4 minutes reading time Cambodia
It was in the last week of November, just a few days after my birth date, I treated myself to traveling alone. This would be worth remembering as I am doing it for the first time. As a natural explorer, I have always wanted to try something different, something to introduce, something unusual. I thought of Siem Reap, Cambodia. I wonder how the locals are? Are they hospitable? What kind of culture do they have? What to see and do in there?
I booked a hotel in the city center for three days and two nights, a tour to the famous Angkor Wat, a land transfer to my accommodation, boarded an evening flight to Siem Reap.
My pick-up service was on time with a courteous driver and a convenient air-conditioned vehicle. It was a good start. It took me one hour to get to the hotel and got more than my expectations of the staff courtesy and friendliness. The hotel likewise was more than the facilities of its category. Most of the hotels offer good service and of good quality.
Since I just had my rest after a four hour flight from the Philippines in the wee hours, I preferred to take a nap first before I start my first journey. The morning greets me with the presentation of the breakfast buffet at the restaurant. Fried sweet potatoes and other root crops done in art, noodles cooked in the local way, bread partnered with choice of fillings, scrambled egg, assorted fruits for dessert.
I began exploring the city by roaming, looking for the best place to eat, take a cup of coffee, buy stuff of all kinds. The commodity prices are budget-friendly, reachable for every want. As a coffee lover, I found a shop best for my taste with a cozy ambiance. I also love buying souvenirs, apparel, fancy accessories, so I took my first night at the Siem Reap Night Market. It was a huge place surrounded by several shops found side to side.
I have to reserve my strength for a whole day tour to the Angkor Wat the following day, so I decided to have an early night sleep. Buffet breakfast was served as usual before my tour guide picked me up for the tour. It was fun to meet a fellow Filipina on an equally solo tour as I hop in the presentable tourist van. Our first stop was to purchase an entrance ticket at the designated booth. Angkor Wat is a compilation of ancient temples, preserved through the decades, serenaded by the locals. Relics of the epic past covered in thick tree woods and tall vines amazingly grew naturally all over its body. The temples were preserved over the centuries where the architectural style recollects the traditional beliefs and culture.
Take a pose at the actual location shoot of Angelina Jolie’s film Tomb Raider. This can be found at the Ta Prohm Temple in the middle part of the complex. I made a caption for my own shot, “Angelina Jolie vs. Angelina Joke Only“. Ha-ha!
Tiring yet remarkable, I treated myself to Pub Street to spend nightlife strolling, buying some stuff, eating noodles. The night recreational place consists of bars, restaurants, food kiosks, souvenir items, other entertainment shops with live singers. Since I am not a drinker, I allowed myself to enjoy in fried ice creams and milkshakes. Yes, call it “fried” ice cream, one of their specialties for dessert and refreshment.
Back to the hotel I took the Tuk-tuk, the cheapest form of transportation. It is a motorized vehicle constructed widely with a comfortable passenger seat at the back. Here you can gather some fresh air while having unlimited views of the places you’re passing by.
As I started my day with a coffee, I ended it up the same. Although sad but satisfied, I am about to bid farewell to Cambodia. The locals taught me a great lesson. Positive attitude for positive results. Take pride in what you have and be grateful for small things.
Cambodia. Rich in hospitality, courage, determination, hope.