March - April 2017
  • Day5

    Exploring Siem Reap

    March 10, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Oh my goodness I am in love with this place.

    The highlight of the day had to be the circus we watched this evening. I can't even put into words how amazing, incredible, superb, fantastic this show was. The participants in the show are young adults from very poor backgrounds who have been given a chance by the group (Phare, an NGO) that run these shows. Needless to say it was worth everyone dollar I spent on it. I would highly recommend ANYONE who visits Siem Reap to see this show (Phare, the Cambodian Circus) even if you do nothing else.

    During the day however, we visited 5 temples and it is safe to say I'm certainly templed out. All of the temples we visited were different in their own way and stood for a different religion, built by a different king. Before heading out for the evening we had a swim and dinner by the pool to recover from the extreme heat we had experienced during the day.

    Nevertheless, the circus has ended my day on a high.
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  • Day4

    Siem Reap

    March 9, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    At 9am we hit the road travelling to Siem Reap, around a 4 hour bus journey. Sadly we couldn't go by river due to it being the dry season and the river being too low.

    Nevertheless, along the way we stopped at a silk factory where we were toured round and shown how the silk is made. From the leaves fed on by the worms to the finished product, the process was fascinating and the time and effort that goes into the making of the silk certainly justifies the price of the products sold. In the same location they also had homemade ice cream. I had a scoop of passion fruit and mango, both to die for.

    Next stop was our hotel, which we will be staying at for 3 nights. It's absolutely beautiful and has two swimming pools, such luxury! We pretty much headed straight out to treat ourselves with a cocktail at the Raffles Hotel which was magnificent and just the toilets put our hotel to shame. Needless to say I felt quite out of place in my baggy shorts, t-shirt and flip flops. After our drinks we headed back to the hotel, enjoying a swim and another few drinks by the pool. I got chatting to the hotel owner who told me all about his family (the hotel is named after his 3 boys) and how he had worked for the UN discovering uncovered mines post war.

    In the evening we headed out for dinner through the night market. The buzz of Siem Reap was amazing and so much shopping I could stay there forever. During dinner a performance of traditional Cambodian dancing was put on by orphans. The costumes and delight on the children's faces made it all the more special. However, after dinner I experienced the not so nice part of Asia, runny bowels, so decided it was time for me to head back to the hotel and get an early night.
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  • Day3

    Rural Battambang

    March 8, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    After a rough 5 hours sleep due to jet lag still lingering, it was a 6.30am wake up for a 20km bike ride around Battambang and the rural areas to give an insight to how the locals live and their specialities.

    The first stop was to observe how rice paper was made, followed by being taught how to make a spring role using the paper and supplied fillings such as vegetables and shredded chicken. It was delicious and proud to say I claimed the prize for the best rolled spring roll! The next place we tried a variety of bananas and the different ways they were prepared and cooked. Everything made was delightful and the family who made it were extremely talented. Our next destination was a slightly more acquired taste, trying Cambodia's version of wine which tasted very strong and something I would drink with speed rather than sip on happily. Some of it was even being flavoured with fruit or snakes... (interesting choice). The last stop was full of fruit, having a coconut waiting for each of us and then fresh local fruits which I could eat for days! There was the most adorable child in a full Spider-Man costume who took centre stage for most of the stop, showing everyone his James Bond moves and toy guns. Throughout the journey we also stumbled across a typical Cambodian wedding, just taking in the sight of it was an experience in itself.

    On returning back to our start point it's safe to say that there were parts of my body hurting that I didn't even know existed. Despite this, a special shoutout has to go to our two tour guides who were amazing. One I had a lovely chat with called Pum who was only 19 and it was amazing to compare our experiences being at the same stage in our lives.

    Knackered and very sore, there was a group decision to have an afternoon rest which was certainly needed and I've never been so grateful to have a lie down.

    Dinner was street food at a mighty cost of $1.25 which continues to show a lot of promise for my bank account.
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  • Day2

    Battambang

    March 7, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Today was an early start followed by a 6 hour bus journey all the way to Battambang. We stopped off at various points along the way, all of different interests and each place having a slightly distinct culture.

    First stop was Kampong, famous for its ceramics. There were ceramic Buddha's ranging from the size of my hand to twice my height. The second location we stopped of at was Pursat where I enjoyed a lovely chicken curry (for $2.00 may I add) as well as learning the area was known for its type of marble. Another stop that was made en route between villages was at a fruit store market stand. There was the most beautiful milk fruit given to us by a wonderful lady, as well as two little children who couldn't help but say hello. It has to be said their smiles made my day.

    After dumping our bags off at the hotel, we had a tuk tuk tour of the markets and town, displaying a range of fruit, fish and meat which were all very fascinating however the smell was questionable. The tour finished up at the Bamboo train which was exhilarating and unique experience that I would recommend to anyone. Heading back to the town during sunset, we finished the day by deciding on street food for dinner, another bargain ($6.00 for 4 meals)!
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  • Day1

    Phnom Penh

    March 6, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    After a 24 hour journey, 3 hours sleep and in need of a shower I arrived in Phnom Penh. In South East Asia anyone who has visited mentions the culture shock, only once you are there, seeing it and living it with your own senses can you understand what this means. I spent the 30 minutes from the airport glued to my window, unable to take my eyes off what was going on around me. Thanks to my lovely taxi driver, Jun Yort, I arrived at the hotel safe and sound. Dinner was at a lovely restaurant called Touk followed by a walk along the Mekong River.

    Today was a very full on day, starting with a walk around the Kings Palace, which was breathtaking and rumour has it he's still not married, so hoping for an introduction soon. However, the activities that followed were shocking to say the least. Visiting both the killing fields and the genocide museum there's very little I can say to justify the atrocity of the events of Pol Pot. Meeting a survivor of these events put into perspective how terrible this genocide really was.

    But to end on a positive note, the beer is $0.50 and I can eat a meal fit for 3 under $5.
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