With 24 hours to spare it was time to embrace my love for planning another backpacking adventure to join my new friend Rebecca on her journey to the country of Cambodia while having the fortunate opportunity to do so.
With only three days we didn’t want time to go to waste and wanted to get the most out of our experience all while embracing the local culture, seeing one of the ten man-made wonders of the world, and support a great cause along the way.
Not wanting to go for the typical tourist spots in the middle of the city center we decided to stay at the Kiri residence, then a little boutique on National Road with all the amenities we needed. From surprising, in-room Wi-Fi, free daily breakfast, included airport transfer and shuttle to City Center, Air-con, mosquito nets, and a small pool. For $15 a day I think will be able to enjoy the quiet away from the hustle and bustle of Pub Street, but still, take full advantage of all the nightlife as to offer. 😊
I’ll be honest, when I told my very blunt, but amazingly awesome hairdresser in Singapore and I have headed to Cambodia tomorrow his response…” arises why?”
Okay, not the reaction I was going for haha. But, when the opportunity arises to see/experience a new place I’m willing to make the sacrifice the possibly not having a warm shower or suck it up and use a squatting toilet if I have to (yes, these are still a thing in Singapore).
By the way, if you are an expat living in Singapore and not looking at the usual “Singapore chop,” or spend your life savings on a decent do, I highly recommend Sirius located at 220 Orchard Road, Midpoint Orchard #02-04. The guys there are great, and it may look rough on the outside, but you’ll never be less than satisfied. Plus they always provide pretty humorous entertainment. Go check them out! They may have convinced me to try this 3-D coloring that was awesome, but not sure I could pull something like that off 😜
Through word of mouth, experience of Asia travel, and trip adviser (yes it’s actually a thing in Asia and employers really rely heavily on tourist reviews. So if you had a good experience liked a person/place be sure to help them out!) Rebecca and I came up with an itinerary that hopefully gives us a historical, cultural, and enjoyable 3D experience in the city of Siem Rep. We arrive this afternoon, after literally booking our hotel this morning, plan to check-in at 3 pm and hit the ground running . First stop, the National Museum. Followed by a nightly excursion to the famous Pub Street and Angkor Wat night market for dinner and possible shopping.
If you are not familiar with Southeast Asia tourist “shopping,” picture a ton of mall Kiosks with sales reps hitting you up left and right all while trying not to die of heat stroke or fall in a street gutter and almost loose a toes, like a friend of mine who shall go unnamed for now did ;P. However, with a friend to join you and no expectations of walking away with anything it;s fun to see the local knickknacks and who knows maybe we will actually strike a deal.
It’s earlyish to bed for us with a 4 AM wake up call, breakfast to go, and a sunrise at Angkor Wat to catch. I have a feeling it will be way too short of a nap tonight. Nevertheless, we plan this famous historical temple followed by Thomas city, Bayon temple, the Royal Palace, elephant temple, Leper King Terrace, and if we aren’t templed out by then, the jungle tree temple or tep pranam temple. Our local driver/tour guide Mr. Mony was recommended and has been known to keep you out of the crowds is knowledgeable of Cambodian history and knows the best places in Siem Rep to actually experience the local culture. What better way to experience the cities history and culture than through someone who lives it every day? If you’re interested, I’ll provide his contact email at the end of our trip.
It’s no rest for the weary, as we grab lunch on-the-go, or eat my pre-packed emergency snacks (cuz we all know I’m wayyyy too prepared sometimes lol) if we can’t handle the Cambodian cuisine, but I’ll try anything once…maybe ;P Not sure is you’ve heard of Khmer food but hear’s a little preview:
Then it’s off to our pottery making class at Khmer Ceramics where not only will we learn to make a traditional Cambodian pot, have it glazed, and delivered for no extra charge, but 100% of our proceeds will be “reinvested: for training; for the ongoing development of the project; on research and preservation of local art and culture; and to create employment and other economic and social benefits for the local community.”
I highly recommend checking it out if you are traveling to Cambodia or take a peek at their online shop if you would like to have some beautiful pottery of your own made by the students and contribute to their continuing education and local development.
After we test our pottery making abilities, which could be scary, we are headed to the Cambodian Circus. Do not worry there will be an update with my finished product later for entertainment purposes. Yes, there is a circus in Cambodia, but not just any circus. The performers are graduates of Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO school and professional arts training center and use theater, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell historical, folk and contemporary Cambodian stories. More than 1,200 students attend the public school, and all vocational arts training programs are free. Almost 75% of profit goes directly to PPSA to create opportunities for Cambodian artists, create financially, sustainable social business, and reliable income, revitalize, preserves, and promotes Cambodian art locally and internationally. So it’s dinner and a show for us that night a $27 dollars well spent I believe.
Go to www.pharecambodiancircus.org for more details
Finally, it will be time to call it quits but only to get ready for our trip to a local village at 9 am to harvest, prepare, and cook out very own lunch Cambodian style. We have to learn from the experts right?! The afternoon is still left to grabs, but I’m sure we will come up with something to squeeze in. Could as well be a trip to the Landmine Museum before stopping in City Center and enjoying another Cambodian Dinner….suppose to be some pretty good pizza there but we’ll see!
Another day was gone, and only a few hours to spare its a trip to the Artisans of Siem Rep. A Cambodian company which started in the 1990s to help young people of rural communities find work near their village. Today its strives to give professional skills to people with limited education, develop social awareness, and social conditions around the country. Here we can see traditional Khmer silk and the making of local crafts. Personally, I like to get one piece of art from wherever I visit. It does not have to be anything special I just like to meet the artist and if it’s something they are proud of, represents their culture, and enjoyment of sharing beauty with others it’s my kind of art! You’ll see some of my collected pieces along the way if you enjoy reading my blog.
Well, there you have it. The plan of action and hopefully and enjoyable and unforgettable experience to follow. I just enjoy sharing my experience with others in hopes of teaching others how small the world really is and how beauty is seen everywhere you just need to know where to look.
Here are the Links to my Trip Posts if you’d like to read more about the trip itself and the turnout of our plans: