Sunday, 13 July 2014

Cambodia day 1 Bangkok to Phom Penh

Cambodia day 1 Bangkok to Phnom Penh

Monday, 30.06.2014

From Sathorn to Don Mueang Airport: MRT to Chatuchak, then bus 29. About one hour travel time from MRT Lumpini to airport. VAT refund for tourists (I bought a camera a week before) as described on their website. Air Asia check in counter for all flights (no destinations posted), which confused me a bit, I was looking for a note “Phnom Penh”. From terminal to airplane, we drove around the airport by bus for a while, I was beginning to think they put me on a bus to Phnom Penh. Flight according to schedule (15:00 to 16:20).

Visa on arrival took 16:20 to 28. Chaotic systems, similar to Lao Visa at Nong Khai border. Hand in passport, 20 USD and documents, then wait for your name to be called. Queue at immigration, leave 16:51.

Only few taxi/tuk-tuk/mocy driver accost me. I look around for public transport, then go to main road and observe traffic for some minutes for hints for public transport, finally take tuk-tuk (5 USD 17:06-48) to 111 street. It’s not far, but traffic is slow. My driver has to ask for directions. General observation: drivers in Cambodia speak English but don’t know the way, drivers in Thailand know the way, but don’t speak English.

I read during my flight that there are many guesthouses in 111 street, I take the one that is closest, fan room 8 USD per night, private bathroom, no refrigerator, no hot water. Aircon room costs 11 USD, but it was fine without aircon, and I don’t need hot water for showering. I brought 20,000 Baht (for entering Thailand on land border, proof of financial means can be required), 123 USD (exchanged in Bangkok), 200 Euro; half of my life’s savings in a room without safe.

During an extensive exploratory first walk in Phnom Penh, I almost got my mobile phone robbed. I was standing at a street corner, waiting for green light and looking at my phone (map, waiting for GPS signal) when a motorbike drove past slowly and the second person tried to grab my phone. As usually (unless I operate it with a thumb!), I had it more than 2/3 covered with my hand, so he just didn’t have enough area to grab it (or he was a beginner, or missed the best moment). I immediately realized what was going on, and they were driving slowly, so even if he had grabbed it I would have been able to make a quick step to grab his arm. That would have ended messy or even bloody (the question is: whose blood?).

After over an hour walk, finally reach Amam sauna 20:15, they are about to close. Talk with staff, then get on a mocy to take me to Hatha Khmer spa (0.50 USD). However he delivers me to LOVE Spa For Men #103/105 corner 105 and 350 street (in walking distance from Amam, I was aware it’s not the place I wanted to go, but it’s a gay sauna, so I paid the driver and entered). Entry 3 USD, stay 20:25 to 21:05, about 10 customers, various staff in street clothes, mocy drivers waiting on the premises and outside. Big gym, well maintained. Closing time 10 pm.

Walk to Blue Chili, stay there 21:57 to 22:50. Drink 1.50 USD, tip 0.50. About ten customers, there seem to be no moneyboys on this day. Diagonally opposite boys disassemble a streetside restaurant, some of them shirtless and handsome (much more interesting than the clientele in Blue Chili, same on the following day).

Have pizza in 51 street (wood fired pizza oven on a moto-remorque).

At the market on 51 street, they have internet cafes / computer game shops with this kind of computer game table (I saw similar ones in Lao, but not in Thailand):

On one occasion in Phom Penh, I even saw a computer game shop with cathode ray tube screens. 

Then to Heart of Darkness disco, 23:30 few customers, so I don’t enter (however find out the following day that the view you have from the door is unfavorable for judging number of customers). Chat with cute boys in front of an internet cafĂ©, then return to room alone.

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC


  1. thank you and waiting for more

  2. Christian: Thanks for your report & sorry to hear about the thieves on the moto.
    I was in PP 4 years ago & a lot of the streets had no lighting so it was hard to navigate around & didn't feel too safe.

    Take care & I hope you meet someone cute!

  3. you can get the visa online before you travel much easier

  4. I know about online visa, but decided against it. It's more expensive, have to apply weeks in advance, more sitting-in-front-of-a-computer and finally I don't have a printer, I would have to go to an internet cafe to print it.


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