Thursday, 10 July 2014

Cambodia preparations

Cambodia preparations

I don’t buy guidebooks any more, I do my research on the internet and download websites to my mobile phone. Has the advantage that it doesn’t cost anything and has no weight, and the disadvantage that my phone will break when it falls down and can get stolen.

For this trip, I found the following websites useful:

I cannot praise this website high enough. You can download their guidebooks as pdf, and the printed versions are widely available for free. A high quality publication that covers everything I want to know.

Excellent maps. (There is a lot of crap on the internet and in print.)

Another good source for travel information (worldwide) is wikitravel. I expected a neutral writing style, but there are some gems that made me laugh.

A gritty border town, Poipet hosts a bewildering array of touts, beggars, thieves and dodgy casinos for daytripping Thais, which all contrive to separate money from the unwary.

While most travellers only pass through, the town can provide the savvy and curious with some fascinating insights into Cambodia's grizzly underside.

The amateur anthropologist can watch Asian businessmen entertain themselves at the casinos or at the karaoke joints throughout town that double as brothels. Watching the coachloads of package tourists being shepherded through customs may also count as a valid pastime.

The market - like the border and the town itself - is the scene of industrial scale visa scams for unwary travellers (see below). Immediately on the Cambodian side of the border is Poipet, a much maligned grot hole that appeals to those with a warped aesthetic.

Sounds like a fun place to stay for a night, and so I will do.

Another valuable resource was Tales of Asia (articles on many subjects, here just one quote).

Poipet is the end of the line in Cambodia - a filthy border town of casinos, cheap hotels, knock shops, and a market I wouldn't eat at even if I were coming off a hunger strike. It is not a pleasant introduction to Cambodia, nor is it representative of the rest of the nation. Poipet is one of my least favorite places in all of Asia. Simply put, Poipet more or less rhymes with toilet and the two are virtually indistinguishable.

Information about traveling between Bangkok and Siem Reap and the border crossing can be found here:
Khmer Architecture Tours - Tours of modern architecture in Cambodia, with tour offers and a map for a walking tour, quality publication.

There is plenty of information about scams (Welcome to Scambodia!), which I read for entertainment, but it’s all common sense. If you need to be told not to go with a friendly stranger, then you shouldn’t go to Cambodia.

Free guidebooks (canbypublications) and maps widely available:

Business cards of gay venues I went to (one would need them before going, for address/map or to show to driver):

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC


  1. Getting ready for your Cambodia reports after great Plain of Jars post.

    I'm curious about what you will have to say about Poipet crossing as all those stories are hair rising yet I know quite a few people who entered there and nobody had much to say about alleged mayhem and scams at the crossing there.
    No personal experience for me as I flew to PP and back from SR

  2. I, too, am looking forward to your travel reports... have a safe & happy trip!

    The canby website & the KA architecture tours both look really interesting.

  3. Some interesting info there Christian.
    Like the others, really looking forward to your report
    - RonanTheBarbarian

  4. you re right and lucky-for Cambodia. This is one of the very few countries where indeed those many local booklets and sites do give more and better info as guidebooks. But this really is not universal-it will also depend if the country differs a lot of those you know already.


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