Monday, February 4, 2013

Cambodia: Haggling at the Old Market

This is our first out of the country trip as a couple. Sure, hubby have been in and out of the Philippines as his work demands. But he never go sight see out of airport or his hotel room (I even ask him to walk around new places), he said, he wanted to see the world with me. Sweet! :)

At the airport..I immediately felt the trip to be promising
Our first, or MY first choice is Cambodia. I thought the country looks so promising, lots of sights to see, not yet spoiled and the country seemed tourist friendly. We were so right! We love every moment  spent at Cambodia, if not for the advance Thailand hotel booking, we would have extended our stay. On our way to Thai border, I'm already planning to come back!

with other tourists, busy taking pictures :)
Cambodia is an hour late from the Philippines, we arrived at 2130 hrs and seeing the airport for the first time, I'm a little surprise to see it to be very small however flowing with tourists. We were glad we traveled at night time, everyone seemed to be in a hurry to go home so custom and immigration was a breeze. Alighting from the plane, one can already see the Cambodian architecture from the airport building, going in, elephant, Buddhist statues are present. There, I felt the tone for the whole trip is set.

Going out with our baggage, we saw our name on a placard held by our tuktuk driver. So off we went to our hotel for the night, a 10 minute ride to the town. We decided to stay at a hotel nearer to the airport then transfer in the morning at our accommodating hotel for the next 2 days, it's a little resort hotel 15-20 minutes off town. We wanted a quiet place, save the generic hotels for the business trips.

Our first look at the street, even on circles and rotundas, architecture is present, also the hotels and establishments are richly carved with elephants, temples and the like. 
The whole town seemed to be an attraction itself!

We had a good night sleep at Dyna Boutique Hotel and woke up the next day 
refreshed and ready to take on Cambodia!

a carved wood mural at the hotel's lobby

Veasna,our tuktuk driver for the day.
kids on bike
tuktuk, bike and motorcycle are primary means of transport
our first stop, the Old Market
Of course, the old market is a must visit place for souvenirs and pasalubong. It is good to go early in the morning, as vendors are eager to make the first sale and you can haggle prices to half of the original price. As a courtesy, so as not to offend the local, pay half the price plus a little more. So, on our first purchase, a hand painting of $60, we settled at $33. This followed a pattern to our succeeding purchases until our last day.

 Hubby and me :)
Remember to wear modest and comfortable clothes and footwear 
if you wanted to go for some serious 
shopping or visit the temples.

The old market got a lot to offer from silk scarf to paintings, wooden carvings, spices, 
you can even eat at a restaurant lined along the street and watch the day unfold. 
Going there isn't hard, just say Old Market and your tuktuk will take you there.

Cambodian Riel (KHR) is the country's currency but note that USD 
are widely accepted and it makes everything easy too! 

Haggling in Old Market (or any market in our experience)
*Haggle to 50% but also, if you feel kind enough, give extra to make both party happy.

Hubby: How much is this painting?
Vendor: 60 dollars.
Hubby: Last price?
Vendor: 40 dollars only.
Hubby: No too much. 30 dollars.
Vendor: No, 40 dollars. I no profit if I give lower.
Hubby: I can give you 33 dollars only. I'll look around first (preparing to walk away).
Vendor: Okay, okay. 33 dollars.
sold! ;)

This works every time. 
Remember to be polite while doing this and it's an extra to give a genuine smile.

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