Cambodia: Avoiding Siem Reap’s pushy salesmen

After spending two days in Siem Reap and Angkor Archaeological Park, I have stopped looking at anyone in the eyes. I don’t know who may jump up and start selling something to me. It has become a nightmare. I want to, but can’t look at what souvenir shops are selling, because if I do, the salesmen will literally shove something into my pocket. I want to tell them that if they stop chasing us, we may actually buy something.
Over the days I have developed some immunity and ways to fend off the pushy salesmen and at the same time look at what’s up on sale.

1. Be very straight forward: When I do not want a salesman to follow me all the time in a shop asking “What do you want sir”, I just say politely “Thank You, I will see what I want myself.” It works.
2. Wear dark glasses and a hat: By wearing this, I not only ward of the evil sun but also look at what the shops and roadside vendors are selling from the corner of my eye without making any eye contact. If I like what they are selling, I can approach them, if I don’t, I just walk straight

3. Learn to say “No“: Small children are trying to sell me anything and everything in Angkor Archaeological Park. They are asking me to buy cola for $2 if I want to park my bicycle in a public parking. I am feeling disgusted because I don’t want to say ‘No’ to small children but eventually I do. And trust me; a few strong denials conveyed my message

Learn to say “No”

4. Be aware of swindlers: The scorching sun is burning into my skin, I have lost tons of body fluid and I am desperately searching for water. A vendor is trying to sell me a small bottle for an insane price. He is saying, “There is no shop for another 2 kms”. I take my chances and walk off. Barely 100 mtrs. ahead I find a whole market with restaurants

5. When it gets too much, just ignore: A girl barely 10 years old is trying to sell me pineapples. When I don’t buy, she asks me if I want to take her back to my hotel instead. I am zapped, I don’t know what to say and choose to ignore her
I don’t want scare off my readers. Sans these things that need to be taken care of, Angkor Archaeological Park is an experience worth travelling a thousand miles; so pack up and fly away.

Any other suggestions to avoid the salesmen?

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Gaurav Bhatnagar
Gaurav Bhatnagar
Travel Writer, Photographer, Public Speaker, Entrepreneur @
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