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Smily59
08-16-17, 20:15
Dear all,

Although I am a member for several years, I took notice of the price thread today only.

http://www.internationalsexguide.info/forum/showthread.php?1083-Prices

The forum is full of posts complaining about increasing prices and guys asking for price information in paticular threads.

The price thread being a general one could be a very useful tool for all of us, so I would like to encourage my fellow mongers to put some recent info there. IMO it could be done in a brief way (widely practiced already) mentioning:

Country.

City.

Type of establishment.

ST / LT.

Looks of the lady X /10.

Performance X /10.

Price.

Link to your post.

Sorry for cross posting, happy mongering!

Sammy1968
08-25-17, 20:30
Hi,

Has anyone used this to get a evisa before landing in Cambodia / PP?

https://www.evisa.gov.kh/

Thanks.

Banana Boi
08-26-17, 00:51
I read Uber has started in Phnom Penh. Can anyone provide there experiences to date, preferably from airport to Riverside area (aka Street 130/136 etc).

Johnie
08-27-17, 12:30
Hi,

Has anyone used this to get a evisa before landing in Cambodia / PP?

https://www.evisa.gov.kh/

Thanks.Sammy,

Yes I have used the government site to get an evisa a few times and find it preferable, although a little more expensive than lining up at PP airport to get a visa on arrival. You also don't waste as many spare pages in your passport either, just the usual small stamp.

Johnie.

Sammy1968
08-29-17, 06:04
Sammy,

Yes I have used the government site to get an evisa a few times and find it preferable, although a little more expensive than lining up at PP airport to get a visa on arrival. You also don't waste as many spare pages in your passport either, just the usual small stamp.

Johnie.Thanks, just did it and was a doddle. Worth the extra $6.

FunExplorer
08-29-17, 13:12
Hi,

Has anyone used this to get a evisa before landing in Cambodia / PP?

https://www.evisa.gov.kh/

Thanks.Yes. I did recently in April and it is very convenient. The visa fee is $ 40. It will certainly speed up your exit. Mine was done within a minute.

Banana Boi
08-30-17, 02:52
. You also don't waste as many spare pages in your passport either, just the usual small stamp.
Now this is important! Hate how each Visa run I take wastes a page on my passport.


Mine was done within a minute.Did you get your eVisa by email within a minute after applying? The site says it takes 3 days.

UltraHappy
08-30-17, 04:15
Now this is important! Hate how each Visa run I take wastes a page on my passport.
Pro-Tip: When renewing a US or Canadian passport, the applicant can request a XL version with 52 pages instead of the standard 28 pages at no additional cost. That yields plenty more passport pages for jet-setters like yourself.

For those with more than one passport, one can simply switch passports each time entering a country, thus spreading out the stamps across multiple passports (except US citizens returning to the States as it is illegal for a US citizen to present any passport other than a US passport to US immigration upon entering the States).

Sammy1968
08-30-17, 09:39
Now this is important! Hate how each Visa run I take wastes a page on my passport.

Did you get your eVisa by email within a minute after applying? The site says it takes 3 days.Got mine within 6 hours.

FunExplorer
08-30-17, 12:04
Now this is important! Hate how each Visa run I take wastes a page on my passport.

Did you get your eVisa by email within a minute after applying? The site says it takes 3 days.I did not say that I got the eVisa in a minute. I said I got out within a minute from the Immigration. By the way, I did receive the eVisa within a couple of hours of applying. It is hassle free.

Banana Boi
08-30-17, 23:16
Sorry FunExplorer I should have worded my post better. A few hours after applying works for me. I'm interested because I will be flying to Kuala Lumpur soon and was wondering how long it would take to get my eVisa if I decide to cut KL short and move on to PP.

IllusionHeart
09-11-17, 16:47
Sorry FunExplorer I should have worded my post better. A few hours after applying works for me. I'm interested because I will be flying to Kuala Lumpur soon and was wondering how long it would take to get my eVisa if I decide to cut KL short and move on to PP.I got my eVisa in 2 hours. You can also apply for a VOA, it's equally fast and efficient. The VOA is 30 USD whereas the eVisa is 36 USD.

Blanquiceleste
09-17-17, 16:25
Decent hotel, on Street 148, just off the main riverside road. This is an old property, not very well maintained over the years. But at $50 a night you cannot complain much. MAke sure you get a room on the 6th floor of the hotel only. The rest of the floors are absolutely crap.

You can get a room with a balcony, if you want to smoke. The entire hotel is a non-smoking property. The rooms are pretty basic and have functional furnishing. The bed is just fine and the pillows are reasonably comfortable. The wardrobe has a safe, a small one. The bathroom is just about OK, nothing special.

They have a buffet breakfast on the rooftop and the spread is nice. At least the menu rotates everyday. One can sit and gaze at the river while sipping coffee in the morning sun. And take a dip in the wading pools there. The main pool is under renovation.

The senior looking guy manning the front desk is a bit on a asshole. He gave me some lame excuses when I asked for an extra key card. I returned later in the night and asked the trainee handling the night shift and she gave me one without any fuss.

Will I stay here again? Perhaps not. I did a recce of the Quay Boutique Hotel during one of the days, as Illusion had talked very highly about it. Definitely a much better place to stay for a few extra $$ Worth it.

IllusionHeart
09-17-17, 16:44
MAke sure you get a room on the 6th floor of the hotel only. The rest of the floors are absolutely crap.

Will I stay here again? Perhaps not. I did a recce of the Quay Boutique Hotel during one of the days, as Illusion had talked very highly about it. Definitely a much better place to stay for a few extra $$ Worth it.Ohana appeared more of a backpacker and tour group kind of hotel when I was staying there. The 6th floor rooms are called "Residence " in case one wants to specifically book one on this floor. Also a room with balcony is to be selected during booking as not all rooms have one. The balcony does have a limited view of the riverside.

Blanquiceleste
10-03-17, 04:53
After long being the easiest destination in ASEAN for foreigners to obtain a long stay visa, the Cambodia government has brought the axe down on this practice.

Might take a while to implement though.

Read more here.

https://aecnewstoday.com/2017/axe-falls-on-endless-cambodia-visa-extensions/#axzz4 uPh8 wy48

KB Tahoe
10-22-17, 15:12
Booked through a golf holiday operation. Didn't bother to ask about "girl friendly" - my mistake.

They have notice on website and also on the check in form - "We oppose Sex Tourism and do not permit unregistered guests in room. " Put a damper on my first three nights in PP.

But when my GF arrived from Bangkok there was no problem with her staying in room, breakfast with me, using pool or even charging spa services to my account. They didn't even bother to check / copy her passport.

Its a nice place but not for mongers.

G3100
11-13-17, 10:37
I have a transit weekend between Shanghai and Saigon coming up and I'm thinking maybe I should try to visit Cambodia as I've never been there. Or should I better just spend the weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya?

If Cambodia is it Phnom Penh or Siem Reap I should go to? Hoping for some advice as I know all these places must be better than Saigon where the action is limited except for a few regulars.

Diveho
11-16-17, 23:28
I have a transit weekend between Shanghai and Saigon coming up and I'm thinking maybe I should try to visit Cambodia as I've never been there. Or should I better just spend the weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya?

If Cambodia is it Phnom Penh or Siem Reap I should go to? Hoping for some advice as I know all these places must be better than Saigon where the action is limited except for a few regulars.I think you will find Siem Reap has more to do with all the temples like Angkor what. Photo ops are phenomenal there. But pay to get to the temples early because the Chinese tourists will arrive in droves. "Pub Street" is a great area for partying and dining but it is grossly overpriced due to its non mongering attractions and tourism. Our hobby is there but not so much. Lots of families and religious groups in SR. Phnom Penh is more about our hobby. Don't expect the GFE of the Philippinas or the beauty of the Thais. Many girls are mercenary, are not as attractive, have a language barrier and hope for newbies who will pay high prices. The bar fine system is low. Usually $5-$10 to the bar. I have never paid more than $30 USD to the girls themselves but they use top down pricing. By the way USD $ is widely accepted. There are definitely diamonds in the rough. But you need to search. Usually the more English the girl speaks the more game she has. The best looking girls I've seen in all of Cambodia are the Vietnamese girls. But from what I've heard the majority have migrated back to their country.

My suggestion, if you're traveling for just a short time is to go to Bangkok or Pattaya and enjoy yourself. Enjoy Nana plaza or Soi 6, 7 and Walking Street. My favorite Pattaya bar is on the right just before Walking St. Where Beach Road goes left. There are 30+ small open air bars each with approx 8-10 girls for hire, like the north western Pataya beer bars. They surround the Muay Thai ring where there are fights most every night. Lots of talent and great prices close to the glitz and glamour 30 feet before the Walking Street sign. While watch fights from small kids to massive international fighters.

Good luck.

Fast Eddie 48
01-17-18, 22:34
I have a transit weekend between Shanghai and Saigon coming up and I'm thinking maybe I should try to visit Cambodia as I've never been there. Or should I better just spend the weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya?

If Cambodia is it Phnom Penh or Siem Reap I should go to? Hoping for some advice as I know all these places must be better than Saigon where the action is limited except for a few regulars.To G3100.

If mongering is the top of your list then just stay in Thailand you are not going to find many hottie like you do in Thailand, there are just not much to do in Phnom Penh if you like history and tourist site then the Angor what is a must see wonder in the world.

Fast Eddie 48.

JamessPlats
01-28-18, 11:07
Are there any street walkers or brothels within walking distance from the Institute of Technology?

JamessPlats
01-28-18, 12:11
Stopped by Mean Hauer today and got a pretty decent massage. The experience was lacking though. I think I made a poor selection to begin with, I kinda picked from the front row at random and realized #1 she wasn't smiling at me / looked not-too-interested and #2 had a green tag, aka Vietnamese (I think) which I hear tend to get more work so may not put in as much effort.

Boom boom was a decent price for me at 40 usd, but I really wasn't interested in boom boom today and was really just wanting yam yam but she would not do yam yam without boom boom (my bet would be she would end up not doing it at all or very brief and poorly). She wanted 20 for HJ and no way I'm paying that much for just an HJ. So I ended up leaving with just a massage for the 8 bucks, which she seemed very confused about. I'm going to be here for a while though and I've passed plenty of massage places that I don't mind throwing a few bucks to see if they are a good deal and at least get a massage out of it.

FairFromJerz
02-01-18, 01:11
Gents,

Got the green light from the old lady to fly to Cambodia from the US for a solo photography trip. The Mrs. Knows I have a history and yearning for anything Thai, so naturally I can't tell her I have intentions on crossing into the land of smiles. I will fly into PP and over to Siem Reap after about 2 days. I plan on doing the "normal" tourist thing for 3 to 4 days, but I know that I will be able to smell that sweet BKK honey being that close.

Interested in flying from SR to BKK for maybe 3 days, to fully enjoy being a different type of tourist at that point. So ultimately my questions are these:

1. what would I expect to spend from PP to BKK and back OR SR to BKK and back?

2. Have any of you ever brought a Thai to Cambodia for entertainment purposes?

3. Is it a common practice to bring a PP girl to SR to reduce the hunt? Is this even advisable?

Any feedback would be appreciated, and reciprocated with a drink if you are around in June OR Las Vegas information if a trip is in your future.

Fair.

Banana Boi
02-01-18, 05:00
1. what would I expect to spend from PP to BKK and back OR SR to BKK and back?

2. Have any of you ever brought a Thai to Cambodia for entertainment purposes?

3. Is it a common practice to bring a PP girl to SR to reduce the hunt? Is this even advisable?1. Airfare from PP to BKK is dirt cheap. Just use a site like Kayak.com to compare. Hotels are comparable in price so no added cost there. 4 days in SR. I would go stir crazy.

2. Never bring sand to the beach.

3. Never bring sand to the beach.

FairFromJerz
02-03-18, 23:29
1. Airfare from PP to BKK is dirt cheap. Just use a site like Kayak.com to compare. Hotels are comparable in price so no added cost there. 4 days in SR. I would go stir crazy.

2. Never bring sand to the beach.

3. Never bring sand to the beach.Banana Boi,

Thanks for the insight in regards to the flight information, along with the cyber slap back into reality! No sand to the beach!

Fair.

NewImage
05-03-19, 10:29
Read on another mongering website about foreigners and nationals spending nights together in hotels.

Know in Vietnam it is illegal (but you can get away with it at 2,3 star hotels) but poster said that in Cambodia if a girl stays with you 2 nights its considered a de facto relationship.

Anyone comment on this, surely not?

Swpc10
08-10-19, 00:41
I will be in PP in a week or so.

Any recommendations for a good massage with a BJ CIM ending?

Thanks.

MrClen
10-08-19, 17:17
I will be visiting PP in December and have done a bit of study. I only like to do KTV where I get to know the girl a bit before we make a DEAL.

I have been looking at some of the reports of the prevalence of STD in Cambodia, especially HIV, and it reports over 25% of the working girls are infected which is way scary!

As I am 79 years old and really have trouble finishing with a condom I would hope for a little advice other than don't go and always use a condom.

Also any suggestions as to a good KTV where they won't try to rip you off, and is a bit wild. I will be going with at least one or two other people.

Member #4667
10-08-19, 19:33
I will be visiting PP in December and have done a bit of study. I only like to do KTV where I get to know the girl a bit before we make a DEAL.

I have been looking at some of the reports of the prevalence of STD in Cambodia, especially HIV, and it reports over 25% of the working girls are infected which is way scary!

As I am 79 years old and really have trouble finishing with a condom I would hope for a little advice other than don't go and always use a condom.

Also any suggestions as to a good KTV where they won't try to rip you off, and is a bit wild. I will be going with at least one or two other people.I don't think many westerners go to KTV so you mighty have better luck on a Chinese language forum.

I have only tried local Cambodian KTV and whilst it was reasonably cheap I had trouble with language to get them to do anything wild. The Chinese target KTV might be wilder but you are also paying much higher prices, but overall my 10 yrs or so experience visiting are that Cambodians are generally pretty tame they won't do much wild things in or out of bed.

MrClen
10-09-19, 22:25
I don't think many westerners go to KTV so you mighty have better luck on a Chinese language forum.

I have only tried local Cambodian KTV and whilst it was reasonably cheap I had trouble with language to get them to do anything wild. The Chinese target KTV might be wilder but you are also paying much higher prices, but overall my 10 yrs or so experience visiting are that Cambodians are generally pretty tame they won't do much wild things in or out of bed.I will be going with a couple Chinese / Korean friends so I hope they know where to go!!

Sidtip
10-10-19, 13:39
I will be visiting PP in December and have done a bit of study. I only like to do KTV where I get to know the girl a bit before we make a DEAL.

I have been looking at some of the reports of the prevalence of STD in Cambodia, especially HIV, and it reports over 25% of the working girls are infected which is way scary!

As I am 79 years old and really have trouble finishing with a condom I would hope for a little advice other than don't go and always use a condom.

Also any suggestions as to a good KTV where they won't try to rip you off, and is a bit wild. I will be going with at least one or two other people.The Cambodian KTVs are so much fun. VIew the line up and if you don't like what you see ask for another group. You will have no trouble at all communicating with them. Buy some food for the girls but check the prices if money is a thing. Buy a bottle of whisky or vodka and red bull and beer for the girls but watch the prices. You will pay a room fee and a per girl per hour fee. Its so cheap and so so so much fun. They will do anything you want for money. The music girl will be there but if you tell them you don't want her and insist then they might send her away so the girls can play a bit more. They are not supposed to do much but they will often do it in the toilets. Get two girls or three in the room with you and if one is boring just ask for her to be taken away and you can choose a replacement or stick with just the one. Get them to drink so they are more fun but watch your spending if you drink. Tom posted that its a problem but it is definitely not. I can't speak any Cambodian but I had there time of my life. I took a girl home and kept her for 18 months travelling back and forth to Cambodia to see her. I fell in love haha. Go and enjoy. I am so jealous.

MrClen
10-14-19, 20:44
The Cambodian KTVs are so much fun. VIew the line up and if you don't like what you see ask for another group. You will have no trouble at all communicating with them. Buy some food for the girls but check the prices if money is a thing. Buy a bottle of whisky or vodka and red bull and beer for the girls but watch the prices. You will pay a room fee and a per girl per hour fee. Its so cheap and so so so much fun. They will do anything you want for money. The music girl will be there but if you tell them you don't want her and insist then they might send her away so the girls can play a bit more. They are not supposed to do much but they will often do it in the toilets. Get two girls or three in the room with you and if one is boring just ask for her to be taken away and you can choose a replacement or stick with just the one. Get them to drink so they are more fun but watch your spending if you drink. Tom posted that its a problem but it is definitely not. I can't speak any Cambodian but I had there time of my life. I took a girl home and kept her for 18 months travelling back and forth to Cambodia to see her. I fell in love haha. Go and enjoy. I am so jealous.Thanks for the advice!! Any guidance as which to visit? I may get the chance to go to more than one. Thanks in advance!!

MrClen
10-17-19, 23:06
Thanks for the advice!! Any guidance as which to visit? I may get the chance to go to more than one. Thanks in advance!!Still looking for some KTV names. Or suggestions. I will be staying at Naga World. Any help is appreciated.

Sam Sanuk
08-12-20, 07:06
This video seems to have been produced by the Kingdom of Cambodia Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I found the $275/ year visa option almost too good to pass on! Multiple entry; renewable, easily obtained. Worth spending a few minutes watching the video if you have ever thought about going there to live and don't have a wealth of knowledge or friends who can explain how things work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAQ9UqYFV34

Sam.

Intransit
10-23-20, 13:54
For new arrivals, what are the most reliable internet options, especially if one will not be in PP? Mobile 4G? Which provider? Thanks.

Sam Sanuk
10-25-20, 05:34
For new arrivals, what are the most reliable internet options, especially if one will not be in PP? Mobile 4G? Which provider? Thanks.I reached out to a couple of friends. This is what they told me:

I asked a good Khmer friend in Phnom Penh for his opinion. He has family in Sisophone and Siem Reap. He said that they use Mobitel. He said that it is not "perfect". However, I communicate daily with them via a messenger service and have very rarely had a problem. My friend said that the best (but more expensive) service is EZCOM (https://www.ezecom.com.kh/). According to EZCOM's website, it has English speaking customer service / technical assistance reps at dedicated phone numbers in Phnom Penh.

I asked a farang friend who has a biz in Phnom Penh. He said, "At home my apartment complex has Metphone- good but once in awhile it's down, at work we have Metphone fiber and really good and reliable, at office #2 EZCom, probably most expensive, the best, but it runs a server and many computers."

I don't know if they are 4G.

SS.

Nyezhov
10-28-20, 04:37
For new arrivals, what are the most reliable internet options, especially if one will not be in PP? Mobile 4G? Which provider? Thanks.Virtually every decent place to live has free WiFi.

I use CellCard on my Camboia phone, but don't use their data as its cheaper for me to roam out of Thailand on AIS. But on Cellcard. You get like 20 g of data per month for $10. There is good coverage.

Banana Boi
10-29-20, 05:52
Right outside the PP airport there is a kiosk that sells SIM cards. Located in the same area you get food. Take your pick. Metfone is popular. If you're worried one may have bad service or service drops buy more than one SIM card. It's like 5 or 10 USD for a week or more. If you forget to pick up a SIM card at the airport they sell Metfone everywhere around PP. Just look for their sign on a shop.

Red Kilt
10-29-20, 10:14
Virtually every decent place to live has free WiFi.

I use CellCard on my Camboia phone, but don't use their data as its cheaper for me to roam out of Thailand on AIS. But on Cellcard. You get like 20 g of data per month for $10. There is good coverage.I have Celcard on my phone and it is very efficient. The number lasts beyond a year. The load expires within 2 months but I carry a $5 reload that I put into the phone when I am waiting for my bags after arrival.

As BB says. There is a kiosk for Celcard at the airport but I suggest that you go to the big modern store along Sihanouk Blvd (corner St 55) near the Independence Monument and they will take you through all the different SIM options.

Very helpful English speakers. Very cheap too, and easy to re-load as needed.

Qeast
01-28-21, 01:34
I understand that while the Cambodian Riel (KHR) is the national currency, the United States Dollar USD is widely accepted and generally preferred.

While I can order new bills from my bank, when I prepare for overseas travel, I stock up on USD denominations which are still crisp and not excessively worn--but clearly have seen some circulation. Sometimes when bills are too clean, there is a fear of counterfeit.

I hope to visit. Someday.

Qeast
01-28-21, 11:16
I understand that while the Cambodian Riel (KHR) is the national currency, the United States Dollar USD is widely accepted and generally preferred.

While I can order new bills from my bank, when I prepare for overseas travel, I stock up on USD denominations which are still crisp and not excessively worn--but clearly have seen some circulation. Sometimes when bills are too clean, there is a fear of counterfeit.

I hope to visit. Someday.Do they prefer new or newer bills.

Sam Sanuk
01-29-21, 13:36
Do they prefer new or newer bills.Since last year, most banks are refusing to accept small USD bills (or heavily discounting them) due to the cost of re-patronizing them. This would include denominations of 1's, 5's and maybe 10's. In the past I'd get newer, clean bills from my bank prior to departure. I'll do the same for my next trip, providing I live long enough to book one. LOL Since motodops, tuk tuk drivers and most restaurants have almost always quoted me a fare in $ and menus are printed with prices in $, I don't know how things will eventually develop. I guess when I arrive, I'll change a couple of hundred bucks into riel at the airport and see how it goes. As long as the exchange rate stays about the same (and it has for years), it isn't too difficult to figure out how much to pay in riel--and I will have a ton of those very quickly!

SS.

Qeast
02-02-21, 09:58
After your comments, I did my own follow up. I found a couple of interesting articles explaining the circumstances in which Cambodia "accidentally" became dollarized, and the current government efforts to reverse the process.

For small cash transactions, I think I would prefer to deal solely in local currency, (rather than pay in dollars and receive riel as change).

Banana Boi
02-15-21, 07:29
Do they prefer new or newer bills.ALWAYS check your bills when you receive change from bars, restaurants, etc. I didn't do that once and it costed me $50 US because a bar gave me a counterfeit 50 as part of my change. Learned my lesson to always check.

PinkPearl
02-16-21, 14:48
ALWAYS check your bills when you receive change from bars, restaurants, etc. I didn't do that once and it costed me $50 US because a bar gave me a counterfeit 50 as part of my change. Learned my lesson to always check.It has also been reported in the PP thread that there have been hotel staff open in room safes and substitute counterfeit USD for large denomination USD bills therein.

To counter these problems I am thinking I would convert my USD to Riel notes to make payments in Riel to bars, restaurants, convenience stores, etc, and to also keep a supply of Riel in my room.

Any supply of large USD bills, 50's or 100's, if I wanted to keep any, could be kept on my person when I leave my hotel room. Such as in a zippered or inside pocket, or money belt underneath my clothes. Using small denomination USD, as in 1, 5, 10 & 20 dollar bills, would be another or additional option.

Alternately, or in addition to that aforementioned, a supply of other currencies such as Thai Baht and or Euros, etc, could also be kept somewhere as mentioned above.

On another note, I wonder if there are any Riverside area banks that have ATM machines inside the bank. Or have Riel 50 K or 100 K notes available in exchange for other currencies. From what I have read those Riel denominations are somewhat rare.

Stay safe, live long and prosper!

Sam Sanuk
02-16-21, 23:35
ALWAYS check your bills when you receive change from bars, restaurants, etc. I didn't do that once and it costed me $50 US because a bar gave me a counterfeit 50 as part of my change. Learned my lesson to always check.That is a bummer. You can get pens that can identify fake US bills on Amazon and at a local office supply stores. Cheap investment if you change larger bills often.

Sam.

Sharka
02-17-21, 07:44
Do they prefer new or newer bills.As a general rule. Always travel with new bills that are not worn out, have tears, or writings on them. Many banks and money changers often refuse to exchange those bills. This is required in most countries and Cambodia is no exception.

Banana Boi
02-20-21, 20:00
That is a bummer. You can get pens that can identify fake US bills on Amazon and at a local office supply stores. Cheap investment if you change larger bills often.No pens were needed for my bill. It was an obvious fake. Bill wasn't even the correct dimensions. I just didn't even bother checking being naive on my 1st of 2nd visit to PP.

There are supposedly places in PP that will buy your counterfeit bills are a reduced rate. I assume they buy low and recirculate them back in to the economy.

Intransit
05-07-21, 20:09
https://southeastasiaglobe.com/mekong-region-covid/

The Mekong region countries were until recently heralded as exceptional cases in controlling the spread of Covid-19. But recent weeks have seen cases explode across Cambodia, Thailand and Laos, leaving Vietnam on high alert and observers asking what's gone so wrong.

Reporting from Phnom Penh by Alastair McCready, Bangkok by Wanpen Pajai and Phu Quoc / Saigon by Govi Snell.

Few outings to a nightclub can claim such dire consequences as the early-February gathering at N8, a windowless adult entertainment venue in an unsuspecting district of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

Two women, unwitting carriers of the more-infectious be. 1. 1. 7 variant of Covid-19, also known as the UK strain, would infect scores of people in attendance that night on February 8 as they mingled among crowds. They were two of four women arrivals a day earlier on a private jet from Dubai, bound for the city's high-end commercial sex industry who had been smuggled out of quarantine at the luxury Sokha Hotel that evening by an unnamed broker.

In what became known as the February 20 Community Event, an initial 31 cases would be linked to gatherings that first night at N8 and over subsequent days. One of the women would reportedly return to the nightclub five times before both were caught returning to quarantine on February 16.

Two months since the incident, total cases nationwide have spiralled from the low hundreds to the thousands as Cambodia's house of cards has come crashing down. All available evidence for this sharp upturn in cases points to one place, says medical epidemiologist Dr Michael Kinzer.

"There's no evidence to suggest that any of (Cambodia's) cases are not linked to the February 20 importation event," said Kinzer, an officer with the US public health service posted to the Centers for Disease Control's Cambodia country office, where he serves as the global health security programme director.

Though Cambodia had experienced minor outbreaks previously, the surging arrival of be. 1. 1. 7 has overwhelmed test and trace capacity.

"The infection was able to spread very quickly while we were trying to catch up. More quickly than we've had to deal with before, and it's just outrun us," Kinzer added. "We have not yet achieved control of this outbreak. In the last couple of days we had record levels of daily cases. ".

Cambodia is not alone in its rapid decline since February. While the unfolding public health disaster in India dominates global headlines, a slower burning crisis is emerging across Southeast Asia's Greater Mekong Subregion, with Thailand and Laos also witnessing a spike in cases in recent weeks and months.

Once heralded as unique case studies in successfully containing the virus, seemingly immune to its most severe health effects, these three nations are now brewing outbreaks fuelled by potent strains, porous borders and public holidays. With the virus spreading on its doorstep, Vietnamese officials are anxiously preparing for what seems an inevitable arrival of cases. Though infection rates remain low in Vietnam, it now joins its neighbours in the scramble to halt the spread of Covid-19 before it's beyond control in a region collectively home to nearly 200 million people.

Dr Jessica Manning, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told the Globe that be. 1. 1. 7 has exposed many previously held myths surrounding the Mekong region's supposed resilience to the virus.

"We thought that there was this mystery to the Mekong, that maybe Southeast Asia was faring better than the rest of the world because of preexisting immunity," said Manning, who has studied infectious diseases in Cambodia since 2017, pivoting in January last year to track Covid-19 in the Kingdom.

"But with the new variants that have exploded, it's just so much drastically worse that we no longer harbour those thoughts of Cambodians or Thais or Vietnamese having some shield related to pre-existing immunity. Be. 1. 1. 7 has just blasted through all of that. ".

Thonglor outbreak and Mekong crossings.

It's within recent memory that Cambodia still boasted some of the best Covid-19 public health statistics globally. As of late January, the Kingdom recorded the fourth lowest cases per capita worldwide, and was also the largest country population-wise to report no fatalities of those with more than 20 cases. At that point, simple public health measures proved effective in containing the virus.

"With the wild type (early) virus, Cambodia seemed to do ok with these really bread and butter public health measures, like quarantine, lockdown, schools closed, good contact tracing," Manning said.

But since that ill fated night, cases have jumped from 516 as of February 20 to 17,621 as of May 7. The be. 1. 1. 7 variant, now Cambodia's dominant strain, according to Kinzer and Manning, has spread with ruthless efficiency. Deaths have also begun to mount with 114 as of publishing dispelling yet another myth around Cambodia's resilient, youthful population.

"I don't think there is a single element, but the strain definitely contributes," Kinzer said. "We know that it's a more infectious strain, there's suggestions that it's a more severe strain. The infectiousness has really shown itself in how quickly the numbers have increased. ".

Over Cambodia's north-western border, recent weeks have also seen a dramatic escalation in confirmed cases in Thailand. The country is now experiencing a third wave of infections in its worst outbreak yet.

The past month has ended the country's relative success in controlling the virus and near-zero in-country transmission for much of 2020. Until April 5 this year, there had been 29,321 total cases and 95 deaths since Thailand's first recorded case on January 13,2020. On May 7 alone, the country posted a record high of 2,044 new cases and 27 deaths, adding to its 78,855 total cases and 363 deaths.

Daily cases began to soar in the first week of April, increasing nearly ten-fold from 58 on April 2, to 559 cases by April 9. These largely emanated from a new cluster that emerged from nightclubs in Bangkok's popular nightlife district Thonglor.

"The best evidence we have is that the upsurge started by transmission in the (Thonglor) area amongst relatively young people who are very mobile," said Dr Rick Brown, programme manager for health emergencies at the World Health Organization in Thailand.

Bangkok's explosive growth has been linked to the discovery of the be. 1. 1. 7 variant in 24 of the 504 cases recorded from the entertainment venues, the first known local infections involving the strain. Brown estimated that 98% of cases now circulating in Thailand are be. 1. 1. 7.

"Because (the Thonglor outbreak) predominantly affected relatively young people, many of these individuals didn't have symptoms or they only had very mild symptoms. That created a situation where there was some spread. ".

By mid-April, the outbreak in Thailand had crossed to Laos, a country almost entirely untouched by the health effects of the virus until then. Dr Chansaly Phommavong, deputy director of the Planning and Cooperation Department at the Lao PDR Ministry of Health, said the cases were linked to irregular crossings over Laos and Thailand's porous shared border.

"We already knew that there were imported cases from Thailand that came into Laos," he told the Globe. "(The individuals who contracted Covid) did not pass through official checkpoints, entering the country secretly around areas close to the Mekong River. ".

One case involved a Lao national who had met with two infected Thai nationals that had crossed to the Laotian bank of the Mekong river by unofficial means on April 6. A second case involved a Lao national who had visited Bangkok for cosmetic treatment on April 7, crossing back by unofficial means to the Laos capital Vientiane while infected. A third incident involved a man who had been working in Bangkok and had crossed into Laos by boat in the early hours of April 11 before later testing positive.

Until April 9 this year, Laos had recorded a total of 49 cases. As of May 6, the most recent figures available, this has jumped to 1,177 confirmed cases, despite Vientiane being placed under a semi-lockdown for much of April. Deaths remain at zero.

According to the World Health Organisation country office in Laos, as of April 28, there were seven be. 1. 1. 7 cases confirmed in the country. Still, Dr Chansalay remained optimistic while speaking with the Globe.

"Hopefully, in the next coming week we are going to be in control of the outbreak," he said.

Piecing together the puzzle.

The almost simultaneous outbreaks of the virus across the region have left virologists attempting to piece together an intricate cross-border puzzle.

While in Cambodia, the be. 1. 1. 7 variant has clear and established origins, and Laos can point to porous borders and importation from Thailand, the viral link between the two kingdoms remains a point of speculation. Cambodia and Thailand's long-established cross-border migration, slowed but not halted during the pandemic, is an important avenue of enquiry for most.

"The fact that Thailand, Laos and Cambodia have always had porous borders and human migration, it would be remiss of us to think that it's not connected in some way," Manning said.

"Despite these countries' best efforts at keeping their populations contained, we know millions of people move across these borders every year and there still has to be some population flow even in this current situation. ".

While reluctant to make a firm link, Brown agreed that based on outbreak timelines there was "circumstantial evidence" pointing to a spread from Cambodia to Thailand. Manning herself was keen to explore this link, but said it would take significant regional cooperation to definitively establish a clear point of origin.

"Whether this outbreak emerged in Cambodia] will be hard to know without exact timetables. If we sequenced all of these samples from the different countries we could tell you how they were connected or how genetically distant they were apart from each other on a certain timescale," Manning said.

Kinzer said discussions regarding greater collaborative efforts to track the virus were underway among the region's Pasteur Institute laboratories, a network of non-profit research teams that has played a significant role in the sequencing of the virus in Cambodia, and across the region.

"I do know that the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia, which is the lead sequencing laboratory, is in discussions with laboratories in Vietnam and Thailand," he said.

Others have gone a step further in establishing a Cambodia to Thailand route. Dr Yong Poovorawan, a virologist at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine working with the Thai Ministry of Health, claimed in early April the discovery of a 'Cambodia strain', which he speculated spread to Thailand via irregular migration.

"The latest strain found in Thailand does not match 100 per cent with the British or other strains, but displays a 100 percent match with the Cambodia strain," Yong wrote April 10 on his Facebook page followed by more than 146,000 users.

It's a bold claim, and while Manning or Kinzer both agreed it's not impossible, it was not something for which either had seen any evidence.

"I have not heard that," Kinzer said. "We rely on the Pasteur Institute for our sequencing information here in Cambodia, and they have not yet used the terminology Cambodian variant. ".

The Globe was unable to speak with Yong prior to publishing.

However it arrived and spread in the region, all agree the emergence of the be. 1. 1. 7 variant is a significant factor in this regional outbreak. But combined with this potent new strain is unfortunate timing, with rising cases coinciding with mid-April new year's celebrations in all three countries.

In Thailand, cases arose just before Songkran, the kingdom's new year holiday held between April 13-15. Between March 28 and April 3, cases were reported in just 14 provinces, with most having less than 10 cases. By April 16, cases were recorded in all 77 provinces, with 29 reporting 50 or more cases.

"It's hard to say definitively, but what we observed was that at the beginning of this upsurge were cases concentrated in Bangkok and the surrounding areas," Brown said. "Shortly after that, around the time people were travelling, there were cases appearing in multiple provinces. ".

Though Cambodia imposed an interprovincial ban prior to Khmer New Year, held between April 14-16, the week following saw a significant spike in new cases. It's unclear how the holiday impacted this.

In Laos, the outbreak aligned with Pi Mai, which was crucial in accelerating the spread according to Chansaly. On March 30, only the Vientiane capital and Savannakhet province had recorded cases. By April 27, after people travelled within the country during new year celebrations held between April 14-16, only four of Laos' 18 provinces were Covid-free.

"It's gone down to the community level as an in-country outbreak and not an import outbreak anymore," Chansaly said.

Knocking on Vietnam's windows.

As the rest of the Mekong region struggles to gain control of viral outbreaks, in Vietnam, authorities are still trying to prevent the crisis from taking root. But after more than a year of pandemic conditions, signs of virus complacency have perhaps set in among the general public, even as be. 1. 1. 7 provides the harshest trial yet.

Masked travellers were packed shoulder-to-shoulder in Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat airport on the first day of Vietnam's four-day weekend from April 30 to May 3, when domestic tourism boomed across the country. One popular destination was Phu Quoc Vietnam's scenic, albeit increasingly polluted, southern island getaway. At Tan Son Nhat, domestic travellers crammed into an achingly slow, standing-room only bus that ushered the group to the plane that would carry them to their destination.

But while mask-wearing was firmly enforced on flights and within airports, when it came to arrival at the island it was masks off for most as they flocked to beaches, restaurants and tightly packed pubs.

Dr Todd Pollack, an infectious diseases physician and country director of the Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN), said lax attitudes towards mask-wearing amongst the public was to be expected after such a long period of successful containment.

"I think it's only natural," he told the Globe. "I still have confidence though that if and when cases in the community start going up, people will quickly return to their vigilant selves. ".

Regardless of the atmosphere among the citizenry, Pollack said the government was on high alert prior to the holiday weekend.

"It seemed different in terms of concern inside the government that this weekend could lead to something," he said.

In Phu Quoc, the four-day holiday came amidst concerns that the spiralling Covid-19 crisis in Cambodia could spill over into Vietnam via irregular border crossings. Sitting just 50 km off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, the island has long been a hotspot for unofficial entries from the Kingdom. So far this year, six such instances have been reported with over 39 people arriving on the island. Most recently, on April 21, five returning Vietnamese were arrested after making their way back from Cambodia.

"Many police are patrolling the ocean around Phu Quoc island," said Hoang Anh, a local tour guide in An Thoi. "The police are everywhere. ".

Vietnam's land borders are also of key concern, with the government ramping up security on the long frontiers with Laos and Cambodia. On April 13, a married couple were intercepted and quarantined attempting to cross into Mekong Delta province An Giang from Cambodia. Both later tested positive for the virus.

"In the Mekong Delta, there are many Khmer families that have some people that live in Cambodia and some that live in Vietnam, so they move many times a year (between the countries)," Truong Huu Khanh, a Saigon-based doctor who has been specialising in infectious diseases for over 35 years, told the Globe.

As case numbers balloon, the Vietnamese government has a vested interest in assisting bordering countries to quell their crises. They have already begun aiding neighbours with Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son and 35 medical experts travelling to Laos on May 4. Similar efforts are underway with Cambodia.

As of publishing, Vietnam has had 121 locally-transmitted cases since April 27. But as of yet, there has been no known spread of Covid-19 linked to the outbreak in Cambodia or Laos, with Pollack labelling new cases "coincidental". The current local infections can be tied to clusters in northern Ha Nam and Vinh Phuc provinces, and most recently in a Hanoi hospital, far from the Cambodian or Laos border.

Vietnam's own well-documented, highly effective measures to contain the coronavirus has left the country relatively unscathed, having documented just 35 deaths to date. But although it is yet to be impacted by the regional rise of Covid-19, informal entries are of top concern.

"You have the combination of more infectious variants and more cases, so there is a higher chance of any random person who is skipping quarantine to be carrying the virus," Pollack said. "But what is more concerning is the unknown people who may or may not have entered the country or interacted with Vietnamese citizens from the bordering countries during the holiday weekend. ".

Based on a one-week incubation period for symptoms, and a further week for severe symptoms, Pollack said infections from Vietnam's recent long holiday weekend could take about two weeks to be detected.

It remains to be seen if Vietnam's lauded efforts in fighting the coronavirus at home will continue to be effective during this regional outbreak.

Pollack believes low-levels of vaccinations and cases spiking along its borders means the walls are at risk of closing in.

"Vietnam has done everything right. What they just need to do now is get the population vaccinated," said Pollack. "They have closed the doors for a while now, but (the virus) is knocking louder on the doors and windows trying to get in. ".

Sam Sanuk
05-11-21, 10:46
Very interesting article, from my perspective. Thanks for posting, though it kind of poses the scenario that SEA is unlikely to be opened for "hobbying" purposes until well into 2022. And that is assuming that most people in the region are vaccinated. That's okay by me, as it gives me time to build up my testosterone number. LOL.

SS.

Sam Sanuk
09-30-21, 20:17
A reliable Khmer source who lives in Siem Reap confirmed the info in the Khmer Times article linked here. That is, so-called "red" and "yellow" lockdown zones have been abolished for SR and maybe the entire country. I speculate that this is preparatory to loosening entry requirements into the country by tourists. All governments have been a bit "schizo" over the last year with respect travel across borders, so probably not a good idea to book any flights into Cambo yet. LOL https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50944879/siem-reap-authorities-call-an-end-to-red-and-yellow-designation/?fbclid=IwAR2QdEBnu-sQ3bl76aQGheGt_MvOalP80ZNqAuTt3m77s4ZoBPBGZpT8xuY The sun might be starting to come up over the horizon.

SS.

Banana Boi
10-21-21, 19:11
Also heard Cambodia will be included in the Thailand's November 1 no quarantine list. Would be great to hop over to Cambodia and back to Thailand again, assuming there will be no quarantine upon arrival to PP for those who have been in Thailand for over 14 days.

Explorer8939
11-16-21, 01:21
Allegedly, Cambodia is now open for the vaccinated.

Banana Boi
11-17-21, 02:14
Yes reading it now. No quarantine at all for fully vaccinated to anywhere in Cambodia effective November 15. Only a negative PCR test 72 hours before flight and a quick swab on arrival. I wasn't prepared to stay in construction nightmare Sihanoukville for 5 days but no quarantine and being allowed to stay in PP immediately makes Cambodia a good option. Fly to PP, then go to Thailand. Cambodia is on Thailand's 1 day AQ list. Hope they dropped the $2k USD deposit crap that was keeping most people away from Cambodia. If anyone finds an updated Cambodia government site confirming re-entry details including VOA please post here.

Now my questions for PP. Are the bars gearing to open up / have opened now? Girls there?

https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/2215699/cambodia-re-opens-to-fully-vaccinated-travellers

Sam Sanuk
11-17-21, 03:52
If anyone finds an updated Cambodia government site confirming re-entry details including VOA please post here.

Now my questions for PP. Are the bars gearing to open up / have opened now? Girls there?

https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/2215699/cambodia-re-opens-to-fully-vaccinated-travellersCambodia Facebook Visa and Work Permit Group is a great place get "real time" info. No mention of the $2000 deposit or the requirement that insurance be purchased. Just says foreigners are "encouraged" to purchase the insurance. Here is a link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/333901840112789/?multi_permalinks=2033724100130546&notif_id=1636953043886763&notif_t=group_highlights&ref=notif.

Concerning the bars. They are open. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1062695980532551.

SS.

Banana Boi
11-17-21, 18:59
Thanks Sam.

Lee66
12-13-21, 00:23
One of those agency to get the new visa etc to go to Cambodia warns you to be sure to get insurance, which is no longer required, I wonder if this situation how often someone gets scamed.