Kampot, Kep, and Sihanoukville. Day 7

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For details of the places I visited in Kampot, Kep, and Sihanoukville, with GPS Coordinates, see my book Kampot, Kep and Sihanoukville.

Got up early this morning to catch my minibus to Sihanoukville. The hotel has a 24 hour reception desk, but when I got downstairs, there was no one at the desk. I decided to walk outside, and it is then that I saw the hotel manager. On the front porch of the hotel was a small bed, where I had often seen the hotel manager and his wife eat lunch. I had thought it to be just a place for them to eat outside. Now I saw the real reason for the bed. The hotel manager was fast asleep outside, alone. The 24 hour service is you, waking him up when you arrive at the hotel. I left him alone and watched the sun rise over Kampot for the last time on this visit.

The manager woke up as the first rays of light gently touched him and we started a conversation. The hotel used to only have local guest, but was doing badly. He had just put the hotel on bookings.com, and we were basically his first non Cambodian guests. He asked me for some advice, and I helped him out a bit about what foreigners would let slide and what not. Such as toilet paper, that is not a standard thing in Cambodian homes, but is immediately missed by a foreigner.

After a while, I got a bit worried as my taxi had not arrived yet. I have done many trips around South East Asia, and know they are often 10 to 15 minutes late, but this was now about 25 minutes. The manager called and as normal was assured they are on their way. A few minutes later, a guy on a scooter raced into the hotel parking lot. He was there to pick me up. Jup, they had forgotten about me and had sent whoever they could grab to go pick me up. Luckily I had known better when I started the trip and only packed a 55L backpack, else we would have had a problem fitting on the scooter if I had a large Bag or suitcase.

My left hand was sore from hurting it after riding with the kid that guided me a few days ago. I had held onto the grab handles on the backseat, and managed to twist my wrist as we went though a pothole he had missed. So now I was only holding onto the grab handle with one hand, while this lunatic zipped though traffic to try and catch my bus. If I had a larger or heavier backpack, they weight would have ripped me off the backseat as the driver swerved between cars and around frightened pedestrians.

Eventually we made it to the minibus, having had a few close calls. I am sure there are a number of people back there than need new underwear, and if this was my first lift on a motorbike, i would have needed a change as well.

The minibus was surprisingly reasonably new, and the air conditioner worked. The trip to Sihanoukville is not long, as the road to there is very good and it being only around 117km. We stopped once for a wee break and some snacks. If ever you are on a tour in South East Asia, and they stop at a place to eat, you can almost bet the place next door is about half price. In this case, there was a small market next door. The place we stopped at asked $1 for a small bunch of bananas, where i got the same bunch in the market for 25c (1000 Riel). After a 15 minute rest, we were on the road again. To my surprise, we passed a tollgate. This is one of very few operational in Cambodia.

 tollroad on way to sihanoukvilleToll road on the way to Sihanoukville from Kampot.

After some distance, we passed by Sihanoukville airport. As far as i know, there are no international flights to the airport, only local flights.

Sihanoukville airportSihanoukville airport from the main road passing it.

Eventually we arrived in Sihanoukville. And as standard, we are not dropped off at the bus station (which is close to my hotel), but at the tourist spots where eager tuk tuks and taxies await us.

serenity road, sihanoukvilleSerenity road, Sihanoukville

In Sihanoukville, tuk tuks have started a price fixing mafia, and it is difficult to find a cheap tuk tuk. I am offered a ride for $8 for the short 5 minute ride to my hotel. I look over my shoulder and see a lion statue with some well, big balls.

Golden Statue, SihanoukvilleGolden Lion Statue

 I wave the tuk tuk away and get the “you will not find a better deal” standard ploy. I walk about 20 meters up backpacker road (real name is Serenity road), and find a shop renting motorcycles. They charge $5 a day, but i negotiate them down to $4 a day if I take the motorcycle for two days. However, i then bargain with them to return the motorcycle on the third day, before midday, as it was about midday at the time. They agreed. So i got a motorcycle for almost 3 days, for $8.

motorcycle rental in SihanoukvilleThe red Honda scooter on the left is the one I chose.

After renting a motorcycle, I walked across the road for a bite to eat. I got myself a cup of coffee that comes with a piece of bread. Mm, well that piece of bread may fill me up.

coffee and bread in sihanoukville

I head to my hotel, and find it to be right by the port. The hotel add said it has a view of the ocean. Mmm, yes I think I see the ocean in the back there.

Sihanoukville portSihanoukville port

hotel room sihanoukvilleAt least the room was nice and had hot water and air conditioning.

 I decide to go and drive around and have a look at some of the beaches.

The first beach was a bit too crowded for me, so i continued on.

beach in sihanoukville

I thought of taking a boat out, but could not find the captain.

boat anchored on beach in sihanoukville

Then I came to a very nice beach and stayed a while.

soko beach

After some relaxing time on the beach, I decided to return to the coffee shop as i noted they had cheap pizza. When i got there, the first think that struck me about the menu was, that it warned you that Sihanoukville is dangerous. And that women must not carry handbags, as snatch and run theft is high in Sihnaoukville, especially near Serendipity beach. Women had been dragged over the tarred road behind a escaping thief on a motorbike, until the handbag strap broke or she let go from the pain.

police hotline sihanoukville

I ordered a small pizza, and when it came, I was shocked. The waiter assured me that it was indeed a small pizza. The thing was so big, I took the leftovers home for breakfast. After the massive meal, i walked a bit down the road to the beach, and was passed by a guide pushing a trolly full of salted and spiced snails. They are all over Cambodia, and if you love snails, this is for you. Personally, I do not care how much you spice it, it is still like swallowing a ball of mucus.

snail cart cambodia

On the way home, I took a side road and managed to get some nice twisties and had some fun. I also passed a small but stunning lake.


lake in sihanoukville

lake in sihanoukville

Tomorrow I will go and have a look at some more beaches, a local waterfall, and see what else i can find in town.

Cambodia Visa Information

New Visa Changes 2014 / 2015
In October of 2014, the visa fees were changed, please take notice of this increase and have additional money when reaching the border.Tourist Visas:

  • $30 for the first month. + $7 processing fee.
  • Visa is valid for 90 days, but stay is limited to 30 day blocks.
  • $45 for second month, renewable inside the country.
  • $5 per day for overstaying your visa, plus a warning. (Overstay twice in a row and get banned for 4 years or more.)
  • 1: Color Passport photo required. Now $5 if you do not have a picture at most land border crossings, but still $1 in the airports at Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
  • You have to leave the country after 90 days and do a border run if you want to stay longer when on a tourist visa.
  • Even though the visa is valid for 90 days, you have to re extend it every 30 days and pay the monthly visa fee.
  • You can get a e-visa before you arrive to Cambodia ($40 total fee with processing fee included). This however is only accepted at the airports and major border crossings such as the one at Bavet (Phnom Penh – Saigon). See https://www.evisa.gov.kh/
  • For an Iphone visa application app, see: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cambodia-e-visa/id859901546?ls=1&mt=8
  • For an android visa application app, see: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.e_visa
  • Processing normally takes 3 Business days at a consulate or online, and on the spot at border posts.
  • Point above is very important, processing is not done over weekends, you cannot apply Friday and want your visa Sunday.

Business Visa:

  • $35 for the first entry, valid for 1 month. + $7 processing fee.
  • You can extend the first visa inside the country.
  • Extension for business visa is 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months.
  • 1: Color Passport photo required. Now $5 if you do not have a picture at most land border crossings, but still $1 in the airports at Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
  • $285 current price for 12 month business visa.
  • Only 6 and 12 month business visas are multi entry.
  • $5 per day for overstaying your visa, plus a warning. (Overstay twice in a row and get banned for 4 years or more.) In addition, you may be denied renewing your business visa.
  • Processing normally takes 3 days at the consulate, and on the spot at border posts.
New requirements for Business Visa
The requirement to obtain a business visa by law have been for a long time that you need a work permit in order to be granted a Business visa. However, the law has been tightened up and also enforced more strictly.In November and December of 2014, official went around several areas in Cambodia and arrested a number of people that had a valid business visa, but no work permit.Fines are $100 for every year you stayed in Cambodia, or part thereof, without a work permit. Additional fees such as processing fees of around $25 per year are also charged at random. For the first year that you stay in Cambodia, is is generally accepted that you do not need a work permit, as you are looking for work. However, to renew the business visa at the end of the term, you will need a work permit, as well as pay back fees for the previous year.
Additional things to know about visas
You have to leave the country and cancel your previous visa if you want to change visa groups, such as going from a tourist visa to a business visa.Currently staying long term in the country when you are not employed is a gray area and being worked on. People on pension will have to declare their income from their pension, and may be taxed on this. People that have income from overseas investments or business ventures, even online, will need to declare and pay tax in those profits.You can set up your own company easily in Cambodia if you do not have an employer to obtain a work permit letter. There are a number of companies setup that can help you with the legal requirements once you are in Cambodia. You will need to pay a monthly tax fee.Agents at some border posts will add their own fee on top of the visa fee for handling the applications for you. Many people see this as scams, but you have to take it in light. They are providing a service for you by taking out the guesswork of filling out forms and standing in cues, for a few dollars. If you really want, you can save a few dollars and do it all yourself, but in most cases, the speed that they get things done, it is a bargain.Bring at least $60 to the border as at places (remote border posts and after 4 to 5pm, there are sometimes additional fees that will not be backed down from even if you do it yourself.Important: E-visas are valid from the day that they are issued for 30 days, and not the date you say you will enter Cambodia. If you apply too soon, you will lose a few days. Apply 3 days before entry or 4 if you want to be safe.

Remember to bring 2 printouts (black and white is fine) of your E-visa. One copy you will give to customs when you enter and one when you leave Cambodia

Get more information here.

WiFi Hotspot from your laptop

Don’t you hate it when you come to a place and they charge per connection?

Well, I have some hope for you.

If you have a laptop, you can use your laptop’s built in WiFi, to create a hotspot for you other devices. This means that only your laptop needs to be connected to the hotel or restaurant’s wifi or even cable device, and you pay only for one connection.

The trick is a small application, called Virtual Router Plus. You can download the latest version here. It is free and shareware.

Virtual Router Plus

The application uses your laptop’s WiFi device, to create a hotspot.

I use it from time to time with my apple devices, and have no problems.

Hope this travel tip helps.

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