Apr 13, 2015

Siem Reap, Cambodia


10 (Fri) - 13 (Mon) Apr 2015

Lodging: Neth Socheata Hotel




It's been quite some time ago when we voiced our suggestions of traveling to Cambodia and visiting the grand Angkor Wat. Despite possessing the knowledge of Cambodia being warmer in April, still, the final decision was made late in March, when we finally get our flight tickets booked (7 of us).

It was Malaysia Airlines, the cheaper option with trade off of having one transit per trip, free food and luggage check in, we just need to pray harder.

Like Thailand, Cambodia (GMT+7) is an hour behind us (GMT+8). I only managed to recall and reset my camera's timezone on day 2.


Ta Prohm
Our flight details
10 Apr 2015 (Fri)
Changi Airport Terminal 2 - KLIA
Flight No: MH604
9:50AM ­- 10:50AM
KLIA - Siem Reap International Airport
Flight No: MH764
12:10AM ­- 1:15PM

13 Apr 2015 (Mon)
Siem Reap International Airport - KLIA
Flight No: MH765
2:15PM ­- 5:25PM
KLIA - Changi Airport Terminal 2
Flight No: MH607
7:25PM ­- 8:25PM

Average fare per person: S$250.90 (we booked through CheapTickets.sg and managed to get a $20 discount by paying via DBS/POSB credit card)


Day 1

First thing you need to know is, US dollar is transacted in Cambodia, or at least in Siem Reap. Cambodian riel is used for any value lower than US$1 (1,000 riels = US$0.25).

Get their local SIM card at $3 each, it comes with data and local calls for 5 days. This is definitely a life saver.
Hand them your phone and they'll install and activate the SIM card for you.

We were welcomed by the staffs from our hotel and 2 tuk-tuks were deployed to pick us up from the airport so we were able to unload our luggage at the hotel before taking the first step into our wondrous journey in Siem Reap.




Angkor Thom
Bayon, Angkor Thom

Not yet Angkor Wat, but the first attraction which we're visiting was Angkor Thom. Unlike Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom is a city consisting of temples and monuments, basically in ruins.

We bought a 3-day Angkor Pass at $40 each which grants us access to the Angkor region for any 3 days within a week.

The main attraction in Angkor Thom is a Khmer temple called Bayon. It's known for its stone faces around the towers in the temple itself.

Most of the pictures have the less magnificent white backdrop because obviously sun was going to set there and it was already like, 4pm.








A local random 'guide' regarded this place as the "library", and in order to get up there and get down, one has to walk a series of steep steps, I mean it, STEEP STEPS.


Well, some do think this is overly absurd and is impossible to climb up.










Other attractions:

Baphuon


Phimeanakas



Our journey


Pub Street
Pub Street

Fortunately, Pub Street is literally a few streets away from where we stayed (almost just across the street). As dusk approaches, one may expect a colorful and happening nightlife experience there. Live band restaurants are almost noticeable from every corner of the street.

Craving for slightly exotic local cuisine? We were as well, and we had our dinner at a BBQ restaurant called Easy Speaking Restaurant, serving food like crocodile, frog, kangaroo, ostrich, snake etc. We ordered all the aforementioned except snake because they ran out of snake. I bet some staffs must have been eating the snakes (okay it's a Singaporean joke, not funny...).

Oh, and by the way, try their local draft beer which normally costs $0.50 per glass. One of the well known Cambodian beer is Angkor Beer, which is not to be confused with Anchor Beer.



We bought some colorful pants that night which we can wear together on the next few days.


Day 2

It takes efforts watching sunrise, we woke up at 4-ish in the morning to get ready to depart at 5pm, to Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

For those of you who thought Angkor Wat is one of the 7 wonders of the world, you might want to spend something reading up what are the New7Wonders of the World. It's NOT a wonder but a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The meaningfulness of watching the dawn breaking Angkor Wat simply lies on the orientation of the building towards the east relative to its entrance, backed by the semi-dried-up pond at the gazing area which gives the rising sun reflection.



Despite the cloudiness, the sun magically revealed its top tip for camwhoring.


















Angkor Balloon
Yes, and they have hot air balloon where you can ride an have a panoramic view of the Angkor. If I'm not mistaken it costs $15 per person.

We didn't take the ride however, due to poor weather.

Our next destination was Ta Prohm. Some know it for the fact that there are trees growing out of the ruins, some know it as the place where the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was filmed.

For those of you who have played Temple Run, you might find Ta Prohm (or even some other temples in Angkor) closely resembles the ruins in the game settings. Consider getting some friends to be the demonic monkeys and play with you. :)

Ta Prohm



Banteay Kdei


Srah Srang



Our journey


Pub Street
If Pub Street is just at your doorstep, how would you not visit every night?

We pampered ourselves with some massage services. Foot massage service can be easily purchased at $3 for 30 minutes at any massage center.

It was the night when we gathered in the girls' room and played card games with lots of noise that we worried about disturbing our neighbors, till late night, and it was brain draining to play the memory game, and Alison started to get addicted to bridge, and some fell asleep like nobody's business, and... and... zzzzzz......


Day 3


Phsa Chas Restaurant
Breakfast at the hotel is complimentary by the way.

The entire morning was basically spent slacking at the hotel, then a lunch in the afternoon, and we're set for our visit to the floating village and the Great Lake Tonlé Sap, the largest lake in Southeast Asia.

It was really a loooooong tuk-tuk journey to the floating village. And the experience going through the super bumpy gravel road was, how should I put it, unforgettable?

The stream is contaminated and brown. The village kids could just hop from boat to boat and into the water while playing, some naked.
There's no standard control of how the boat surges or sways though it's run by motor, and most of us got splashed by a bit of the river water.


The long and bumpy gravel road that we had to go through

Floating Village


Imagine how high the water level can rise, we totally came during the wrong season



Appreciate what you have that others don't


Tonlé Sap (the largest lake in Southeast Asia)





KFC and some street food for dinner.

We went for another round of massage, and this time it's full body massage @ $8.
It's our last night there and we will definitely miss it.
And my thought always echoes the quote:
"it's not so much about the destination, it's about the people you travel with"
And having traveled with this bunch of friends, it's even more meaningful (by the way, I don't even know who quoted that, maybe it was just me myself).

And another round of interactive games in the girls' room to end the night (this time we received complaints, oops).


Day 4


Neth Socheata Hotel
Wilsen made his move ahead of us as he had a different flight schedule from a different flight booking.

After having breakfast at the hotel, some of us still get out for a stroll and our last cup of ice Cambodian coffee.

We hired the 2 tuk-tuks from the hotel at $5 each for a lift to the airport, where we bade farewell to our tuk-tuk drivers who have been riding us around in the past 3 days.

Cambodia is currently a third world country, some reported that it is one of the poorest nations in the world.
Having traveled here, while appreciating the preserved historical monuments, we shan't forget to appreciate what we have and how blessed are we.


Everyone's on NUS pajamas



Siem Reap International Airport


Safely arrived at Changi Airport Terminal 2

Finally, I'm sharing a Japanese MV with familiar scenes of Siem Reap.

For more photos, please check out my photo album Siem Reap, Cambodia on Facebook.

Javin Tham, PMP, PMI-ACP, CSSBB Musician | Engineer | YouTube Coverist

2 comments:

  1. Hi Javin, thanks for the informative yet entertaining blog entry. Do you have the detailed itinerary to share? I would love to visit cambodia soon. If you don't mind, you can drop me an email > snowytraveller@gmail.com. Thanks and hope to hear from you soon.

    Sandra Chan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here you go:
      http://www.kayak.com/trips/BSAXHw

      Delete