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Travel information

Internet cafes and telephone calls


There are probably over 200 internet cafes in Siem Reap where you can use internet facilities and also make domestic and international phone calls. Internet rates are normally US$0.50 to US$1.00 per hour. International phone calls via the internet are nearly all under US$1.00 per minute to all countries.
To phone Cambodia the international code is 855 and area code for Siem Reap is 63. If you are inside Cambodia then you will need in front of the 63 to phone Siem Reap.


Mobile SIM cards
Tourist SIM cards are now available from around US$2 each and they last for 2 weeks. Officially you need to be a Cambodian national with an ID card or you need to live and work in Cambodia to be able to buy a SIM card for your mobile phone for longer than 2 weeks.


Photography
There are many photo shops in Siem Reap where you can develop photos or put your pictures onto a CD. Memory cards for digital cameras are widely available and are much cheaper than in the west. Camera batteries are also readily available in Siem Reap.


Tipping
Tipping is not expected, although it will be much appreciated by someone who is earning an average of US$50 a month in a restaurant. A few thousand riel or one US dollar is enough if you think they have served you well.


Security
Theft is the main concern in Siem Reap as the Police authorities take crime very seriously when it involves the tourists. However, Siem Reap is probably one of safest towns in Asia and definitely safer than most towns in the West.
Commonsense can prevent theft, such as not carrying shoulder bags where someone on a motorbike could snatch it from you. Most theft though will occur from the place where you are staying, so be warned. Always put your valuables in a sealed envelope which can not be tampered with without you knowing when using a hotel safe or deposit box. Do NOT believe the receptionist if they say that they do not have an envelope or if they say "no problem". Most hotels and guesthouses will tell you not to leave any valuables in the room, because they will not be held responsible. This includes cameras, money, passports and anything else that is of great value to you. You should always keep valuables in the hotel safe but when you do not, then it is at your own risk not the hotel management's. Most staff in hotels and guesthouses will NOT steal from your room but the temptation can still be too great for them if you left, say, US$500 in your room which is over 1 year's salary to them!
Siem Reap is quite safe to walk around during the day and in the evening. However, if you are going out late at night by yourself then we advise that you go with a tuk tuk or moto driver who you are familiar with. The police patrol Siem Reap in the evenings and many places have night security guards to deter thieves from premises.
Please be aware that, despite what you may have heard, the Khmer Rouge is no longer active in Cambodia and there are no bandits.
Finally, one last piece of advice. You will find Cambodians to be very friendly but, just as in any other country, they will expect you to be friendly in return. It is never wise to get involved in an argument with local people whichever country you are visiting and that includes Cambodia.


Dangers and annoyances
Ants
There a number of types of ant in Cambodia and some of them can give you very irritating bites. Do not attract ants to your room by leaving food lying around, especially anything with sugar in them or snack foods like crisps.
Bed Bugs
Bedbugs carry a lot of pathogens (germs) which cause diseases, but they are unlikely to transmit any disease to you and the only thing you are likely to get is the discomfort of the actual bite. Bed bugs are like vampires and can drink a lot more of your blood than a mosquito. They can be found anywhere, even in 5 star hotels if the beds are not checked regularly. They generally live in the mattress or in the woodwork of a bed. Bed bugs are red/brown colour and look like a small beetle in appearance.


Begging
There are a number of beggars in Siem Reap, especially around the Old Market area. Some of these beggars are actually very poor and really do need money or food, but unfortunately there are many professional beggars trying to get money from tourists. These people mainly operate around pub streets in the evenings and this can be very annoying to some people.
We strongly recommend that you do not give money or food to any beggars as this does not help them in the long term. If you want to help people in their situation, then there are a number of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who are working with them, by trying to train them and helping them to find a job.


Dogs
Dogs can be very annoying in Siem Reap, because many people use them as guard dogs and when someone walks near their premises, their dog will start barking and when one dog barks everyone's dog start barking. Do not attempt to stroke any dogs even if they look friendly, because there is Rabies in Cambodia.


Land Mines
All the land mines have now been cleared around the temple area, so there is no cause for concern. However, if you are going anywhere off the main roads or tourist areas, then you should always employ the services of a guide.


Monkeys
The monkeys at the temples do look very friendly and you will see people feeding them close up, but be warned they can change their behaviour very quickly and remember there is rabies in Cambodia. They can also transmit tuberculosis (TB) and certain strains of hepatitis. It is actually illegal to feed the monkeys around the temples.


Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can be very irritating more than anything else, especially in the evening. And of course they also carry some nasty diseases like Malaria and Dengue fever to name a few. To avoid them, cover up well in the evening showing little bare skin and also use a high deet repellent on any exposed skin. Hotels and guesthouses with a lot of greenery and stagnant pools will be over run with mosquitoes, especially in the rainy season and just after.


Scams
There is nowhere near as many scams in Siem Reap as in some Asian countries, but unfortunately as tourism grows the more scammers there are likely to be. We recommend that you do some research before you arrive about how much things are likely to cost.


Snakes
There are many types of snake in Cambodia, but you are unlikely to see one as most snakes avoid people and you are also less likely to see any on the main tourist routes. However, you should still be careful when visiting temples with jungle growth, because there can be snakes in the undergrowth, some which are deadly like the ferocious Malayan Pit Viper. Luckily these snakes are very rare. Other poisonous snakes include the Common Cobra, which has a pretty toxic venom and the Crate snake, which has venom the same strength as the Cobra but it is more scary because when it bites it does not let go. Another snake which can be seen is the Green Pit Viper, which is a small tree snake which grows to about 2ft, poisonous and normally attacks its victims from above. The Golden Tree snake, or flying snake, which is also small can also be found in Cambodia, but it is very rare with only mild venom.
There are also many varieties of water snakes to be found in Tonle Sap Lake, some which are very rare like the File snake which gets its name from its skin being the same as a file. This snake has only been found in Cambodia. Many of these water snakes are poisonous, although few are deadly.


Traffic
The main danger to tourists is the traffic. Many Cambodians die through traffic accidents and tourists have also been killed too. We advise using a tuk tuk, taxi or mini bus, but you should think twice about getting on the back of a motorbike even if you are wearing a helmet. There is no law to the road and anything goes so be warned. You can NOT hire motorbikes in Siem Reap if you are a tourist, because the police do not allow it due to the high amount of traffic accidents. Although you will still see foreigners driving motorbikes in Siem Reap, they all work in Siem Reap.

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