Cambodia: Arrival in Siem Reap

Siem Reap International Airport facade

Siem Reap International Airport facade

Our flight going to Siem Reap was around 10am that morning. What I really don’t like about the KL airport is that we have to drive around at least an hour just to get there from the city. We took an AeroBus service which is a Ringgit cheaper than AirAsia’s SkyBus. Fare is 8RM one way and 14RM round trip from KL Sentral. Some people go to Siem Reap via a 6 hours bus from Thailand crossing the border but I don’t want to waste that much time and I’ve heard a lot of Bus Scams there where the bus intentionally tire out their passengers and check them in on an affiliated (commissioned) hotel. So the 6 hours travel extends longer. However, the flight from KLIA to Siem Reap International Airport took only about 2 hours. And boy what greeted us on our arrival is one good looking airport.

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Beguiling Angkor, multi-cultural Kuala Lumpur and back

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The week that was has been a very enriching cultural experience. To be finally able to walk the old stone steps of Angkor was a dream come true. And to visit one of the major cities of South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur and experience its multi-cultural environment was rewarding as well. Allow me to share my brief impressions of both cities.

Let me say this first, that for a third world country, Siem Reap in Cambodia, is a really expensive place to visit. The cheapest food ranges from $2-3 USD. Relatively expensive compared to say Vietnam. Just walking the streets, you’d be hoarded by a slew of vendors and Tuk-tuk drivers that after a few days can get really annoying. Soon you’ll be able to memorize the phrases like “1 dollar!”, “Tuk-tuk sir!”, “Want something cold to drink sir? Something to eat?” But getting used to these nuances and actually dig deeper into their culture and crafts, you’ll find them to be very interesting.

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Batanes: Hataw sa Mahatao

Sightseeing at Valugan Bay

Sightseeing at Valugan Bay

When you’re in Batanes, always expect the unexpected. This small region is governed by the weather and the people’s strong belief. So whatever plans you’ve layout here, prepare to change it, as every turn on its winding roads, every change in the wind’s direction and the changes in the tide of the sea holds a few surprises. This we learned in extreme ways during our stay in the region.

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Images of Cambulo

A village amidst the terraces

A village amidst the terraces

I didn’t manage to go around the village that much since we only have a limited time. But I did manage to take a peek into their daily life. Let’s take a look.

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All Saints Day at the highlands

Light a fire for the souls

Light a fire for the souls

I noticed since I was young, Halloween here in the Philippines has been greatly influenced by the American culture. Adorned in many houses especially in subdivisions, are numerous decorations from pumpkins, spiders, cobwebs and the usual monsters we grew up liking to fear like Dracula, Frankenstein, witches and the local mix of Aswangs, tikbalan, manananggal and white ladies. Those talk of ghost and other supernatural phenomenon that seems to populate our TV screens and print media whenever Halloween approaches have waned my interest recently. I used to like them growing up.

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Easing off at China Beach Da Nang

Sunrise at China Beach

Sunrise at China Beach Da Nang

With our expedition of Central Vietnam nearing its end, after all the potpourri of sights, sounds, and tastes that invaded our senses in this whirlwind exploration, I was really looking forward in having a relaxing climax on this journey. So when I made the itinerary for this trip, I made sure we had a downtime at China Beach Da Nang.

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Marble Mountains of Da Nang

View of the Marle Mountains

View of the Mountains from Thuy Son Mountain

I’m close to wrapping up my series of entries on Central Vietnam. And as 2nd to the last entry would be one of the most fun destinations in my opinion close to the city of Danang.

Entrance to Ling Ong Pagoda Cave

Entrance to Ling Ong Pagoda Cave

After visiting My Son Sanctuary we continued our journey and headed to the famous Marble Mountains, which is a cluster of 5 mountain peaks jutting out flat lands towards the sea. The mountains are also called Ngu Hanh Son or Mountains of the Five Element since each peak represents five elements; Thuy Son (water), Moc Son (wood), Kim Son (metal), Tho Son (soil) and Hoa Son (fire). The sight itself from the main road going into the city was very interesting. It just makes you think how those mountains ended up there together when most of the landscape is flat.

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