I paid more than $300 for an extended warranty on a laptop I got stolen. That made the financial loss associated with the theft so much more severe and made me question the worth of extended warranties. I have done some research and found out that number of laptops that get stolen is significantly higher than number of laptops that need a pricey repair. What this means is that the chances that your laptop gets stolen (or lost – there is also a great deal of laptops people simply forget at a snack shop of an airport and won’t realize that until after takeoff) are far greater than chances of it breaking down. Taking all that into account – are extended warranties worth it or not? Let’s take a closer look at it:
Manufacturer’s Warranty vs Extended Warranty
Laptops, as well as other electronic devices come with manufacturer’s warranty included in price. In most cases, manufacturer’s warranty covers the product for one year and oftentimes applies worldwide. My Samsung Q320 laptop came with one year worldwide warranty and if you buy an equally reputable brand product, you will likely get the same with it. If something was unstable about the product you buy, it would show within a year of use. If on the other hand the product was solid built, chances are it will serve you well for many years without issues. That thing alone makes extended warranty NOT worth it. If there is an issue, it will show during manufacturer’s warranty. If there is no issue, chances are fair the product will work like it should way beyond the coverage of your extended warranty.
Extended Warranty Claims
If you look up statistics on the internet, you will find out that only about 3% of extended warranty cases end up paying for themselves. 97% of extended warranties purchased are a waste of money. The thing is that many people realize that they are facing a possibility of having the money wasted, but since extended warranty is a peace of mind, they are willing to consider that as an option. Sales people know that very well and have a handful of arguments at the ready to throw at you when you are buying a product. There is no wonder why extended warranty upsales make up for most of sales people’s wages. They are aware of statistics themselves and know that for the most part, vast part of extended warranties they sell will expire without any claims made, which literally means it’s hundreds of dollars straight in their pocket with nothing being given in return.
Cost of Extended Warranties
The cost of an extended warranty is not low at all. It’s typically 1/4 to 1/3 of the price of the item. So if you are buying a $1,000 worth of a laptop, you are looking at good $300 for an extended warranty. That’s a big chunk of money if you look at it. But it gets better – consider this:
If you do spend $300 for 3 years of extended warranty for your laptop, you will have your laptop “protected” until such time that it will be an obsolete piece of junk you won’t be able to use because modern application will not run on it. It’s a simple fact that technology progress is immense. You won’t even reach the end of your extended warranty and you will already start looking around for a new laptop that will contain all latest components cause your old one doesn’t have it. Had you not used the $300 for an extended warranty with purchase of this one, but used this money towards the fund for purchase of a new laptop, you’d be much better off right now. Because even if your laptop quits on you after three years, with an extended warranty you could get it fixed but end up with the same obsolete piece. Whereas if you put this money to work for you in the meantime, gain on its worth and use it towards the purchase of new laptop, you would end up with latest technology piece that will far and wide outdo your old one. Fast aging of electronic devices makes extended warranties not worth it. We’re not in the 1920’s when products were expensive, but were made to last. We are living in the age of disposable electronics. What you buy is not built to last, so don’t fix it, replace it.
Replacing a product after a period of use with newer, better, more feature rich and more up to date version is better than having an old one repaired on many accounts. Let it serve you for as long as it will and when its time comes, upgrade to a newer version. Gateway and Dell – makers of portable computers have both admitted that they have seen minimal increase in costs for warranty claims after they started offering extended warranties, but the increase in revenue grew substantially. That means that prior to offering extended warranties their cost of taking care of regular warranties may have been in the $16 Million mark, but as they started offering extended warranties, the cost of taking care of claims rose to $17 Million mark, but their revenue grew by $33 Million which came from sales of extended warranties.
Extended Warranty Scams
Savvy buyers know that many specialty coverages are a scam. Good example is rust protection for your new car. Car sales men like to offer special coating for your newly purchased car and since you are spending $20,000 on it, you should definitely consider investing additional $1,000 to have your body covered with special anti rust coating, right? It would normally make sense, unless you look deeper into it. And if you do, you find out that car body already comes with 10 years of anti rust manufacturer’s warranty. In other words, car dealership will try to sell you protection for your car that will do the same job factory applied protection does.
This scam is by no means limited to car dealerships. It is not uncommon to have extended warranties for laptops that cover certain parts of it for certain periods of time. But if you were to take a closer look at what is covered by an extended warranty, you would see such thing as “3 years replacement coverage for RAM chips” but oddly enough, most RAM chips come covered for a minimum of 3 years by the manufacturer.
Scams of that sort are very common. Retail outlets will try to sell you something your purchased item already comes with by default. This is yet another reason that makes purchasing extended warranties NOT worth it!
Who Does The Extended Warranty Work?
If you buy an extended warranty with a retailer, it will be the retailer or their sub-contractors who will perform the warranty work. During the course of my research, I have spoken with a number of people who had purchased extended warranties. Vast majority has never made any use of it. Few could have used it, but after 3 years they were not able to locate the receipts which nulled their eligibility for a warranty claim. Then there were a couple who did need to get something repaired and they each had bad experience. It was not uncommon to be told that something is not covered by an extended warranty, however even if a legitimate claim was made, the repair will be performed by their own people who often lack quality expertise and the job will be poorly done. There is nothing more frustrating than wasting time waiting to get your unit repaired, only to find out that after you got it back eventually, the issue still persists.
Conclusion: Extended Warranty – Worth It or Not?
Two things to consider:
Unless you are buying an item made by a company notorious for lousy, prone to breaking products (most Apple products, for example), then an extended warranty is most likely NOT worth it
If you know yourself as someone who looks after their stuff and doesn’t abuse it, then extended warranty is most likely NOT worth it. If on the other hand you often leave your laptop on the floor covered with an endless pile of garbage so you may end up stepping on it cause you couldn’t see it, and if you have a history of leaving your laptop on an anthill to let all forms of insects get into it, or if you use your laptop as tray for food and drink you consume while you are driving, then perhaps in such cases you should consider extended warranty. In your case it may be worth it.
In conclusion, and as a general rule – extended warranties are NOT worth it. They are extremely overpriced and in most cases end up being nothing more than money straight down the drain. If you do want to have peace of mind no matter the cost, then at least negotiate with the retailer and make sure you do not spend more than 20% of the item’s price on an extended warranty. Even so, if you are willing to admit that the item has a 20% chance of breaking down on you, then perhaps you should do your research better and opt for a brand that’s not notorious for having 20% of their product break down on consumers. If you go with a solid brand, chances that your purchase will serve you well are far greater than chances it will break.
Consider the odds. If you are buying portable electronics, chances of it getting stolen are far greater than chances of it breaking down. If you are going to spend the money, spend it on theft insurance or tracing software so you can increase the chances of recovery.
Products seldom break during the duration of extended warranty. Majority breaks while still under manufacturer’s warranty or die entirely long after your extended warranty has expired.
Given the cost of extended warranties, you are often better off using the money to start the “product repair fund” so you can take care of future issues and if none arise, use the fund towards the purchase of an upgraded version of the product.
If you make an extended warranty claim, you may not see your product for a month. If it’s something you need, such as a laptop for work, you will be screwed. You did not buy a laptop to be a month without it. Loss of productivity you will have incurred far outweighs the peace of mind offered by an extended warranty.
Finally, take a look at all the electronics you have bought throughout your life. How many of those have failed? Imagine you’d have bought an extended warranty for each of them – where would you be now? Would you have saved money or wasted it?
Buying an extended warranty is like going to a casino. The party that takes money from you, does so by making you believe that you are likely to get a lot in return. At the end of the day, whether you spent the money in a casino or for an extended warranty, it’s the receiver of your money who wins, not you. It’s a gamble. That’s why they do it. It’s because they know the odds are heavily against you. On occasion, someone wins, but vast majority lose. Though the reason why stores like Best Buy or Future Shop where I bought my laptop are able to offer near no mark up prices for products is because they rip people off on extended warranties. So I guess I better shut up now because without extended warranties, they would have to bump prices of the products they sell up to stay afloat. The more people buy extended warranties, the more it ensures low, near wholesale prices for products. Yeah, extended warranties are not worth it, but they ensure extremely low prices for gadgets I need. Keep buying, people 😉
Tired and worn out from exposure to heat I was not used to, I headed back to my room at Two Dragons. It’s been a while since I’ve had my breakfast at Khmer Family Restaurant and my stomach was becoming vocal about getting some more food so I went for walk within the vicinity of Two Dragons guesthouse to see where I could have supper. The Home Cocktail Restaurant is only 1 minute walk from Two Dragons, around the corner, directly on Wat Bo Road.
Since my first introduction to Cambodian food I’ve been using Khmer Family Restaurant as benchmark. While my happy day special which included food and Angkor Beer cost only $3, I decided to give the Home Cocktail Restaurant a try even though their set was listed in the menu at $4. But unlike Khmer Family Restaurant, $4 at Home Cocktail Restaurant also landed me with a starter (2 springrolls with spicy, yet tasty dip) and a desert (fried banana – so yummy).
While dining at Home Cocktail Restaurant I have noticed rather unpleasant way Khmer establishment treat their customers. A person who is serving you will be there, right behind your shoulder at all times. From their standpoint this means that they are always there, ready to serve you. However from your standpoint it looks extremely awful, makes you feel uncomfortable and pressured. This wasn’t an incident isolated to Home Cocktail Restaurant, it’s all over you place and bit by bit you will be taking it for granted, yet it always makes for a very unpleasant feeling. I will elaborate on this later.
It is necessary to point out that my server at Home Cocktail Restaurant was very courteous and professional at all times. Food was absolutely delicious from first bite at the springroll, through main course all the way to desert. I have subsequently visited Home Cocktail Restaurant several times while I was still housed at Two Dragons. That only lasted for one week so after I have moved out of there, it was also the end of me eating at Home Cocktail Restaurant.
It is an amazing restaurant which I would not hesitate to recommend. The decoration and overall feel of the restaurant is very rustic so aside from eating local food, you will also feel local from the outside. I really liked it there. One day I dined there during heavy rainfall and the only unpleasant thing were mosquitoes. The thatched rooftop covering the patio, bamboo chairs, wooden walls with large cart wheels made for pleasant stay while rain was ravaging just feet away from me. Home Cocktail Restaurant = great dining establishment.
As big fan of Asian food, I could not wait to have my first Asian meal in an Asian country. Sure, I did have my authentic Korean dish aboard Korean Air flight from Vancouver to Seoul, but I wasn’t quite in an Asian country yet. Now I was – Siem Reap in all its glory.
Since there was no buying for me at the Center Market, I continued on, told 500 other Tuk Tuk drivers that I was fine and didn’t need any ride, weed, cocaine, bum bum (that’s what they call the act of fornication) or anything else and turned left on Sivatha Bulevard, which appeared to be the main street in Siem Reap, according to the map in the Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide. The map also suggested that there was a high concentration of stuff to the left which is why I turned there, instead of heading right.
There is a large corner building that houses Canadia Bank, which had the sound of Canada to its name – my homeland. That’s where I slid to the 2 Thnou Street and followed along passing by a number of massage parlors, pharmacies and other shops. The thought of eating my first Asian food in Asia has driven me forward so I have disregarded all other, albeit attractive shops and focused strictly on restaurants. At one point I spotted one right on the corner of 2 Thnou Street and Street #8 and walked in to check the menu. I was immediately approached by the server who stood by my side as I was checking what they had for eating. Given information I have gathered from on line research, I believed that this restaurant was a bit overpriced so I excused myself, much to the disappointment of the server who believed I was a sure fish and followed up that Street 8 where there seemed to be one restaurant after another on both sides.
One that immediately caught my eye was called Khmer Family Restaurant. Not only did the name applied that this was a locally run restaurant with local management so my purchase would support locals, but the name also suggested that I would be eating local food, which would certainly greatly enhance my first dining experience in Cambodia. Khmer Family Restaurant it was. I stepped in, seated myself on a patio under the fabric roof as heat within the walls of an establishment without air-conditioning would be unbearable and asked for a menu and a $.50 draught beer they had advertised on the sign facing the street.
I was served by a beautiful Khmer girl and ordered Curry Fish with Rice. It was still early morning, but closer to about 8am by now and the temperature outside reached truly intolerable level. I did not want to know what it’s going to be like during mid day hours. As I was sitting on a patio close to the street, I was being repeatedly approached by street people. Little girl – could not have been more than 6 years came to beg me to buy a bracelet from her. Realizing these kids are trained to play with tourists’ feelings and used as easy tools to get money from otherwise refusing foreigners, I stood my ground and respectfully declined. Afterall, weight of my luggage was enough of a burden as it was. Adding to it with keepsakes was not an option by any stretch of imagination.
Kids kept coming. Both boys and girls, couples and groups, selling t-shirts, postcards, guide books, scarves, and everything else that can be sold. I was approached by someone twice a minute. Victims of landmines were the most difficult to turn down. Those people miss limbs, some miss parts of their chest or several limbs. Many don’t speak English and bear signs with well tailored sales copies that will hit the sympathy nerves of even the hardest to break individuals.
I remember that one guy coming with clutches bearing a box tied to his neck and a sign in his hand which said that he’s not begging, only trying to work which is hard now that he’s got no legs. So he’s selling guide books. It was extremely difficult to turn that person down, but I’ve only been out in the open for 30 minutes and if I already started spending on items I don’t need, where would I be in a week from now?
When my meal was served to me, my eyes started to glitter. The presentation was awesome and when I took my first mouthful, I was in seventh heaven. The curry fish was served in a bowl made of fresh banana leaves held together by staples (lol, that one part kind of spoilt it all, but still impressive presentation), and dose of rice was served on a side of a larger tray that housed both. It looked fantastic and tasted even better. My taste buds were having the feast of the lifetime. It was a delicious dish which along with draught beer cost a total of $3 US. Wow.
My first impressions after dining at the Khmer Family Restaurant were more than positive. I could not have asked for a better place to have myself introduced to the local kitchen and have my first normal interaction with local people (only Khmer aka native Cambodians work at the Khmer Family Restaurant).
Licking myself all over after finishing my meal, rejecting offers from dozens of other people who attempted to sell me something, then rejected dozens of Tuk Tuk drivers who pulled over just to offer me a ride somewhere after I’m done eating, hanging on tightly to my camera bag so someone doesn’t snatch it, I went to pay for my bill. I left a generous $1 tip, which is a ridiculous amount to pay as a tip, but given that my total bill was $3, my $1 tip represented a 33% uppage. That’s perhaps why that gorgeous girl who served me my breakfast was so surprised and asked if I was serious that this $1 was for her… Hmmm, even though broke, this dining experience at the Khmer Family Restaurant in Siem Reap made me feel wealthy for a minute.
I have tried many restaurants after this initiation to the world of Cambodian dining, but Khmer Family Restaurant remained my favourite for a few weeks. Given that this was my first dining experience in Cambodia, I was generally happy with my choice. An amazing restaurant with great food, fair prices and as I have discovered later – great internet with free WiFi for customers. I was about to become a loyal customer but it didn’t last very long. Unfortunately, being a Khmer run business, they don’t care much about establishing a loyal clientele and are extremely lazy so when something needs attention, instead of taking care of it, they’d laugh at you for their inability to resolve it.
For example, when internet wasn’t working, I asked if someone could take a look at the router thinking that it may need restarting, but when after 45 minutes nobody bothered to take a walk upstairs to take a look, I had to ask again which was responded to by everyone having themselves a good laugh that I haven’t had any internet access for almost an hour. When this unprofessionalism (not necessarily limited to the Khmer Family Restaurant, as it is the nature of all Khmer run businesses) got in the way of me requesting to have the cook stop adding MSG to my food because it was making me sick, I knew it was time to quit patronising this establishment. Not only would no one bother to follow my request to quit adding MSG to my dishes, they even had themselves a good laugh at me because it was their food that was causing my intense stomach problems. Needless to say, what started as a good relationship was swiftly ended when their true colors showed up. Unfortunately, this type of behaviour is typical of any Khmer run business.
This is my personal review of Two Dragons guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It reflects my personal impressions and experiences after staying in Two Dragons for a week. All the positives and negatives, all the pluses and minuses in this review are presented without bias and without misleading.
Why I Chose Two Dragons Guesthouse
Prior to leaving for Cambodia I have contacted several guesthouses, homestays and low scale hotels in Siem Reap about their availability and pricing. I specifically wanted to know which establishments offer special pricing for long term stay (both week long and month long) since I was planning on staying in Cambodia for a while. In my email enquiry I have mentioned that I was interested in a single bed room with en suite shower (preferably with hot water).
In addition I also wanted to know if the establishment offers free pick up from Siam Reap airport, whether wireless internet is included in price and whether they had laundry facility on site that’s available to guests.
Two Dragons was the fastest to respond. Before I was done contacting all of the guesthouses I wanted to contact, I had a reply from Gordon – owner and manager of Two Dragons Guesthouse. That was a big positive and this first impression made major impact. I have not heard from most other guesthouses till following morning. There were a few that took several days to respond – I did not deal with those at all.
After impressive first impression from Two Dragons Guesthouse and elimination of most other guesthouses because of cut and paste responses or not answering any or all of my questions, I was left with three of my favorites. The reason I eventually opted for Two Dragons was that it was owned by an expat, a westerner who’s lived in Cambodia for many years plus I liked the approach Gordon is taking on his website – he’s addressing right audiences in the right way. He’s not too formal and says it the way backpackers would want to hear it. According to Two Dragons official website – twodragons-asia.com, they do not B.S. and provide truthful information based on what is best for the tourist, not on who offers them the biggest kickback.
On their website, Two Dragons management also claims that they have English speaking, reliable Tuk Tuk drivers who unlike many other Tuk Tuk drivers in Cambodia, can be trusted. All this information was presented in a very inviting way setting Two Dragons safely apart from competition. Given that a tourist is most vulnerable during initial hours of his/her stay and subsequently rather lost and confused for the following few days, staying at Two Dragons seemed like the best starting point.
Two Dragons Review – First Impressions
So far so good. I re-contacted Gordon two days prior to leaving Canada to make sure everything is in place and driver will be waiting for me when I arrive in Siem Reap. As before, the response was prompt and affirming, leaving no doubt that Two Dragons has reservations taken care of with no room for mishaps. This feeling of everything being in place made it all easier on me, since I knew my arrival in Cambodia will be proceeded by more than 24 hours on the airplanes and at the airports and by the time I get to Cambodia all work out and tired, it will be late night there. I’d be an easy prey for vulture like scam artists who operate at international airports of third world countries.
As promised, driver waited for me at Siem Reap airport, delivered me to the guesthouse without hassle and guesthouse staff took care of the rest. I got the room and was left alone to get some sleep after long flight. The very beginnings during which a tourist is most vulnerable were taken care of wholesomely by Two Dragons. There were no screw ups in the beginning while I was extremely cranky and in desperate need of some sleep.
The Room Review
I was given the room #15. Something is telling me that this is the shittiest room in entire Two Dragons guesthouse. During the day, when girls who work at the guesthouse clean other rooms and doors are open, I could see inside that each other room was nicer than mine. Maybe I arrived when this one was the only one available, and while I don’t have any major issues with the room, I’d say that anyone looking to stay in Two Dragons who is not dead tired when they arrive, asks the staff to show them each of the available rooms and choose one they like the best prior to unpacking.
The room I was in was small in size, but that’s all you need. It had two beds on each side of the wall, small coffee table, tiny little TV set on a stand, nice looking imitation wardrobe made of bamboo, a chair made of bamboo, a ceiling fan and an air-conditioning unit (all rooms at Two Dragons are air conditioned). The room also had en suite washroom with sink, heated shower and toilet bowl.
Two Dragons proudly claim that their room are the cleanest in Siem Reap (or something like that). I have never had any issues with non cleanliness so even if that may be an exaggerate statement, you won’t be seeing chunks of dust under your bed or spider webs on the ceiling. First night I slept on one of the beds that stank, so I spent the rest of my stay on second bed in the room which was better.
I have never watched TV. I don’t watch TV at home and as a matter of fact, I have not been on the tube, other than by watching my DVDs in years. Two Dragons website claims that they have over 80 international channels that you can watch. It’s quite possible, though the TV set in my room was no bigger than 14 inches, which is really tiny.
Two Dragons Bullshitting of Patrons
While Two Dragons do offer daily room cleaning services (not all guesthouses do), which is a positive thing, I didn’t like the fact that they pull the same trick at their patrons as many other similar establishments. To bullshit you into not getting your towel changed daily, Two Dragons will pull the well approved trick about being environmentally friendly at you. This is the most jokeable and most cynical part of their business. On one hand they claim that at Two Dragons they strive to protect the environment and as such they would ask you not to request having the towel changed daily, yet on another you won’t find anything about Two Dragons that would back up the statement that they do care about the environment. If they really cared, they would use eco friendly (energy saving) bulbs everywhere throughout their establishment. If they cared they would not be giving bottled water to each of their patrons, instead they would provide a dispenser of sorts. If they cared about the environment, they would use bio degradable cleaning solutions. But they don’t. At Two Dragons they just want to save up on each customer so they make you feel guilty about the environment while true intention is to spend as little on you as possible. That’s all. I hate bullshitters.
Two Dragons Staff Review
All staff members I have had an encounter with during my week long stay at Two Dragons were extremely nice and friendly. Room cleaning is done while you are gone and is done properly. I have always found my bed done up, sheets were probably changed a few times during my stay, garbage was emptied daily, fresh bottle of drinking water left in the room every day and my personal stuff never seemed touched. I left my money and IDs on the table while I was gone and always found it there.
There is allegedly a safe available for use by the guests, but there was some major headache attached to using it so I never did. I thought of shoving my extra money in it, but I didn’t have any pouch to put it in so I’d have to hand them a pile of bills which seemed less tricky than burying it in the bag among dirty laundry.
Two Dragons Restaurant Review
I have only eaten in the restaurant here once. The reason – overpriced. Food was OK. It was nothing spectacular, but not bad either. However it was way more expensive than other restaurants hence not worth it. There were several restaurants nearby – literally just seconds away where I would go to eat. I’d pay half the money and get twice the food. It just didn’t make any sense eating at Two Dragons.
The restaurant is also located by the entrance to the guesthouse so when a new guest comes, you get to listen to a lot of commotion while you’re trying to eat. As a guest, you are however provided with complimentary tea and coffee that you can help yourself on the upper floor where the guest rooms are, right outside small balcony. I don’t drink coffee so I can’t comment on that, but the tea was Lipton Yellow Tea in separate bags that you dip in hot water from a dispenser. It was provided for free, so no complaints and I did help myself on a couple of occasions.
Two Dragons Location Review
Location of Two Dragons completely blows. It’s too far away from anything interesting in Siem Reap, but most of all it’s on an unpaved road so during rainy season, you get to plough through mud to get to and from the guesthouse. It truly sucked because I bought a bicycle to move around and most of town was fine – at worst a little puddle here and there. But the alley leading to Two Dragons was always covered in mud.
One of the things Gordon points out all the time is that he will offer a no B.S. advice to his guests and will tell them what is worth checking out, what is not, where to go to do this, where to go to get that – and all of it with interests of the visitor in mind, not his own. It sounds nice on paper, but is it really so?
I had two questions of Gordon after I first met him – I wanted to know about renting or buying a bicycle and I wanted to know about buying a SIM card for my GSM cell phone. In both cases I got advice that didn’t fit the description of giving advice that most beneficial to the guest.
First I wanted to know how much their bike rentals were and where I should go if I decided to buy one instead of renting. I was told they rent bikes out for $2 per day. Most guesthouses rent bikes out for $1 but was not my concern. Gordon is the boss, he can set his prices any way he wants. Some of his guests ate in Two Dragons restaurant, I didn’t see the point and went to the one around the corner where meals are half the price and you get a three course meal with desert for less than one dish at Two Dragons. If people are fine paying for Two Dragons food, it’s their own business. And the same goes for bicycles and laundry service. Gordon charges $2 per day for bike rental and $2 to wash 1 kg of laundry. Shed right next to Two Dragons does 1kg of laundry for $1 and two sheds down you can rent a bicycle for $1 per day. I would take this 30 second walk just on principle, however many people are fine paying Two Dragon’s prices and that’s their own business.
After answering my question about how much they were renting bikes for, Gordon mentioned that I could buy a bike instead of renting form them if I wanted to stay for a while and ride while I’m here. He gave me valuable advice that cheapo bikes sell for $30, better ones for $50, however there are no quality mountain bikes available for sale in Cambodia. Only pieces of junk from China and overused second hand rejects form Japan. But whether I was going to buy or rent, I would still end up riding the same piece of junk, so it would make no difference. That’s what I was told and 80% of it was true which is a decent ratio for free advice.
The following day I wanted to go take a look at what bikes are available for sale, so I asked Gordon where the stores were. He insisted that I take a Tuk Tuk ride there. I told him I was fine walking as I like walking, it allows me to see the town and besides – I’ve been walking everywhere so fat and given Two Dragon’s location, I had opposite ends of town covered so wherever bike stores could be, I could definitely do it. However Gordon insisted that I take Tuk Tuk because it’s too far.
I really didn’t see where possibly it could be that I could not walk there, but eventually I broke down and agreed to taking Tuk Tuk. Needless to say – it was not far at all, which made it look as though despite what he claims, Gordon truly wants to get some business to his Tuk Tuk drivers for carrying his sign on the back of their trailers and for being his on call drivers. So this all blabber about only advising tourists what is best for them is questionable. He does give you advice, but it always involves taking one of his drivers to go there and do that. Afterall, expecting that there would be a business owner who would not think of kick backs when giving advice to a tourist who is looking to spend money on something is foolish.
My second question on Gordon was where to go to buy a SIM card for my phone. Again, I was told that tourists can buy a tourist SIM card which is only valid for a week and costs $12. To stay true to his intentions to hook his Tuk Tuk drivers with earnings (or maybe he keeps part of their net earnings – which would explain why he is so strung for everyone going everywhere and doing everything via his “approved” Tuk Tuk drivers), he added that a better option is to ask one of the Tuk Tuk drivers to buy me a regular SIM card, put it under their name and give them few extra bucks for doing that for me.
Good thing was I didn’t let him get me a Tuk Tuk driver to take care of it for me, like it was with the bicycle fiasco. This time around I said I was gonna think if I want a SIM card at all and went to do my own research myself. As it turns out, you can buy regular SIM card without problems. I bought one for $3 which comes with $4 worth of within network calls (charged at $.06 a minute) and $2 worth of cross country calls (charged at $.09 per minute). These minutes must be used within a month or else they expire and the card must be recharged within following two months or else the number expires. You do not need a Tuk Tuk driver to get yourself a SIM card for a GSM phone in Cambodia. And this is the first cell phone company I enquired with (Metfone). There are 9 of them in the country. Once again, I was forced to doubt real intentions behind Gordon’s vehement attempts to make sure he hooks up his Tuk Tuk drivers with income. The claims that at Two Dragons they don’t B.S. and don’t advice anything for kick backs are truly questionable.
Two Dragons Free Internet Review
This was my biggest pet peeve of all. Given the nature of my work, it is absolutely essential for me to have internet access. Two Dragons comes with a promise of free WiFi wireless internet. The only catch is, that it sucks like no other. Most of the time the internet doesn’t work. It’s either completely down or not down, but nothing loads and times out. On an important day I was trying to submit one article to a website. I started at 7pm and by midnight it was still not sent. I had to put it off till the following day and even that took a good chunk out of my day just to submit one silly article. WiFi internet you get at Two Dragons is simply awful. If you regularly update your website or need to keep up with friends on line and choose to stay at Two Dragons… oh boy! You’re in for an unpleasant surprise. Even as I’m writing this review, I can see that WiFi is again down and there is no knowing when it comes back up. It’s the most frustrating feeling ever. I spoke with several people who stay in other guesthouses, none have this type of issues with internet.
I did not come to Cambodia expecting to get high speed internet similar to what we have in Canada. But internet that doesn’t work at all is B.S. – as owner of Two Dragons would say. This alone would be a good enough reason on its own for me to seek different accommodation arrangements.
Internet is yet another reason to believe that despite what they claim, the Two Dragons management does B.S. their patrons. In a booklet provided in guestrooms, it is stated that there is not enough bandwidth allocated for Cambodia hence internet is often slow and unreliable. This fact is used to force people into limited use of the internet, restricting it to email checking and no videos, no webmail chatting or anything similar. The guests are reminded that they will be cut off should they burn any more bandwidth than what the management of Two Dragons likes.
I can imagine that this scare mongering works well given what Siem Reap is all about – most tourists to make it here only stay for a day or two and spend them exploring Angkor Wat temples. If it were not for Angkor Wat, Siem Reap would be nothing with no tourists making it here. Still, since tourists come here with particular purpose and leave once this purpose is fulfilled, they will have little chance experiencing real Cambodia and what it has to offer. And if such tourist chooses to stay at Two Dragons, they will believe what they are told. Most tourists who stayed at Two Dragons have probably left Cambodia believing internet truly is slow and unreliable and there’s little bandwidth for this country so checking YouTube videos or chatting over Skype with webcam feature on will kill entire system. But after you have explored real Cambodia for a bit and tear yourself away from Two Dragon B.S., you will get to see that it’s nothing like it’s presented to you there.
You can go for nice supper at Khmer Family Restaurant on Pub Street, Siem Reap – WiFi internet is provided to their patrons for free. It’s fast, reliable, always works and always flies. You have no problem playing video, no problem engaging in any internet activity you are used to and no one will mind, because they simply did not cheap out on crappy internet they provide to their clients.
You will get exactly the same at Temple Club. Lightning fast internet with no restrictions. Another awesome option is to go to the Common Ground Cafe where internet is also fast and reliable. All you need to do is to order a drink with them, and get a password for security enabled wireless internet. And you’re on. You can come any day, any time of day and it will always fly, and no restrictions will be imposed upon you. Two Dragons simply like to B.S. their client with lots of B.S. and unfortunately, since most clients don’t stay in Siem Reap for too long, this B.S. goes unnoticed.
Few Random Negatives
There is this buzzing noise that seems to be omnipresent throughout most of Two Dragons. It sounds as if there was a big transformer somewhere within the walls that makes buzzing noise and while most of the day it’s negligable, it was awfully loud on my second night at this guesthouse. It was deafening. I was working on the computer, trying to get something submitted on the internet, but connection here is ridiculous and this noise was just buzzing and buzzing until my head felt like it was going to explode. I was trying to locate it, but it seemed like it’s spread throughout the building. I walked out on the hallway and it was there too. It was everywhere. Since it was past midnight and everyone was asleep, I didn’t know what to do about it, so I just suffered through it. It eased down the following days again, even though it was still remotely present.
The drain in my bathroom did not drain very well. bathroom is extremely small and houses both toilet, sink and shower. You basically spray all over the toilet bowl as you take shower and need to move the toilet paper out in order not to get it wet during showering so you can use it afterwards. The excess water from showering didn’t drain very well so as you are taking your shower, the level keeps rising with hair and soap dirt floating in it.
Two Dragons Review – Conclusion
Discount for Long Term Stay Possible
Responsive with Pre Sale Enquiries (very strong positive)
Rooms have Air-conditioning and En Suite Washrooms
Non Smoking Rooms (smokers can smoke on the balcony)
Clean Rooms Attended to Daily
Daily Free Bottle of Water
Credit Card Payments Possible
More Expensive than Equally Good or Better Guesthouses
Too Much B.S. Pretending to be Help (worst kind of B.S. – very strong negative)
As far as rooms themselves are concerned, I think Two Dragons would satisfy most visitors to Siem Reap. Everything else is a downer. The owner doesn’t care about repeat customers and will do anything to rip you off as much as humanly possible on your first stay. Most visitors to Siem Reap will not pay Cambodia another visit so he’s fine with ripping you off. If you’re a smart traveller and find out how things work for yourself, without asking Gordon for advice, you will avoid getting ripped off. If you make a vital mistake and do ask for advice, you will be taken advantage of. You could just ask a simple question, Gordon will immediately get one of the girls who work at Two Dragons to call a Tuk Tuk driver claiming you need him for everything you do and even though you insist on not calling, the girl will already be on the phone making arrangements in a language you don’t understand, ultimately forcing you to feel obliged to accept the arrangements made. One former American lawyer, a 61 year old expat who now lives in Phnom Penh had a misfortune of staying at Two Dragons and Gordon made such forcible arrangements for him which resulted in the guy overpaying $20 for a taxi ride.
Even though rooms are clean and attended to daily, I would not recommend Two Dragons to anyone. Value for money is not quite there – you can find better and less expensive accommodation that’s also at much more attractive location so Two Dragons really make little sense. But the owner is the main problem. The only way to not get ripped off is to never ask for anything and never use any of their services other than accommodation. You will feel like you are not welcomed, you will feel like they consider you an unworthy guest (that’s the way I felt, because I went to eat at restaurants that were not overpriced and have not fallen for any of Gordon’s rip off attempts) so while every other guest will be talked to and greeted nicely, you will be either ignored or just dealt with quickly. But it will save you from getting ripped off.
Despite this unspoken tension, I kept to my promise and remained at Two Dragon guesthouse for a week. As soon as my time was up, I darted off and will not consider ever staying there again. In addition – the more people I meet who stayed there, the more stories of having been ripped off come up. As the time went by, I stayed at over a dozen of guesthouses, some as cheap as $3 a night, yet Two Dragons still ranks as the worst place I have stayed at in Cambodia.
At this point things really started to look crappy. I only had a week until my departure and still didn’t have a laptop. I had last two options left – either go for a large screen laptop but be stuck with this heavy, oversized piece of equipment I will have to haul around endlessly, impossible to use in confined spaces, such as plane seats, or purchase extremely expensive, but super lightweight and super small laptop from Sony or Panasonic. Sony was not a brand of choice as I had previously had bad experience with their laptop, so Panasonic Toughbook seemed like the only option. And while these ToughBooks are impact resistant, small and lightweight, they are super expensive making it more than unjustifiable (unless you have lots of money to waste). Performance is nowhere near where it should be, however the fact that they are so small and so light (and so durable) would make it a perfect companion on the road.
Price tags for these laptops are sky high, however. Cashing out $2,500 for a laptop is not an easy thing to do. And it was at that time when Samsung introduced its laptop to Canadian computer market. Their laptop model was Q320 and even though Samsung is not known as being a solid computer maker, I have been using 24″ Samsung screen on my desktop and it’s the best screen I’ve ever owned. The Samsung Q320 specs were impressive. More than I could ask for which was making it very attractive. It cost $1,299 Canadian which was more than any previous laptop I have looked at but it had components to well justify the price. As a matter of fact, when it comes to value for money, Samsung Q320 was on top of the game. Given high performance components inside this laptop, the price was amazing.
I was still a little bit reluctant because Samsung is simply not a make you ever think of when you talk laptops so I went to search for Q320 reviews on line. Surprisingly, people did not have enough good things to say about these machines. It almost seemed unreal that there would be a laptop with such amazing set up for such an attractive price. I went to take a look at it in Future Shop and sure enough, the feel of Q320, the performance, the screen output – this was one amazing machine. Unfortunately in Canada, Samsung Q320 laptops were only available in white. That made the unit look like a MacBook which is not very visually flattering, but I wasn’t buying the laptop for its looks. I needed performance, reliability and small size. They way a laptop looks was vastly irrelevant so I got past the Mac-like looks and gave myself just one day to think it over (I’m not an impulsive buyer, no matter what).
My original intention was to only spend up to $1,000 for a laptop and this Samsung Q320 was way over my budget. Given the components this laptop was equipped with, however, the price tag made it more than worth it so value for money was there more than with any other laptop. I went back to the Future Shop the following day only to find out with horror that the only model they had there yesterday sold during the day today. Since this was a brand new model, no other outlet in Canada carried it. I went to Future Shop in Northgate, Edmonton and was told that they didn’t even have any of those yet. As a matter of fact, first two sales reps I was talking to didn’t even know this model existed. I had to refer them to their website to make them believe that I’m not making it up and Future Shop does in fact carry this model.
I spent whole day trying to buy the best small laptop that was currently available in Canada only to end up with nothing at the end of the day. At least formerly worthless sales reps from Northgate did me a favor and called other Future Shop locations in Edmonton to see if anyone still has one of the units in stock. Luckily, the west end location did have it so I assured them I would be there tomorrow to pick it up and asked them to secure it for me. The following day I jumped on my mountain bike and rode all the way to west Edmonton where brand new Samsung Q320 was waiting for me. Without second guessing I bought this laptop and headed home to enjoy its performance.
This machine worked like clockwork. The best laptop I have ever owned. It had the speakers on the bottom giving out poor sound when you had the laptop on your lap, covering the output, but other than that I could not think of any other downside. The best laptop ever. Never let me down in any way. I was really happy with the choice I made and as I kept using it, I even grew to accept the not-so-flattering, Macintosh-like white exterior. I had the most important piece of electronic device needed for my travels. I was ready to board the plane. As far as laptops in Canada are concerned, Samsung Q320 is hands down the best model to buy.
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