Phnom Penh Favorite Tips by AlbuqRay
Phnom Penh Favorites: 74 reviews and 80 photos
Favorite thing: When I took the 6-hour Mekong Express bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap to see the countryside, little did I know how fortunate I would be. The Fancy Guesthouse got seat 1D for me. It turned out to be on the aisle in the front row on the right hand side. Not only did I have the best seat for seeing things and taking pictures, but I also happened to be sitting next to Ms. Nara, a professional guide taking a 3-day holiday to visit her aunt in Kompong Thom. She is a very nice lady who really knows the local history and customs, and is happy to share her knowledge. I learned so much during that three hours to Kompong Thom. Awkun choeun (thank you very much) to her! She is not licensed to guide in Siem Reap but can do Phnom Penh and basically the rest of the country. Her phone number is (+855) 12580089. I highly recommend Ms. Nara.
However, Nara sometimes recommends her friend, Heak, as a driver. I used him in Feb 2010 and I do not recommend him. Absolutely do not drive with him at night. He has night vision problems and cannot see well. He is also phobic about going up inclines and getting his car dirty. Why he originally accepted my itinerary to remote sites in Northwest Cambodia, I shall never know. Over and over again, he had excuses why he could not go somewhere, but then we would see cars just like his both coming from and going to the destination. Basically I just had to say that I was paying him $95/day and that he had to go (although I walked up rather than asking him to drive up the steep, paved road to Phnom Kulen). Guess what? We always made it with no problem. Heak is a nice enough fellow and speaks good English. If you only have to drive during the day and on straight, level, paved roads, he would be fine, even if those roads are busy.
Favorite thing: Actually I met Ms. Naram Kang through Ms. Nara. They are colleagues. When I returned to Cambodia in March 2010, Ms. Nara was busy and so was Ms. Naram (it is common during the dry season when most of the tourists come). Naram was so thoughtful that she convinced her friend, Ms. Leakkhena (an accountant), to guide me on the first weekend of my trip to the remote sites of Sambor Prei Kuk, Beng Mealea, and Koh Ker. Later Naram took me to such places as the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, National Museum, an evening riverboat ride on the Mekong, Phnom Tamao wildlife sanctuary, and Tonle Bati. She is very knowledgeable, speaks excellent English, and has extensive contacts since she is a busy, experienced guide. Besides that, she is a little crazy and fun to travel with! Her phone is +855-12-577-449 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org. You will consider yourself very lucky to have had Naram as your guide. BTW, her nickname is "Mickey," like Mickey Kandol (mouse in Khmer, LOL).
Visa on Arrival Area
Favorite thing: When you fly into Phnom Penh, the airline will give you two forms to fill out. You will need them but if you want a Visa on Arrival, you will have to get another form in the arrival area, fill it out, give them your passport and form, and wait as your paperwork is processed real-time behind the counter. You then pay $20 ($1 more if you don't have a passport photo) and get your passport back with the visa in it. Only after doing this can you pick up your luggage and proceed through immigration. I was going to take more pictures of this process, but a guard told me not to take more pictures when he saw me do the first one. BTW, it may cost $20 to get into Cambodia, but don't forget to save $25 to get out (departure tax).
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