I’ve been lucky enough to travel on holiday to the Far East on a few occasions and I love everything about it, the people, the culture, the diversity…the sounds and smells and definitely the food.
My main reason for heading over again on this 3 week trip was to visit Angkor Wat in Northern Cambodia, but to also take enough time to see and do lots more. Lesson 1, I normally go around November time just at the end of the rainy season, this time I went in April. Northern European white dude going there at that time of year is just wrong, never experienced humidity like that before!!!!
Started off with some R&R on Phi Phi Island in Thailand. The island was badly hit in the 2004 tsunami and had changed hugely since my last visit over 20 years ago. Aproximately 70% of the buildings on the island had been destroyed and by the end of July 2005, an estimated 850 bodies had been recovered, and an estimated 1,200 people were still missing. Beautiful as it was, it just didn’t seem to be the same place as I remembered.
After a few days I set off for Phnom Penh, by the time I’d got to my hotel, I’d arranged a guide to drive me the 7 hours up to Siem Reap and hang about with me for a couple of days…..To say the drive up and back was an experience would be a slight understatement. 7 hours of dirt track on roads the width of a typical motorway here, no lights, road markings or signs….as I found out when the car went into a massive hole in the middle of the road on the way back, that wasn’t there on the way up 🙂
Seeing Angkor Wat was just the most amazing experience, the history, culture, spirituality and just the feeling of being in this incredible place will stay with me forever.
I was only in Cambodia for a few days so didn’t really get to explore much of it but with all it’s recent troubles, it seems to be in a pretty bad way. Phnom Pehn showed me the 2 biggest comparisons…from the beauty of the Royal Palace to the horror of S-21, an old high school which the Khmer Rouge converted into a prison and where so many innocent people lost their lives.
On then to Vietnam and I loved it….Non stop hustle and bustle, which was a tad tough in the heat. Will be back for sure to see more of this amazing place…..Although the capital is known as Ho Chi Minh City, pretty much everyone knows it as Saigon. Hard not to visit some of the remains from the war with the US, man they don’t like them there….Also became a millionaire overnight, my £40 out of the cash machine became about 1.5 million Vietnamese Dong,….still couldn’t spend it all 🙂
Back to Thailand for the last week or so, finished it off with a few days of 5 start stuff in Bangkok, which was nice.
Here’s to the next adventure, soon I hope 🙂