A Glimpse of Phnom Penh

Part of my Vietnam-Cambodia adventure with friends in 2014 was an overnight stay at Phnom Penh. We came via bus from Ho Chi Minh city, and the trip took about 9 hours.  We got to Phnom Penh mid-afternoon and almost didn’t make it to the Royal Palace.  Thankfully though, we did!

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The Royal Palace served as the king of Cambodia’s residence since 1860.   While only half of the compound is open to the public, the accessible attractions are still a sight to behold.

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On the Grid

When I first traveled way back in 2008, I spent about PhP 2000 in three days just for my roaming plan.  I’ll call my mom and my friends, and after just about 5 mins, my 300 peso load would run out.

That was pre-Facebook era, and hotspots were just an obscure idea. Now, it’s much easier (and cheaper!) to stay on the grid away from home:

1. Free Wifi – this option is almost a given and may be too obvious to state, but for one, I’m talking about the you-don’t-have-to-pay to connect wifi, not the no-password wifi; and if it’s free, reliable and safe, might as well make the most of it!

At the Terminals – airports in Hong Kong, Singapore, Cambodia and KL’s Budget Terminal Airport offer free and fast connection.  Changi‘s, Kansai and Incheon airports also have internet stations and kiosks that you can use for free

In other Public SpacesHong Kong offers extensive free wifi connection in tourist attracti12939693_1289383197743518_394218352_n.jpgons and even in MTR stations, although by experience, I did have trouble connecting to them. I got the most of free wifi there at 7-11 establishments.

Certain locations in Osaka and Kyoto offer free wifi, but I wasn’t really able to use them.

Free wifi is extensive in Singapore as well via Singtel, but you need to be a subscriber first (or at least have a prepaid SIM card) before being able to use it.  You need to register as well.

A lot of restaurants in Phnom Penh offer free wifi too, just ask for the password from the staff.

2. Renting Pocket Wifi – I found several travel blogs recommending the rental of pocket wifi when in Japan.  It’s convenient; you can pick it up from the airport or have it delivered to your hotel; up to at least 5 people can connect at a time; Japanese companies promises you can stay connected anywhere in Japan; and you can just drop it off a post office mailbox to return it. Rental roughly costs JPY 800 – 1800 per day.

3.  Local Prepaid SIM Cards – If you’re traveling solo and/ or still need to make phone calls during your trip, get yourself a local prepaid SIM card.  Hong Kong‘s and Singapore‘s tourist SIM cards offer reasonable bundles for data, local and international calls.

What I got CAM02852for my Kansai trip was a SIM card only for data, but I found that it was a reasonable bargain (JPY 1500 good for 7 days, 1.4 GB worth of data).

One other plus of getting SIM cards is they make nice souvenirs too 😉

So that wraps up a few basics on staying connected while on the go.  It got me roaming without my phone bill back home ballooning 🙂