Angkor Wat, Ta Phrom… (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

The tour includes visiting Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Keo, Ta Phrom, and Banteay Kdei. I shared a tuktuk with 2 other guests in the hostel.

 

We all decided to do the sunset. We paid $6 each for the transportation plus $20 for a one day temple pass per person which I find expensive. I’ve seen plenty of beatiful temples in other Southeast Asian countries so I was not excited to visit Angkor Wat but I did anyway just for the sake of visiting it. 🙂

We got this super cool angkor pass with our photo in it. We did not expect this at all so we were all happy. 😅

 

  

We first visited the Angkor Wat. What can I say? It was nice to see but I was not impressed. (Just because I’ve seen better temples in Thailand and Myanmar) 

   

  

  

It was too hot so we were exhausted after. When we visited the next temple we did not even go inside. We just got our picture taken oitside. 

  

Then the famous Ta Phrom which was featured in the famous film Tomb Raider. We just had to find that tree!  

 

The last stop was for the sunset. We did not wait until the sun set because it was crowded and we wanted to get downstairs and get on the road before the crowd. 

  

  

  

It’s nice to be able to tell that I’ve already been in Angkor Wat but I don’t think $20 was worth it. I had fun with the girls though. 🙂

Aranyaprathet, Thailand to Poipet, Cambodia

I was in Pakham District in Buriram Province so the bus to Aranyaprathet will be coming from Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat). The first bus left Korat at 5:30AM. The bus passed by in Pakham at 7:40AM. I paid 95 baht to the border. The bus arrived in Aranyaprathet at 9:45AM. We got dropped off in the intersection where the Border Hotel sign is. You will immediately see the picture below ahead of you so just keep walking this way (about 3 minutes walk) and on your left is the passport control to get your exit stamp. 

 

Tip: If you need to buy something, there is a 7-eleven in the corner. Just keep going straight passing a train track instead of getting inside the immigration. 

  

Once you head inside, you will see the immigration check point. I just went upstairs and there’s the passport control. There were 6 counters open and not much people so it took less than 5 minutes to get my exit stamp.

  

After I got my exit stamp, I went downstairs and there is an arrow that will lead you to Poipet border. This is where scammers wait for foreigners. Just follow the crowd and don’t talk to anyone. 

 

You will eventually see the sign where to get an entry stamp or visa. Since I don’t need a visa to Cambodia, I went straight to passport control.

   

There was this tiny immigration office where I got my entry stamp.

   

Then there are “free” shuttles to international bus station. It’s a bus station specially for tourist so I’m sure foreigners still get rip off here. We had to wait for other passengers (those who had to get visa) for about 20 minutes before the bus left. It took 10 minutes and we arrived at their so called international bus station. 

The bus to Siem Reap won’t leave until 3PM and we were there at 11AM so this forced us to take a taxi which cost $60 per car (500 baht per person). It should be $48 but they said it’s higher because of the New Year. Surprise! Surprise! Another way to rip us off. There’s no other people there so I shared taxi with two other foreigners. We paid 600 baht per person. 

The taxi dropped us off beside a hotel (about 3km to Old Market area) eventhough I asked him to drop me off in the street of my hostel. This is another way for them to rip off foreigners. They will tell you that your hotel is far, like 10km away and will ask for $6. My app CityMaps2Go has been reliable during my months of backpacking so I believe it’s not more than 3km. I opted to walk than get ripped off. 

When I got to the main road, (just 50 meters away from scammers) I saw a motorbike taxi and asked him how much to go to Steung Thmei Street where my hostel is. He said $3 and I haggled to $2 which he agreed on. He dropped me off at my hostel with no problem. 

I crossed the border easier than I thought it would be. It only took total of 5 hours from Pakham District to my hostel in Siem Reap. 

I learned that border crossing by land is easier if you search and read other people’s experience online before you do it. You have to show you’re tough and that you’re not an idiot they can just take advantage of. 🙂

Songkran Festival (Thailand)

Songkran Festival is Thailand’s traditional New Year celebrated for 3 days. It’s like a water festival since people play water along the road. They said the traditional pouring is meant to wash all the bad stuff. 

My friend, Nitty decided to take me to Non Din Daeng to play Songkran. 

Of course, we wouldn’t leave the house unarmed. We loaded two big buckets of water at the back of the truck. We also got water guns. 🙂

  

We splashed water to people along the way. Kids, elders, people on motorbike, people on bicycle and just anyone we saw. It was more fun to splash water to those who are still dry and those who are not expecting it. 

People splashed water on us too and sometimes we get water with ice so yeah that was cold. 

There were people who will refill your buckets. They get the water from the river. We got free refills four times. 

 

We finally reached the dam and as expected, it was crowded. There are restaurants there and my friend already ordered the food in advanced so we just had to set up our picnic mat and the food was served. We had delicious fish feast. 🙂

   

 

About an hour after we ate, there was a boy who drowned. Everybody went out of the water. It probably took about 10 minutes before the ambulace arrived. The boy is probably 12 years old. No idea if he survived but when I saw the boy while being carried by a man to the ambulance, he was already purple. 

This tragedy brought sadness to everyone. Most people decided to leave the area just like we did. A lot of people left at the same time so what do you expect? Traffic jam!

  

It was still fun going home because people still play water. People dance on the road. People put powder on your face. Since the car is idle, you have no escape. 

 

We were all soaking wet until we got back home. I had so much fun! 🙂 

  

A day in a Longan Farm

My Thai friend, Nitty invited me to come back to Thailand to help her with the English summer class for kids which we started on the 1st of April. 

We did not have any class today so I joined her relatives in their longan farm. The work was just to sit and check the quality of the fruit. We had to cut the excess stems and remove the unripe and the overripe ones. Sounds easy?

We started at 7am and finished at 3pm. It was tiring but the people I was with made it fun. 

   

I haven’t done this before and sitting for hours like this is very uncomfortable. I wanted to stop but I did not. Their smile and laughter sure encouraged me to keep working. Nobody can speak English. 99% of the time, I had no idea what they were talking about. The 1%? I know when they were talking about me. 😂

When we finished, they had to compute what they earned and then a lady handed me 318 baht ($10) saying “money for you”.

  

I did not expect to get any money. I thought I was just helping out while trying to get a new experience. 

It felt so good when I got the money in my hand though. I’ve had office jobs ever since so I never earned money this way. It may not be a lot but it is something in Asia specially in the country side. 

Also, I got to take home longans! 

  

I’m so beat but this experience is definitely something to remember and worth trying. 😊