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FAVOURITES, THOUGHTS, TRAVEL

Siem Reap, Cambodia

Been away from work for the past week… Back again today! Let me tell you what I got up to…

For some reason, I’ve always wanted to see the famous Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Maybe it’s because I have a secret fascination of being a treasure hunter or maybe it’s because, Angelina Jolie had set foot in the country. I don’t know but I booked a flight & made my way there! Really don’t think I’ve done so much on a holiday before… Awesome!

On our 1st day with hardly enough sleep (since our flight was at 6 in the morning) we decided to be adventurous & rent a bike to cycle to ‘The Lake’ – little did we know that ‘The Lake’ was actually further than we expected.

We rode almost 15km from the centre of town to the end of Siem Reap only to stumble upon a Cambodian who nearly laughed at us for attempting such a stupid feat. We rode in the rain till our butts were sore & we vowed after nearly 35kms (to & fro) to never set our behinds on a bicycle again!

I turned a year older the next day & couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to see the 1 thing I’ve always dreamed of seeing… Before we made it to the famous temple though, we stopped by at the ‘Old Market’.

Now, I really think they should change it’s name to the ‘Messy Market’. These new-age cafe’s we have in KL now, with stuff hanging from the ceilings? They probably got the idea from this place…

Everything you wanted, from a phone charger to your breakfast hung from the ceiling… And after seeing the raw meat that was displayed on the counters, with strange insects hanging out on them I quickly became a vegetarian for the rest of the trip LOL!

Soon after, we made our way to Angkor Wat. Words cannot describe how beautiful the temple is… Over 900 hundred years old, it makes you wonder how they ever built it in the 1st place?! Every single stone was carved with something intricate… And every step you took led you to discover something even more amazing that what you last saw.

I honestly felt like I had been transported back 9 centuries as we walked along the grounds… The only thing that brought me back to reality were the other tourists (of which you can’t see in this photo because I waited patiently for them to leave)!

After more than an hour of walking, we reached the front of the temple… And I probably took more than 20 photos here… It was breath-taking!

We made our way to a bunch of other temples after, including the one where Tomb Raider was shot. That tree trunk is huge!

During our rounds throughout the temples, we got to know our 17yr old Tuk-Tuk driver, Ayan. Apparently, he only makes 50USD a month. That’s a little more than RM150. Which really is sad considering that in this day in age, RM150 is less than how much you’d spend on a pair of jeans.

He is the sweetest guy & went through all lengths to make sure we saw the best of Siem Reap. Needless to say, we gave him more money than what was necessary for our day of traveling around in his Tuk-Tuk.

In similar fashion, we decided on our last day to pay visit to an orphanage. We filled up on supplies for the children (we actually wanted to get them KFC & snacks but Ayan said it would be better to buy rice, oil & tinned food).

And made our way to what probably is, the saddest place I have seen with the happiest people on the Earth. As soon as we arrived, we were greeted with cheers & waves, as if we were royalty… And all we brought were food supplies.

The kids knew their ABC’s, 1,2,3’s & could speak a little English. We sat with them & we amazed that half of these children had either been abused, or were malnourished or went through some form of disease or disability.

At the end of the visit, I got to know a little boy. He was the tiniest thing… And the most pleasant. We didn’t understand each other but as I said Goodbye to all the children, he looked into my eyes & said ‘Thank you’. To which till this day, I will never forget how much I wanted to cry just looking at the sincerity in his face.

If ever I were to complain about my life, do show me this picture & remind me that I have nothing to complain about…

After our visit to the orphanage (to which I wouldn’t mind going to visit again) we hired ATV’s to check out the Cambodian country-side. Much like Malaysia…

We stopped in the middle of padi-field to watch the sunset & be entertained by our ATV dude, Piseth!

He was the one who told us to jump & take photos (apparently a lot of Malaysians like doing it?)

And speaking of Malaysia, we apparently have some good drivers! We drove those ATV’s so well… We got a certificate! Not many people get them… Especially since almost 1 in every 10 drive themselves into the padi-fields! OMG!

With that experience, we made our way back to the hotel to pack up & head home to KL. As I said earlier, I have never done so much on a holiday before and really, I wasn’t even tired.

I started off the trip wanting to see Angkor Wat… But by the end of it, my fondest memory was not of the places Angelina Jolie had been to, or the fact that I rode an ATV. My fondest memory was of the children at the zinc-roofed orphanage, with not a cent to spare but with hearts bigger than the universe.

I will never forget turning a year older in Cambodia & being able to experience what I did. With hope, you’ll get the chance to try out what I did as well!

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Siem Reap, Cambodia

  1. this is heartwarming :)

    Posted by fahamokha90 | June 11, 2012, 3:05 PM

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