Kampot, Kep, and Sihanoukville. Day 8

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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.

I decided to go and see the waterfall that is a few km out of town. The hotel manager gave me some directions, and i also have directions from a blog post that i found online. So there is virtually 100% chance of me getting lost. ­čÖé

The road is nicely tarred, with no potholes, so i gun the motorcycle as much as the 125cc can go. Just as i was starting to enjoy myself. I come to a traffic jam. I open my visor, and hear shouting coming from the end of the line as i pass the vehicles on the shoulder of the road. I recon it must have been an accident and everyone is blaming everyone else. Wrong, there are blaming, but not an accident. I just ran into a protest.

Locals have been protesting for some time of being kicked off their lands by the government that sold the land to large cooperations. I stop near the front and take some pictures, as things start to heat up and tires start to burn. A local reporter comes up to me and explains what the protest is about and we talk a little. As things get more serious, i decide to leave. Not because i feel i am in danger that the locals will turn their anger to me, but more because i do not want to be there when the police show up. I have seen in newspapers how the police and locals negotiate, and i am in no mood for WWIII.

It has rained on and off for the past two days, and the grass on the side of the road is a mess. Not that it stops me, it just showers everyone behind me in mud as i slide the Honda motorcycle on its chassis through the mud with the back wheel in full swing. Mmm, maybe it is better i do not return until the protest has been cleared up and those with mud on their faces have cleaned up.

Driving on, i see the mile marker the blog post talked about, but no side road. I drive up and down for 10 minutes, looking for the side road that is 1km from the mile marker as given, even going as far as 5km down the road, but alas, nothing. Eventually i stop at a roadside restaurant, get a can of soda, and do what few men do. I ask for directions. Yes, sometimes i show my feminine side. It turns out who ever wrote the blog post had no idea of distance. The turn off is about 7km past the mile marker the blog post directions said. That’s why i love to give GPS coordinates in my books, so much easier.

Right, off i go again, and yes, around 7km later, i find the turn off. The road is just a dusty dirt road, so i stop at the first roadside shop i get to and let my feminine side come out again. Yes, i am on the right road. The view along the road is stunning, and I snap a few pictures. A few km later, I come to a ticket office and pay my dues for the privilege of seeing the waterfall. I take in the  scenery as I continue onwards.

Soon i come to a lone biker in the middle of the road, waving me down. The poor guy is so overloaded with stuff. He motions for me to go around him and look at  something. As i slowly pass him, i  realize his predicament. Some of the stuff had fallen off, and he is so overloaded that he cannot get down and pick it up again. I help him out for the price of a picture, and help him rearrange the items so that it does not fall off again. Thankful, the guy speeds off while i drive slow to enjoy the countryside.

Eventually i arrive at the start of the waterfall.  There are a number of restaurants that are starting to open up, and a small bridge that leads to the other side. As i snap a few pictures, i notice the biker i helped before, casually riding over the bridge with his delivery load. What a job.

There are actually a number of waterfall steps, with the first one nice, but not nearly as good as the last one.

I decide to head over the bridge to go and see the main waterfall. Just as I am happily walking on the narrow bridge, I hear hooting behind me. As I turn around, a local is zooming towards me on his scooter. With nowhere to go, I shuffle to the edge and suck my stomach in while the guy non fazed blasts past me.

There are a number of places you can sit or lie in a hammock, as well as a few Khmer restaurants.

Second waterfall. The path leads all along the river, and at times you have to negotiate wooden steps that are wet and slippery.

I follow the path down, and come to a large rock that is right by a waterfall. The rock is moss covered and soaking wet from the spray of the waterfall. I inch carefully forward with the grace of a Rhinoceros. For a split second i see two strange brown things in front of my eyes. By the time my brain registers its my shoes, my ass hits the rock and I slide towards the edge of the rock. With my iPad in one had (sealed in a lifeproof case) I desperately try and arrest my body’s motion of taking a bath. Right at the edge as my feet slip over the edge of the rock, i manage to grab a hold on a branch from a nearby tree. Hanging by one hand and half an bum, I carefully inch my butt a little back until i feel i can breathe again. With my feet dangling over the edge and me still hanging onto the branch, i decide it is the perfect opportunity to snap a closeup of the waterfall.

With my prize shot picture taken, I drag myself back onto the rock and then hands and knees make my way back to safety. After kissing the moss covered rock about four times as I lose my footing, I manage to make it back to the path. I take a big breath and compose the little dignity I still have as a few locals kill themselves in laughter. They are seated at a rest area next to the rock and watched the whole affair. Unfazed, i proudly walk past them, just to lose my footing on a slippery wooden step. Luckily the railing saved me from totally coming crashing down and i hang with one hand onto the railing. However, the locals laugh so hard, they almost roll off their platform. Please let there be no YouTube video of this.

I continue my way down, and eventually come to the path that leads to the main waterfall. The main path to the waterfall is full of people, so i decide to go over a small log bridge and around to the other side. Just trying to avoid the confused looks people give me at my stylish moss covered clothes, they are not up to the latest fashion. Unfortunately, I cannot get a clear picture from that side, and I am forced to go back and pass all the snickering people as I make my way to the main waterfall.

I hope you enjoy this picture, as i bruised my ego and ass getting it. ­čÖé

From the waterfall i head back to my hotel, and draw a snicker from the manager as i walk pass. I give him a look, and then we both burst out laughing. He asks what happened and as i tell him the tale. Poor dude almost falls of his chair. I am so glad i can brighten up his day. I go and take a quick shower, and change my clothes, then head out for a late lunch. Riding around town, i suddenly stop. HOLY COW, can it be? Yes, it is. I just had to go and take a look at the restaurant.

Very nice sandwiches and a nice garden. Cool place to have lunch. After lunch, i decide to check the town out a bit, and then suddenly, heaven is in front of me. I am saved.

From heaven, i decide to go an check out a secluded beach i saw yesterday. The beach is by a number of bungalows that are in the water right at the beach. One day, i am going to come and stay here for a night or two.

I turn to my right and snap a few pictures of the ocean and the beach. As I take the pictures I look at the iPad’s screen, and only when I lower it do I realize there are two people on the beach. Then one gets half up and I am like, ┬ámmmm, nice boobs. The two hit the dirt and scramble for their clothes while I walk away laughing. Stupid tourists, thinking it is a secluded beach. Mind you, every now and again people get caught posing naked at Angkor Wat or some other temple. I do not know what it is about foreigners wanting to pose naked at a temple and then posting the pictures online. What I can tell you is that in almost all cases the people were found and arrested within a day, and then deported with a never come back farewell kick in the ass.

Being a bit late, i decide to head to one of the more popular beaches and have an early dinner. I managed to find┬á a more upscale restaurant between the Khmer local ones, and they have chicken cordon blue on the menu. Nice to have something different than rice and veggies for a change. ­čÖé

Well, sadly tomorrow I will be heading home (Siem Reap). I did go and see some dive operators, but i have no inclination to drive a few hours to some island, spend $100 or so on two dives, that are around 40ft deep and mostly sand. Cayman, you spoiled me. ­čÖé

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.