Shortly after I arrived in Thailand, my dear friend ST visited. She and I embarked on several adventures, including a trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. You can take a train, and it’s cheap. But it ends up being a train, a tuk-tuk, bus, and again back on the train after waiting in line at immigration and passport control to get into Cambodia. This sounded a little complicated to us and takes a day, so we flew from Bangkok straight to Siem Reap. The flight was so short that we barely leveled out before descending again.
Cambodia’s currency is the riel. However, most people with whom we interacted preferred US currency. In fact, the ATMs in the Arrivals Hall dispensed US currency only. It was the first time in many months I had held greenbacks, and the new $100 bill was so different I at first thought I I might have been scammed. Ben Franklin is very colorful now; I think he would approve. You’re supposed to bring a passport-sized photo for your on-arrival visa, but we didn’t. It turned out fine: our fee for the visa (paid in USD) was just a couple dollars more.
We were met at the airport by a tuk-tuk driver from our hotel. In Thailand, I had ridden in tuk-tuks for trips up and down my soi (street), but nothing major. Cambodia was the first time I took extensive rides in this particular conveyance. They are everywhere in Siem Reap and super cheap. The tuk-tuk is basically a three-wheeled motorcycle with a seat attached, usually under a canopy. There are no seat belts, and they move in and out of traffic just like any other vehicle on the road. A ride around town costs $2; a trip to the airport costs $6, and an all-day tuk-tuk driver starts at $15 – for the whole day.
We arrived at our hotel after a very interesting ride – documented here in photos – and were greeted with lemongrass tea and chilled towels. Our hotel room provided slippers and pajamas and some welcome fruit in addition to the standard bottled water. Then we headed out to explore Siem Reap’s nightlife. Check back tomorrow for more of those adventures.
Title quote: Babs Hoffman