I stopped by Poipet, a city full of Thai-Cambodian border casino business. Being there is like playing to Las Vegas after the end of the world sweeps Planet Earth – leaving all cannibals.
My experience on vacation in Cambodia opened a little unpleasant. I was at Holiday Palace, a glass door casino that towered in the middle of Poipet — the slums of the Cambodian and Thai border. My eyes hurt the impact of the red dust that enveloped the city, and cigarette smoke increased to fill the hotel lobby.
I landed at Poipet a few hours before, after successfully avoiding the fraudulent acts of all border brokers who had filled the Thai immigration doorway. They seduced innocent Southeast Asian tourists to arrange for entry visas into the country. I almost gave 1,000 Baht (equivalent to Rp.412,000) to a man who claimed to be able to help me get a visa. But then, I thought twice and went into the immigration office myself. Apparently it doesn’t need to pay that expensive. There are not a few other ways if you just want to waste money on Poipet.
Poipet is a border city that is also home to Cambodia’s biggest casino business. This city that is not maintained is full of crime. Crime and Casino are definitely a bad combination of recipes. Whereas there are 75 casinos throughout Cambodia, the majority of which are located in Poipet. Most casinos in the country are located in gambling areas in Poipet, Bavet and O Smach – all within close proximity of countries richer in Thailand and Vietnam. In both countries that were later named, prohibited gambling. But surely there are still a few people who are thirsty will feel tense from gambling. So they will cross to Cambodia.
When I arrived, the city was crowded with Chinese tourists and Thai residents who were struggling to test their luck at poker tables, roulette machines, and dingdong. As long as you know, Thai people love gambling, even though the law in their country does not allow any type of bet. Many Thais regularly gamble through cockfights to buffalo races. For those who are caught gambling will be subject to large fines, or even imprisonment if proven to be a dealer. That’s why Thai people who are quite moneyed choose to cross to Cambodia, a country that legalizes gambling. Gambling provides foreign exchange revenues reaching US $ 2 billion in 2015 — just not much less than Cambodia’s Gross Domestic Product a decade earlier.
After traveling around, it can be concluded that Poipet is one of the strangest cities I have ever seen. The city is a rundown gambling center located in the middle of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product reached nearly US $ 6,000 per capita last year. But, crossing not a lot to the border, the figure immediately dropped to US $ 1,200 per person, far from the Cambodian income compared to the Thai population.
The Poipet gambling house is far from a luxury image that might be present on the head when we hear the word casino. If Macau is the Las Vegas of Asia, then the city like Poipet is the Asian version of the stoppoint of big trucks scattered along the midwest highway, the Pantura Line of the United States. These gambling houses are nothing more than shabby halls laden with smoke cigars containing rows of gamblers who bet without indicating any enthusiasm. Some of them only want the poker bonus new member 20 for having fun and killing their leisure time.
Streets outside casinos laden with beggar children and unique scavengers wooden carts containing trash and recycling lessons. Getting out of the main road, you will chase a dirt-laden dirt road, surrounded by a tarpaulin tent in the middle of half-finished asphalt debris. This scene is sure to be astonishing, similar to the reflection of small cities in the Mad Max film post-apocalypse.
I searched for hotels or hostels to stay that night, but soon realized Poipet did not have a place to stay at all. Most people only pass half a night in this city on the way to Siem Reap or backpacker bars in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Those who choose to settle in Poipet only have one purpose – gamble. So, of course the only lodging location in this city is the casinos.
I chose Holiday Palace because of its strategic location and the photos of the rooms looked better than others. They also advertise themselves as the best hotel in the location, with a five-star rating (which I later deceived). In fact, the room offered is not worth the price of 3,000 baht (equivalent to Rp1.24 million) last night, but whoever goes to Poipet is looking for a good hotel room? I left the bag in the room, and went home through the gambling hall. My eyes come home to the impact of the red dust that is always blowing.
I did not walk around the hotel much, while continuing to rub my eyes, and chased a place that seemed crowded with locals. Because I can’t speak Khmer at all, I order food with a pointing technique. I chose boiled pork with cabbage and a number of different vegetables that I did not recognize. The food is served with a spectacular portion of rice, accompanied by fish sauce and chili pieces.
I started eating the food, then realized that everyone listened to me, backpacker Caucasians, who were not clear about the connection there. Four men looked totally drunk on a plastic table behind me to eat. There were not 30 ABC Stout red cans lying on their tables. Their faces are red. They shouted at each other.
Next to my table, two men were playing chess full of concentration. I struggled to take a number of photos, but my camera was immediately unique in negative attention. In an instant, a man visited me and shouted “No photo! Photo no good! “