Granted, Cambodia is one of the cheapest destinations in Asia. But if you want to save even more, take note of these quick tips for the frugal who still want a fantastic holiday:
1. Brush up on your Khmer
Like anywhere else, learning some of the local language can give you an edge, not just socially, but financially as well. Know the basics and add on some things which will come in handy when barganing or discering a scam from the real thing.
2. Know The Local Currency
Familiarise yourself with how much your home currency is worth in Cambodia, and equally important, know how much things cost locally. Expect to pay a reasonable amount over what locals pay. Its just common courtesy as a tourist.
3. Venture Beyond The Tourist Trail (This Means Loney Planet!)
Ok, you can refer to the LP “tourist bible” a little if you must, but the real bargains (and charm) is usually found by asking around and some fearless exploration (NOT in remote areas, mind you – see # 5). Info maps are given free at the big cities, so by all means, use good use of those.
4. Listen To The Locals
I’m talking about the personal stories of the locals here, of which there are many more tragic than you can imagine. Never mind that, it will enrich your experience and worth every minute.
5. Don’t Stray From The Road
Frighteningly, there are still many land mines in Cambodia which the exploring tourist can encounter (fatally) in remote areas. Be careful and stick to the roads and areas you know are safe.
6. Eat Like The Locals
Another tip which really counts anywhere. Sample the cheap and interesting local flavours at market stalls and street joints, if your stomach dares. Better if you can see the food being cooked and can make a judgement beforehand on its freshness and cleanliness. Free tea is also offered nearly everywhere. Yum!
7. Take The Train
Trains are an experience worth trying in Cambodia. The west lines are known to be more reliable, but always check out the safety memos beforehand.
8. Bring your International Vaccination Certificate (photocopy)
Some border checkpoints ask for this, so if you haven’t got it, be prepared to pay a fee.
9. Opt For Bicycles Rather Than Motorcycles
In touristy places ike Angkor, choose a bike to explore rather than a motorcycle with or without a driver. Its loads cheaper, better for the environment and your health too.
10. Dont Be Too Cheap!
Lastly, however cheap the country is, don’t be too much of a Scrooge. You are a guest here and these people do need to make a living too. Besides, you’ve come all this way and are on holiday. What better time to treat yourself a little now and then to make the trip even more special?
[tags]backpacking asia, budget travel, travel tips, Cambodia[/tags]