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Thread: Cambo - a life changing journey....

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    Cambo - a life changing journey....

    This won't be so much a TR or blow by blow account of my mongering and bedroom antics as much it will be a shared diary as I try to see if I can eek out a future here in Phnom Penh...
    Phnom Penh the big city of dreams, the captivatingly on it, intoxicatingly manic, but its truly exotic... or something like that..Please don't punch me WP... 555 (Just quietly I actually liked the clip and tune Nels, thanks for sharing)

    I've seen some places on my travels over the years, I went to Singapore, where I had to get my haircut to enter and Hong Kong in 76, I was lucky enough to do Marrakesh, Baghdad and see Petra without crowds in 1988. I saw Koh Samui when the south end of Lamai was a dirt road and Gili Trawangan when there was no concrete, electricity or vehicles anywhere on the island the same year.

    But I've never seen a place with as much potential as this.
    I've never seen a capital city of a country that is such a paradox....
    Lexus 4WD's compete for parking space with cyclo drivers.
    People cook on open fires in the street around the corner from where gourmet foods served in modern restaurants.
    Piles of rubbish build up on the road outside of building sites where condo's are going up.
    The casino's packed with gamblers drinking $7 vodkas while the average textile worker earns $100 a month.

    But I love every bit of it and I just can't seem to leave.

    I came here on the 15th of April on a whim looking for a change.
    After 2 weeks of hitting it in Bangers I was sick of the songkran water bollocks and was bored. Also prior to that I had done 3 weeks in Nepal, trekking to Everest Base camp. I needed a beach and Sihanoukville has been on the to do list for some time.
    I was here in 2010 on a visa run from Thailand but only did PP and Siem Reap on that trip, I remembered it as being friendly, dirty, Angkor as truly amazing and up with anything I've seen in the way of historical sites anywhere, fresh, colourful and kind of frontierish.....


    I won't spend ages detailing from then until now but will put a few of the poignant points in so as people get an idea of prices and the like.
    I hit a few mates up on FB for a bit of info and boarded the Airasia flight from Don Mueang to Phnom Penh for $92US.
    On arrival I had my $20US for the visa but no passport photo, an extra $5 miraculously meant the need for a passport photo was negated. They take 1000THB also now contrary to what you may read elsewhere. Immigration was quick and easy, I think every airport should implement the thumb and finger scanning of both hands, system that they have here, prints are then matched to my passport details and photo, should my passport get stolen and say an "Iranian traveling to Germany" get his hands on it, it would automatically be detected on departure as the prints don't match the passport. Kill the illegal passport trade in no time. Customs was much the same as LOS and was a breeze.
    The tuk tuk line was long so I grabbed a quick burger at Burger King and used there wifi, everywhere has wifi here, then walked up to the departures section and jumped an inbound tuk dropping off some customers. Bargained him down to $5 for the trip into the Riverfront area to Cali2 hotel. Cali2 at $25 a night was fully booked so I grabbed a room at the Pillar Hotel close by on the corner of 102 at $35 a night. Spent the evening getting my bearings and strolling around.
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    Senior Member PadMC's Avatar
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    Good post. I liked Cambodia and Phnom Penh a lot also, I spent a month there in 2007. I'm sure it's changed a bit since then. I need to organise myself and get back to Cambo before I'm very much older.

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    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    I agree there's huge potential in Cambodia and could be a very good place to invest as tourism there is just a shell of what it could be. There's not a hell of a lot to do during the day but I can see that changing.
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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    I have often toyed with the idea of a PP bolthole base + a larger Snooky pad....and spending chunks of time in both as its really only a half day commute on the bus....I just can't see either place wholly satisfying my needs atm though.....i.e. the combined perfect mix of beach and city vibe that I am always searching for....rents are still cheap enough to do this however I get the feeling that won't be the case for too long...and that Snooky could get well and truly fecked over before it gets the sort of infrastructure I would need to live there

    still....its always in the back of my mind...I do have a real affinity with the Khmer people...there is a real honesty and smiling steely resolve to them that I quite admire

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlew View Post
    This won't be so much a TR or blow by blow account of my mongering and bedroom antics as much it will be a shared diary as I try to see if I can eek out a future here in Phnom Penh...
    Phnom Penh the big city of dreams, the captivatingly on it, intoxicatingly manic, but its truly exotic... or something like that..Please don't punch me WP... 555 (Just quietly I actually liked the clip and tune Nels, thanks for sharing)

    I've seen some places on my travels over the years, I went to Singapore, where I had to get my haircut to enter and Hong Kong in 76, I was lucky enough to do Marrakesh, Baghdad and see Petra without crowds in 1988. I saw Koh Samui when the south end of Lamai was a dirt road and Gili Trawangan when there was no concrete, electricity or vehicles anywhere on the island the same year.

    But I've never seen a place with as much potential as this.
    I've never seen a capital city of a country that is such a paradox....
    Lexus 4WD's compete for parking space with cyclo drivers.
    People cook on open fires in the street around the corner from where gourmet foods served in modern restaurants.
    Piles of rubbish build up on the road outside of building sites where condo's are going up.
    The casino's packed with gamblers drinking $7 vodkas while the average textile worker earns $100 a month.

    But I love every bit of it and I just can't seem to leave.
    Yeah theres just something about the vibe of it.. The energy..

    I am torn as I can decide if its just about to take off, or if it will continue to just muddle along like so many others..

    Its really a great mix.

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonone View Post
    I have often toyed with the idea of a PP bolthole base + a larger Snooky pad....and spending chunks of time in both as its really only a half day commute on the bus....I just can't see either place wholly satisfying my needs atm though.....i.e. the combined perfect mix of beach and city vibe that I am always searching for....rents are still cheap enough to do this however I get the feeling that won't be the case for too long...and that Snooky could get well and truly fecked over before it gets the sort of infrastructure I would need to live there

    still....its always in the back of my mind...I do have a real affinity with the Khmer people...there is a real honesty and smiling steely resolve to them that I quite admire
    Everyone that been in business around Sihanoukville seems to constantly say its on the edge of taking off, and yet it hasnt..

    I am unsure why it hasnt.. Otres is really superb, beach bar vibes and a nice clean beach.. Ochy has the Khmer cheap foods and some bars.. Rooms are plentiful and cheap..

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    One major drawback with Snooky for me is the low season there..it gets hammered by storms and the tail end of hurricanes out in the SCC for 4-6 months of the year.....its not unusual to have a week of continual torrential wind driven rain and high seas pounding down....and the loss of electricity for days at a time during the low season...I'd definitely be staying in PP for much of that period..its no place to be in a hurricane
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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    I visited in low season a couple of times but never go the solid storm period..

    But last time I was there they really couldnt keep the electric on.. My hotel had generators but you could tell it was a major pain in the arse for businesses there.

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    I will blast through the next 6 days spent in PP as there isn't anything wonderful to tell.
    I got sick from the songkran soaking in BKK and I spent the majority of this time fighting a fever. It floored me and one day I just laid in bed and never left the room the whole day and night. I went out on about night 3 and met a stunning girl but by the second beer she put her hand on my head and said you need to go home, I ask if she'd care to join me and she politely declined, I need rest not exercise apparently, must have been a nurse in a previous life.
    The last night I finally bar found my first Khmer princess as I'd come good enough to have a few drinks and get into the swing of things, lovely girl from Air Force Bar on 104 St, Cambo cherry finally broken, thank Buddha.

    Next morning at 11am I boarded the minibus for the $10 ride to Sihanoukville. Some interesting sites along the way as always in any asian country, cows on the road, dangerously overloaded mini buses, trailers with 25 tonne excavators not chained down, the usual stuff.
    Got in at about 3pm to the central part of town and bargained a tuk tuk to $3 to take me to the far end of Ochheuteal Beach to a place I been told called Queen Hill Resort. From there I walked the length of Otres Beach to the second last set of bungalows, can't remember the name now, but I grabbed a $15 room, threw on the board shorts and hit the surf. I hit that water quicker than Patong BG leaves after getting her cash. God it felt good to have the salt water on me again, it had been to long.

    I spent the next 5 days laying around and swimming in the warm, 30+ degrees so bloody warm, water. I didn't drink that much, if you don't include banana smoothies, as being alone and preferring to chill I just enjoyed reading, afternoon snoozes in the hammock, chatting with other travellers and generally chilling out, met a Canadian guy one night who offer me a smoke, so that was about the only mind altering activity I got up to.
    Very nice time in a very friendly and chillaxed place.
    The food was good and the BBQ at $5 including a beer was great.

    Basic bungalow
    Looking back then out from beach
    Hammock chillout zone
    Beach BBQ
    Attached Images Attached Images
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    Fook me it blows the pics up some... 555

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    Senior Member marc26's Avatar
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    Great TR

    I had a great time the night we chatted in Kamala but you can be one funny fxuker on your posts..
    Witty....We would say. Well i hardly use that word but some do!

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    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Otres is just a such a nice collection of chill type bars..

    The only thing I didnt like, was a some stink eye from backpackery types, for being with a khmer girl.. Didnt really expect that but did happen.

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    ^ I noticed that when we were down there together a bit too....at first I thought they were just looking at Amey (she does stand out) but after a bit I noticed the curled and pursed lips...and this wasn't from another generation family figure types...it was from the "I'm so cool Dude...I'm a world traveller" types....do they learn nothing from travelling....wankers!
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    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    You could always punch them in the face... 555...

    Enjoying the thread. Certainly had my share of PP, but only made it out on one of my trips there (the one we did, Nels). I say I am going to get out and explore, but then for some reason (booze/girlz) I just dont seem to get very far...
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    Otres is just a such a nice collection of chill type bars..

    The only thing I didnt like, was a some stink eye from backpackery types, for being with a khmer girl.. Didnt really expect that but did happen.
    Quote Originally Posted by nelsonone View Post
    ^ I noticed that when we were down there together a bit too....at first I thought they were just looking at Amey (she does stand out) but after a bit I noticed the curled and pursed lips...and this wasn't from another generation family figure types...it was from the "I'm so cool Dude...I'm a world traveller" types....do they learn nothing from travelling....wankers!
    Should have seen what it was like living in the good old white nation belt of the Central Coast for me with the TG.
    I was ranting about it to a mate and he said don't worry about it bro, they only stare cause she's so hot.
    That was more than likely the case mate, the fukers only get to dream of the girls we pull 555

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    Quote Originally Posted by marc26 View Post
    Great TR

    I had a great time the night we chatted in Kamala but you can be one funny fxuker on your posts..
    Witty....We would say. Well i hardly use that word but some do!
    Thanks mate.
    I really appreciate that and by all means don't feel shy to call me witty, as often as you like actually. 55
    I have fond memories of that night in the KAP, I have a good photo of it if you wish me to post it.
    We'll bump into each other again somewhere I'm sure.
    It's hard when your writing as you never know whether anyone is reading it and most importantly enjoying reading it.
    I left school at 16 and wasn't real interested whilst I was there either 555 So I just put down what I feel and hope people get it. Thanks all for the input thus far.

    I'm trying to gallop along with the back story because so much happens each day here I really want to be writing in the present. I don't enjoy writing in the past as those little nuances are lost in time.
    Like yesterday for instance.
    I've taken to wandering, actually I'm a wanderer by nature, its bred into me. So I headed to another part of PP to explore and see what I could find. I found what looked like a shopping complex and wandered in. Sure enough bottom floor was jewellery stores, a car on promotion and a large Lucky supermarket. Next floor had clothes, next various items with an electronics shop to rival home with multiple surround sound set ups, one worth $5000.
    But it was the top floor that held the greatest treasure, not just a 5 theatre movie cinema, but a roller skating rink, yeah baby roller skatings alive and well in PP.
    I sat and watched for ages, I'm happy to admit there was this gorgeous tall girl who was worth keeping an eye on, for her implicit technique of course.
    I wandered down a few floors and found a food court, the type where you buy the tickets from the cashier, then you spend them at various food and drink stalls. Every stall was occupied selling a wide variety of asian cuisine, I got a Som Tum for $1.25 from one and a 25 cent Coke from another. I was the only barang in the place, I finished with a lovely caramel gelato type ice cream, for a buck, delish....
    I then continued on my walk, I found the muso part of town packed with Marshall stacks and drum kits, the mattress selling area which was amusing in that they stored a lot of the mattresses on the 3rd floor and had to lower them with a rope and pully system down the outside front of the building and onto the footpath.
    I got a bit lost, but with the grid like layout of the streets here its not hard to find your way back to somewhere you know eventually and sometimes thats how you find the best stuff. Like yesterday I found a restaurant where the cooks / training chef's are all former street kids being retrained and the money you pay for your meal goes into running the school.

    Last night I went for a walk up to Sorya Mall to eat late, say after 10 but instead of hitting the large middle part I sat at a very small place at one end to eat. The owner engaged me and I instantly heard the Aussie accent, I replied where are you from, a bit startled, Melbourne he replied. His family had fled Cambo at age 8 into a Thai refuge camp in Trat, the Aus government took them as refugees a year later. We talked until 3am, I had planned on having an early night but this guy was a wealth of information on everything from politics to business, to our divorces in Aus, to you name it, great to get an in depth and knowledgeable outlook from someone who's neither an expat, nor a biased local. Really interesting conversation and I learnt more in those few hours than I can explain.
    I've found a little local.

    Right off to watch the greatest game of all now, come on you blues, bash those cane toads up.
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    Last edited by dlew; 28th May 2014 at 16:04.
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    Day time can be boring here. If you ride motorcycles, there are plenty of great day trips around the city, but traffic has become horrendous. Pick your arrivals and departure times carefully and watch out for holidays when the lexusses go and come. there are plenty of pools in town to kill time, and some offer specials on prices with coupon books to cut the cost a little. . The Himawari and Cambodiana charge seven dollars a day for the pool, add the gym and its ten. cambodiana has a month member ship for 55 bucks and himawari for 100. I have a pool membership for 75 bucks a month at the Himawari. both have bars but pricing is a little dear.
    IMG_6394.jpg
    Himawari pool is 25 meters and best for laps

    IMG_6308.jpg
    Cambodiana is shorter but has a deep end.

    Easy way to kill a few hours in the day.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member kris-one's Avatar
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    What's that first photo of in post #16?




  19. #19
    Senior Member WarProfiteer's Avatar
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    I have stated several times that if it werent for hooking up with my she-wok, I'd have probably moved to PP at some point in the last 2 years. Me and Nels, on my very first trip to Camboland, did the Siam Reap thing and spent a few days down in Snooky as well. Since that trip though, I've made 4 other trips to Cambodia and not made it out of the city. It's not amazing there, but there's just enough interesting stuff to keep me there. It's not somewhere I think I could live full time, but I could probably do 6-12 months there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kris-one View Post
    What's that first photo of in post #16?
    Thats all the people watching the roller skaters doing there there thang on the rink baby, behind the cage.
    Sorry, I missed the photo explanation tags.
    Because..........




    Origin was on and and the MIGHTY BLUES SMASHED THE CANE TOADS at home...... yeahhhhh
    Last edited by dlew; 28th May 2014 at 21:12.

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