Review: Tropicana Resort and Casino, Poipet, Cambodia — Good Value for Money

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The Tropicana Resort and Casino is in the rundown,seedy border town of Poipet, Cambodia but, surprisingly, it’s a lovely hotel

Most foreign expats living in Thailand will eventually have to do a visa run to get a new travel visa. What that means is they must leave Thailand and go to the border of a neighboring country, cross over, and then stay in a hotel until their visa is ready to be picked up from the Thai embassy.

One of the most popular places to do a visa run is to the small Cambodian town of Poipet, with a short stay at the Tropicana Resort and Casino. The Tropicana Casino and Hotel, although in one of the most rundown, seedy towns in Cambodia, is actually a popular spot. With various reasons as to why.

Location of Tropicana Hotel – Situated literally a few thousand feet from the Thailand border, the Tropicana Resort and Casino is a large hotel that’s used for nothing but gambling and visa runs. As sleazy as that sounds however, the hotel is nice and, for what you pay per night, an incredibly good deal.

Accommodation – Guest rooms at the Tropicana Casino and Hotel are lovely. Spacious, extremely clean and kitted out with western-style bathroom, satellite TV and tea and coffee making facilities, you can’t go wrong staying here. Many a western tourist is surprised when they arrive through the squalor of Poipet, only to find a quite upscale casino and hotel seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

A word of warning though, don’t book a room on the Tropicana’s website as, at a starting rate of $70 a night, it’s expensive. Give them a call to find out their over-the-phone rate, which should be close to $30 a night, or book through one of the many visa run companies in Bangkok.

Food at the Tropicana Hotel – The hotel’s buffet breakfast is included in the price of most rooms. A minimal buffet, serving a few western dishes (fried eggs, bacon, croissants, pancakes and toast) and Thai/Cambodian food (noodles, fried rice, sautéed vegetables, rice porridge, and various meat curries),the food is cold and pretty dismal so, unless you’re desperate, I’d say avoid the buffet breakfast and buy it at the hotel’s small café instead.

The food at the Tropicana’s café is a whole other kettle of fish. Cooked from supremely fresh ingredients, you’ll find a mixture of Thai and western dishes like fried rice and curry, pork chops, steaks, a full cooked breakfast, and more and, by the way, it’s excellent.

Most westerners who stay at the Tropicana for more than 24 hours end up eating all their meals here as it’s inexpensive and tasty.

Gambling at the Tropicana – Poipet is really nothing more than a grubby border town set up for gambling. Thais travel up to Poipet every weekend to take advantage of the legal gambling, and a number of foreigners go there too.

The Tropicana casino has everything any gambler would want. From a couple of hundred slot machines, to a full casino with black jack, roulette and every other typical casino game, there’s even a game room, along with special rewards for those willing to commit a certain amount of gambling funds.

Unlike a place like Las Vegas though, the Tropicana is quite sedate and low-key. The staff is relaxed and mellow, and gambling there is quite a fun experience.

Don’t miss too the exercise room, the bakery and coffee shop, beer garden and karaoke room. If you plan on staying a day or two in Poipet, whatever your reason, there’s no better choice of hotel than the Tropicana Resort.

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