Monday, 16 August 2010

Cambodia summary

A watery kingdom with an ancient Khmer past and a recent more barbaric, Pol Pot - Khmer Rouge led, history. Having survived a disastrous civil war, most Cambodians are still incredibly poor but the happy smiling Khmer people shine through these diversities. An inexpensive country, costs are still negotiable and most Cambodians will drop their prices quickly, if asked, almost embarrassed that they have tried to charge you a little too much in the first place.
Water: Bottled drinking water is readily available.
Drinks: Wine - Bottles of imported French and Australian wines can be bought from as $5 upwards, more in restaurants. Beer - Brewed in Sihanoukville, Angkor draft is very drinkable (50 cents a glass or $1 upwards if it comes in a can) but plenty of other tinned beers are available including Black Panther, locally brewed competition for Guinness - stronger and half the price. Tea - Black Lipton Yellow Label tea as well as local Cambodian tea is served. Coffee - Strong and black but Nescafe and with milk are often served in tourist areas.
Toilets: Mostly upright in hotels, guesthouses, cafes and restaurants.
Both Cambodian riel and US$ are accepted and also given in change (currently $1 = 4,200 riel but, for convenience, 4,000 riel is the usual exchange rate for both buying and selling).
Language: Just about everyone speaks a little English.
TICs: Friendly and keen, if not terribly useful.
Accommodation: En-suite with TV, and maybe a fridge, is usually the norm
Food: Some delicous noodle and rice dishes as well as western fare and, if you pay a little more, French fusion food
Small local shops and stores elsewhere.
Transport: Good bus and boat services.
Apart from the bamboo train in Battambang the rail system a slow freight-only network.
Medical: Variable quality medical services, best to get to Bangkok for serious problems.

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