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I spent 20 years punching a time clock... then decided there had to be another way. Right now I'm sitting in a comfortable chair on a beautiful beach. There's a sweet, soft breeze in the air. In front of me, on the clear blue water, a boat drifts by. Maybe I'll go snorkeling this afternoon, or work on my tan. This is my kind of tropical paradise... cheap and unspoiled!
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Fat City, Cambodia    

By Ken Silver About Asia
2637 Views | 2 Comments | 6/5/2010 1:35:42 AM
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Something like an oasis, the town of Siem Reap, Cambodia, will give you anything you want; from awesome spiritual ecstasy to just the right kind of beer. The beds are soft, the police are afraid of you, and a chauffeured day at the most spectacular temple complex on Earth will cost you seven dollars.

Oh, like fresh baked French croissants?

You want to see Cambodia, but you do want to see it safely. A U.N. land mine removal expert once told a hard traveling friend of mine “If you knew how many land mines are buried here you would run from this country screaming.” Plus, the primitive health care system gave me some thoughtful moments as I contemplated what an accident or sickness would mean while traveling Cambodia solo...

Neither factor is any worry in Siem Reap, gateway to, and satellite town of, the spectacular temple complex of Angkor Wat. This town has everything for everybody. If you’ve got a thousand dollars a night you can stay a couple of hotel room doors down from Brad and Angelina. If you’ve got 7 dollars, you can stay a couple of doors down from me. Either way, Paradise is yours.

The entire world comes to see Angkor Wat, and Siem Reap shows everyone comfort and entertainment, with fine dining; at any price level. (The mines have all been dug up here, and there are private medical clinics for travelers. Just wash your hands and stay on the obvious paths. Thank you.)

Anyhow, there are countless guest houses and hotels here. Seven dollars USA will get you a comfortable room for 2 people, with AC. Cleaned daily by giggling groups of young Cambodian maids. (Forget it, you rascal! Reputations means everything to the marriage minded ladies here. Use this international dating website.) For a dollar you can be chauffeured around town in a kind of motorcycle driven “horseless carriage” called a moto. It is every moto drivers ambition to be your guide to the temples, which means multi-day work for them. 7 or 8 dollars will be their price per day. They will try for more, but there are plenty of drivers competing for work.

Not a plug, but I usually stay at one of the Green Town guest houses, and deal with a very honest manager named Linn. Or, at a real splurge, the Shadow of Angkor, at about $14 a night. With its classic French interior and furniture, river location, balcony rooms, and free internet. Your lady will be impressed...

Anyhow - here’s the plan. When you come into town, by bus or plane, there will be lots of moto drivers clamoring to take you to a hotel. Motor around town with one, find a good cheap hotel, settle in. The moto driver will try to become your driver and guide for Angkor Wat and all things Siem Reap. Up to you. Be sure their motorcycle engine still has power.

When you are touring Angkor Wat, get a multi day pass. Pricey, at $40 for 3 days, or a week for $60. A one day pass is $20, but at least get the three day pass. This is the only expense in town that can’t be bargained down.

What is Angkor Wat? On a map, it’s a pleasant forest park the size of Manhattan. With spectacular, spectacular, gargantuan ancient temples. A real Disneyland of visuals, monkeys, man made lakes, open air local restaurants, Buddhist ceremonies, crowds of people from all over the world, and an elephant or two. The temples still see worshipers, still hold spiritual power, and no one who comes here ever forgets it. Angkor Wat delivers the goods.

Then, after a awesome day, dine and party at the cheap, respectable, bars and restaurants in downtown Siem Reap. Fifty cent beers, one dollar meals at the food stands, world class meals at the tourist joints for 3 dollars.

Before I discovered website dating, in my quest for an Asian lady, one tropical night at the food stands next to Pub Street, I found myself held hostage at the Council of Women…

Oh wait, I told you that story in my last blog.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2010-06-05 20:10:14 by thedragonb1 @thedragonb1

No, you didn't finish that story of being held hostage and how did the night end and what happened the day after. Did this woman speak English? ;)

Secondly, I would be interested in hearing your pre-story, Ken. I don't know if CLM can put us in touch personally, but I am curious from your blogs and bio. You worked in America and just one day decided to pack up your bags and move to South East, Asia and travel around? Do you have a home and were are you living when you are not traveling? Do you work there? How did you do it? How much does one need to save? What about work? Living? Or are you just roaming the earth like Kane in Kung Fu? How long can you sustain such a lovely and adventurous lifestyle? Dare I say, I'm envious and curious if I can pull off such a lifestyle change.

#2010-06-06 21:57:10 by chrisfr2 @chrisfr2

i went twice in cambodia, coming from BKK by plane (exept if you wants to try the real adventure trip, with rip off and troubles, avoid to come by road)

> my only experience of phnom phen is : WHAT'S THIS F... HELL ?
the definition of a "one way street" there, is when at least 50% of the cars goes in same direction. it's dirty, unsafe, uninteresting at all....

> my 2 experiences of SIEM REAP : i've discovered a wonderfull place. just wake up early and climb the temple to watch the sunrise... walk alone in the ruins of angkorwat, you will feel lost in the jungle (no mines there anymore).. in the main temple, go visit my favorites dancers, behind the fist wall, hidden on the right. noone never goes there. they are so pretty.

I WILL COME BACK

chris

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