You might be a frequent traveler or a travel newbie, but I think is always good to not be scammed or robbed. Even tho you not travel on a budget, it’s good to not overpay for things.
Getting to Siem Reap is not that complicated, and you have few ways to do that. Most common one, will be to take a flight. You can take the flight to Siem Reap, from many places in the world. However, sometimes it’s cheaper to fly first to Bangkok-Thailand, and after get to Cambodia-by other flight or land.
That’s why I will tell you what do you need to have in mind while crossing the border Thailand/Cambodia.
As flying in to Siem Reap, is really easy(you can even get visa at the airport at the Visa Counter upon arrival), and cheap(60$), I will tell you a little story I had there in bumpy way.
After a month spent in Thailand, it was the time to keep on traveling. Next on the (not planned) list, or rather-the closest country to go-was Cambodia. I went to one travel office in Khao San Road to buy bus tickets. There is a lot of those, but I’ve been in Thailand four times and always go to the same one. Kill me, but I do not remember the name. I always find it visually…I know it’s on Chakrabongse Rd, right after the Police station.
This tiny little fellow, it’s me 🙂
Mini bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap will cost you 200THB (around 6$), plus of course visa on the border (35$). That way you save up to 55$ on flight. I chose the bus, because I traveled on budget. As well, I asked the company to make the visa for me. That cost you all together 1700THB (50$), and means that you just need to give them one passport picture and all done. That way I just walked through the border getting stamps in my passport. Journey by bus was extremely uncomfortable. I had seat at the end of the mini bus, which was terrible, but finally the guy sitting next to me switched it, as he was uncomfortable too.
Once you’ll get to the border, you have to be aware of all of types of scams even from the people from the agency. Just do not trust anyone! Sound terrible, but believe me-don’t trust anyone.
First of all, if you travel by bus remember to take passport picture with you and give it to the agency (make one in Bangkok it’s the cheapest option, if you didn’t have any before). Otherwise, you’ll get ripped off for making picture in their other “office” next to the border. They dropped us off, next to the border. There is a small kind of office, where you’ll wait meantime someone will go and take your visas. Then, a guy from the company will walk you to the border, which is few steps from there. Then he will show you how to cross it, and how to get to the next bus, which will take you to Siem Reap.
Before that, he will try to convince you, to take from ATM all the money you need for staying in Cambodia. RIDICULOUS! The reason-he will say- is a high ATM’s fee in Cambodia. This fee, according to his information is 15$ per each time you’ll get the money. I actually laughed at him in silence. We looked at each other with one girl from the group, and we already knew that there’s a catch. Few girls from the group, believed him and took from ATM at least 500$ each! This is so easy way to get robbed. I’m sure they know bus drivers, and will tell them who has so much cash!! So be careful!
I always buy a sim card in each country-it’s cheap(8-11$) and very useful. You have unlimited internet ofr a month. Thanks to that, I checked right away, how much actually I should pay for taking money out from ATM’s in Cambodia. Surprisingly the fee is 4-5$, and Canadian Bank DOESN’T charge you at all. You’ll get dollars from ATM and mostly you’ll pay in dollars in Cambodia.
So, as you see, is one of a hell ride. But, if you are careful and you like an adventure-just do it.
When you’ll get to the city, remember to avoid the “Milk scam“. Maybe you’ve heard about it before? I haven’t, but some places in the city have posters- mainly in bars- warning tourists about it. Scam it’s all over the city, even tho I didn’t noticed it that much around the rest of Cambodia.
One boy on the street, came to me and said, that he doesn’t want any money but food. I tought-oh wow, this I can do! We went to the nearest shop, but he right away said that he wants milk powder. I thought it was weird-he was 7 or 8 years old. Second thought was-ok, he might need all those vitamins or whatever the milk has. I started wandering around the shop looking for some food for him and he was getting nervous. He brought me one can of babies till 2yrs. I asked him how old are you and he said- I’m three. I laughed hard and said-you’re like 7yrs.
He got angry and almost shouted with broken English- take me milk it’s for my baby sister, she’s small. I went to the shelf- the price was 3$. I took the milk from him and went to pay. Of course! Where is the catch, if the milk costs 3$? Saleswoman demanded 24$ or smth. for a can. Of course, there you go! I almost threw it in her face and left the shop. The kid followed me and started shouting to buy him this milk. I refused, telling him to buy some other food. -Choose the stand and I will buy you any other food than milk powder. He got mad. Asked me to give him 1$. I said No! -Fuc* you…that’s what I got.
So, the thing is. You buy the milk powder to a kid for 24$, and he will go back to the shop to sell it back to the shop owner for like- 5 bucks. They use kids to do this and it’s sad…
Although you will think that Cambodia may not be safe, I assure you that avoiding these few things you won’t be safer anywhere.
Thanks for reading. If you had any similar stories, comment below.