Big Day in Battambang!

Every 30 days I have to renew or topup my data plan at one of the Smart Shops here in Cambodia. Last time it was in Siem Reap but now its here in Battambang. The shop is a 10 minute walk from the hotel I am staying in. Here in Cambodia it does not appear you can top up or renew early and must wait for the last day. Since I upgraded the plan now I have an app on the phone that tells me when the time is up, how much data and talk time I have, etc. One thing with Smart is that you can get service for almost free if all you do is call other Smart subscribers. That does not work well for hotels, tour guides, and shops I may do business with so I buy $5 of talk time every few months which lasts me for a long time. 

On the data side, I over buy the data plan because sometimes I also hotspot the laptop to the phone and want to ensure I don’t run out of data. For 30GB I spent $8 last month and also upgraded the service plan for free so I can use their really nice IOS app. This will be the last upgrade I do here in Cambodia for awhile since I leave in a month and will be getting a SIM card next in Singapore for a week and then on to Malaysia and ‘Thailand for phone services.

I seriously don’t know how people can be here and not have a 4G data plan. The use of an app like Grab or Google Maps is just a basic thing for me to use and rely on in any of the countries but here in Cambodia its been really useful since I walk all over the place. I also use TripAdvisor sometimes when I’m out and about. I guess a lot of people though have locked phones and cannot just add a SIM card. My iPhone 7 plus happily accepts any old SIM card which is nice! 

The second real thing is that Smart does not block hotspot so in a case where hotel or public wifi does not work or exist, I can get online on the laptop if need be. This has come in handy a few times both here and before in Vietnam on viettel. I’ll just put in a positive word for viettel as well. If you are going to Vietnam, look no further than that service. Its rock solid and really well done and you can top up easily in many places like small shops or stores or markets but I always went to a Viettel Store. I just prefer the stores for both Viettel and Smart because they talk English for the most part and will explain what I need or want and its costs. 

So the other part of the big day here is to walk in yet another direction after breakfast across the street and a visit to the Smart Shop in town. I have not walked that way yet and it will take me down the river walk area for awhile and then back to the downtown area. Its nice to have a place like this where I still have three different locations I have not explored yet and a day tour in-between all that. 

Next Saturday I get on the bus for Phnom Penh for almost 2 weeks. Time to get my haircut at my fav place there and go to the Central and Russian Markets for whatever I don’t really need :-). I really prefer the Central Market because the walk back to the hotel is really a nice walk by government buildings and Mikes Burgers. I also will go to the Aeon Mall once and will probably eat at the riverside area at least once. 

Finally after 10 days in Kampot to do less and less and just kick back a notch and wander again the city, I fly off to Singapore. Then I’m gone for 5 months! I’m getting pretty excited about leaving but I also have completed the travel just about I wanted to do in Cambodia. There are places I would go back to and there is one I would not. After 4 months here, I’m glad to have settled and picked Cambodia for a home base location. Its much more centrally located than my other pick which was the Philippines. The inability to ride a bus or train or easily commute to another country is a major disadvantage to home basing there while I travel around. I may end up there end of next year for the holidays but I would never just give up the retirement visa here for theirs.

Well, gonna go have breakfast across the street at this nice little coffee shop and then get going for my big day in Battambang!

Author: Michael Perry

I've been blogging for over 20 years and now am living in Southeast Asia. The blog is about my slow vagabonding wherever I want to go. My home base is in Cambodia but I'm rarely there.