Cambodia: The road to Angkor Wat

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After 6 hours of pumping bus under 35 degrees without air-conditioner and the only toilet I could use was the bush later, I arrived in Siem Reap. Tuk-tuk drivers were surrounding waiting for me to say yes for their ride. It could look like a stock battle of who has the best offer. $4 for my ride and $3/night for my hostel, got my deal! I was not yet happy to have found a hostel with a good price, because it was just like what it costed. My bus ride was terrifying but my accommodation busted me into tears. Oh well, the life of a traveller, we can never ask for more. We accept what we get.

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Maybe my experience in Cambodia was not the best. Everything felt dirty, dusty, hectic and humid, and it drove me crazy. I spent the afternoon out in the old town, got some food, got back to the hostel, tried to connect to the internet but sadly it did not work, mosquitos were biting me all over… I felt the urge of escaping that place so badly. But I came here to see the magnificent Angkor Wat, so that I booked a day tour to this tourist attraction. I had never been on a tour before but I made an exception. If I were not single, I would probably rent a bike or a tuk-tuk to get there. Might be cheaper? Guess so!.

I was up early for the trip but it did not even matter because they were one hour late. It would be bad to stereotype them being late because of being Asian but what else should I say. They were late! I paid $13 for that trip and did not know what I would get from it. Maybe all I got were the bus ride and a tour guide – who told everyone where the good spots were to take photos – and still had to pay $20 entrance fee . I felt like a tourist more than ever but it was kinda cool to experience that kind of tour – I might call it a photo tour. Anyhow, it was somehow helpful because he gave us all details of history of Angkor Wat. Because it was a day tour, I only got the chance to see the small ring but it was already incredibly amazing. Seeing all the details on the wall and I couldn’t believe that they were sculptured by human. It was admiring seeing that historic site in real after looking at it several time on pictures. It looked enormously huge and out of expectations. Gotta embrace human made effort because it is pretty magnificent.

Besides having Angkor Wat checked off my list, the tour was nothing to be told. But it was a good decision otherwise I wouldn’t have met Lasse, a German guy travelling alone through South East, I wouldn’t have known through him about the beautiful island Koh Lanta, and we wouldn’t have been friends from then on. In the end, we can always find the good from the bad.

Later that night, I packed my bag and took the night bus to Bangkok. Cambodia, I will give another shot next time!

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Cambodia: History learnt in Phnom Penh

DSC_0763-1 Arriving in Phnom Penh after quite a long bus ride from HCMC, I settled in the are of Toul Tom Poung. Maybe it was not the best idea to stay around that area since it was quite expensive and hard to find food. However, it was a long walk just to find an affordable hostel to stay from where I was dropped off. I was not that much interested in seeing all the temples, somehow. Having my Lonely Planet book on hands, I realised that I actually had read through Phnom Penh so many times and one of the most appealing thing I wanted to visit was the Killing field. I have never been interested in history, but it really made me want to come to pay my respect and understand better the country.

It was a 40 minute scooter ride from the hostel I stayed. You could choose to go with a tuk-tuk but I think it’s more convenient if you can share the scooter cost with someone (it’s for sure cheaper).

Arrvied at the Killing field, I didn’t know what to think about it. I was facing the monument filled with bones. I was stunned. With a recorder in hand, I followed each point. Every point is a story being told, and it is definitely not a nice story. I always took a moment to just imagine what it had happened. In the back of my head, I heard the scream, the crying… It was tragic. It was hard to face all the craves knowing that many people had left their lives there. Then I was standing in front of a big tree and did not expect a terrible story behind it. I listened to the recorder and found tears in my eyes. Pain would be the word I could describe. Babies and children were killed and it was hard to believe how they were murdered. My heart stopped. This whole Khmer Rouge was dreadful. If you have read about it, you know the story. However, being there and witnessing it are more traumatic. I left the place in silence and wished people who had been murdered during that time now stay in peace.

Flying myself to South East Asia for 6 weeks

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I have been planning this trip for awhile. As I am visiting my family in Vietnam, I’m gonna lengthen my stay in Asia for few more weeks to head South West of Vietnam then go on to other neighbour countries. And the exciting thing is, I am going to attend the Chinese New year – Lunar New Year, which is happening on the 19th February.

So here is my upcoming trips in South East Asia:

12 Jan – I am flying to Hanoi, Vietnam. There, I will be staying with my family for one week.

19 Jan – Heading to Buon Ma Thuot by plane (1 day stay). 20 – 22 Jan – to Dalat either by bus or by Easy rider. 23 – 25 Jan – Ho Chi Minh City

I try to manage to travel within Vietnam within one week.

26 Jan – Taking the bus from Ho Chi Minh city to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (2 days stay)

28 Jan – Siem Reab (2 days stay)

30 Jan – Bangkok

3 Feb – Flying to Yangon, Myanmar
I will be travelling around Yangon for 1 week. I think I will probably visit Thanlyin and Dala.

12 Feb – Luang Prabang or Vientian, Laos (I haven’t decided yet where I will go in Laos and if I am going. It will depend on how much I have left if I can afford the flight to Laos)

16 – 25 Feb – I will be staying in Vietnam and celebrate Lunar New Year with my family 🙂

I will make my trip spontaneous, therefore, I haven’t booked any tickets yet. At the moment, I just know I’m flying to Vietnam on the 12 Jan and I cannot wait to see my family again. I also cannot wait to see what are awaiting ahead. This trip I travel on my own so this will be my second solo trip I’m gonna take. I really hope I will see many people on the way. To be honest, I know it is quite dangerous for an Asian girl travelling in Asian countries but I’m sure I will manage everything and everything goes well.