Monday, March 24, 2014

Siem Reap - Day 1

Been planning a trip to Indochina for as long as I can remember but finding folks who are willing to backpack seems to be a little challenging… Its either they have already done it (makes me feel the last person on earth who haven’t been) or weren’t really keen on backpacking.  So when I finally found some travel buddies willing to go to one country in Indochina I immediately grab the opportunity to book a flight and time travel. Destination city – Siem Reap, Cambodia for Angkor Wat. Travel Buddies – Dane Z and Manoy


Day 1
Flying from Singapore, Jetstar travels direct to Siem Reap 3 times a week – Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, Which was perfect because CebuPacific coming from Manila also travels direct on the same days. It’s a fine and sunny Thursday morning I took a bus and a hand carry bag and found myself a little giddy taking a flight to travel back in time. Ecstatic for my first travel for the year (last before I turn a year older) I was reaching Siem Reap a couple of hours ahead before the Manila flight. My flight’s ETA 3:00pm (Manila flight ETA was 10:00pm) local time. I wasn’t sure if Siem Reap is a popular tourist destination or just because there was a limited flight, but I found myself in a full flight and I must say that there were quite number of Caucasians in the flight with me.

Upon arrival in Siem Reap, I was happily surprise to see that it was more develop than I pictured it to be. For one the airport, as we were walking in tarmac, seems new and welcoming. Happy that Cambodia was part of ASEAN, I was visa free and breezed thru immigration clearance. I think one of my minor mistakes (I wouldn’t have done if I can change anything) was to change to the local currency. USD is widely accepted more than their own currency, if I can say – Tuk tuks, restos, even the local shops would accept USD. I think exchange rate was 3800 KHR = 1 USD, but street rate was 4000 KHR = 1 USD, so we lost out a few bucks on exchanging cash. My Bad...

Our hotel is La Niche D'Angkor Villas, sister hotel of the more known La Niche D'Angkor Hotel. It’s only in operation about a month when we came. A bit on the pricey side (for siem reap standards) but we didn’t mind splurging a little on lodging since we know we’ll be out under the sun most of the day and want a nice place for retreat – plus I just wanted something with a pool to lounge. It’s a triple sharing room… I’ll let the room pictures speak for itself, it’s worth the money.

I was too lazy to explore the city for dinner, or more like too frighten to be alone in unfamiliar territory, so decided to lounge around the hotel for the rest of the afternoon. Ordered dinner in the room and watching re-runs of American Idol and Asia’s Next Top Model and I’m all set. So much for travelling back in time…

Manoy and Dane arrived at the hotel a little past 10:00pm. Yipee, company at last! After some catching up we went down to check out the hotel. Hangout by the pool and cap off the night with a bottle of beer.


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