5 days 4 nights Cambodia trip during Raya 2013 break.
I’m back home! What a great holiday I had over at Cambodia for the past five days and four nights. And now, I’m back to Kuala Lumpur, back to my home….and that’s back to reality. There is no more holiday and working resumes tomorrow. Like many people said, happy or enjoyable time flies very quickly. That’s true. This was my second time visiting Cambodia, and I can consider myself finished touring around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap completely.
7th August 2013 (Wednesday)
The flight to Siem Reap is at before 7 in the morning, and so we had to be in the LCC Terminal by 5 midnight. I woke up at 4pm, feeling great with high anticipation to the trip but also at the same time tired and sleepy. We boarded AirAsia plane, which is now tag-lined with world’s best low-cost carrier airline recognition for five consecutive years by Skytrax. We are on a group tour (by Confidence Travel) and so we don’t need to worry anything on any arrangements as all have been made for us.
The first destination would be a boat ride along the Tonle Sap muddy river that ends with a huge lake. The highlight would be the floating houses along the river, and we got to see how people lives on the water all the time in poverty and simple living. Children and several pity-looking adults came by to ask for money from us while we are in the boat, and some do massage or performed with snake, similarly to what I have seen there three years back.
Next in the afternoon after visiting the Les Artisan De Angkor (handicraft center) for a short while, we went to climb up the Bakeng Hill. There’s a ruins of temple on the hill. We had over 20 minutes of climb to reach the top (quite tiring). We are supposed to be offered with spectacular sunset view up there, but since it’s rainy season now, we got to see massive dark clouds instead. But I can still view Angkor Wat from the hill. And before we could return, heavy downpour occurred and we were all seriously wet when we reached our bus. What an experience!
8th August 2013 (Thursday)
The whole day’s trip focused fully on the Angkor site which is now a very important world heritage. We got to visit the Bayon Temple, a temple unique for display of many huge stones carved with faces on four sides and arranged very closely together. Next, we went to visit several other smaller sites in Angkor Thom area (former city of Khmer empire).
Then, we visit the Ta Pronh Temple, a ruin of temple now ‘binded’ with growing jungles (huge trees) that created astonishing effects. The temple is getting more famous as it had been a setting for Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film.
The final destination of the day of which we were already exhausted by early afternoon would be none other than Angkor Wat, one of the most fascinating historical sites in the world. It’s a temple complex completed with many intricate details and topped with five towers and are based on Hinduism and later Buddhism. The sudden rain in the middle of the Angkor Wat tour didn’t dampen our spirit to continue observing such impressive structure.
At night after watching the expensive show entitled ‘Smile of Angkor’ (a show combining water, light and dance performances displaying Cambodia’s culture and history which is not worth its price) , we went out for a tuk-tuk ride (which is a must for travellers like us) to Night Market and Pub Street area. The streets there are now much more happening and ‘commercialized’ than what it appeared three years ago. Quite a huge improvement to attract more foreign visitors. I went back to the Red Piano Restaurant to try again the Lara Croft cocktail, and also Angkor (local) beer. Awesome environment.
9th August 2013 (Friday)
Basically, nothing happened today. We had to leave Siem Reap to proceed to Phnom Penh, the country’s capital. It took us more than six hours long in the bumpy bus ride (what a bad roads there) with two quick stops in between. By the time we reached the much crowded city compared to Siem Reap in the afternoon, it’s raining again. We went to the Naga Casino, the only casino complete with luxurious hotel and entertainment complex owned by a Malaysian tycoon. I tried my luck for a short while from the 10 USD coupon given to foreign visitors like us and I won a bit in the end. Not bad.
10th August 2013 (Saturday)
Phnom Penh’s city tour started. First, we got to see the Independence Monument. Quite a huge structure but would be much better looking at night when it is illuminated with lights. After that, we dropped by at the Vietnam Friendship Monument before walking towards the Royal Palace. The royal palace tour is quite a lengthy one as we were brought to walk around at permissible areas like at the garden, near many stupas, gallery of historical photos, and the most interesting one would be the tour in the Silver Pagoda, a hall that houses many national treasures such as gold and jewelled Buddha statues.
Next, we went to visit the Wat Phnom Hill where it is believed the history of the founding of the city started based on a legend involving a lady named Madam Penh. It’s a man-made hill, and there’s a small temple on top.
In the afternoon, we visited the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. It’s a school complex used as a S-21 prison during the Khmer rouge over 30 years ago. It was terrifying on learning details of the dark past of the country through visit to see how the prison, interrogation chambers, and torture tools look like in the classrooms of the school. There are a lot of pictures and painting to further illustrate how bad it was during the Khmer Rouge.
11th August 2013 (Sunday)
I couldn’t believe we would be flying home on this day already. We spent the morning for shopping at Central Market, a huge market building comprises of stalls selling jewellery, watches, fabrics, souvenirs, shoes, etc and crowded with people selling or bargaining (we took on the latter role). Then, we went to Sorya mall, the capital’s largest mall which I think is not even close compared to KL’s smallest mall. Just to spend the remaining time before flying back to KL.
It’s afternoon and we boarded AirAsia plane again for flight back home from Phnom Penh to KL. That’s the end of the trip.
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