Friday, 8 January 2010

Phnom Penh trip - Prologue

Within a period of two weeks, I'm going overseas again. I have plan for 3 trips this year and hopefully I can make it 4. =) The 1st trip this year is to Phnom Penh with my sis. All along, I wanted to visit Angkor Wat but the promotion is for travelling period in May hence we choose Phnom Penh instead since the travelling period is in January.
Map of Cambodia (Extracted from Lonely Planet)

Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia bordering Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The capital and the largest city is Phnom Penh.

Cambodia was once part of the powerful Hindu and Buddhist Khmer Empire which ruled most of the Indochinese Peninsula between the 11th and 14th centuries. However people remember Cambodia for the Khmer Rouge regime where its leader Pol Pot ordered the evacuation of all population from Phnom Penh to the countryside. The four year period saw the death of approximately 2 million Cambodians and the Khmer Rouge period ended with the invasion of Cambodia by Vietnam.

The best months to visit Cambodia are November to January when temperatures and humidity are lower.

I booked the airtix early in Oct 09 during Jetstar Friday Fare Frenzy. The airtix cost $44 plus tax for one way hence totalling $98 which includes facility fees. Very cheap as normally the return airtix would cost around $200.

All visitors, except citizens of Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Laos and Vietnam need a visa to enter Cambodia. Departure tax of US$25 is required to be paid at the airport as this is not included in the air ticket.

This time round, all the research are done by my sis and I just give her some opinions here and there. Although I didnt do the research, it doesnt mean that I dont know the places of interest in Phnom Penh. I dont think I'll enjoy my trip if I dont know anything about the destination that I'm visiting.

We booked our accomodation with Nice Guest House for a single room at US$10 per night. Dun be deceived by the description "A single room". In Cambodia, a single room may have a king size bed in the room, which is the case for Nice Guest House. The Guest House is located near the more popular Capitol Guesthouse. We choose Nice Guest House as it is not situated along the main road which can be noisy due to hornings by the bikes and cars. Initially we intend to stay at Sisowath Quay but my sis is concern that it would be very noisy at night as there are quite a lot of pubs located there. Moreover the rates of the hotels at Sisowath Quay are more expensive.

The electricity supply in Cambodia is 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Most of the plugs are flat 2-pin, but round 2-pin plugs are also used in some places.

Below is my itinerary for the 4 days:
Day 1: Arrive at Phnom Penh at 7.35am (GMT +7) and visit the attractions in Phnom Penh
Day 2: Tonle Bati, Phnom Chisor, Phnom Da
Day 3: Oudong
Day 4: Depart for Phnom Penh airport for 9.10am flight (GMT+7)

We booked a tuk tuk driver to fetch us from the airport to the hotel and a day tour until night time. It cost US$22.50 for the whole day. My sis choose this driver as it was recommended by the forummers. His email is and contact is +855 9296 8096.

For day 2, we booked a taxi driver with a tour agency "Bon Voyage" for US$60 for a day trip to the places listed above.

For day 3, we booked another taxi driver Mr Rasi for US$30 to Oudong for half a day tour.

The official currency in Cambodia is US$ and not the national currency Riel. However if the change is below US$1, the locals would return it in Riel. Currently the rate is US$1 ~ 4,000 Riel. I had changed ~ S$350 to US$250 at the Mustafa forex since my sis told me that her frenz said that the rate is quite high there. I changed into US$1 - US$20 denomination at a rate of 1.397 to 1.407. The exchange rate is lower for smaller denomination but also lower when you change back to S$.

Our budget for the 3 days is US$250:
- US$15 for accomodation
- US$65 for transport
- US$50 for meals
- US$25 for admission fees
- US$25 for departure tax
- US$80 for shopping

We had register ourselves with the MFA eRegister system which allows MFA eRegister system and the Embassies or Consulates to contact and render assistance during an emergency or crisis.

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