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How Is Phnom Penh And Vicinity Now?


heybruce
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I'm considering visiting Phnom Penh and possibly Sihanoukville during the upcoming break between semesters here in Chiang Mai Thailand. This trip will be largely to check out the job market for teachers and living arrangements but partly just to see how the city has changed since I last visited eight years ago. I would appreciate any advice regarding places to stay, places to avoid, where to inquire about teaching jobs, and any other useful information. Two specific questions come to mind:

1. When I was there in 2001 there were no ATM's in Cambodia. Is this still the case?

2. This is the end of the rainy season. Is malaria or dengue a big problem? I ask because there were many cases of dengue in Chiang Mai last rainy season and I assume mosquito control isn't as effectively practiced in Cambodia.

Answers to these questions, or general information about jobs and living conditions are greatly appreciated.

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ATMS are everywhere in Phnom Penh. :)

Didnt notice any issues with Malaria or Dengue in Phnom Penh. If I recall more an issue in Siem Reap, but then again I didnt see any outward signs of it there either.

Great place and heading out there myself in a few weeks time.

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Phnom Penh has come on age, somewhat unfortunately.

There is a big four story pink building(school of some sort) near the Soryo Mall which I was told is always looking for teachers. Another school called "Singapore" something also hires. The teaching is not in government schools, only language schools. Don't expect a salary, only hourly for native speakers. Filipinos do get hired but on low monthly wages.

Avoid the brothels unless you want to get your picture taken and be followed around by various NGO's looking for funding.

The eVisa is worth the extra $5.usd, especially if going overland. I'd recommend it even flying. No lines and drama.

Edited by BruceMangosteen
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Avoid the brothels unless you want to get your picture taken and be followed around by various NGO's looking for funding.

Brothels were not on my list of things to do, but I find this comment interesting. Are NGO's blackmailing tourists who visit brothels? Are they real NGO's or locals with fake credentials?

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I visited this year, 9 years after my last visit and didn't really think much of Phnom Penh. The place is now full of cars, dust and rubbish in the streets. 10 years ago it had charm. Now it just stinks. The river area is probably an exception and if I go back, that is where I was stay.

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I visited this year, 9 years after my last visit and didn't really think much of Phnom Penh. The place is now full of cars, dust and rubbish in the streets. 10 years ago it had charm. Now it just stinks. The river area is probably an exception and if I go back, that is where I was stay.

Interesting.........I don't doubt your viewpoint, but mine differs. I was there within the past 12 months and found it far better than five years ago.......much cleaner......far more upscale (upscale for Cambodia) shops and restaurants........even a skyscraper was going up.

I also found a grocery store very similar to Foodland in Thailand (I think the name was Lucky Foodmart or something like that).......great cheese and meat products (and better bread than you find in Thailand).

KFC is there now.........Swensens..........and Fatboys Subway shop.

Sihanoukville is like Pattaya 15-20 years ago and growing very fast (but still lacks some good condo developments on the ocean)

There continue to be downsides:

1) the medical system (but if you have a problem you can always go to Thailand).........there are a few good dentists that the Embassy officials use

2) virtually everything seems more expensive in Cambodia than in Thailand (no idea why)

Good luck! The one thing you will not have to worry about is visas...........the govt. welcomes foreigners in Cambodia and the people are, in general, very nice (many speak English much better than most Thais).

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Avoid the brothels unless you want to get your picture taken and be followed around by various NGO's looking for funding.

Brothels were not on my list of things to do, but I find this comment interesting. Are NGO's blackmailing tourists who visit brothels? Are they real NGO's or locals with fake credentials?

No, looking for funding from back where they come from. They ride around in new Land Rovers and other SUV's pretending to be hot shots all the while playing like policemen and policewomen. At one recent point the Cambodians were going to toss them out but again, foreign money talked. The linked article is an example of how slanted it can get. While I don't know if the guy was a criminal, I know it isn't the role of NGO's to build cases againist them. Watch the video to see what I mean.

http://spectator.org/blog/2009/09/17/beyond-acorn

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I visited this year, 9 years after my last visit and didn't really think much of Phnom Penh. The place is now full of cars, dust and rubbish in the streets. 10 years ago it had charm. Now it just stinks. The river area is probably an exception and if I go back, that is where I was stay.

What a load of 'Twaddle' , which back streets did you wander off to ? I have lived here 4 years now and I noticed a lot of changes for the good , it only has the same smells I noticed in Thailand and the old piles of garbage on the streets has greatly diminished . One thing is for sure , the people are much more polite and helpfull plus they speak far better English than Thai , more to the point , they understand it far better . The charm of Thai disappeared a long time ago , that is why I left , that and the constant scamming . The river-side is undergoing a great improvement , that is for sure , this is still a poor country , if you cannot appreciate that I feel sorry for you .

When you fly in to PP there is no hastle at the airport , nor are there a host of punters awaiting the chance to rip you off , quite the opposite , you are made to feel welcome .

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Thanks for the replies. Are the ATM's connected to the usual collection of bank networks? How do I find out more, in English, about the eVisa? The Visa link I was in Khmer.

1. Yes

2. The e-visa process didn't work when I used it. Must have been a glitch in the system, as my app continued to show "pending" status even after I got back from my trip. So, if you're flying in just remember to bring at least one crisp USD 20 to be submitted with their painlessly-easy visa form. The line at the airport isn't that bad and there are several ATMs right there next to immigration so you can load up on USD before you leave the terminal.

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English teaching schools are scattered throughout the city , there is one just down the street from me , street 200 , my wifes sister has been attending there and it is good , you will need certification there . There is a good clean apartment just down the street from Sorya market going towards the Jockey hotel , I got a good room for an expat from Thailand there , has access to a balcony , nice owners , had a rental sign up a couple of days ago $200.00/$250.00 a month as I recall or the Flamingo Guest house in the same vicinity . You can PM me if you wish .

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English teaching schools are scattered throughout the city , there is one just down the street from me , street 200 , my wifes sister has been attending there and it is good , you will need certification there . There is a good clean apartment just down the street from Sorya market going towards the Jockey hotel , I got a good room for an expat from Thailand there , has access to a balcony , nice owners , had a rental sign up a couple of days ago $200.00/$250.00 a month as I recall or the Flamingo Guest house in the same vicinity . You can PM me if you wish .

Any tips on how to find them? Do you know what kind of pay a TEFL qualified teacher with a couple of years experience can expect?

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I have no idea on teacher pay structure at this time , as for the schools , I have a couple of good dependable English speaking tuk-tuk men you could employ to take you on a tour or a taxi driver if you prefer .

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Actually thought Cambodia was cheaper than thailand!!! Be back in a few weeks, so I'll re-evaluate. :)

Nothing like a cold Angkor Lager :D

I lived there from June of last year thru May this year and was just back thre 2 weeks ago.

Thailand stareet food is 25% cheaper and 100% better. Even a coke at thai 7/11 is cheaper./

Beer laos is my beer of choice.

ATM's everywhere and they Levy a $2 bank charge if ur using a thai bank card. True its drity and upkept and poor butt thats part of its charm.. Still doing the work on the riverfront so u cant stroll the whole length as u could a mere 2 years ago.

Many bars shutting down becuase of the presure of the NGO's and the American threathen to halt money becuase of the amount of Trafficeing. A good friend was locked up 3 weeks ago on abopgus trafficin gcharge cause he ran a bar and fired a girl for stealing and then she turned him him telling the police he forced her to go with customers.

Many owners are pulling out. I used to spend lots of time at Snooky as a good friend from here in phuket has the only sailing boat charter there, Sail Cambodia and loved hiting the islands

Plenty of places to pick up jopbs teaching english and the going rate is $10/hour but as the newbie u wil be given the wrost classes and times. Juts walk around the strrets and u will find them. Looking thruthe pappers will give ya an idea of where the schools are.

You can see plenty of shots of Cambodia here of mine. Cambodia pics

If ur looking for rentals juts find the area u like an dwlak around. I lived across the Tinel Sap directly across steet 136 where the ferry heads over.( for 500 riiel has to be the best trip in town) Had a great studio apt/air con/kitchen/cable/intenet, maid and baclony overlookkiing the river for $450. Plenty of places in town from $200 and up but for me thtis made living in PP great!! Best sunsets .

Have a great time.!!!

By the way, heard from a good freind yesterday that most of Siem Rep is under water and the roads on both sides of the river are now part of the river so be carefull if up there

Edited by phuketrichard
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ATM question has been answered.

Malaria and dengue. Malaria is a rural issue - northeast , northwest border areas, southwest mountains and nowhere near Phnom Penh. Dengue is an urban disease and is indeed a problem in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. While you will have a lot of trouble finding an expat who's had malaria or even knows someone who's had it, dengue you will find many people have had it. Self included. Though my infection in 2001 was relatively mild as far as dengue goes. A week of aches and fever but nothing debilitating. The recovery, about six weeks of lethargy and mental depression, was for me, more of a problem than the disease itself.

Cambodia is a rapidly changing place and though still way behind Thailand in terms of development, is improving rapidly and surprisingly functions much better than Thailand in many ways. And it's much less xenophobic (at least with westerners, let's not talk about attitudes towards the Vietnamese or the Thais, and to a lesser extent, the Koreans).

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ATM question has been answered.

Malaria and dengue. Malaria is a rural issue - northeast , northwest border areas, southwest mountains and nowhere near Phnom Penh. Dengue is an urban disease and is indeed a problem in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. While you will have a lot of trouble finding an expat who's had malaria or even knows someone who's had it, dengue you will find many people have had it. Self included. Though my infection in 2001 was relatively mild as far as dengue goes. A week of aches and fever but nothing debilitating. The recovery, about six weeks of lethargy and mental depression, was for me, more of a problem than the disease itself.

Put is prespective, I live in Phulet and caught Dengue about 3 months ago. For the first few days could barely move and every bone in my body ached. Took about 1 month till i felt good and still get tired 3 months later. so its not a Cambodian problem at all but all over aisa. The say southern thailand has the highets % of Dengue.

After Thailand i find the Canmbodian a much more relaxed people and easier to get to know although as an outsider we are never really allowed fully in.

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I visited this year, 9 years after my last visit and didn't really think much of Phnom Penh. The place is now full of cars, dust and rubbish in the streets. 10 years ago it had charm. Now it just stinks. The river area is probably an exception and if I go back, that is where I was stay.

What a load of 'Twaddle' , which back streets did you wander off to ? I have lived here 4 years now and I noticed a lot of changes for the good , it only has the same smells I noticed in Thailand and the old piles of garbage on the streets has greatly diminished . One thing is for sure , the people are much more polite and helpfull plus they speak far better English than Thai , more to the point , they understand it far better . The charm of Thai disappeared a long time ago , that is why I left , that and the constant scamming . The river-side is undergoing a great improvement , that is for sure , this is still a poor country , if you cannot appreciate that I feel sorry for you .

When you fly in to PP there is no hastle at the airport , nor are there a host of punters awaiting the chance to rip you off , quite the opposite , you are made to feel welcome .

What a load of what? I saw the place in 1993 and it was much more interesting then. My colleague has been there for 10 years and pretty much shares my opinion. You're just a johnny-come-lately mate. Wait till you've been in Asia for a while, then you might be qualified to comment.

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Avoid the brothels unless you want to get your picture taken and be followed around by various NGO's looking for funding.

Brothels were not on my list of things to do, but I find this comment interesting. Are NGO's blackmailing tourists who visit brothels? Are they real NGO's or locals with fake credentials?

No, looking for funding from back where they come from. They ride around in new Land Rovers and other SUV's pretending to be hot shots all the while playing like policemen and policewomen. At one recent point the Cambodians were going to toss them out but again, foreign money talked. The linked article is an example of how slanted it can get. While I don't know if the guy was a criminal, I know it isn't the role of NGO's to build cases againist them. Watch the video to see what I mean.

http://spectator.org/blog/2009/09/17/beyond-acorn

Did you actually watch the video report mentioned at that link? It is a hidden camera documentary that aired on ABC Nightline television program in which an American pedophile makes it very clear the types of things that he is doing in Cambodia. Maybe a judge would rule that the guy was somehow entrapped, but the video is pretty damning. What do you find "slanted" about it?

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Did you actually watch the video report mentioned at that link? It is a hidden camera documentary that aired on ABC Nightline television program in which an American pedophile makes it very clear the types of things that he is doing in Cambodia. Maybe a judge would rule that the guy was somehow entrapped, but the video is pretty damning. What do you find "slanted" about it?

Yes, I watched the video. And, I've also been in Cambodia. Furthermore he doesn't to my knowledge based on the report have any convictions of being a "pedophile" so your remarks are par for the course. Believing NGO's and those seeking ratings (ABC's Nightline) as opposed to the actual conviction and presumption of innocence. The video wasn't damning in my judgment. The remarks about doing this or what were not in context and we don't even know if the accused actually said them. As I said, if he is a pedophile I want him and others like him tried and convicted and put away never again to be allowed near children anywhere in the world. But it remains an NGO driven for funding from abroad and a TV network seeking ratings, not a legitimate law enforcement pursuit of a criminal. The article was slanted as are your remarks toward convicting someone without due process and accepting the unqualified and illegally obtained evidence full of assumptions etc. from outsiders, not Khmer people. The Asian pedophile problem is much grander within their own cultures and people. The role of NGO's simply isn't law enforcement my main point. Thank you and if you got this far you must yourself have doubts and be thinking about being wrongly accused of a crime in one of these countries based upon the accusations of an NGO seeking funding for their fancy cars, houses, and yes perhaps prostitutes(see the stories on the UN people in Africa)....

Edited by BruceMangosteen
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I've lived in Phnom Penh 2 years.

The city is trash-strewn & the driving is the worst on Earth. Be careful crossing roads & try to avoid using motodups.

The people are very friendly. I'm only rarely ripped off in shops & never in markets. English level MUCH lower than in Thailand.

Good hotel room by the river: ~$20.

Crime: out of control (no policing), so stay away from dark spots at night etc. You won't spot a building in PP which isn't surrounded by razor wire.

Governance, public facilities, parks, etc: zero.

Malaria & dengue don't exist in PP so far as I know, but there are high- & low-freqency areas in the bush.

I've had 3 English teaching jobs; & have found them hard to find lately. Usually broken shifts & pay is about $10 or so p hour.

Touts & drivers much more aggressive than in Thailand, especially in tourist areas like the river. I've known people who cut their one-week stay down to one day, as they felt under siege (as do I).

Visa situation much easier than Thailand - one of the reasons I moved. Just show up at the airport with $20 & a photo. One year visa? Just pay someone $200 (usually thru a travel agent - tho the immigration officials at the airport also accept bribes) & it's yours - you don't even have to fill out a form.

Batambang & Siem Reap are far nicer places than PP btw. If I were coming to Cambodia, & know what I know now, I'd be heading there.

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PS on pedophiles & alleged pedophiles:

I've heard anecdotal accounts of Western NGOs getting the police to arrest & charge alleged 'pedophiles' who were not pedophiles - e.g. one English teacher who simply took street kids in & fed them, as they were starving & didn't have homes. Tho his live-in girlfriend supported him in this, he was arrested anyway. My friend (his headmaster) tried for ages to get him out of jail. Eventually this succeeded, & the 'pedophile' returned to the US, his life ruined.

On the other hand there's little doubt there are real pedophiles here in some number. A child brothel, K11, on the PP outskirts, charges one $200 to have sex with a child (so my tuk tuk driver tells me). On my first trip to Sihanoukville I went to a net shop & opened google. A dropdown box appeared showing all the recent searches. About half of them were 'sexy five-year-old' & 'underage nymphet' etc.

If the false arrest stories are true, it may be that the crusading NGOs have over-reacted just a little to a genuine (& horrifying) problem.

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I visited this year, 9 years after my last visit and didn't really think much of Phnom Penh. The place is now full of cars, dust and rubbish in the streets. 10 years ago it had charm. Now it just stinks. The river area is probably an exception and if I go back, that is where I was stay.

What a load of 'Twaddle' , which back streets did you wander off to ? I have lived here 4 years now and I noticed a lot of changes for the good , it only has the same smells I noticed in Thailand and the old piles of garbage on the streets has greatly diminished . One thing is for sure , the people are much more polite and helpfull plus they speak far better English than Thai , more to the point , they understand it far better . The charm of Thai disappeared a long time ago , that is why I left , that and the constant scamming . The river-side is undergoing a great improvement , that is for sure , this is still a poor country , if you cannot appreciate that I feel sorry for you .

When you fly in to PP there is no hastle at the airport , nor are there a host of punters awaiting the chance to rip you off , quite the opposite , you are made to feel welcome .

What a load of what? I saw the place in 1993 and it was much more interesting then. My colleague has been there for 10 years and pretty much shares my opinion. You're just a johnny-come-lately mate. Wait till you've been in Asia for a while, then you might be qualified to comment.

Been living in SE asia 12 years plus already , but I do not waste my time looking for the downside of anywhere I may or may not choose to live , I have no axe to grind and speak as I find and I say again your post is a load of twaddle , read some of the posts on here and note the self contradiction .

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Actually thought Cambodia was cheaper than thailand!!! Be back in a few weeks, so I'll re-evaluate. :)

Nothing like a cold Angkor Lager :D

Agreed. I thought it was a lot cheaper.

A friend of mine, who lives there, has calculated his savings at 40%, i.e. Cambodia is 60% of the cost of living in Thailand ---- but this obviously depends on how we like to spend our money.

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Been in South East Asia for 12 years have you dumbell? You must have spent most of it looking in the other direction then. Phnom Penh stinks, there are no garbage bins and foul smelling rubbish is strewn all over the 'pavements'. Walk out of your shoe box and have a look right now. As Robroy above states. Open your eyes sunshine.

Self contradiction? <deleted> are you talking about. Suggest you buy yourself a dictionary.

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^Caveat main tourist areas were quite ok - didnt see garbage anywhere except the bin. Actually things were well kept and clean. Now - further away from tourist areas - things do seem to get worse., no doubt about it. I'll stand by things being cheaper for food and accommodation. Of course the Khmer hospitality is bar none better than thailand.

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Hey Kurnell , not trying to start a war here just giving my opinion of how I see things , different people have different perspectives on what they see and how they they tranlate it to what they are looking for , I am here for an easy life amongst happy people who are not confrontational . When I first arrived here I would have gone along with most of what you have written , but the effort that has been put in by government and local inhabitants has vastly improved the appearance of PP in many areas . You enjoyed the river-side area because that is where the most effort has been concentrated , partialy due(I think) because of the drainage improvement work and the concentration of foreigner friendly buisinesses , yes it has been drawn out I agree by Western standards . Even the local market people have been putting in an effort , but there are always those that never seem to want to change for their own benifit and the few make it look worse for the majority .

The traffic is a different kind of ball game , yes it looks terribly haphazard and dangerous for a while until you learn how to navigate whilst crossing the street , yet I have rarely seen an accident of much consequence . Speaking of that , are you aware that PP has a fleet of 6 modern ambulances and some hospitals also give ambulance service , BKK still rely on pick-up people fighting for a share of the mangled remains . I guess our outlooks on life in a poor country vary because we must differ on our own circumstances , let us just agree to disagree and be content in our own way .

As to the cost of living , we live in a good 2 room apartment with full cooking facilities , a nice balcony , we live well and I give my wife $550.00 (B19,250) , she pays for everything with this money and still helps her family , cost me more than that to exist in BKK . Have a nice day .

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First time I went to P.Penh was about 1995....I enjoyed it then and I enjoy it now. Over the years I have taken quite a few people with me and I noted that about 50% of the people really liked it and have been back.....I have pretty much been everywhere within Cambodia, Either in a car or on the back of a motorcycle.

I have been here in Thailand for 17 years and I look forward to returning to Cambodia. Some people find it difficult to be out of there comfort zone, others find it excitng.

Most people that 'Live' Here in Thailand have seen very little of it. Spending all there time in Bangkok, Pattaya or Phukett, Perhaps these are the people that prefer there comfort zone....To each his own.

I agree with what dumball has wrote. However I have seen some horrible traffic accidents both in P.Penh and out in the country

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