To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not a very “game” person when it comes to backpacking, walking great lengths, mountain climbing, crossing suspension bridges, and all those adventurous stuff. I like my vacations fuss-free, ultra relaxing, and not having to “rough it,” in any way.
And then I go to Cambodia. Hahahaha!
Well, I figured that I wasn’t getting any older, and these places with potentially adventurous things to do are going to be impossible for me to indulge in once I get older and my stamina drops, so well, for the heck of it, I went to Cambodia for four days with my college buddies!
Are you ready for my tale?
My friends and I flew to Singapore Wednesday night to meet our friends there, and sleep in a hotel, waiting for 4am to tick on the clock to wake up, shower, and rush to the airport. Boy, we didn’t get to sleep at all, as we chatted the night away! Catching up with college friends that I haven’t bonded fully for years really makes your talks nonstop!
6am, and we’re off to Siem Reap, Cambodia! We were going there to explore Angkor Wat, more temples, and I was really looking forward to the food. They said that the food was good there! Aside from my very eager tastebuds, on a serious note, Angkor is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Quite interesting!
Sleeping the entire time in the plane ( we didn’t get to sleep at all the night before, remember? haha! ), it was getting scarily cold, as I woke my friend and said, “Cheryl, why is it so cold? are we underdressed?” oh no! Turns out, it’s really cold in the morning, ( just like Tagaytay ) and also cold in the evening in Cambodia. The in betweens? Don’t ask. I’ll tell you later. Haha!
Arriving at the airport, the airport looked like a spa-resort complex rather than an airport. We were so ready to see Cambodia! Woot!
The roads were a bit dusty. The scenery that awaited me as I was in the car was warm sunrise. Soft, warm colors, with the gentle rays of the sun illuminating the very foreign architecture, and script ( language ) that awaited me. There were bicycles, motorcycles, different stores, resorts, and signages on the main road. The script that they use looked sanskrit, but it gave me a tinge of nostalgia during my younger days when I saw these scripts in an encyclopedia. Eeriely familiar. Kampuchean. That’s the word.
…but it’s not called Kampuchean anymore. It’s called Khmer. Kampuchean was used during the Khmer Rouge’s rule, during the time when I was still in third grade and reading encyclopedias about Asian countries. Heehee.
We stayed in a very hospitable Scandinavian boutique hotel, Soria Moria. The staff were very warm and helpful, and I just could not ask for more!
The rooms are just SO comfortable, and I slept like a baby for three nights here! The bathrooms were very clean, too. I would definitely go back to this hotel if I go back to Cambodia again! It’s such a beautiful hotel. Not too expensive, but very cozy and clean, with really really a great staff! They even packed breakfast for us as we left the hotel around 5:30 am to catch out flight back to Singapore!
On to our adventures – well, first, we had an ATV ride to the fields, as our activity of choice to await sunset. How romantic – ATV-ing as the sun goes down? The feeling is just too romantic ( even if we were driving on our own with our guides at the back watching us hahaha! ) I looked so fierce here, right? Well, I was the slowest of them all. Hahahaha!
We also had a two-day tour visiting temples. It was quite a walk. It was great that our tours is inclusive of mineral water. Yes, what a relief! We had to wear hats because the rays of the sun were scorching starting 10 am until the afternoon! We explored so much temples that I couldn’t remember most of them anymore ( I know all the stories, but I just can’t identify them one by one anymore. Haha! ) One thing I didn’t do? Go up that flight of stairs. Oh my gosh, I am so afraid of heights!
For more fun pictures during the trip, I’d like to share with you some :
Riding the tuktuk here! Why don’t we have them here?
This is my real state, as I had that ATV ride. My tongue sticking out. That’s bad. Hahaha!
Move over, Tomb Raider. We just re-located SATC here. Hahaha! I think it’s the hats! I really love the hats that we bought from there!
I just love the mood of Cambodia. Exotic, mysterious, relaxing, humble, and just…serene. Ruins are everywhere, that gives off an old world feel that charms millions of tourists to visit Cambodia every year. A country that’s been trying to rise up from the ashes, devastated by war. It’s also their fight to preserve their heritage.
Wow, look what we chanced upon? A couple, a couple! Did they get married here? Well, our really nosy tour guide ( hahaha! he’s cool! ) asked them, and it was supposed to be for a TV show in Hong Kong. Good timing for us! It looked so exotic, to have your wedding picture taken there! We also saw a function held near the Angkor Wat, and our tour guide told us that you just need to pay $300/head for a wedding reception there. A little bit steep!
Speaking of which, our tour guide! He’s responsible for all our nice group shots. He knows how to use a DSLR camera! Did you know that he also knows how to speak Japanese, German, French, and Spanish? That is just really useful for a tourist guide! I also heard alot of Cambodian tourist guides converse with the tourists in French alot!
Monkeys are just everywhere within the temple vicinity! I even saw one drinking someone’s Angkor Beer! This one was particularly interested with coconuts! haha!
See the scary looking war stuff? These were landmines, deactivated by Aki Ra. To tell you a story, Aki Ra was once with the Khmer Rouge when he was still little, as he was instructed to plant landmines during the war. With a change of heart ( people really can change ), he found the Cambodia Landmine Museum, and now spearheads locating landmines and deactivating them, wanting to save his country from the millions of landmines still existing. He wants to make his country safe again. It’s just unfortunate that children playing by the fields accidentally step on landmines, and get handicapped for life. Such a heart-wrenching thing that happens here that just drove me to tears. Also, did you know that he was nominated alongside Efren Penaflorida for the CNN Hero of the Year 2010? He is a hero.
Still on a photoshoot mode. Haha! I swear I would brush up on photography next time I go to Cambodia ( I really have plans! ) The sceneries there are so beautiful to capture in photos. Just by looking at the postcards, which are products of really good photographers, you’d be mesmerized.
Here, I am with trees older than me. Or even my mom. My grandpa, my great grandfather? or even older.
Good friends chatting our lives away while waiting for sunset at Angkor Wat. I love it!
We awaited the sunrise at Angkor Wat. I woke up 4am, the service fetched us around 5:30, and alongside hundreds of tourists, we waited for the sun’s beautiful rays to light up Angkor Wat. I swear, we were there when it was still pitch dark until the sun rose! It was just a beautiful, memorable experience!
Despite my worn, worn feet, with my chucks looking like they’ve crossed the Sahara Desert, I was totally gratified with my trip, because of…
the best Fish Amok that I’ve ever tasted. I swear, Soria Moria’s Fusion Kitchen serves the best Fish Amok!
Our hotel, Soria Moria ‘s Fusion Kitchen also serves the best pork chop. Oh my gosh, this is just so heavenly!
Viroth serves the best spring rolls, on the other hand.
and The Touich Restaurant, Cambodia’s #1 restaurant as per Tripadvisor, serves the best Tom Yum Soup ( not too spicy, not too sour ) and Beef Fillet!
To sum up my trip, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Cambodia, as I was just dreading the trip to be really tiresome and full of walking. Thinking about it now, it was all worth it. Travelling just gives me the chance to get away from the stress of the city, free my mind, and refresh my soul with more awareness. My eyes are given an opportunity to see beauty in a new place, new experiences with friends make our bond stronger, and we will always have this trip. A memory, to be forever remembered, that we were once young, took the challenge to explore a foreign land together, with memories that are simply worth more than gold.
Awww.. I am getting emo!