March - April 2017
  • Day27

    Big Easy, Sihanoukville

    April 1, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    This last week was a very hectic end to my month in Cambodia, needless to say it's been the best month full of amazing people, places and experiences.

    Of course, my last week was spent at the Big Easy, easily my favourite hostel I have visited. Having loved it so much I even decided to work there for a few days, however I wouldn't even call it work as it was so enjoyable and social there was never a dull moment.

    The friends I have made this past week I want to keep for life. I've met some great characters, all who are lighthearted in spirit and so easy to get on with. Saying goodbye to them was emotional and it's time to start making friends again.

    Drinking, sunbathing and relaxing are the activities the past week mainly consisted of. On the Wednesday there was the weekly jungle party known as Kerfuffle which starts at 10pm and finishes at 10am. There's also an after party which is for the real party goers. This night will go down as one of the best nights so far and I'm sure will remain hard to beat.

    So for my last night in Cambodia, it's safe to say it's been a dream and I couldn't have asked for a better time in an amazing country. Despite being extremely sad to leave, I've been told that's better than wanting to leave. Its undoubtable Cambodia will see my face again one day
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  • Day21

    Mainland, Sihanoukville

    March 26, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Having a reflective moment as I head back from Koh Rong Samleom on the boat while the sun sets around me. Despite having one of the best weeks in my life and meeting some wonderful people it's undeniable I'm feeling very homesick and quite emotional.

    I almost feel guilty wanting to be back in my own bed or having Sunday dinner with my family or just being able to see my friends when I've been given the experience of a life time. It makes me realise the wonderful people I have at home and although it's been refreshing meeting so many people I connect with on such a good level it's also made me acknowledge the amazing relationships I have at home and how special each and everyone of them are.

    Travelling on my own is a unique experience. Its tiring constantly making friends and taking matters into your own hands, being the only one responsible for you. Anyone who I speak to in groups, when I say I'm travelling on my own say how brave I am. In all honesty, I didn't even think about how brave what it is I am doing. I just knew I wanted to travel and live a different lifestyle to what I was comfortable with and that was it. Despite occasionally wanting to have a friend there to just not have to try to hard with or know they will always be there if something goes wrong, I wouldn't change travelling alone. It's pushed me to do little things here and there that I would never have done having been in a group or with someone else. But I guess you could call this character building?

    My perspective is another thing that's changed. Previously, whenever I saw someone eating or doing something on their own I would think how lonely that must be. However, now I have a completely different view and I'm grateful for alone time, just getting to be at one with my thoughts, something I probably wouldn't have done as in depth if I was in the comfort of people I already knew.

    Taking things for granted is another thing I certainly did and still do. Clean sheets for one is something I dearly miss, especially having observed bed bugs for the first time in my most recent hostel. However, being here has made me realise how much I do take life for granted and spectating so many different lives (most less fortunate than me) and meeting other travellers with their own individual stories made me realise the bubble I live in and that now I'm out of it, the world is really quite big.
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  • Day19

    Mad Monkey, Koh Rong Samleom

    March 24, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Mad monkeys was the name of the hostel where I stayed in Koh Rong Samleom. It's got its own little cove on the island and is completely on its own in the trees. It's all wooden based ensuring the keep the area looking authentic and relatively natural. It's also one of the most beautiful places I have been to, all 24 hours of the day.

    Entering the hostel the first thing you see is the bar, above it a sign saying 'no wifi - make friends' and no lie, this is the most sociable hostel I have stayed in up to date, I wonder why? It's a very strange and surreal experience being on the island without any technology, you feel as though you have stopped in time having no clue what the date, day or time is.

    Most my time on the island was spent with two German girls, Alina and Pia who were great company and a lot of fun. We made promises to each other that they would come visit me in London and I would go to Oktoberfest in Germany with them. Whether this trip would be in my budget or not is another matter. The 4 days spent on this island consisted of plenty card games, watching the plankton at night and chilling in the hammocks out at sea. I can honestly say I felt as though I was in my own little paradise.

    However, after having had enough of being unable to escape the sand, it was time to head back to the mainland.
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  • Day15

    Koh Rong

    March 20, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    My first island stop was Koh Rong, a beautiful island off coast of Cambodia. After hearing over 80% of people get sick going there, it made me slightly apprehensive and I hoped my immune system would hold up for the duration of my stay.

    Being known for its nightlife, it certainly lived up to expectations, despite being low season. This was made very clear when I first entered Bong's, the hostel I was to stay at. The first girl I met, who I later learned was called Jazz, hadn't yet been asleep and it was 11am, (might I add she didn't sleep until after going out that night). Then I met Ella, both of them are travelling together. Little did I know at this point they were the biggest nutters I have ever met and were about to show me one of the best times.

    On Koh Rong activities varied between soaking up the sun on the white sandy beaches, basking in the bath like water which was so clear I could still see my feet waist deep and then LOTS of drinking. On the 2nd day however we did do the zip line on the island which was an assault course in the trees, giving us the highest viewpoint of the island. It was breathtaking and I've mentally stored this picture deep within my memory so I never forget it. We also happened to wake up at 6am and managed to catch the end of the sunrise, another image stored permanently in my memory.

    Having only planned to stay for 1 night, after my 3rd I decided it was probably time to move on. My next stop was to be the neighbouring island, Koh Rong Salmoem. With a sore head I boarded to ferry to take me there.

    It was a sad depart nevertheless, having met some amazing people. These included this lovely couple from Los Angeles who had fallen in love with the island and decided to stay there. Everyone who worked at Bong's, always showing everyone who entered the place a good time. A gay couple, George and Hocin who had dance moves that could win Britain's Got Talent. Another lovely girl called Sadie who is from Canada and is the sweetest person you could meet. And of course, Jarzz and Ella, however it's probably a blessing for my liver that I departed from them... I still hope to see them in future (they live in Surrey)!
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  • Day13

    The Big Easy

    March 18, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    These past 24 hours have been very different to my previous 2 weeks.

    The group left me yesterday at 9am and it was a sad goodbye, having made some great friends, mainly Amanda and Vanessa, who never failed to put a smile on my face.

    Having not felt lonely due to constantly being around people, this was the first test to see how I would do on my own. I checked out the hotel at 12pm and made my way to the hostel I was booked in for called the Big Easy. Straight away I met two of my roomies, Tess and Imogen, who were both from England, but they had plans for that day so it left me fending for myself.

    I sat in the bar alone, not many people there as usually check in is later for most. As I sat there it dawned on me that I really was on my own which made me quite emotional to say the least. However, I decided I was the only one who could change that and so being proactive I headed to the beach to soak up some sun. There met Helena who was from Sweden and happened to be staying in the Big Easy as well. She was great company and we grabbed dinner together to line our stomachs for the bar crawl later that evening.

    By this time, our dorm was nearly full with two guys having checked in, Jamie who is from NZ and Michael who is from Australia. Both were very bubbly people which was refreshing and settled my nerves about not meeting people. Pre drinks were held in the bar of the hostel then moved on to various other bars, finishing at JJs. I would love to be able to say more about what we did that night however my memory is a little foggy, I just know I had the best sleep I've had in the two weeks I've been in Cambodia.

    Today was another chilled day at the beach with a more peaceful evening at the hostel, preparing myself for the islands tomorrow. The day was topped off with a catch up from Mum, Dad and Ross which was lovely to see their faces and hear their voices.
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  • Day11


    March 16, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    After most of yesterday consisting of travel and chill time, we arrived at our last destination in Sihoukaville just after lunch time. The afternoon was free time, so for me that meant relaxing and I treated myself to some pretty pink toe nails in order for my feet to be beach ready for the islands.

    But, today.. woweeeee what a day. We had a small boat hired that took us around the small, uninhabited islands of Cambodia and my oh my were they breathtaking. We stopped off at the first one to go snorkelling and say hello to the nature under the water. However, we didn't hang around here for long and took off to the next island.

    This island was incredible and I've never seen water so crystal clear, I felt as though I was in a postcard. We stayed on this island and swam then had a delicious lunch cooked by our tour guide who certainly has a talent in the kitchen. The next few hours following on from lunch consisted of swimming and sleeping in the hammocks onshore. We arrived back at our hotel, everyone appearing as though they had caught the sun.

    The day was finished with the last supper of the tour, it will be sad saying goodbye to everyone tomorrow but the two weeks have been a blast. Nervous, I will continue the rest of my travels on my own.. hoping the next few months bring me great experiences and company coupled with a good tan.
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  • Day9


    March 14, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Salt and pepper being what Kampot is known for (especially pepper) we headed straight to the salt farm as our first stop of the day. It was strange to see where the salt came from but also the vast quantity they had. I've never seen so much salt in one place. The dry season, which is now (March to May), is the prime time for the salt farming therefore it is very hard work for these select few months.

    Next we went up to a cave in the hills, an area which Pol Pot fled to after the genocide to hide.The cave was impressive, with a little brick structure still remaining inside from the 7th century, all in tact. The views from the top of the cave were vast, allowing you to see for miles.

    Following on from the caves was the pepper plantation, in which I learnt that not only is there black pepper but also green, red and white pepper. All these have a different use and taste, completing foods in different ways. It was fascinating learning where the pepper comes from but also that it's quite a lengthy process between the growth on the plant to the finished peppercorn.

    After a busy morning food was welcomed with open arms, our lunch spot being located at this authentic beach hut on the water. Before heading back to the hotel, a stroll along the beach was mandatory. The next activity carried on this relaxed vibe; a sunset cruise. This lasted an hour and a half and was beautiful. Kampot being one of the only hilly areas in Cambodia provided the perfect back drop for an unforgettable sunset. The boat dropped us off outside our restaurant and being happy hour it was destined to bare great things.

    With full bellies and happy company, we left and headed towards the night market for a 'quick' snoop around. I ended the evening back at the hotel $20 poorer but having gained a new piece of clothing and as well as a few pounds.
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  • Day8

    En Route Kampot

    March 13, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    To finish off the homestay it was an early rise with a tour around the village to gain a better insight of how the locals led their lives and what went on day to day. At one of the homes there were the cutest puppies which were the centre of attention for a good 5 minutes.

    We didn't hang around however, as there was a lot of distance to be covered in order to get to our next stop, Kampot, home of the best pepper in the world. On the way we stopped at a market where they sold the usual fruits and then insects. Pushing myself out my comfort zone I tried a tarantula. Not being a spider lover I was surprised when it didn't taste half as bad as I thought it would but I can't hide the fact I couldn't bare to look at it when I ate it.

    Stopping half way for lunch at Phnom Penh, we finally arrived at our hotel in Kampot at 5.30pm, just in time for the sunset. The hotel is in a beautiful location along the river and provided the perfect spot to watch the sun go down with a cocktail.

    The day was finished with a well deserved dinner on the river at the hotel coupled with a long shower after being deprived of one at our homestay.
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  • Day7


    March 12, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Today we left our lovely hotel and Siem Reap, which was a sad depart having loved the city so much. Our next stop was our homestay which would be a true local experience of a Cambodian.

    On the way we stopped at the floating villages. These buildings and the way of life around the river was incredible. Some people living on floating houses year in and year out. Located here are some of the poorest people and it's so eye opening having an insight to their personal lives. I feel almost silly about the worries I have in life. Here, putting 3 meals on the table and feeding your children is a big worry for these families as where this is a given for me, my biggest worries ranging from whether the spot on my forehead is gone or if I moisturised my face that morning.

    I can't quite put into words how much I admire these people and they deserve so much more credit than they get. If I think about how they live in comparison to me, although it amazes me it saddens me at the same time. Having said this, all I do is see these people smile, making me question what's necessary to make someone happy and it's not always the latest iPhone or newest shoes that do this.

    Before our homestay we visited another set of temples with a lovely tour guide who did a super job. On to our homestay, which was with a delightful family who had spent the majority of the day cleaning their house and preparing our dinner in order to welcome us. They cooked up a masterpiece and I've never had a meal so tasty. Breakfast was the same, indulging in typical local treats.

    One thing I have to say about this place is I adore the kindness in people's hearts and willingness to please. Everything is always presented with a smile on their faces no matter how much they have to offer. I feel as though I'm the luckiest person being able to experience the generosity of these people, yet they act as though they are lucky to have us, which I guess makes the whole experience all the more touching.
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  • Day6

    Angkor Wat

    March 11, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ 🌙 26 °C

    Being a tourist in Siem Reap, or Cambodia for that matter, means you are obliged to go visit Angkor Wat temple. Being the biggest temple out of the many in Cambodia it's certainly a must see.

    It was a 5am wake up to see this beautiful temple at sunrise and wow was it worth it. We spent a total of 3 hours at this impressive site, exploring the ins and outs of it all. I think it's amazing that after the 1,000 years this temple has been alive, so much of it is still standing. I've seen many pictures and postcards of Angkor Wat, yet not until you go visit do you experience how incredibly vast it is or appreciate the work that must of gone into this masterpiece.

    After returning back to the hotel sweaty, tired and hungry I ate a well deserved breakfast of pancakes with syrup and baguette (very traditional I know). Despite the early morning, there was no rest for the wicked, heading straight out to the markets of Siem Reap. The markets have so many options and it's almost overwhelming what you can buy. But as the sun became stronger and the afternoon approached we began to wilt and decided to head back to the hotel for a swim and lie down. Delighted to have a free afternoon, I spent the rest of the day by the pool reading my book, finishing it and soaking up some vitamin D.

    To finish the day off we went out exploring the night market and life in Siem Reap and to say good bye as it is our last night.

    And finally, after a total of 14,636 steps today, I believe my sleep is more well deserved than ever.
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