Tag Archives: cambodia

Tuk tuk, madam? Where you go, sir?

This post will be about Cambodian tuk tuk drivers since that’s the only place where I have encountered any tuk tuk drivers during my life. My experience remains short (4 days) but during this time I met many of them and implied a few different tactics of bargaining. I also made some research about Cambodian tuk tuk drivers and read other blogs/ forum posts about this topic just to make this post more truthful, objective and to make more sense in general.

Complicated business

What I figured out during my trip was that the “get a ride” business is one hell of a business. Our moto drivers at the border, they had a deal with the taxi driver and got paid when they delivered customers to him. I didn’t know I should have bargained for the taxi price with them already. Another thing is that the drivers who hang out in front of hostels/hotels have to pay for it, they get more customers but have to share with the hostel owner. Every driver has to pay certain extra fee to the government on yearly basis for their “tuk tuk license”.

I read that used motorbikes usually sell for 200-250 dollars and usual yearly income for Cambodian is about 150-540 dollars so buying a moto, it’s a big deal. The drivers can get 0-200 dollars per month, sometimes they get nothing. Usually the tuk tuk is rented so when you are paying for your ride you are also helping with the rent fees. There will be advertisements on the tuk tuks, of hostels, cafes, clubs and restaurants. Know, if you take such a tuk tuk and the driver recommends what’s mentioned on the advertisement he will get extra profit for bringing you there. They also get extra profit if they manage to sell you a girl in a nice brothel. This is not a hint how to get best sex deals during your sex tourist trip, this just the sad truth and dam you if you are a sex tourist. See how connected these people are?

By no means are the tuk tuk drivers rich, they are poor no matter how many extra dollars they cheat from you (except if they have websites and own a business). Maybe the street vendors are rich but not the drivers. They are dirt poor and that’s why they make those sad faces when you offer too little money, probably most of the sob stories they pull on you are true too. But I don’t get it though. If a trip to the airport costs 5 dollars then ten trips would be 50 dollars already, 30 trips (1/day/month) ? 150$? This is considered a really good monthly salary in Cambodia. Beats me, really.

Bargain the best deal

You know, at first it was just a bunch of shabby looking men and their tuk tuks, all trying to get us ride with them for xx price, not that high but at least a bit higher than for locals. If you are not mentally prepared enough and take it all too lightly you will end up paying extra, might be just insignificant 1 or 2 dollars per ride but suddenly miraculously over 10 dollars a day. So if you stay for a week… Mamma mia!

When I arrived to Cambodia I was prepared to never trust anyone there, ever. Not even if I get friendly with some drivers, nothing will change the fact that I am just a walking wallet in these people’s eyes. Maybe this is not the best tactic because it will make you feel extremely anxious and suspicious about everything and everyone, eventually you will grow unbearably angry and start hating all tuk tuk drivers in whole world just because (that innocent looking smiling face and those “but it’s so far away” comments lies). It’s better to come prepared, with your guns loaded and your heart hardened.

1. Ask how much before getting on vs don’t ask, just get on and pay when you get off.  

I tried these both tactics and came to a conclusion that there is no much difference. If you negotiate the price beforehand it will make you feel better because if you think about 2 dollars, arrive, pay up and the driver is left unsatisfied, asking for more… it’s just sad. You negotiate the price and pay exact amount, no wavering or extra pity because they will/might ask you for more once you have arrived.

If you have decided to get on and pay later, you must know about basic local fares, which is not a problem anyway, you will learn fast. The problem lies in unsatisfied drivers and your own mental health. You know the basic fare and give just so much money but the driver stars protesting “What you give me? 2 dollars more.” Of course, there is always an option of nonchalantly walking away and maybe  probably getting yelled at by a driver who has nothing good to say to your sensitive, privileged, western, 1st world ears. But at least you have saved those few extra dollars you might have lost while negotiation the price beforehand.

2. Know the price. 

The answer is simple, google. There are travel blogs, forums and all kind of sites from where you can read latest information about tuk tuk fares. Know how much others paid and pay the same or a bit lower.

Another method is to pay a visit to a local gas station see how high is the price for gas  and calculate the answer in your head or with a help of an additional electronic devise. If you don’t know, ask the driver how many kilometers to the destination (a high possibility he will lie), you can even ask him how much does his moto use liters/km. I asked and the answer seemed pretty legit. If you know the price of gas it gives you a good advantage while bargaining.

One more thing, I did try asking people about the prices but especially locals refused to give any answers. They always had this “What? Are you stupid? Do you think I will really tell?” smiles on their faces. I’m telling you, it’s one huge plot of the whole society to rip off foreigners. Other travelers? They pay either more than you (and they will give you this moral crap for not sparing some 3 dollars) or less (and it’s just gonna piss you off). Just find out about the price before you come.

3. Negotiate. 

There is a high possibility for you to get lower prices if you ask one driver to work for you for several days. If he doesn’t show up the next morning it will be his loss, not yours (he won’t show up if someone else offers a better deal). And anyway, there are enough tuk tuk drivers just everywhere so you will never face the problem of not getting a ride. If one tuk tuk driver won’t budge from his “super high fares” just walk away, but know that he might follow you for several blocks while continuing his bargaining and he might make a scene in front of other drivers just to prevent you from getting other rides (but this is a case of extreme asshole drivers, most of them are decent people). What you should be aware of is that the tuk tuk drivers have this bad habit of grabbing your luggage and carrying it to the vehicle so you won’t have other options but to ride with them. Just exclaim:”Wait a minute!” and coolly stop them.

4. Know where to catch your ride. 

Definitely not in front of a nice hotel or even a hostel, not in front of restaurants, bus stations or even at the airport entrance. Just think about it, why are there only “fancy” looking tuk tuks in front of fancy hotels? Or will a driver who can speak English be more expensive than the one who can’t and would there be an English peaking driver in front of your hostel rather than a non English speaking one? It’s all a game like in Hollywood movies where fancy gentleman thieves go to Las Vegas to rob banks and Casinos, you have to think smart and be one step ahead, at all times. (Will this make you into a fat tourist without morals who is out there to cheat poor tuk tuk drivers while your pockets are full of money? If you want to put it so.)

At Phnom Penh, if you bother walking some 5 insignificant minutes away from the airport and to the roadside you will save several dollars. The same story when you negotiate for a tuk tuk ride to Angkor Wat yourself instead of asking the hotel reception.

5. The destination

The drivers are usually from the countryside, probably sold their lands in order to buy a vehicle, so they don’t really know the street names too well. When taking a tuk tuk it’s more convenient to tell the driver the name of the place you are going to instead of the address. They know most of the guest houses and all the important sights and markets (if they don’t know they will still attempt to take you there and might get lost, then they might demand more money upon arrival because “Sir, the gas is so expensive.”) When I showed the address, I had written down, to a moto drivers in Siem Reap (I forgot they use different alphabet) the only thing they understood was “Cambodia”. No shit Sherlock!

 Afternoon nap.

What I learned in December 2012 in Cambodia:

My friend said that in Thailand it’s better to just get on a tuk tuk without asking the price and then pay upon arrival, but if you don’t know the price it’s a bit hard. Anyway, I prefer bargaining in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises, at least in Cambodia. If you smile and are very friendly it’s easier to get the price down, Cambodians don’t like angry bargainers The price ranges between 1 to 3 dollars per person. Usually they settle for 1 $/person (a short trip) but 6000 riels (1,5$) is possible too (if you bargain well). From Phnom Penh airport you can get a cheaper tuk tuk outside the gates, 4-6$. And from the city to the airport it’s cheaper to get a tuk tuk not trough hostel/hotel but by yourself, same 4-6$. A taxi for a day might be cheaper option than a tuk tuk  but way more boring. Ankgor Wat should be possible for 12 dollars a day, we idiots paid 17 per day because we didn’t check the prices beforehand. Some paid over 20 dollars but the cheapest should be 10-12 dollars.

Plan your days well so you can include many destinations in on ride and save money. The tuk tuk drivers usually have a map with destinations and most probably will suggest you several routes which make a lot of sense. Just tell them what you want to see, they tell you a plan, you accept, then they tell you a price and you bargain it lower. Simple and easy. In Siem Reap you can walk everywhere, it’s a short distance, and get a bike for a day to visit Angkor Wat, so if you want just forget about these tuk tuks.

The Dilemma 

I guess, the hardest thing will be the sudden jump from middle class to the riches. Once you arrive to Cambodia (or any other poor country) you will suddenly become rich but your mentality will stay the same old middle class. Suddenly you are facing all these poor people, who look at you with their greedy sparkling eyes  because for them you are nothing but a stack of dollars yet to be spent, on them. But in your own heart, you are nothing but a poor student who could barely afford this trip. It’s a confusing situation.

I am just a student, worked hard to get enough money for my trip and can’t really spend extra. It pisses me off when people cheat me, no matter how poor. I come from a country where cheating is considered bad or even illegal. Yet I know all these people are so poor, can barely earn enough for a meal and my responsibility is to share because I can. But then again, they are cheating me because they think I am rich. I am not rich but in their country I actually am. But if I always pay extra I will exceed my budget and have no money when I come back to my own country. How will I live? But anyway, it will still be a better situation than for people in this country. Fuck. Stupid roller coaster, there is no end to this and thinking like this will just turn me into a cynical asshole, which I actually am but anyway…

Morals will just make you vulnerable, that’s all.

Forget about them?

And what? Become a monkey?

“In my country I am not rich” that’s what I said to one tuk tuk driver. His answer was: “At least you can work and save for traveling while I just work to earn a decent living.” Don’t pretend to be innocent and play the wrong cards. They know all those million ways how to make you feel guilty and they are not afraid of using them against you. Don’t let yourself feel guilty. For what should you? Why would you pay extra? Probably because that will make you feel temporarily at ease, like you are a good person and shit. You are buying that good feeling for 3 dollars so you can go back home like a Messiah, waste water and electricity and throw away food you didn’t finish eating? Ha ha ha…. Double standards, throw those away and we are all nothing but monkeys.

I recently read in a blog something along “[…] but don’t bargain too much because…” Why not? As long as you pay like locals it should be okay? What’s the use of over paying? Letting these people live off scam (pisses me off)? Truthfully speaking, I did feel guilty until I read from this one book about Asian sex slaves “Tuk tuk drivers are the majority (of men) who use services of brothels in Cambodia” (Excluding all those pathetic disgusting sex tourists) Excuse me? I thought if I don’t pay that extra dollar people will die because they won’t have enough money to buy medicine or food. Turns out I saved a man from getting HIV.

My point is, you never know how that money will be spent. Of course, not all tuk tuk drivers buy sex (I presume) but still, what about alcohol, cigarettes, drugs etc? So feeling guilty is just… stupid? It’s inevitable but unnecessary. You can’t help it. But even if you pay extra, what will change? Absolutely nothing. Let’s not romanticize poverty. Are you imagining something about girls going to school, mother recovering from an illness or father bringing home meat or sweets, all this because you paid extra? The possibility of this happening is what, 10%? Get real, the girl gets sent off to a brothel, mother dies and there will be no meat. That’s it.  The sad truth of the world.

If you think I am being heartless check out this blog post or this one and think about tuk tuk drivers asking western men “How about a girl?” and then think about those human trafficked poor girls in brothels. Feeling any pity for the tuk tuk drivers anymore? When we arrived to Siem Reap in the middle of the night to a bus station which was located nowhere, there was this tuk tuk driver we tried to bargain with but he just got angry “We are not in Vietnam!” he exclaimed. Then we tried to bargain with another driver but this angry tuk tuk driver started yelling at him in khmer (most probably something about us being bitches) so I told him: “You are a bad man.” It felt like getting overboard then but afterwards when getting yelled at by the street vendors how we were bad people for not buying anything… I knew what I did was right. Anyway, we ended up taking motos, it felt less like a rip off since both got their own rides.

Finally, I KNOW it’s just a few dollars but this is not about the money it’s the matter of principle. Getting cheated all the time is not a nice feeling and when you are treated like garbage on the top of that. No matter how fucking poor anyone is you pay for service which is worth xx amount of money, paying extra just feels shitty. A little bargaining is always good and I am sure if you offer a fair price the tuk tuk drivers will accept. Too little is too little. Overall they are nice people, don’t pity them or give them too much but also don’t mistreat them by being angry if your offered price is not accepted.

Be a good tourist 

1. Don’t get your ride in front of hostels/hotels so your driver gets to keep the whole profit. Get a random ride at a random place.

2. If a driver comes to sell you his service accept it (if bargaining bears good fruits), reward hardworking.

3. Recommend online (forums etc check this out!) if you get good service, take the driver’s cell phone number and let other travelers know. This will give an extra boost to a driver who really deserves it by being honest (more or less) and a good businessman.

4. If a driver suggest you a cafe or restaurant agree to go if you don’t really care much where you eat. He will get a  few extra pennies for bringing you there.

5. Tip good service (after bargaining a good price) but only if it’s a good service.

6. Talk with drivers so they get to practice English, priceless.

It’s HATE both ways

Finally I  left Cambodia with “I fucking hate tuk tuk drivers” and I’m sure they sent me off with “I fucking hate that rich bitch”. Put yourself into their shoes. They are meeting all these fat ugly people every day for the past, what, 10 years. These foreigners have their wallets full of dollars yet they refuse to pay 1 dollar extra? If I was a tuk tuk driver I would detest all white trash, no matter if a man or a woman, drunk or sober, pretty or ugly, fat or skinny, I would hate everyone equally. Just because they have enough money to travel, they have enough money to dress and eat well, to stay in hotels but not fucking enough to pay 1 dollar extra. Those arrogant and stingy bitches, the double standard us. We think we are Messiahs. In truth we are bastards. All of us. Feeling guilty? How ridiculous.

 Drivers getting some water from the fountain, for the radiators, you know.

Cambodia: A Pitiful Scam Paradise?

So Cambodia, one of the poorest Asian countries, if not the poorest (at least in South East Asia). Probably sparring in top ten with Burma, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Nepal, Mongolia and the bloody North Korea. Here are some round facts fished out from various Internet sources:

Maternal mortality over 200 deaths per 100,000 live births

Infant mortality around 40 per 1000 births.

Life expectancy about 63 years.

Literacy rate less than 80%

Almost 50% don’t complete secondary education.

About 35% Cambodians live under the poverty lane.

Usual yearly income from 0 to 600 dollars.

Urban population just a bit over 20%

Access to safe drinking water under 40% of population.

Almost 60% of the labor is occupied with agriculture.

Less than 50% of the roads are paved.

I think that’s enough numbers to realize how poor a country we are talking about here. Can you imagine a yearly income less than 600 dollars? My view is that there are a few big cities where the tourist go and the rest of the land where no one goes, undeveloped, dirty, wild, ridden with diseases and poverty. To top it all there are still, God knows how many. land mines waiting for someone to step on them and blow a part of their body. The west. or America in general, could FOR ONCE be responsible and actually do one good deed, remove those deadly little traps they planted themselves.

It’s my fifth day in Cambodia and I am having mixed feelings about everything. I want to say I definitely hate this poor damned country but I can’t really. I know I will come back to explore the countryside, and only then I can say for sure if I like it here or not. Then again, to go somewhere where people suffer from malnutrition and live in poor dirty conditions, see starvation and disease, smell death and despair,  to walk around, take pictures and then write an arrogant blog post about my mixed feelings of pity, disgust and hate – would that be fun? I doubt.

So far it’s been good and bad, overall like a little Thailand (like Thai people write on forums; “They stole our temples”). The first impression wasn’t too flattering, rip off tuk tuk rides in the late night, cheating soldiers at the border, 2 years old children ‘power selling’ magnets, poverty everywhere, arrogant tourists, stench and dirt, petty fights with peddlers. They say Cambodia is cheap, bullshit. Just to enter and leave you need to pay up 50 dollars (the international airport tax is 25 dollars for foreigners). All the hostel rooms have air con but only if you pay extra you get the remote for it. Two dollars here, three there and five somewhere else, suddenly it’s 50 dollars per day. Compared to China, everywhere is expensive.

I understand this land is poor and that I am seen as a rich person in here but I am not really rich and have a mentality of a poor student, it’s impossible to, suddenly, step into the shoes of an indifferent millionaire and throw money around without bargaining. If I pay more the next tourist pays more, the one after pays more and then the locals pay more as well. Why should I pay more, anyway? Mainly it’s about 1 dollar, petty I know, but still… So many tuk tuk drivers hate me right now.

If I was a Cambodian, a poor one, I’d hate westerners. They come here, bargain for little indifferent (for them) sums, sustain the illegal sex industry, don’t respect local culture, are petty, rude and greedy, take pictures of  my pitiful life and as I am striving to earn an extra 0,25 dollars to get even some kind of dinner for my children they hang out at bar street, drunk and ignorant, eating and leaving food behind. And here am I, unable to send my kids to school. I want them to be educated but I have to send them to streets to beg and sell all kind of odds and sods just to barely come by.

But as a westerner I hate those “price for foreigner and price for Cambodian or only foreigners have to pay”, I hate being cheated out of my money even if it’s just 5 dollars, I hate petty peddlers who call me names just because I don’t want to buy anything, I hate the barbarian lifestyle, I hate it when they use me when I am helpless, I hate it when they think I am super rich when I have to book a cheaper room in a hostel and can’t afford the air con, I hate it when they approach me with a smile and flattering words just because they want something from me, I hate how due to hard life they become like animals, no, even worse, selling their kids to pimps and such. I totally hate all the scam going on around me. I was reading this blog post and lolling all the time, unable to disagree with many opinions.

And yet I pity all those tuk tuk drivers who have to lower themselves and beg for people to take their rides then be petty about some 0.50 dollars just because they desperately need it, I pity those 5 years old kids selling stuff by the roadside because they have no other opinion, I hate seeing young girls working instead of being sent to school, I hate seeing middle aged western men with local whores, I pity those who die from hunger and at the same time are forced to watch lavish lifestyles of foreigners, I pity them all just too much.  It’s all way too complex and in the end so many of us would prefer to just escape,  go home from all this shit and forget, just remember the good times and feelings. We forget, they die. But that’s just life and nothing can be changed overnight, nothing at all. Even if we cane save some, poverty will exist like it always did. The end.

Border crossing from Vietnam 

In the afternoon we took motos from my friend’s house. Her family helped us to arrange rides for a cheap price with reliable Vietnamese men. Though, we paid some extra because our luggage was heavy. First ride was until a ferry and from there we got another reliable Vietnamese men to take us to the border. They were so cute, wanted to take us trough the border all the way to Phnom Den but the officials wouldn’t allow them to cross, we didn’t think about tipping them but should have!

Everything went so well till the border. Small paved roads with palm threes and wooden houses on both sides with locals chilling on hammocks, drying grains at the road side and kids running around. A funeral, little shops, fresh fruits, water buffalos, more and more scooters everywhere. It was a hot day and my hand burned in the sun, but not much. I felt kind of sad leaving safety of my Vietnamese friends behind to enter one of the poorest South East Asian countries and my “suspect everything and everyone” switch turned on.

Actually, a few years ago people told me it was the best time to go to Cambodia because there weren’t many tourists yet and it was somewhat “unspoiled” land. Why did I believe them? Maybe two years ago everything was different?

I have to confess I knew nothing about Cambodia before entering. My view was somehow idyllic post card style: colorful and unspoiled, temples by small lakes with awesome reflections on the water during good weather. Sunsets splashing colors all over the sky, local farmers working on their green rice fields. Well, this was just an idea, and I wasn’t even surprised to see that the reality was a total opposite from a tropic paradise. I should have at least checked out the tuk tuk prices in advance. All I knew we had to get to Phnom Penh and take a bus to Siem Reap where we had booked a hostel. I skimmed trough Lonely Planet and that was all.

At the Vietnamese border they looked trough our passports and then told us to go and get stamps at the near by building. Meanwhile people were walking back and forth, throwing money trough the little window on the desk of the official and no passports were in sight.

After we walked some hundred meters to the place where we were supposed to get stamps there was no one, I joked about stealing something or stamping our passports ourselves but then a man in uniform appeared out of nowhere and took his sweet time going trough our passports as if it was something rare. We finally got our stamps and had to hand our passports for inspection once more before crossing to Cambodia’s side.

Oh man, goodbye reliable Vietnam and welcome… Cambodia. I thought I hated Vietnam but then this day finally came and I realized how much I actually like Vietnam now. I want to go back there, really.

On Cambodian side no one was wearing their uniforms, from one window we were guided to a building where we filled the visa forms and paid 25 dollars, meanwhile men in their casual clothes hung around and joked with each other. Didn’t seem like a border at all and I wonder if it was the first time they even saw passports. The real price for visa is 20 dollars but we weren’t sure if bargaining at the border was a good idea…

The man who handled our visas reeked of alcohol. When we asked about a bus to Phnom Penh they said there is no bus but “luckily” there was a moto driver hanging around, he promised to take us to Phnom Den for 3 dollars, and from there we were to take a taxi to Phnom Phen. After getting our visas we headed to the first place to get stamps and fill another form, then we went to quarantine office to fill the third form and pay up 1 dollar each. For what? Who knows? After asking around for bus everyone just said there is no bus, yeah right… Smelled like a big fat scam. (Later I checked it online and true, there are no direct buses to Phnom Phen from there and we didn’t have enough time to lose some nights. Anyway, this border crossing was categorized in ‘other crossings’ which means foreigners rarely even pass there, I couldn’t find even one single blog post about anyone crossing there).

After about 10 minutes drive we were in Phnom Den, the moto drivers stopped right next to black taxis and one of the drivers was already putting my bag in the trunk when I stopped him and asked about the price. He wanted 45 dollars and I declined right away. We started bargaining with men who hardly knew English and for soem reason they were yelling at each other in their own language.

When we finally managed to bargain the price to 35 dollars the man threw our bags in the trunk. I didn’t realize that one of the men was offering 30 dollars and when I was about to get in the car he exclaimed “NO! 30 dollars!” So I went out and started demanding for them to open the trunk to change the car, but do you think they opened it? Not in the million years, they just joked: “We have your bags now and the trunk is locked, ha ha”. Protesting was no help at all and I felt so cheated, those scammers. I think the business is pretty bad so the men do their everything to get customers. They literally wouldn’t allow us to leave anywhere from the spot. Also the competition between the drivers was fierce, they were yelling at each other like crazy.

In the end, finally giving up, we got in the car and noticed there was a woman sitting on the front seat. It’s a pity we didn’t notice her earlier, could have used her as a tool in our bargaining session. Anyway, the taxi driver didn’t get in so I opened the door and yelled at him to go. After a while he got in and started driving, suddenly made a turn to the left on some shady small unpaved road, stopped and took in another man who squeezed on the front seat with the woman. Why? I seriously don’t get it…

Then the moto drives from before came after us and started yelling at the driver, he got out from the car and started yelling back at them, after 5 minutes of arguing some money changed the owner and we FINALLY departed. I realized I wasn’t really surprised about anything, typical Asia. My friend joked we were in a car with a whore and a drug dealer on our way to be raped, killed and robbed. If I saw the scene from TV it could be even scary but there, that moment, I was just feeling annoyed “Let’s go already!” In fact, I felt like a CIA agent on the way to my mission in a shiny black car with leather seats, outside there were just palms, fields and once in a while dirty, poor neighborhood. My friend commented: “Except CIA agents don’t have bananas and dragon fruits in their bags.”

On the way we tried to ask how long does it take to Phnom Penh and would the driver take us to the bus station. After some gestures we got our answer, it would take us 3 hours to arrive but where, there was no answer. On the way we stopped at some busy road and our taxi driver sold something in black bag to a shady looking guy. Boy, what a start. I finally realized that there is no bus station where to buy tickets, the buses are all independent companies and you have to choose one to buy tickets from their offices. Probably there is like a big bus station or something but of course, no one wanted to let us off cheap or easy.

In Phnom Penh we arrived somewhere and there was a bunch of tuk tuk drivers welcoming us. They said it would be 3 dollars  to go to the bus station but we managed to bargain to 1 dollar per person. So 1 dollar discount. I scolded our taxi driver for not taking us to a bus station and refused to give 5 dollars trying to lower the price to 30, but it failed… so sad.

We ended up at the bar street, bought the bus tickets and went off to get some dinner. On the way we stopped at an ATM to withdraw money, it said dollars on the screen but for some reason I thought I would get riels and started wondering how much would be 100 dollars, ended up withdrawing hundred dollars and got dollars… I see, only dollars from ATM and I lose. Can’t be helped. We stopped at a small grocery store which mainly sold alcohol, lotions and condoms, to buy a sim card. I can’t be too sure but there were whores all around.

In the end we managed to exchange some dollars for riels just because it was easier to bargain. 1 dollar is about 4000 riel but coke from street vendor cost either 2000 riels or 1 dollar so we figured out we must have local money. Cambodians use 1 dollar and up but not down and if you want to bargain a cheap tuk tuk, the cheapest we got was 6000 riels for two. The driver had a sexy back.

It was a very unsteady 5 hours bus trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. At some point there was no paved road and dust was everywhere, it was hard to breathe so I wore my Asian dust mask for the most of the way. The bus was an old shit but the driver was driving as fast as he wanted, didn’t really bother me just that the seats were very uncomfortable and they sold us 8 dollar quality for 10! At some point I went to the back of the bus and lied on two seats, stretching my legs across the walkway on the opposite seats. That way I could catch some sleep before we arrived in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.

I wanted to take a picture in the bus but something went wrong and it looks like we are on our way to hell, haha.

Again, tuk tuk and moto drivers attacked us and we started bargaining for a ride but he wanted 6 dollars first, the last price was 4 dollars, 2 each. When I said 1 dollar he exclaimed: “This is not Vietnam!” Pointless, so we waked to another tuk tuk but the man with whom we had bargained just now followed us and started yelling at this other tuk tuk driver. I told him he was a bad man for intimidating the other driver, it might sound like going overboard but Cambodian peddlers told us we were bad too, for not buying anything. It was a war all again. I randomly asked the guy in the tuk tuk how much he was paying and he said 3 dollars “Which is probably a total rip off” I just mumbled a tired “yeah…” and turned around to bargain with the moto drivers. Like in Vietnam, I finally accepted there must be a special night price so we ended up paying 2 dollars each. But it felt less like a rip off because we both got our own moto.

The ride was about 5 minutes or a bit more and we finally got to our hotel/hostel. The receptionist urged us to change for an air con room without telling the price, after asking a few times he said air con room is 7 dollars, but the room with fan was 3. Screw the air con, that’s what we thought. The first night was kind of chilly but the two other nights were too hot without the air con. However, we survived to another even hotter room with a fan, in Phnom Penh, an now at 2 am I finally finished writing this post.

More about Cambodia coming soon.