My Last Hundred Bucks: Scams, Wheels, and a Quest for Toilet Paper in Cambodia


$40: Two single-day passes to the Angkor temples. We may have overslept and missed our early start, instead plunging straight into the sweltering mid-morning heat, but it was still worth every dollar. Bring hats; leave your fear of heights at home. Scaling the rickety wooden steps to the top of each temple requires all your wits.

$10: One very expensive blessing at Angkor Wat. Sucked in by a man lurking in a very dark corridor, who pressed incense sticks into our hands and made us touch the feet of his Buddha statue.

$3: A single bottle of water outside the temples. Later kicked myself for totally failing to do the math; it was meant to be just $1.50, but in my eagerness to get rid of some of my Cambodian riel, I accepted a crazy inflated rate without stopping to think about it. (Amateur day!) Even 12-year-old girls can be ruthless sharks.

$14.50: Lunch and drinks for two at one of the stalls on the temple grounds. Surprisingly, these came in the biggest serving sizes we’ve seen yet in Asia.

$12: Tuk-tuk and driver for the day. A cheery but not particularly chatty type.

$3: Six-pack of scented tissues. Apparently finding a roll of toilet paper to buy in Siem Reap is infinitely more difficult than in Bangkok.

$18: Two tickets for the night bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. Sleep hindered by some of our fellow passengers, who seemed to think they were aboard the Vengabus.

 

Esther Goh is a writer currently travelling through south-east Asia. Photo: Paul Arps

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