Arun Suesaday Bong! (Loosely translatable to good morning brothers and sisters)
@menta here. Today, I'm bringing you a small insight into how life works here in Cambodia. We've had many questions regarding SteemIt.City with many of them focusing on Cambodia. Not much is known about this place with the general public. So this post is an attempt to show how easy life is here, and that there are NO brain-eating zombies on the corner of every street, despite reports to the contrary.
Safety and Crime
While reports such as these paint a pretty bleak picture of the situation here, the reality is much different—especially in Siem Reap. The amount of tourists coming here every year is mind-boggling. And it's in the best interest of the government to keep this place as safe as possible for these tourists. So the police here, unlike other parts of Cambodia, do crack down on crime. Most of the crime here is opportunistic and with the purpose of financial gain. For example, children will approach tourists pretending to be hungry, take them to a nearby shop to get food, and then—once the tourist has left—return the items and split the money with the shop owner. If you take that into account and mind your belongings, you should be perfectly fine here in Siem Reap. Here are some other scams to be aware of. In any case, SteemIt.City will have a security guard at night.
The most dangerous part—as with other SE-Asian countries—is traffic. The roads in Cambodia claim an average of five deaths per day. To give you an idea, they only started enforcing the law on wearing helmets at the beginning of 2016. So, if you're planning on driving here, be very careful. Don't think you can rely on general traffic rules from the West, because they don't exist here. You will have trucks coming straight at you on your side of the road, there will be cows suddenly jumping in front of your bike or car, and you will encounter drunk drivers, especially at night. So, be cautious and wear a helmet.
You don't need a license to drive a motorbike, but you do to drive a car—although I would strongly suggest you don't. A motorbike is a lot faster and cheaper here. The government has a 100% import tax on cars, and the second-hand market is ridiculous. You'll be paying around $5000-$10000 for a 20-year old pickup. Pure insanity.
Food prices here vary wildly from season to season. Most of the food that is grown here can be found in the local markets. Going there can be an adventure itself. Strangely enough, vegetables and fruit can be relatively expensive here, but meat is plentiful and cheap—and rice, of course. The entire country is one big rice field and it is one of Cambodia's main export products. Food here corresponds to the seasons and how good harvests are. Some produce also comes in from Thailand and Vietnam, but these can be more expensive than the local stuff. Also, the farming methods here are simpler than those neighboring countries, which results in mostly organic, but less tasty-looking produce. We try to buy only locally produced food here. Recently the first food co-op opened up here. This might be an opportunity for SteemIt.City to engage with the local community.
To give you an idea of prices, home-cooked and vegetable rich meals can be made for anywhere between $0.5 and $5, depending on how exotic the ingredients are—and with exotic I mean things such as celery or leeks. There are a few supermarkets in town that stock every Western or Asian product you need. An extensive collection of cheeses, wines, and beers can be bought at average prices. Basically, you would be hard pressed note to find something in Siem Reap.
Restaurants are everywhere in Siem Reap, since it is a major tourist hot spot in SE-Asia. You can find literally everything you want. From simple local $2 street food to fancy Kobe steaks at $120. And everything in between of course. You can spend a lot of money here or you can live on a shoe-string. The idea for SteemIt.City will be to have affordable home-cooked food available at all times by an in-house cook.
General everyday items
If you'd ever drive out of the capital Phnom Penh towards the coast, you'll pass factory after factory. These are the infamous garment factories of Cambodia. Big brands such as Nike, H&M, Gap, Calvin Klein, Adidas, etc are manufactured here. A lot of these clothes end up in local Cambodian markets. You can buy the original brands here for less than ⅒ the US or European price. So, there's no need to bring a lot of clothes when you come to SteemIt.City. Just get some new things at the local market. That is, unless you have big feet like me. That's a real issue. Their sizes only go up to 10. You'll be looking for a long time to find a pair of size 12 flip-flops.
Pharmacies don't work on prescription so you can get anything you want there as well. Doctors and hospitals can seem a bit worrisome, but they are perfectly capable of handling most issues. There are several healthcare insurance providers here as well. I've never dealt with them, so it's hard to give an opinion about it. I've been without healthcare insurance for over 2 years since most procedures here are relatively cheap.
I hope this gave you a better insight into the practicalities of living in SteemIt.City in Cambodia. If you have any questions, feel free to join us in our steemit.chat channel. We are still accepting new members to, so get in contact if you're interested!
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Images courtesy of myself and the Facebook group 'only in Cambodia'.