Sailing on choppy waves once again, but this time leaving behind the island of Phu Quoc that I can’t seem to stop referring to as my favorite part of the trip!
Nonetheless, Cambodia was like love at first sight. As the wheels of the bus were riding the bumpy roads, I couldn’t help but feel at home. Like I was in Laos.
The country didn’t disappoint; beautiful landscape, generous and friendly people and delicious food.
Destination #1: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
In grade 6, my teacher gave me a plane ticket to Phnom Penh. Sure it was fake, but I had to do a project based on what I would do if I went to the capital of Cambodia. I remember thinking: ‘How crazy would it be if I go there one day?’. From the roads to the buildings, nothing looked quite like the pictures I saw 11 years ago. I never forgot that project…I wonder if that was what triggered my love for traveling and learning about new cultures?!
Staying in the theme of ‘back in the day’, Jen and I checked into a 21 bedroom dorm room in Phnom Penh that reminded me a lot of summer camp. I must admit it wasn’t as fun as camp, through Snoring Mcsnorerson and people waking up at every hour…we were ready to get out of there. But who can pass up a night’s stay for 4$?!
The sobering history of Cambodia’s genocide left us gutted, for we had heard very little about this important piece of history until this moment. We visited numerous markets, temples and museums; we were non-stop busy! Oh, and I bought shoes. THAT’S RIGHT PEOPLE. At last found shoes big enough for me!
^killing fields in Phnom Penh
Destination #2: Battambang, Cambodia
We were looking for another destination between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and found Battambang to be an interesting, laid-back destination. We even treated ourselves to a hotel room for the big sum of 12$!!! Talk about pricey eh! 😉
Towards the end of a day filled with touring around the countryside, we ventured up a mountain with caves and temples. We are approaching a cave when all of a sudden I freeze and call ‘Jennifer. Come here’. Her dream was about to come true. There were monkeys. Real, wild, jumping from tree to tree kind of monkeys. She could now go home with a smiling heart.
We watched the sunset from the mountaintop and then watched as 40 million bats flew out of a cave into the night. Unbelievable. For 30-40 minutes, there were millions of bats flying out.
^monkey holding a plastic water bottle…consequence of pollution
Destination #2: Siem Reap, Cambodia
3…2…1…Happy New Year!! Starting 2016 in a pretty fantastic way with a huge street party that brought thousands of people together to celebrate. We danced the night away with new friends and made it a night to remember.
With much difficulty and self-motivation, we got up early the next day to visit Angkor Wat because it was the only opportunity/day we had. Zombies would be a good word to describe how we were that day. Nonetheless, the temples had us in awe.
So, that concludes my holiday vacations. I feel so grateful to have had the chance to travel with such an amazing friend in two countries that have made me want to see more of the world and continue learning about history and cultures.
^Angkor Wat at sunset
What country is next?