Phnom Penh ---> Ho Chi Minh City
4.29.11 - 5.3.11 35 °C
We left Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon a couple days after my family went back to the States. I really liked Cambodia and wouldn’t mind living there for a bit. It was nice to be around so many other Khmer peoples and hear/speak the language. We are so cool. Our time there was brief but there were some things I found interesting:
1. Bathrooms/toilets are different. Here is the standard toilet setup, squat style, no tp:
This one is tiled so prolly nicer than most places/homes in Cambodia, although not as clean as some of the more established restaurants/public places. Bebe abstained from using these hehe. The more tourist areas and all the hotels we’ve stayed at have western bathrooms with flushing toilets.
2. Always get a receipt if you can, especially for big purchases. We stayed at a hotel with some of my cousins b/c they didn’t have enough room for all of us at my uncle’s house in Mongol Berei (north of Battambang). Heading there late, one person in our party asked for a receipt but the hotel receptionist insisted we didn’t need one. Too tired and also flustered about what was going on exactly since it was late, we all went up to our rooms. The next day en route to Siem Reap my cousin-in-law got a phone call from the hotel manager demanding payment b/c we left w/o cashing out. After a few harsh words from my parents it got squashed thank goodness, but it stressful for a few mins and a good lesson learned.
3. Don’t ask the tuk-tuk driver how much you owe, they’ll quote you up to 2-4X the going rate. Either establish a price before you get on, or hand over the amount you think is fair at the end of trip w/o saying anything. This leaves no room for the driver to try and negotiate. We refused to get in a tuk-tuk in front of Soriya Mall (a westernish/expensive mall for rich kids and tourists) that offered us a trip for 4X the amount. As we walked off his price dropped lower and lower, but we were already on our way. In his frustration of losing a customer he yelled and cursed at us, but whatevs the next tuk-tuk driver offered us the fair rate.
4. Khmer ppls are so resourceful. This is what I call a full-load (sorry haven’t figured out the panorama feature on the camera yet):
5. Always bring a map/address. Most drivers are from outside provinces tryin to make a living in the city and don’t know the ins and outs of town.
I miss Cambodia at times. It’s been different for me being in Vietnam cause it’s one of the few times where I don’t understand the language. In Saigon it was helpful to have K’s family help us navigate (they speak Cantonese in addition to Vietnamese). Her family was very nice and cool btw, and it was nice meeting one of K’s cousins during our travels. It was my fave part of Saigon, to see them bond/interact. They actually kinda look alike. More on Saigon another post tho.
We are truly on our own now in Can Tho >.< (K’s parents’ birthplace!)