Places Visited: Phnom Penh (my base), Siem Riep, Koh Rong
Apartment: Garden Mansion 3
Duration: All of April
Temperature: Around 35° Celsius with very high humidity and intense thunderstorms
First impressions: Very short buildings. Nightlife very quiet for a Saturday night. Not quite as much culture shock charm as Vietnam. A lot of thievery via scooters driving past. Beautifully decorated public fences and gorgeous pagodas piercing through the tops of the entire cityscape. I was intrigued and excited by being in a country where 90% of the population is Buddhist.
- Park Hyatt hotel in Siem Riep – amazing pool, amazing poolside service, and amazing fine dining restaurant with swinging table.
- Angkor Wat temples are a must-see but if you are doing sunrise get there early to get a good viewing spot and a half day was definitely enough for me.
- Watching Tina (one of our fellow remotes) DJ at a nightclub in Phnom Penh.
- ExNet Taxi App – like Uber except it’s only in Cambodia (there’s no Uber here) and you have to pay with cash – WAY cheaper than the rip-off tuk-tuks and a countdown in seconds until the car’s arrival.
- The pool at Aquarius hotel in Phnom Penh- best pool I’ve ever seen. I actually booked myself into a two night stay-cation there but if you want to just use the pool for the day you can pay US$12.
- The petty crime aka thieving from tourists. I had my iPhone taken from a restaurant table within the first week without me realising and about 10 other female remotes either had their stuff stolen via some douche on a scooter or had it attempted stolen (NB: no males seemed to be affected).
- THE HUMIDITY. Couldn’t walk down the street for more than 2 minutes without looking like a drowned rat and wondering why you bothered wearing makeup and doing your hair.
- The pollution in Koh Rong was appalling and made it really hard to enjoy the crystal clear blue water and white sandy beaches underneath all the floating plastic and also made me very mad as there were zero bins for people to put their trash into 🙁
- Getting really sick during and after Koh Rong. I had a nasty chest infection / night cough the whole time I was in Koh Rong and within about 12 hours of me leaving Koh Rong I had the worst 24 hour stomach bug of my life. Apparently EVERYONE gets sick during or after visiting Koh Rong, it’s like a weird thing that happens but no-one really knows why.
Overall impressions: Didn’t love it as much as Vietnam although to be fair I was working two jobs the whole time which made it very hard to explore and see the real Cambodia. I would have loved to have gotten off the beaten track and gone somewhere a bit more rural for a few days to interact with the locals and see life in a different perspective. Definitely worth visiting Cambodia for Angkor Wat. If you go to Koh Rong I suggest going to the quieter island (Koh Rong Sanloem) as I’ve been told it is a lot cleaner and more relaxing. I’m also very gutted I didn’t visit Kampot as I hear it’s amazing.