Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Whirl wind backpacking trip: Cambodia-Vietnam

     Ahhhhh... fresh from our backpacking trip my memories still lingers on it. Cambodia to Vietnam three cities in total we slept on the bus and hang out where ever is comfortable. (okay maybe not too fresh...I just want to write that phrase hehe)

     Since Thailand is connected with most of the countries here in Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Malaysia) its cheaper and easier to visit other connected countries. I don't really have a bucket list I just go wherever I want to go and any places that pique my curiosity and of course it should be affordable,  but I must admit I like to check on "Top lists" for places that would be cool to visit. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Cambodia would always be on the list. I'm not really interested in visiting Cambodia I'm more interested in visiting Vietnam but since I keep seeing the Angkor Wat on the list I think why not? it's very near Thailand and very affordable. Visiting Siem Reap alone can only cost me not over 3000 bhat (85 USD I guess). Me and my cousins decided to go on a backpacking trip for our 4-day-holiday (not the hardcore backpacking). We went to Siem Reap without any solid itinerary just visit the famous Angkor Wat. Honestly the way I picture Siem Reap is far from what Siem Reap is.  I was surprised to see that the place is a nice place and it gives a pleasant vibes. Okay so lemme be clear on how we got to Siem Reap from Thailand by a bus. We are located in Nakhon Ratchasima province and we are approximately 4 hour bus ride to Aranyaprathet District it borders Cambodia to the East. Once we're inside the border we fill up our arrival card. For ASEAN countries no need to pay for a visa but for those other countries you need to pay. There's a free bus ride going to the station where you can take a bus or a van to Siem Reap that free bus ride is offered by their government. There are bus from the border that goes straight to Siem Reap that's what my cousin told us but we weren't able to check on that since we hopped on to the free bus ride because we thought that's the only way. From the station it would take 6 hours to Siem Reap. We met two Filipinas and chit chat with them through out the journey. We were so hungry we weren't able to eat lunch, good thing they offered us some snacks (hehehe). 

     When we arrived at Siem Reap there are people who are waiting for tourists and they offer tours. Since we don't have any hotel reservations we decided to take a day tour in Angkor Wat and around the town and at night we will travel to Phnom Penh. We took a ride on a "tuk-tuk" and we saw the beauty of Siem Reap. I always like nature and province-like-places maybe because I grew up in a small farming village and spending most of my holidays in my dad's place which is very near the sea that's why I always seek for nature. The smell of the grass, trees, flowers and the nature itself always reminds me of home. Siem Reap gives me a pleasant vibe. It's not as strong as the "SAGADA effect" but it gives you that feeling that you wanna come back, and I will definitely come back. Its a simple city its a mix of Chinese and French architecture. One thing I noticed there is that they  love Korea, why? because they have a lot of Korean restaurants and some Korean establishment, I feel like its meant to be since I love Korean pop and Korean dramas and I really wanna go to Korea and.... yeah I'm babbling again. So there's that... I like the simplicity of the place and goes along with that is the simplicity of the people. And so we went to Angkor Wat while our tuk-tuk waited for us. The place is huge like HUGE! It is very old and it made me wonder how on earth they're able to build it. But then a lot of unexplained things in this world I'll just let it be. The architecture is unique I can say. I like to think how was it during its finest days, I bet it was grand. It took I think two hours to roam around the Angkor Wat. 

This guy reading a book in peace


      After that we went to Angkor Thom (where the famous Tomb Raider movie was taken) but our tour was cut short because it started raining hard. Instead of touring the whole place we decided to head back to the city proper. Our tuk-tuk driver brought us to this inn where we will be picked up for the bus ride to Phnom Penh. When the rain stopped we went to their market and ate dinner. I love their food we tried their local dishes and its good. The souvenir shops was just beside the restaurant so we checked some items and bought some with good discounts. When we finished roaming around our tuk-tuk was supposed to fetch us but he didn't came and so we took another tuk-tuk. We waited in the inn and later that night we were on our way to Phnom Penh. The night bus or they call it the bed bus is quite cool since its bed and not chairs. That experience is added to my lists of firsts. But I never really slept well...why? because I felt uncomfortable...why? because of this very known force of nature that every woman have once in a month (hahaha) I swear! I feel like its a curse but others say its actually a good sign I don't know why it is good. Every time I have a planned trip and long travel my "period" never fails me! Much as I hate it I have to go on my trip and survive. 

                                           Angkor Thom

                                                         Around town


     Our trip to Phnom Penh is the briefest. We walked around and took some pictures. We even got into trouble with some police or maybe guards. We went to this Pagoda place but we didn't know that we need to pay and then they were forcing us to pay without any tickets so we just walked out but they were following us and keep on speaking in their language we just ignored them. Next we visited the Killing Field. The place was solemn and somehow it felt heavy. It's where the mass killing happened in Cambodia. We went through different spots where it hold so much memories, suffering, agony, torture...we got two choices to choose from when we got there. If you don't have enough money then you can just walk and read. If you have money you can rent a cd player which they have voice over and some songs and story in it and its quiet expensive (well not really expensive if you have money). Going through that place is painful, they have remnants all over the place like a piece of clothes or bones...My tears fell down when we got to the spot where the children were killed and tortured. Okay am not gonna dwell more on that place. After our trip in that field we went to purchase our bus ticket to Ho Chi Minh Vietnam. Its a 6 hour bus trip. 

                                                                                  Phnom Penh

This is a working clock

hundreds of  skulls

discussing something

    Okay so lemme share how we survive without getting a hotel in our trip; for as long as there's a comfort room its more than enough. We've been doing this kind of trip like not getting any accommodation or go anywhere unplanned its not easy... but we always get by. The bus ride was extra long for us because we've been traveling since day 1 and our bodies are screaming bed and shower (hehehe) And so we finally arrived in Ho Chi Minh and the first thing we saw??? our favorite Jollibee!!! And its my first time to travel abroad with my teddy bear! we've been traveling within Thailand but its our first for overseas trip. The first thing that I noticed in the city is that its full of motorcycles. It's like a sea of motorcycles. I honestly think its quiet dangerous, when walking around we really have to be careful since motorcycles are everywhere. I even got the chance to ride a motorcycle since I need to change our money somewhere and for the life of me it was scary. I even had my foot bumped into a car since the driver was so eager to squeeze his way out. I said I wont do it again but then the next morning I rode the same motorcycle again to have our remaining money changed. 

      We just walked around and visited some sites. Nothing much really since we are just in the city. The war museum was informative about the Vietnam war. It's heartbreaking and painful to look back but its part of their history and somehow I think these people fought for their freedom to the very end and it made them badass. But in every war there's always death and that's just too much to bear. Sacrifices they make for the greater good. Okay so lets not dwell with this, it's a bit complicated. (heh).  Vietnamese people don't speak English maybe because of the past or it was hard to communicate with them. But we were able to manage around. Our travel to Cambodia and Vietnam was enriching because it opened our eyes to their history. A history of suffering and war and their history of getting back their lives. 

                                                                                           Ho Chi Minh

Jump shots and candid moments or maybe derp faces hahaha

whatever I'm eating its not easy to swallow hah!
The face of sleepless travelers :)

Lunch box on the go from Thailand to Cambodia


     "And then I realized Adventures are                 the Best way to Learn"

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