Who would have thought, apparently in Southeast Asia itself there is a small town that is so busy with casino businesses. The city in question is Poipet City, which is a gambling city on the Thailand-Cambodia border.
This city is included in the category of small cities but is crowded and densely populated by local residents who live in the area and the tourists, most of whom are from countries in the Southeast Asian region.
Being in a gambling city on the Thailand-Cambodia border is like on a trip to Las Vegas. The difference is only in the city atmosphere which feels like a city that has experienced an apocalypse. Really chaotic and leaving the ‘cannibals’.
Reporting from one of the well-known news portals, VICE, Poipet, this gambling city on the Thai-Cambodia border actually gives off an unpleasant impression.
Getting into this city is actually very easy, but you have to go through a lot of brokers who are ready to eat away the purses of the innocent tourists there.
The atmosphere of the Gambling City in Cambodia, Poipet
Poipet is indeed famous as a gambling city. In the middle of the city, there is a most famous casino called the Holiday Palace.
This casino has a modern but poorly maintained building design. The modern design of this casino can be seen from the idea of the casino’s main door which is towering glass.
The atmosphere of the city of Poipet itself is actually less comfortable when compared to big cities in Indonesia. The city is very densely populated with residential buildings and business center buildings.
The level of pollution is also severe. This is due to the large number of vehicles passing through the city. The layout of the city is also quite messy.
The city is covered in red dust and vehicle fumes as well as cigarette smoke. This condition can still be felt even though you are in the hotel lobby.
Tourists visiting this gambling city on the Thai-Cambodian border usually prefer the sea route to avoid piling up brokers and waiting for “prey” on the land route not far from the Thai immigration gate.
These brokers will usually target non-Southeast Asian tourists to become their easy targets. These tourists will later be persuaded to immediately apply for entry visas.
Each tourist will usually be charged 1,000 Baht or the equivalent of approximately 400,000 rupiah. In fact, there is no need to pay such a large fee just to apply for a visa.
Without the help of brokers, a tourist can apply for a visa on his own by coming directly to the local immigration office. There are so many other ways if you want to spend money in this small town.
Poipet: The ‘nest’ of the gambling business in Cambodia
You know, Poipet is a small town but it is very crowded because this city is the ‘nest’ of the largest casino business in Cambodia.
If you are in this city, you have to be much more vigilant because this city is full of criminal acts. Just like action movies with the background of the casino and the mob action.
The city of gambling and crime. It seems that these two things are elements that can have an adverse effect on tourists who come to have fun by gambling.
The tourists who visit this city actually have many options for places to gamble. There are more than 75 casinos spread across Cambodia. And most of the casinos are located in Poipet City.
Apart from Poipet, tourists can also try other casinos in other locations such as Bavet City and O-Smach City. These two cities are very close to Cambodia’s neighboring countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.
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Thailand and Vietnam are actually included in countries that prohibit gambling practices; the same as our country, Indonesia.
Even so, there are still many gambling practices that are secretly carried out by residents who really like gambling.
One solution to channel his hobby or gambling hobby is crossing to neighboring Cambodia.
This gambling city in Cambodia is usually crowded with tourists from Thailand and China. These tourists will regularly visit this city to seek their fortune at the gambling table.
There is quite a large selection of casino gambling games that are most often played by most tourists from Thailand and China. Call it poker gambling games, roulette wheel, and dingdong.
As additional information, Thai and Chinese people are known to be very fond of gambling. Sadly, the Thai government is very loud in voicing the prohibition of gambling to all its people.
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Gambling perpetrators in the White Elephant Country will be subject to a large amount of fines. There is even a prison sentence that is ready to await the perpetrators of gambling.
Just like in Indonesia, Thai people like to organize illegal gambling such as cockfighting and buffalo fighting gambling.
So, for Thai people who like to gamble and have money, they will prefer to cross to Cambodia, the only country in the Southeast Asia region that legalizes gambling.
Gambling: Cambodia’s Biggest Source of Income
The gambling industry is indeed a very promising business. According to Dolphins e-Gaming, the global gambling market is predicted to reach $565 Billion by 2022. And will continue to grow over time.
The gambling business in the gambling city in Cambodia has increased state revenue to USD 2 billion in 2015. For this year, the revenue from the gambling tax sector and the gambling business has certainly increased significantly.
This is based on tourist visits which also jumped sharply in Cambodia. Of course, the income from the gambling tax sector and other gambling businesses is one of the supporters of the stable economic condition of Cambodia.
Although it has received an injection of income from the gambling business, Cambodia is still one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. The income per capita alone is still below the average per capita income of the Thai people.
With this ‘poor’ image, it is no wonder that Poipet City can be described as a city that is far from luxurious, unlike what we imagine if we imagine gambling cities like Las Vegas, Macau, and so on.
If we talk about casinos, this gambling city in Cambodia is famous as a stop area for large container trucks parked along the main road. The casinos in Poipet City are not much different from entertainment center buildings in the slum areas.
The atmosphere of the Casino in Poipet
Most of the casinos in this gambling town in Cambodia are nothing more than shabby buildings filled with cigarette smoke. The casino atmosphere was so uncomfortable and there was absolutely no enthusiasm from the gambling players who were present there. This is just a brief overview of the inside of one of the biggest casinos in Poipet City.
Meanwhile on the outside, there are many rows of beggar children who are ready to raise their hands to anyone who goes in and out of the casino.
There are also many scavengers with their carts parked on the side of the road. These carts are filled with trash and junk that really smells bad everywhere.
Once out of the casino and onto the street, you will be “greeted” with dust particles which are very soft but feel choking when mixed with the wind. The streets in this city are still dirt and will turn muddy when the rainy season starts.
In the roadside area, there are many tents made of tarpaulin. Apparently, these tents were residential as well as kiosks or places to sell owned by local residents. This kind of scene will certainly amaze anyone who visits this gambling city in Cambodia.
In essence, the atmosphere in Poipet City is more or less the same as the slum towns in the Mad Max film, which are depicted as being very slum after the end of the world.
And for those of you who want to stay at a comfortable hotel or inn, don’t expect you to find it in this city. Why?
Because Poipet has no hotel or lodging facilities at all, except at the Holiday Palace which doubles as a hotel, casino and resort.
Usually travelers or tourists only spend the night in this gambling city in Cambodia just to play gambling. Once satisfied gambling, they will usually continue their trip to some of the more comfortable places outside Poipet such as Siem Reap or special bars for backpackers. The two favorite places for tourists are located in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.
From this, we can conclude that Poipet is just a gambling city in Cambodia.
It is really the main destination city for gambling, not for sightseeing or other activities.
Of course, for the purposes of staying overnight, tourists will prefer hotels or inns in the two places mentioned above.
Well, talking about the most famous and biggest hotel in the gambling city in Cambodia, Holiday Palace is certainly the answer. This hotel, which is the pride of the people of Poipet, is in a very strategic location.
When viewed from the photos on Google, the Holiday Palace is the only hotel that is decent enough to stay.
At least for one night only. No wonder many netizens recommend this hotel. In fact, this hotel once advertised itself as the best hotel in this gambling city in Cambodia.
Even the hotel claims that this Holiday Palace is a five-star hotel.
But the facts are different. When viewed from the quality of facilities and services, you could say this Holiday Palace is still far from the criteria for a five-star hotel category. The cost of renting a room is expensive, apparently, does not guarantee the quality of services and adequate facilities.
And do you know how much it costs to rent a hotel room per night? 3,000 Bath aka equivalent to 1.24 million rupiah. Of course, this expensive room rental price is not comparable with the facilities and services provided.
Around the hotel, there are several dining options that are usually recommended by local people. There is one food stall which is very crowded. There were quite a lot of tourists who were seen eating at the stall.
When viewed from the menu choices, it’s actually not that tempting. Even so, many buyers are so fond of one menu that might be the favorite menu in the food stall. Intrigued by the menu in question?
Just a bowl of boiled pork mixed with cabbage and other types of vegetables. This dish is usually served with a plate of hot rice which is a generous portion.
Chopped chilies and fish sauce are seasonings that must be on every table.
Poipet: City of a Thousand Criminals
According to one of the sources, none other than a local resident who works as a taxi driver as well as a guide. He said that Poipet City is synonymous with a city with a very high crime rate.
There are so many criminal cases where the legal solution is unknown. There was once the case of a young backpacker from England.
This backpacker is both a victim of an ambush and a victim of murder. This criminal act is only one of the many criminal cases that have not been revealed until now.
There are also other cases that often occur in this gambling city in Cambodia. For example, the case of a gambling player who was shot after leaving the casino.
The player reportedly just won gambling with a lot of winning prizes.
There have also been cases of fights involving two siblings inside the casino. One of the fighters died from a pipe blow.
This gambling city in Cambodia is also known as a hotbed for kidnappers syndicates who often act by kidnapping gambling players who never leave the casino even though they have no money.
Many tourists are also displaced as a result of not being able to pay casino debts.
Poipet is also known as one of the worst human trafficking centers in the Southeast Asia region. Not only that, this gambling city in Cambodia is also often associated with the largest counterfeit money circulation center in Southeast Asia.
In essence, Poipet is a small town full of various crimes.
Still from the same source, Poipet City has become the area of control for a number of mafias who often control various types of dirty businesses. Amazingly, these mafias are very difficult to “touch” the law.
Sometimes a group of people walks into a casino and immediately takes money and chips. The police on guard around the casino seemed unable to do anything about it.
Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino
Apart from the Holiday Palace, there are other casino references in this gambling city in Cambodia. The casino is the Grand Diamond City Hotel and Casino.
From the looks of it, this casino is much bigger and more luxurious when compared to the previous casinos.
This casino looks like a building with a design like a spaceship complete with gold lamp decorations.
On the inside of this casino, you can see that there are many slot machines lined up on the edge of both sides of the room. When one of the slot machines is operated, the audio effect that comes out sounds tacky and ridiculous.
There is also a blackjack table facility which at that time was filled with gambling players. Of the many players sitting around the black jack table, not a single player seemed enthusiastic about the gambling game in front of him.
Then there are also poker tables and roulette wheel tables which are very quiet. There was absolutely no music, the sound of the players talking, even the screams of joy or disappointment from winning or losing gambling.
Of course, this kind of atmosphere is very different from the atmosphere of the casinos in Australia, the US and Macau. This gambling city in Cambodia is truly like a dead city with visitors that are no different from the zombies in the apocalypse themed film, as if Poipet has taken all the fun and hubbub of gambling activity.
That is a brief overview of the atmosphere of the gambling city in Cambodia, Poipet. Even though it looks lonely as if there is no life and everything feels bland, the casinos in this city are still busy because they are indeed a major gambling tourist destination, both for local and foreign gamblers.