By Danny McDonagh
1. Angkor Wat
Normally you would expect the tournament or venue to be listed first, but in Cambodia, I am going to make an exception. If you choose to play WPT Cambodia you must devote extra time to experience the Kingdom of Cambodia.
My first trip to Cambodia was in 2013 to Siem Reap. I had no idea about the temples and they simply blew me away. Not just the World Heritage Listed Angkor Wat, but numerous other temples in close proximity such as Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm (nature has been allowed to take over this temple). My tip is to venture to Siem Reap post-WPT Cambodia, there are still hot days but the humidity is quite comfortable and evenings are pleasantly mild.
In Asia, there are very few Casino resorts located in capital cities that host poker events and NagaWorld is one that ticks this box. Already a major complex with NagaWorld 1 and 2 now open and NagaWorld 3 in planning. For more details download this comprehensive brochure which has a pictorial map of the vast array of direct flight options to Phnom Penh and handy information about Visa requirements.
3. Best Value Casino Accommodation in Asia
With a special rate of $55 per night at NagaWorld’s 5-star hotels, this has to be the best casino deal in Asia!
4. Learn About Cambodia’s Past
I had the opportunity to live in Phnom Penh for three months in 2016 and to learn about Cambodia/Kampuchea history. It’s very confronting, however, I recommend you do these two things in Phnom Penh to learn more.
Visit Toul Sleng prison in Phnom Penh (allow 2 to 3 hours visiting time)
Visit the Killing Fields, less than 1 hour from NagaWorld
My recommendation is to take a Grab to both these locations. Purchasing the inexpensive audio guide is a must to get the most out of both visits.
5. Cambodian Islands
Sihanoukville is the gateway to taking ferries to the beautiful islands of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem. My pick is Koh Rong Sanloem if you have additional time to explore the Kingdom.
6. Nighttime Entertainment
The tournaments have been designed to wind down each evening around midnight to 1:00 am to allow those players ample time who want to experience Cambodian nightlife.
KTV fans have a plethora of venues to choose from in close proximity to NagaWorld while Westerners have a nearby strip of bars to choose from. Special mention of Secrets Cambodia, run by well known Asia-based poker player Ben Abrahams. I had one too many beers with Ben in July and he has a fabulous set up for a mixed crowd with live music six nights a week, great food options, fun servers and hosts for any of our male poker players in need of getting over a bad beat.
Gone are days I experienced in 2016 needing to constantly haggle with Tuc Tuc drivers. Before you land, make sure you have downloaded the Grab App. For late-night trips always book a Grab Car, however during the day and early in the evening they have some great modern 2-seater mini Tuc Tuc’s which are such great value and quicker than cars in peak periods as they weave thru the traffic. You can also book a traditional Tuc Tuc (up to 6 people snugly fit) for maybe 50% above the mini Tuk Tuk.
Rough price guide Mini Tuk Tuk 2km ride $1, traditional Tuk Tuk $1.50, car $2.
And bookings are normally accepted instantly with so many drivers available.
8. Cost of Living
I already mentioned the low cost of staying on-site at NagaWorld for the event or close by. Food and drinks also come in number-one for value in Asia with happy hour draft beers going for $0.75 and main meals at many respectable outlets in the $5 to 7 range.
And if you demand fine dining, NagaWorld has great options and there are a few Michelin options close to the Casino.
9. Conversations With Foreigners (CWF)
I must give a shout out to CWF which back in 2016 I had the pleasure to be a volunteer English teacher for three months, finding it to be a hugely beneficial experience. CWF comes with my highest recommendation with profits directed to help needy communities in rural Cambodia which volunteers have the opportunity to visit during their three-month stay. For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/CWFCambodia/
Looking at the cake in the pic maybe I need to do a return stint there to work on students’ spelling!
Finally, the weather and as we go deep into November, the humidity and the temperature drops. Still a little hot in the sun during the day but pleasant in the shade and at night time.
HOPE TO SEE YOU AT WPT CAMBODIA!