Siem Reap Stories and Tips

Highlights, Tips, Money

Angkor Sunset Photo, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Highlights included the opportunity to support the Seeing Hands Massage place. The Khmer style massage felt good both physically and mentally. How great it is to see the chance for blind people to be able to support themselves providing a much desired service. All of the staff was pleasant, happy people. There are a couple of locations, one of which is near the night market.

Seeing just how many people could crowd the single block of Pub Street on New Year’s Eve was another highlight. Every bar and restaurant put out mini bars on the side walk for take away mixed drinks and beer. This way you didn’t have to go the long 20’ distance of walking inside.

Learning about the Cambodian Palm was fascinating. The plants are male and female as indicated by the bud shown in the picture. The trident shaped one is male and the lotus blossom shaped one is female.

Each night the tree is climbed to squeeze the buds over a period of several days. Eventually when picked, lots of juice is extracted. This juice can be drunk or combined with the juice of the fruit which is even sweeter then boiled to make what looks like sugar cubes. Several of these cubes are then decoratively wrapped in narrow leaves from the tree and sold mostly to locals. If the fruit is left to ripen to a point a turning red it can then be made into wine. To top it off, the palm frond can be used in the roofing of buildings. This is an extraordinary plant.

Although the currency is the reil, the dollar seems to be the most utilized. At this time the exchange rate is about 4200:1, but the banks, exchange houses, and business trade at 4000:1. Riel is returned for change when the amount is less than a dollar. This means every time your bill comes to .25 to .75 cents you get riel. Now, try and use them! While the Thailand baht is accepted at some places, the exchange can cost quite a bit. For example, when crossing into Cambodia the sign indicated a visa costs $20 dollars which is about the equivalent to 660B baht. I was charged 1000B for my visa. In summation, if you can possibly travel with dollars you should and better still is if you can take plenty of smaller bills to get as close to the actual cost as you can.

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