As hard as it seems our adventure throughout Indochina has come to an end. The last place we visited was Siem Reap in Cambodia. It was boiling hot as we stepped off the plane. We met our guide, Huat (hu-what). We drove to our hotel, Royal Bay Inn and we were greeted with a cold towel and tropical juice. The hotel had a nice pool and a good place to dine. We arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon. Huat informed us about our plans for our stay in Siem Reap. We visited Angkor Watt, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. From a distance I could see the temple and the reflection on the water that glistened in the sun.
The long pathway to the temple was crammed with tourists and locals who were all trying to take pictures. Have you ever watched the movie Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie? We stood in front the water where one of the scenes was shot.
There was three layers of the temple. The first layer bordered the rest of the temple with a moat. The walls were presented in intricate and pretty designs that showed a story. Back then, they didn’t have writing so they learned through pictures.
The last layer was the tallest and most popular. The original steeps had been blocked off and new ones replaced the old ones. There was a long line that curved around the bottom of the third layer. When I looked up I could see open sections of the temple with people’s heads sticking out snapping pictures of the view. When we finally reached the front of the line I looked up and I felt intimidated. The steps were very steep. They were almost positioned in a straight line.
I kept both of my hands securely wrapped around the rail as I slowly climbed the steps. I thought it was worth the wait. The view was amazing!
That night for dinner we rode a tuk-tuk to Pub Street, restaurant central. We ate at a nice place called Le Tigre Papier with a world wide selection of food. I ordered a mango smoothie that turned out to be a huge shake! It was the best shake I had since day one! I also had homemade gnocchi.
On the second day we went to see a temple with the smiley faces called Bayon. This was my personal favorite. We visited Bayon just when the sun was setting which meant the sun shinned ever so perfectly on our faces as we took pictures. I was going to climb up these steep steps, but I knew I had to come down them, so I decided to wimp out.
This temple was like a maze. Everywhere I went I would find another path to walk through or it would end and I would have to turn back. When I looked up I could see smiling faces that were carved into the sandstone. The sandstone looked like a brownish-red in the sun. Huat took some pictures of our family together.
There were several dark little alleyways I would walk into. I walked into one of them and my surroundings grew dark, like when someone just told you some bad news and your mood changes to a sad, melancholy feeling. I could barely see inside. The only thing that was lit was the small flame on the top of the incense sticks that were buried in the sand pot. In front was a Buddha statue wrapped in his orange sarong. When we got back to our van the driver had provided us with a cool towel and ice cold water.
Another temple we visited was the place they filmed part of Tomb Raider when Lara Croft falls into the hole and finds part of the triangle. Trees grew out of the temple and roots stretched out along the top of the walls.
We also had an elephant ride and an water buffalo ride. The sun was just right and we had good view for pictures.
We took a small boat ride to a village on Tonle Sap Lake, which is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. I saw people swimming and fishing. We also visited a place with crocodiles which was located at the floating village. We even saw a floating school.
On our last day in Cambodia, my mom and I spent the day to relax and catch up on work. In the morning we visited Bantaey Srie, a temple made out of rose sandstone.
The temple was small and popular. The whole temple was made out of rose red sandstone. Huat told us that women may have carved this temple because of the detailed carvings of the women. The detail in this temple was very impressive.
My dad was planning to visit another temple, but my mom and I wanted to head back to the hotel. We went swimming for a little and walked into town. My mom and I visited a massage place. I got a pedicure and manicure and a foot, hand and shoulder massage. My mom got a Khmer massage. She thought “it was excellent” and “quite the experience”. My dad said the second temple was “like an Indiana Jones temple. It was completely in ruins”.
This morning (January 27th), my mom and I shopped with our guide for school supplies which would be for children at a school who were from different villages. We also picked some food for an orphanage. When we reached the school, the children and director greeted us with a warm smile. Some of the kids laughed and yelled, “Hello!” The playground was filled with kids from ages 5-17 playing ball and running around.
There was one lady from the UK who was a volunteered to help the kids learn English. When class was in session we handed out stickers to the kindergarteners and pen and pencils to the older children. The staff really appreciated the things we gave to them. Last, we went to the orphanage and delivered the fruit and rice to the eight orphans, but they weren’t there. Huat said that the kids where at a private school and they won’t be back until the afternoon. I was disappointed when we couldn’t be able to meet them. Then it was time to go back to the hotel and pack up. We thanked and tipped our guide and driver.
My Favorite Parts of the Trip (counting down!)
5. Phuket, Thailand
4. Ha Long Bay
3. Luang Prabang
2. Hoi An
1. Joy’s House!
When I was waiting for our plane to Bangkok, I wondered what adventures lie ahead. It’s sad to think that our journey had come to an end. I’ve enjoyed my time in Indochina and being able to experience the culture that’s a once in a life time experience. I’ve also enjoyed sharing my thoughts and explorations with all of you who have been keeping up with our journey. When you travel, you’re not just traveling to buy and eat; you’re traveling because you want to understand another world you had no idea about. Part of traveling is to pay it forward, do something good for someone who doesn’t always have a life they wanted. When we visited Sapa, the people didn’t have any heat, but they still had a kind heart. People may not be born with the luxury of heat or a roof to sleep under, but they except that and make the best out of what they do have. Then I was one the plane and we were about to take off. Please fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff. Sit back, relax. I hope you had fun following along on our journey!
Please leave a comment down below! I will be glad to send you some more pictures or tell you about my trip in person!