A Trip to Cambodia
It was 6 o’clock in the evening and I was ready to leave for the airport with my parents to go to Cambodia. I was going to Cambodia with my family to visit my cousin who is doing his PhD in Microbiology there. For those who don’t know where Cambodia is, it’s a small Asian country which is surrounded by Thailand and Laos on the top and Vietnam on the side.
Getting back to what I was saying; I was ready to leave at that very moment at 6:15 PM I got a message on my mobile from Cathay Pacific that our flight which was supposed to take off at 10:30 was delayed and would now be leaving at 1:30 AM. After reading this I was shocked to my very core, this was the third time my flight was delayed. My dad called up the travel agent, who spoke to the airline confirming the delay in our flight. We had two flights that day: Mumbai to Hong Kong and then from Hong Kong to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and due to our delayed first flight we were going to miss our connecting flight so not only did Cathay Pacific accommodated us in the next flight to Phnom Penh but also as compensation gave us access to the VIP lounge at the Hong Kong airport. It was as of yet the best compensation I had got.
So finally we got at the airport at 10:00 PM and soon boarded our flight to Hong Kong. We reached Hong Kong at 9 AM local time and were then taken to the VIP lounge. It was honestly the place I’ve been to, just to give you peeps the idea of how good it was, it had free unlimited food and drinks!!! I was in the lounge for the next 4 hours so I made the most of it. Some of the stuff I had there was roasted beef, pork and lamb dumplings and a orange lime mocktail. It was soon time to leave for the boarding and within the next 3 hours we were in Phnom Penh, where my cousin was waiting at the arrivals to meet us and take us to our hotel. On our way to the hotel there was a lot of traffic and sometimes I even felt like I never left Mumbai. On reaching the hotel, we checked in and I just went to sleep, after all I had an exhausting day and I was going to have a busy and tiring next day.
I got up early at around 6, got ready, repacked my bag and went to the hotel restaurant to have breakfast. After finishing our breakfast, we left for Siem Reap at around 8 in a personal mini van which we had ordered, it was a 4 hour journey to Siem Reap so halfway the journey we made a stop in a market where everyone usually stops to take a break on the way to Siem Reap. We actually had the idea of stopping there and getting some snacks and fruits but when we reached there all we could see in the market was ready to eat silkworms, crickets, snails, tarantulas and quail eggs which we of course didn’t eat and also the only fruits they had were raw mangoes and pineapple which were still pretty good.
We continued our journey 15-20 minutes after stopping at the market, the journey ahead was fast and we reached at our hotel in Siem Reap in the next 2.5 hours. We checked into the hotel, went to our rooms and after sometime I went to the pool to refresh before going to the night market which was just below our hotel. We did some window shopping and then roamed around the city centre and went to a Chinese restaurant for dinner and finally after almost 4 months I had a proper beef steak.
We left our hotel at 9 after getting ready and having breakfast to go to Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious complexes in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god, Vishnu which gradually changed to a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. We first went to the ticket counter where we bought our entry tickets for Angkor Wat. We then went ahead towards the main temple in our van.
The actual temple is very huge and you have to walk a lot if you want to see the entire thing. Inside the temple there are few idols of God Vishnu but they aren’t maintained really well and are also a bit of damaged due to natural causes, theft and war damage but overall the temple is really good. After seeing the Angkor Wat we went ahead to look at the Bayon Temple and a couple of more temples in the complex of Angkor. We had lunch in a restaurant in the complex, spent some more time in the city, saw a few ancient structures and temples and then returned to our hotel. Till the time we reached our hotel it was already 6:30 and because I was so tired, all I did was take a relaxing dip in the pool.
The night market starts at 7 and I even had to buy some gifts for my friends so I went to the market. The market is very big and everyone in there is continuously asking you to buy their stuff but one thing tourists should not do is to look around things, ask the rate and then just walk away. This pisses off the shipowners and they won’t be as polite as they were but it is also wee bit funny to see them get pissed and say something you won’t understand in their language. After shopping for gifts I went back to the hotel to have dinner with my family. For dinner I had a cheeseburger and honestly it was the best cheeseburger I had ever eaten.
It was our last day in Siem Reap and we had seen almost everything except for one place ‘The Kulen Mountains’ or as often called in Cambodia ‘The Holy Mountain’. Thats where we headed early in the morning on our last day in Siem Reap. Our first stop was at a lake where over a thousand shivlings were built which are underwater. The view was mesmerising with trees and the jungle all around and a lake, with the water flowing smoothly and below you could see the structures, some damaged over the years and some intact. Our next stop was a pagoda which had a statue of the sleeping buddha and also to my surprise there were even idols of Hindu gods like Lord Ganesha, Garuda and a big shivling, which is a structure built by devotees of God Shiva to worship him. At that exact time it was also prayer time for the Buddhist monks so we also saw that. We then proceeded to our last stop in the Kulen Mountains, a waterfall.
After we left Kulen Mountain, we went to a Khmer restaurant which served local and traditional Cambodian food. The traditional Khmer food was very delicious and is a must have if one goes to Cambodia. Our next destination was the floating village so we went towards a small port from where all the boats leave for the tour of the floating village. We went to the floating village and took a tour there and what a brilliant place that was. After we finished our adventure for the day we returned to the hotel and then went around the city centre and then stopped for dinner in an Italian restaurant and I had a pepperoni pizza. We then went to the food trucks and carts on the street to have dessert where I had a chocolate pancake and a Oreo-Nutella rolled ice cream. We finally went back to the hotel after an exhausting day and had a good night’s sleep because we were going to travel the next day to Phnom Penh.
It being a travel day, I got up early, had breakfast, checked out and started our journey to Phnom Penh which was about 4-5 hours long.
After taking a couple of stops, we finally reached Phnom Penh at around 4:30 and checked in our hotel. Also because our hotel was on the riverside I took an evening stroll along the Tonlé Sap River. I then went to a Indian restaurant with my family to have dinner after which I had a nice choco-mint ice cream at an ice cream parlour nearby and went back to my hotel.
It was a lazy morning and I woke up very late after getting some much needed sleep. I freshened up, took a shower and went to the restaurant for breakfast and then went to the riverside for a small walk and even had a citrus flavoured Fanta. At around 11 I left for Choeng Ek genocide museum with my brother and my dad. The Choeng Ek is a museum and a memorial for all those people who were killed in the civil war by the Khmer Rouge. As a matter of fact around 3 million people were killed by the Khmer Rouge. The story about the civil war is very saddening and in the memorial site you can literally see the burial grounds and the place where the people were killed. In the main memorial there are thousands of skulls of the people who died there and all them are kept in a huge glass enclosure which is about 10 to 14 storeys high.
After coming back from the memorial we went to have food in an Indonesian restaurant which I later regretted because even though the food was good I had an upset stomach after that. Another place we went that day was the Reptile café, its basically a cafe where you drink a coffee with various reptiles surrounding you. There were snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, tarantulas and many different animals. It was a really cool place and normally you can hold a snake and have your drink with it sitting on your shoulders but unfortunately for us the snake had eaten recently and was resting so we couldn’t hold it . After the cafe we returned to the hotel and I just stayed at the hotel for the rest of the day.
It was our last day in Cambodia and so we decided to first go shopping in the Central Market but I didn’t anything of my interest so instead we went to a supermarket nearby and bought chocolates and some other stuff. I even got coffee flavoured and vanilla flavoured coca cola. After my shopping spree we went to the Royal Palace and though they didn’t let people in the main palace we went around the entire complex, the silver pagoda and even a small museum inside the complex which was full of all the ancient artefacts, statues and stuff they had found in the palace.
In the evening all of us went to a Cambodian traditional dance performance and honestly it was really awesome, the dancers had a lot of elegance and smoothness in their moves. Overall it was brilliant. We later went to a really good pizza place in the city centre and I had a pizza with pepperoni, sausages, roasted pork and chunks of chicken. So, basically it was a pizza I always wanted to have because pork isn’t easily available in India and beef is banned here. We then returned to our hotel and started packing our bags for our flight the next day.
As it was the day for our flight back to Mumbai, we woke up early, checked out and left the hotel to catch our 10 AM flight to Hong Kong. We reached the airport, went through the security and immigration and had a smooth flight to Hong Kong but thats where the good part ends(lol). When we reached Hong Kong and got our boarding passes, we got the news that our flight was delayed by 3 hours which meant that our 8PM flight was now a 11 PM flight. So we had a 5 hour layover with nothing to do because even the wifi at the airport sucked and to entertain myself a bit I went around the airport and bought a pack of popcorn which costed around 7-8$ because everything at the airport costs so much. After making many such rounds around the airport and listening to music on my mobile and eating, it was finally time for our flight and even after boarding our flight, it didn’t move for about another hour. The reason: someone got sick and had to get off. But after our flight was quite smooth and because I don’t get sleepy and cannot sleep on a flight(idk why???) I saw a couple of movies: Mission Impossible 6 and another movie called Tag featuring Jeremy Renner. We finally landed in Mumbai at around 6, went through customs and immigration, took a cab and went home. The only thing I did as soon as I reached home is jump on the bed and sleep, finally waking at 1PM in the afternoon ending my exhausting yet very fun trip.
P.s. Photos of this trip are in the Homepage section, check them out.
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Peace out. Cheers and take care.