The problem with foreigners in Cambodia during the time of a pandemic is that there is very little information available for them to know what is going on and what the next step will be. Often it is left to one’s own assumptions and “google” findings to know what to do next. What is given is some standard leaflet which does not clarify anything and there were no Cambodian officials were around to give any briefings on what to do next.
Read the earlier posts:-
So What’s Next?
We went down and checked out from the designated hotel and since the first COVID19 test was confirmed negative, it seems that we are free to go anywhere. However, we are reminded to do self-isolation and on the 13th day to go to the COVID19 test centre and do the 2nd COVID19 test. If the 2nd COVID19 test shows negative, then we can end our self-isolation and can go to work. On the other hand, if it shows positive, then we will need to spend our time at the Cambodian Government hospital until we recover (the cost will not be cheap).
The problem with self-isolation is that although we are locked ourselves in the hotel room, we still need to go out for food, groceries and laundry services. There is no room food delivery unlike earlier in the first designated hotel.
So we agreed that as much as possible, we will spend more time in our rooms to minimise any exposures before the 2nd COVID19 test. Further with wifi and mobile data, we can still work on the project without the need to step out and go to the customer’s office.
However, we do keep an eye on other options of food available once the self-isolation ends like a good bowl of hot Bak Kut Teh – it has always been my comfort food for me on the weekends (also for the whole family) back in Malaysia.
Our Second Hotel
Price per night with photos of the room and also the location of our next hotel was the factor for us to move our and booked a hotel within the area of the famed Central Market in Khan Daun Penh district.
It was easy to get a ride from the designated hotel to the new hotel – the use of Grab app here is very easy and with plenty of options from motorbike (1 person), tuk-tuk (max 3 person and interestingly they are using the models from India in Cambodia), sedan car (mostly second hand Camry and Prius) or a large SUV which can comfortably seat 4 people and all their luggage.
The first room that I got had a “window” and looked nothing like the photos on the booking website. The so-called was facing the wall of the next building. The room was dark and was rather claustrophobic – I felt nausea after a few minutes standing in the room. My complaint at the front desk saw me getting another room which had a good view of the street next to the hotel. There was no welcome drink as advertised and since it was the last room on the floor, wifi signal was almost non-existence.
The hotel provides a complimentary buffet breakfast in the morning (passable but nothing to shout about) and also 2 bottles of water on a daily basis. Housekeeping, however, is not done daily and it is only when we feel the room is dirty and needs a good cleaning. However, the hotel staff will clean the trash left outside and replace the towels on a daily basis if required.
Once we have settled down and put our heavy luggage, it was time to stock up the minibar with beer, water and other titbits. We were also hungry as we had only our breakfast much early on the day. We decided to see if we can get anything to eat on the way to the supermarket.
Malaysian Food in Cambodia
We stopped by the Wau Restaurant which I believe is run by a Johorean in Phnom Penh. The menu is basically a Malaysian halal menu but it was not cheap unfortunately but it was understandable though. The plain “nasi goreng kampung” that I ordered cost about RM15 per plate and a small glass of Milo Ice cost about RM6.50 – so you should not compare the price of the same meal back in Malaysia. However, be rest assured that we are getting used to the high price of food in Cambodia but we do miss the cheap food back in Malaysia.
The restaurant itself was however too small to fit a big group which probably explains why the restaurant would be moving to another location soon. Service however top-notch as expected from a Malaysian entrepreneur – the owner himself had a lively chat with us and also updated us on the latest news relating to COVID19 in Cambodia. The walls of the restaurant were full of Malaysia tourism posters which seem to enhance the atmosphere.
With our hunger satisfied, it was time for shopping for some drinks especially beers, soft drinks and some titbits to keep company whilst we are locked in the room. Beer, of course, is cheap in Cambodia – RM2.60 per can and there are plenty of options here with their local beers. Beer is almost the same price with a can of soft drink here.
By the way, this is not the only Malaysian restaurant or one that is providing halal food here in Cambodia but this was one of the options that were nearest to the hotel.
To be continued in Part 6