I usually try to avoid coming to new places late evening. The later the hour, the more limits and complications it brings. But sometimes you have no choice. I arrived to capital of Cambodia – Phnom Penh by bus from Vietnam. It wasn’t really late, about 8 PM, but it was getting dark around six.
I went directly to hostel. I found the address, but couldn’t see any sign, or light inside. Nothing. I was walking up and down the street, looking into map, my backpack was dragging me down, the sweat was pouring down on me. No hostel.
I decided to ask the lady sitting in front of the mini-market.
“That hostel doesn’t exist.”
“How come? I have paid reservation.”
“It was closed approximately 2 months ago. When did you book it?”
“Well, 2 months ago.” (it was my first big trip as solo traveller, I booked almost everything in advance)
She offered me a chair and asked how much money I am willing to pay for accommodation.
As less as possible.
She called her friend, but his hostel was full. Then she gave me wi-fi password to search for something else. I was browsing few seconds and one name took my attention. I remembered this hostel, it was one of the options. 5 minutes walking. I’m going.
I took my backpack, cordially thanked the lady for help and walked out to streets of Phnom Penh.
There are several lessons to be learned from this:
- It is not recommended to book anything in advance in some countries or areas in the world. Southeast Asia is one of them.
- Ask for help from locals, they are willing to help.
- And the last is my travel rule: Do not panic, there is always a solution.
P.S.: How did it end with unrealized hostel reservation?
The price for one night was $8. Yes, ridiculous amount, but why don‘t get it back when it didn’t serve it’s purpose? It cost me one e-mail to booking.com. They send me money back within few weeks.