This trip was the unexpected one. First, it was not the original plan. I was looking forward to exploring OZ. Second, my passport was about to expire and it takes 12 weeks to get a new one (sigh..). The trip was last July 2015. Three months prior to that, I was on another trip so I could not renew my documents yet. And time was running out (panic mode, LOL). I worried quite often for nothing. I was just uneasy but I made it. And lastly, I did not do any research. Well, I googled some of the rules and regulations and that was about it. So, I honestly did not know what to expect other than it was hotter than Vancouver.
Last summer, we went to Cambodia and Thailand.
The “We” troopers were of course, me, Steffi, Candice, Gelli and Jacky.We arrived late at night in Siem Reap. We stayed in Angkor Pearl Hotel. It was 10/10 overall stay with the hotel. Our room package came with breakfast which was my favorite. The food gave my taste buds a bit of nostalgia. It was similar to Philippine dishes especially the bite-sized fried wrapped banana (little turon).
Our first agenda started at 5am on our second day. We had to get up early to catch the sunrise in Angkor Wat. We hired a tricycle driver and a tour guide to show us around the whole day. The admission fee to the Angkor Wat is US $20. Tourists from all over the place only need to carry with them US Dollars. All transactions in Cambodia are being paid in US Dollars for tourist. From booking hotel rooms to buying street food, everything is priced in US Dollars. However, if you pay with larger bills, they will give you Cambodian Riel back as change.
When in comes to OOTD, there is a proper attire that needs to be followed when visiting the temple. It does not need to be fancy. You just need to cover a little bit of skin than the usual to give respect.
After exploring Angkor Wat, we went back to the hotel to have our breakfast. Then we headed to Angkor Thom. It is an entire city of different temples. We first visited Bayon Temple. It was pretty huge with lots of turns and get-through alleys. Our tour guide was so knowledgeable. He explained the temple history, the head structure and even shared the story behind those intricate wall designs surrounding the temple. Unfortunately, I was not able to retain the information (that’s fine, there’s wikipedia).
We spent the rest of the morning til 2pm going around Bayon Temple. After stuffing our belly, we visited Ta Prohm. It is famous for the set location of Tomb Raider. Angelina Jolie left a carving on one of the trees and no one knows what it meant. The place is also famous for the huge tree roots running along the ruins of the temple.
The temple tour in Ta Prohm is a one-way flow. If you stop for a picture-taking, take as much as you want. As soon as you reach the exit, the only way to go back is from the entrance on the other side. That means you have to pass the same lefts and rights until you reach your stop. Without a tour guide, it’s pretty confusing to go around.
We ended our day strolling around night market. We had a box of “happy” pizza (wink, wink..) as our dinner and couple of street food.
We spent the next morning prepping for our trip to Thailand. We made a quick stop over in Bangkok because there was no direct flight to Phuket. We stayed in Holiday Inn. The hotel is just a 2-minute walk away from the Patong Beach. We explored the streets in search of a knock-off dinner. And we obviously settled for a seafood feast. We also tried couple of street food.
On our fourth day, we went island hopping, swimming ,snorkeling and munching :). We booked a tour package for our island hopping. We paid around 7400 baht for 5 people. That includes our buffet lunch, snacks and awesome view. We stopped first on Bamboo Island for 1 hour of swimming and island exploring. Then we passed by bat island and stop on another island for snorkeling. It was amazing watching the school of fish swimming in between colorful corals. That was the closest I can get to Great Reef Barrier for now. It was quite scary too. As soon as I looked underwater, I felt a bit of oxygen shortage plus that tiny heart attack you get when you’re about to slip in the shower. It was really deep and pretty. Well, I guess I was both thrilled and scared.
We had our sumptuous lunch at Phi Phi Don Resort. After enjoying mouthful of tom yum and Thai cuisine, we stopped a while on Monkey Island to feed the little rascals. Our tour guides took us to another part of Phi Phi Leh after. I had my first experience of bikini yacht jumping. Though it was not really a yacht and yes, I was wearing a two-piece because I can (hahaha). It was a lowkey-tryna-kardashian episode (lol) but I’ll take it. Then our final stop was Maya Beach, famous for Leonardo DiCaprio’s Movie. Ahmm, he was not washed up there after the shipwreck neither waking up from a dream. It was the set location for his movie The Beach. I have no idea that film existed until I stepped foot on that island. It was a whole day of fun activity. If you want to stay longer on Phi Phi Island, you can book a room for roughly US$100 or less per night.
Before heading to the airport, we used all our remaining time in Phuket visiting the Big Buddha, taking tons of photo on view-point and my favorite, elephant trekking. At around 4pm, we were on our way to the capital.
And Hello Bangkok for real. We stayed in Baiyoke Sky Hotel. I’m rating them 8/10 for having no free wifi in our room. 😦 We bought a sim card which became our hot spot for wifi. So you actually need a spare phone to get connected and for google map purposes.
Our first stop in Bangkok was The Grand Palace. Then 2 or 3 blocks away is the Temple of Leaning Buddha. On the next day, We toured around Ayutthaya, where Mario Maurer shot part of the Suddenly it’s Magic movie.
On our last day, we had a mall tour in search of Thai Tea, whitening soap, sweets and other goodies to take home with us. We bought almost everything from the supermarket. It was pretty much a one-stop shop but nothing beats the street bargains. I also had my first taste of sticky mango rice. Damn, it was tasty and addicting. I got a pair of rose gold hear-shaped earrings too. They were not the expensive ones. It only cost me 20 baht a pair. But the quality was better than my F21 pair.So I suggest you hoard rose gold jewelries from Thailand. If you don’t want to wear them, they actually make a good business.
I have never been so tan in any of my vacations, yet another great adventure is now off the list. ’til we meet again Cambodia and Thailand.
To my amazing travel buds, Jacky, Gelli, Candice & Steffi 🙂
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