Cambodia Travel Guide

Nov 26, 2008

Avoid the land of FAKE SMILES (Thailand), visit Cambodia, the "Land of REAL SMILES".

When I arrived in Thailand 10 years ago and then went on to Cambodia, I already knew it: the 'land of smiles' is Cambodia, NOT Thailand. Few people believed me back then, but I did and that's one of the main reasons I choose Cambodia as my new homeland.

With recent poltical turmoil in Thailand, and developments over the last few months and especially days, visitors might think twice about going to the land of 'Fake Smiles': Thailand.

First, have a look at what these political protesters really want. See this excerpt from American news magazine Time:

"It's taken for granted in the West that democracy is the best system," says Sondhi, a media mogul by day. "But all we are getting in Thailand is the same vicious circle of corrupt, power-hungry leaders. This system is not working."
"If democracy brings Samak, then I don't want it," says Wijeau Noinoo."

Right, these protesters, almost invariably from the elite class in Thailand, are opposed to the 'one man, one vote' system, which in the West is the basis of democracy. Although I sympathize with the idea that a Western-style democracy isn't necessarily the best option for every country in the world, I strongly oppose the thought of these PAD protesters. To put it simply: according to them the rural population is not 'smart enough' to have the same vote as the elite living in a city like Bangkok.



Yes, really.

Basically, it goes back to feudal days where 'peasants' did not have a vote, or more recently where women did have no vote.

In the process, these PAD protesters are causing huge damage to the country they claim they are fighting for. Let's look at the damage to tourism (from the Bangkok Post):

Airline and tourism executives warned that the political tensions would deal another heavy blow to the ailing industry and the country's international image. PAD rallies in late-August that forced the shutdowns of Krabi, Phuket and Hat Yai airports had already put the country's "Land of Smiles" image in jeopardy.

Another tourism expert said: "Do you know when the country's image is destroyed, it's very difficult to revive it in a short period? What does Thai hospitality look like now, when there are clashes and violence inside the country?"

There is a country that KNOWS THIS, a neighbouring country: Cambodia. Decades after the Khmer Rouge was ousted from Cambodia, the country still had to fight an uphill battle to restore it's image.

Finally, travellers around the world realize that Cambodia is a country well worth visiting.

How many times have I heard patrons in my restaurant pleasantly surprised about the friendly Cambodians? How many times have I heard patrons regretting their 4 weeks in Vietnam and 3 days in Cambodia, rather having it reversed? I can tell you: hundreds of times!

So, to sum it up:
Avoid the land of FAKE SMILES (Thailand), visit Cambodia, the "Land of REAL SMILES".
(and fly via Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Taipeh, AVOID BANGKOK!!!)



  • Hi, I stumbled across your blog while researching traveling, as my wife and I decided we want to experience Cambodia. I am trying to learn as much as I can and hopefully get local ideas on how to go about this exciting trip. Would you be willing to offer any advice? I would really enjoy to hear from you if you have time -

    By Blogger the_JCW, at April 24, 2009 at 12:20 AM  

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