Three Czech students are backpacking around South East Asia. They stop in Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit the famous Angkor Wat, only to lose most of their money in a scam. The next fews days are hungry ones as they desperately assess their options while broke in Cambodia…
Me: Cambodia can be a wild place
Eliška: [Laughs] Yeah. So, um, I and two friends, we are three girls, decided to go to Taiwan…
Eliška: No, Thailand, sorry. And then go to Cambodia, because it’s like, in the neighborhood, it’s very close. We took a bus and train. It’s a really long distance, 12 hours I guess? Maybe more. We finally arrived to Cambodia, to Siem Reap. It’s the Angkor Wat complex.
Me: I’ve been there, yeah.
Eliška: Yeah, it’s really, really amazing place, but… People in Cambodia are really poor, like I have never… You cannot imagine it.
In Europe, if you say poor people, it doesn’t mean anything compared with Cambodian people.
So, we arrived and the bus driver told us that he had a friend who has a service company for tourists. So, we met him and he offered us a trip around Angkor Wat, with ticket entries and tuk tuks.
We decide to pay for just one day trip to Angkor Wat, because it was really expensive for us. We spent a lot of money in Thailand, so we didn’t have enough money to be in Cambodia as… how do you say… “high society?” Yeah, “high society” tourists.
So we paid the fees and the tickets bla bla bla, and he told us to be ready at 4AM the next morning. His colleague, the driver, would wait for us to see sunrise.
So, the next day at 3AM, we woke up and went outside, looking for the driver of the tuk tuk. He told us he didn’t have the tickets for us because the boss ran away and left the company, or something like that. We didn’t have the budget to pay it again, but we paid anyway. We spent all our money for the tickets because we paid it twice.
The next day, we didn’t eat anything. The day after, we were really, really exhausted and hungry, so we called home to our moms and begged, “Please send us some money.” That was really, you know, not really a pleasurable situation for us.
Me: To be broke in Cambodia.
Eliška: Yeah! Because in Cambodia, everything is really cheap. And if you don’t have any money, you really cannot do anything. Even the water is not healthy to drink. You have to buy a bottle of water, but we didn’t have enough money for that. Yeah, so, those two days were really, really bad. After that, we received some money and went outside to eat. We enjoyed Cambodian food, it was really delicious. And people are really nice.
But… still. I think those people are really poor, so that’s the reason they try to steal money from tourists. And we were three girls, young girls, silly girls. You know? So, yeah, I can understand that was also a really nice chance to steal money from us.
But luckily, Angkor Wat was amazing, so I think that’s, how to say? That’s the point, where I’m able to forget the bad memory from Cambodia.
Me: Angkor Wat is really beautiful.
Eliška: Yeah it is. It’s amazing. Angkor Wat can be quite expensive, and they need to find a way to earn enough money to make the country better for people. Maybe the tourist fees are the only way to earn enough money. The entrance fees are really expensive, but still, worth it! So, I can recommend it.
One month after our visit, my mom called me because she saw pictures and photographs. “Oh my God, I want to go there!” she exclaimed. “No way, never more!” I thought. But one year later, “Yeah, Cambodia is not that bad.”
So, I think, nothing is that bad. Nothing is really that bad to say like, no way, never go there again.
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