 that take you through to Phnom Penh. Scams abound on the route from Bangkok to Siem Reap / Angkor Wat, which you would pass through first before reaching Phnom Penh, so if you decide to go overland, you might want to read up here (those Bangkok->Cambodia air tickets are not overpriced by chance).

    Also: it will be hot and humid. Prepare yourself.

    Don't know how much this helps, but hopefully it's a start.

    JustPlainPavek on
  • bowtiedsealbowtiedseal Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Neat. I am also going to be in Cambodia on an internship for about six weeks, in Phnom Penh as well. I can't offer any advice just yet as I am organizing the internship myself and haven't had time to really sit down and figure it out, but it sounds like you'll be doing a really awesome thing.

    My aunt currently lives in Phnom Penh so sometime soon I will ask her about what it's like living there.

    bowtiedseal on
  • CauldCauld Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I also was only in Cambodia for a short amount of time, but I spent a while in Thailand, pretty close to the border and Cambodia is cheaper than Thailand. As for finding decent airfare from Bangkok to Phnom Penh I suggest not using the travel search engines we're used to in the West. Instead check out Wikipedia's list of low cost airlines in asia and look at their websites directly. I know it sucks to go through the hassel, but I found flights from bangkok to singapore, and kuala lampur for less than $1 (plus tax which was about $50 each way), so I know there are cheap flights. Of course you could also just take a bus, from Bangkok to the Cambodian border isn't so long by bus and you could stop at a couple nice places in Thailand along the way.

    As far as expenses go I lived easily off of $500/month in Thailand and the Thai people I worked with lived easily off $200/month. I wouldn't call my apartment a luxurious villa or anything, but after a week or two I got used to it. Also I spent a lot more money than was necessary. Traveling on the weekends, going to restaurants almost every day... etc. I even bought a motorbike (highly recommended) It's just a different kind of living. For me, when I first got to where I was living I was constantly worried people would be cheating me, but once you're a little off the beaten tourist path or even are regularly seen you'll be probably be treated the same as everyone else. Also, keep in mind that while an extra $0.50 to you doesn't really matter its a day's food for someone in Cambodia, so try to keep things in perspective.

    One thing I would suggest before you go is finding some sort of Health Insurance. While it's unlikely you'll have serious problems while there it's always nice to know that in case of emergency someone will airlift you to Bangkok, Or Singapore, or Tokyo, or Home if need be. Also, who knows what kind of lasting blood parasites and the like you can get once there and it would suck to have them defined as a 'pre-existing condition.' I had health insurance for a year I spent in Asia and never needed it, but that $120/month sure made me feel better. Of course, you're Canadian so I don't know if/how that changes anything.

    Cauld on
  • DockenDocken Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    You will have a interesting time. Phnom Penn is still fairly wild - lots of child prostitution, homeless people and crime. Stay near the lake, it's the safest for westerners. Land mines aren't really a problem anymore, unless you are hiking through the back country (do not do this). MAKE SURE YOUR PASSPORT IS IN ORDER AND HAVE USD ON YOU AT ALL TIMES.

    GET HEALTH INSURANCE. If you get injured, considering going to Thailand for medical aid. It's a third world country. Remember that. Life works differently and you are going to have to adjust.

    If you like creature comforts, you ain't going to be getting any besides the bare essentials (that is, the rooms in a decent place will be clean), so prepare yourself for that as well.

    Ok, that was the bad stuff. Now the good stuff: It's dirt, dirt cheap. Like really cheap, like live for a few dollars a day cheap.

    Go to Siem Riep when you get the chance to see Angkor Wat. It also has a surprisingly good set of cafes on "bar street" (streets don't have names).

    The place is still fairly rough around the edges, but that is part of it's charm - Siem Nuk (not sure of the name, but it's the seaside "town" to the SW of Phnom Pen) is a really nice place to sit on the beach. You will also meet interesting people, and have the chance to visit other countries in the area.

    Docken on
  • SolventSolvent Econ-artist กรุงเทพมหานครRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Andrew_Jay wrote: »
    I'm having a hard time figuring out just how I'd even get there, and how much to expect flying from Toronto to Phnom Penh to be. Return from Toronto to Bangkok is $1,700 - just a little matter then of either flying the last leg (super expensive for some reason) or a land-crossing by bus or train.

    I believe (as with many things in Asia) rampant corruption is the cause of expensive airfares. When I was there, rumour had it that most of your airfare going into Phnom Penh or Siem Reap goes pretty much straight to Hun Sen's pockets. As well as Bangkok, you may be able to fly from Ho Chi Minh City.

    Can't offer any advice on living there as I was just travelling through. Oh, I went overland from Siem Reap to Bangkok and the road is extremely fucking terrible (dirt, giant potholes whole way through, some interesting delays to be had), but I'd heard it was marked for repairs.

    I didn't leave with a good impression of Siem Reap besides the temples, and while there you should take the time to see Wat Bo, however I thought Phnom Penh was actually pretty nice.

    Solvent on
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  • Andrew_JayAndrew_Jay Registered User regular
    edited May 2021
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    Andrew_Jay on
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