Tag Archives: trip

The Khmer Kingdom

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Khmer ; the ethnic people whom majority of Cambodians (current term used ) belong too.
 

Before Cambodia, the wonderful country was called the Khmer Empire first.  As we went on a trip around Siem Reap, we felt traveling through time. The structures then were preserved, converted into tourist spots and maintained for the world to see.

After settling for a while, we went out , escorted again by Hong, the tuktuk driver who fetched us at the terminal. We had alot to see but the rain which had been pouring all throughout the days we arrived in Cambodia, hindered us.  Not that it was raining still but upon seeing the outside, we were surprised how deep the flood was.

The Flower Power Team

Flooded area

Yet, as eager travelers and having a persistent tuktuk driver like Hong, we insisted of traveling through the flood to see the Floating Village. Halfway through, we were stranded.  Seems like the Floating Village came to us instead of we going there. Great.

Now the real adventure begins. 

Seeing the battle of Hong maneuvering his tuktuk, MJ and I decided to lessen his load. We went down. YES, IT IS STILL FLOODED. We immersed our feet into the flooded streets. Mama was left at the tuktuk. We decided we have to go back. It’s not wise to proceed with the thought of getting stranded for hours.

Flooded streets going back to hostel

Front of a house which looked like a pond

Mj and I managed to walk through water and mud with laughter and calmness. But our laughs were saying, “Heck! We have never done this in the Philippines!” 

We were full of eagerness. Upon arriving at Siem Reap Rooms, we took a short rest then got ready to tour the area.

  • Night Market

We were able to have a look around the souvenirs, Siem Reap has to offer. In all honesty, it was not really “looking” but more of “shopping“. Their stalls varied from all sorts of unique products like bags, cloths, jewelry, souvenirs and a lot more. The good thing is that it ranges from as low as $1 to at least $100 for silks Just bear in mind that these stalls cater to tourists so you may still haggle the prices. There were also local food to try on. Again, we went there with a bit of rain so it was hard to move around.

Shopping at Night Market

Stall at the night market

Jades and figurines

Jewelries

Tea with native container

 

  • Angkor Wat

We could say this is the highlight of our Cambodia trip. And if one will be asked, it is probably a must to see the Angkor Wat.  A trip to Cambodia is not complete without seeing the grandeur of Angkor Wat with your own eyes.  Many travelers would recommend seeing Angkor Wat during sunrise, and so we did. We started our trip by 5 am. Upon arriving, there were hundreds of several tourists waiting to witness the beauty of Angkor Wat at dawn.

Before entering, one will be given an Angkor Pass which is an ID  ( your photo will be taken) to reflect what kind of pass you have. For us we only took a One Day pass worth $20. There are 3 days and 7 days pass which means you can go back to explore this huge area that long.

Angkor Pass

As the clock ticks and everyone ready to see the sun…

rain started pouring….

So, yes, you guessed, our most awaited view of Angkor Wat at dawn will forever be embedded only on postcards and magazines. “Why?! Of all days and time!!”  

Came 6:30am and all we saw was a gloomy Angkor Wat beneath our lenses.  Yet, that did not stop us to admire and appreciate this amazing Angkor Wat through the rain.

Angkor Wat at daybreak

Posing behind Angkor Wat

The sun was still on our side as the rain  weakens and we were able to wander through the amazing structure that is the Angkor Wat.  There was so much excitement that was contained. As soon as the light beamed over us, we started the journey through the ancient walls around us.

A closer look

 

  • Ta Phrom

Who has not been aware of Tomb Raider and Ta Phrom?! Well, apparently me. Many tourists would plan their itineraries with Ta Phrom primarily because this was were Angelina Jolie strut some actions as Lara Croft. I was not aware until days before we got into Cambodia. I was mostly focused on seeing Angkor Wat. Little did I know that there is another gem waiting to be seen. Ta Phrom experience is slightly better as we were given some dry moments to explore the area. Everything was lush with green moss just covering every part of the ancient structures.

Something very nice about Ta Phrom and the whole area is that it comes in various structured design. Just like the above photo where I found somewhat a lifesized frame with detailed borders.

Ta Prohm

Inside the huge tree roots at Ta Prohm

Giant roots attached to temple roofs

This is another spectacular sacred temple area to be visited. There are many temples with its own beauty and story. As we wander along Bayon, I discovered different temples housed in one complex with many still in good condition. Many of these are being carefully preserved which I admire the Cambodians for.

One of the highlights of the Bayon temple trip is our elephant ride. I have been eyeing this ride since the Bangkok trip we had. It was not possible during Thailand visit as the elephants were not quite near within the city. Therefore, in this Cambodia trip, I made a vow to ride an elephant and include it as part of the itinerary. These gentle giants are a must see for me!

Of course riding the elephant is not free. We paid a certain fee almost equivalent to the Angkor Wat pass,( around $15). Well… you gotta pay for something worth it. Before riding them, you will have to feed them. We were given pineapples and had to offer it. Little did I know that these elephants love the pineapples that they eat it in its form with skin!  They just take out the leaves.

A delighted kid

It was a well worth it ride as we have circled around the southgate of Bayon temple. They have a carpet like feel. The ride was obviously bit bumpy but nevertheless exciting.

Leading the traffic

  • Back to the city

While we thought the tour at Bayon will be the last to see in Siem Reap, we were delighted to chance upon the city side of Siem reap and its offerings. I can call it a modernized Bayon Temple.

Fish spa! A tingling experience

There were so much to talk and write about Siem Reap and Cambodia overall . Too many nice photos to post. However, being there and actually walking through the temples, meeting the people and getting to know the culture will make this post alive and much appreciated. Every step leads you to another amazing sight. Whether you come on a rainy or dry season, make the best out of your trip and you will surely feel everything was all worth it.

 

The Fairy flies to Cambodia

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The Khmer experience is one I would never forget. First out of country travel with mom made it so memorable. A side trip to Vietnam was an added bonus.

Traveling with a family and a friend has always been an exciting combination. You get the best of both worlds! More so, Cambodia is a “Kingdom of Wonder” – full of historical architecture and masterpiece of nature.

In every trip we undertake, we do some researching. This holds especially true with my good friend, MJ.

Phnom Penh

In this trip, we were too much on long bus rides (we took the border trip from Vietnam). And when I said long, it means 7-9 hours travel by land. Wow! Only time I did that kind is traveling to Baguio, Philippines which happens only maybe once in 2 years.

Arrival / Departure card to be presented at the Immigration Border

We took the Mekong Express (named after the Mekong river surrounding Cambodia) which seems to have organized, well-maintained bus lines. Thankfully, our trip was comfortable, the bus was clean, with portalet at the end of the bus. They even gave as free bottled water and a box of coconut biscuit, which surprisingly tastes good.

Our bus attendant cum tour guide

Arriving in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, we were greeted by a downpour. Gladly, our accommodation was near from the bus terminal.

The Mad Monkey. It was indeed mad as we were soaked and cold upon arriving. The Mad Monkey is a typical backpackers’ accommodation. Nothing fancy, registration done at what seemingly looks like a garage. We had to wait for quite some time to do our check in as there were also guests who arrived same time. After finishing, we were surprised to know we had to transfer to another gate where our room will be.

The Mad Monkey signage

Check in area of The Mad Monkey

Colorful artworks on the walls of The Mad Monkey

Seriously?!

So we again had to carry our bags to the tuktuk waiting  and brave the rain. You can only complain to yourself though. One of the things I learned through traveling is that you must follow how locals do it or else, just stay where your comfort zone is.

After settling in our room, we changed our wet clothes and prepared to go out, get some lunch and explore Phnom Penh. When we arrived at the  market area, we noticed most of the stalls were closed…

Holiday! Wow, I was like “Is this for real?!” We only have a day to spend in Phnom Penh and it’s holiday. As said earlier, we do a little researching, and MJ was advised October is the best time to visit Cambodia. I am not sure how holiday and rain will be the best combination or is it really signs of  times and climate changes?

Fortunately, while  strolling around with the raincoat we managed to haggle, we saw an open boutique.

Entrance of Fairly Traded

Fair enough, we went inside and see what we can get our hands on. True to its name, the items are really good buys, from bags, purses to scarves and keychains. We spent hours trying to figure out how to save on for souvenirs later as every piece is so unique and designed well that we wanted to buy each kind.

Unique designs and various products of Fairly Traded

The best part of Cambodia in whole is that they use dollars for everyday transaction. No need to look for a money changer. Yey! At the end of our buying spree, we were truly happy for our purchases.

Mama and me

The area was a bit quiet or perhaps because of the holiday in town. Until the evening, there were raindrops but that did not stop us from exploring the city. Below are some places we went to.

Photo of a pagoda

Mama and I in front of a lighted pagoda

Taking a pose at our service tuktuk

Enjoying our welcome drink on the rooftop of The Mad Monkey

Phnom Penh is pretty much an active city at night with a lot of lights, shops and restaurants coming alive.

The following day, we were bound for another city of which offers many historical wonders.

Siem Reap

Off we went to Mekong Express again. The trip is shorter than the travelling time  from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh. Out of our 6 days trip, we would be staying here for 2 days but due to unexpected circumstances, it totaled 3 days.

Siem Reap is more laidback than Phnom Penh.  The province is full of nice people, willing to help and the view is as amazing as their locals.

Siem Reap Rooms Guesthouse. We were fetched through a tuktuk at the terminal going to Siem Reap Rooms. The hostel is located in a quiet neighboorhood. The facade looks like a huge house with only a signage that alerts you it is there.

Upon entering, we immediately felt the warm welcome of the  2 gentlemen which acts as the front desk agents as well. We were asked how our trip was and they were in full smile like we were close friends for so long. Our welcome drink arrived as soon as we sat down. Interior is made of wood as well as their furniture. It seemed like we would be staying at a log cabin. Nevertheless, it felt comfortable.

Facade of Siem Reap Rooms

Check-in desk near the front door

Lounge and the stairs leading to the rooms

A view of the outside

We booked a room with two double beds which is just located at the 2nd floor.  It was quite clean and the turn down service is done everyday. They also gave reminders to keep our personal belongings safe as there might be incidents of stealing. Oh well, in any place, you must always be vigilant and responsible for your own things.

Our bedroom

Turn down service

 

We were truly excited to start our Siem Reap journey just right after putting our luggages down.

And indeed, in the hours that came, every minute was an adventure. Our photos were proof of how rich this peaceful Siem Reap town is. All those to be witnessed on my next posts.

 

 

 

The Fairy Flies to Bohol Tourists Spots

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Alas! I am back just in time for all of you out there planning a trip to Bohol this summer.

Note : Another picture heavy post.:)

As I stated on my first post about Bohol, this second one is entirely dedicated to the tour we had in Bohol. You may get an idea if Bohol is the vacation spot for you. But I bet everyone will love this place! There’s so much to do!

Morning of Day Two marked the start of our tour. We were picked up by a van at the Cherry’s @ Home. I was surprised as I thought, since there’s just 3 of us, they will have us picked up by a car. Off we went to our first stop and one of the highlights of Bohol, Chocolate Hills.

Chocolates Hills. 

As we arrive at the spot, the sun was really shining. I looked up as I saw hundreds of steps with also hundreds of tourists climbing it. I guess this is it! Let’s start the climbing!

before going up to Chocolate Hills

By the way, pardon my “paraphernalia” as I am oozing with vainness those times. Haha!

stairs going up the Chocolate Hills site

As we climb up, we are getting more thrilled to see the majestic view of those hills. Finally, when we got up, endless picture taking followed. Below are some photos that I truly liked.

Chocolate Hills

another shot of Chocolate Greenish Hills!

Chocolate Hills are named as such because they turn brown during the summer and hot days, but they are colored as above when it is colder. This trip was in December last year so it is really cold and thus those hills are greenish. But I don’t really mind.. I love green! Mama and me couldn’t get enough photos. Luckily, I had a patient bf who would not mind me asking for photo after photo.

Grotto going down

Man-made Forest.

While going down to the next tourist spot, our tour guide stopped at what sort of look like Baguio. Really thought of the roads going to Camp John Hay. Our tour guide said,  the road with alot of trees would be called the Man-Made Forest. It was really amazing to think that people could make such realistic forest. Greenpeace will surely love it!

Hooray! Man-made forest stop over.

at the Man-made Forest.

Tarsiers.

The next highlight of this trip would be seeing the tarsiers.I am really excited to see the tarsier as it really amazes me looking at  this mammal.

*Note: There is no entrance fee, but accepting donations.

at the entrance

Facts I learned:

  • They are not really suicidal.  I asked our tarsier guide if tarsiers are suicidal, and he said they are not really suicidal. They could experience stress as many tourists flock to see them, and as normal, they can be disturbed, cause themselves harm and thus ending their lives. Our guide explained that they do not kill themselves normally.
  • Tarsiers are the smallest primate in the world. Indeed, when I saw them, they were  really small. It’s as small as my palm!
  • Tarsiers are light sensitive. Thus, it was really prohibited to use  flash while taking a photo of them. I do understand as they are nocturnal.
  • Tarsiers have features of  five different animals put together. They have the eyes of an owl, ears of a bat, head like a monkey, limbs like a frog and tail like a rat.

It started drizzling as we went around the area. Good thing, the caretakers made them shelters which is a roof on a tree they are always at.

the closest we could get

oldest Tarsier in the area, accdg to guide

tarsier striking a pose

yey!tarsier looked already!

biggest tarsier in Bohol!

Butterfly Garden.

Another enjoyable trip was  at the butterfly garden. I would like to apologize for lack of facts for this one as there were too many! Info overload, really.

*Note: Tour guides here are funny. Minimum entrance fee.

I never had expected to see alot of different species of butterflies. They have  magnificent colors and shapes that make each one unique. We were informed of how they are born, from the cocoon stage. They also oriented us here of different butterfly characteristics.

is this really on my hand?!

Facts I learned:

  • Male butterflies have more majestic colors that change to attract the females.
  • There are also butterflies of the third sex. Or what they call the gay butterfly. They have mixed shape and color.

male butterflies that change colors

pretty butterflies

lovely butterflies

this is what they call the “gay butterfly”

I love my butterfly headband!

can i pass as a butterfly?!

Here’s our pic with the funny tour guide at Butterfly Garden.

Philippine Python and Mini-Zoo.

Aside from the tarsiers, there are also some amazing animals to be seen here in Bohol. One of them is the big python.

albino python

Do I look scared beside the python?!Though, it look cute being swirled, I cannot possibly be much nearer.

I like this image taken by Vince.hehe

The escape artist!

There are a lot of other animals in the area  but I just had to pick the python as it is the main attraction as well as this cute monkey trying to escape all those times. Haha!

Baclayon Church.

We also made a stop over at this historical church. I had some creative photos on the inside which made it also one of the most memorable.

Baclayon Church

Baclayon Church

*Note: They do not allow sexy outfits, too revealing or showing alot of skin inside the church.

Notice to the public about proper outfit inside the church.

I was surprised that my leggings is also prohibited! Though, i understand as it it tight fitting and can be very shapely. They had some cloth sheets on a table that visitors can wrap around their body.

garments to wrap around the body

majestic view of the Baclayon Church altar

Me wrapped in a green garment

so nice to have a photo taken at Baclayon church

Hanging Bridge.

Our stop over at the hanging bridge is a short one. This is actually a souvenir site where you had to cross the hanging bridge in order to reach the vendors at the other site. We had a nice fresh buko break here.

at the hanging bridge

the fresh buko.yum!yum!

Blood Compact.

Our last stop was the Blood compact site. It was a little monument where the view behind was really magnificent. There is also a souvenir shop beside it where you can have your last minute shopping in case you were not able to buy from the previous sites.

at the Blood Compact Site

nice view at the Blood Compact Site area

We did not went to the Loboc River Cruise as I have colleagues who advised that their time there was too short considering the amount they paid for the cruise. However, it’s all up to you to try. We just decided to buy the fee for souvenirs.

Alona Beach.

This is not part of the tour but we were lucky to have the beach just walking distance from our accommodation.

Early morning of our third and last day,we headed straight to the white sand beach to experience the other wonder Bohol has to offer. I noticed that there were alot of foreigners, flocking towards the beach to do surfing and scuba diving as well.

what a nice view!

Mama and me at the white sand beach of Bohol

the Boholano divers boat

After that fun trip at the beach, we went back to Cherry’s to avail our free breakfast.

Continental breakfast

That breakfast marks the end of our Bohol vacation as we prepared to get back to Manila for our flight. *By the way, our delayed flight. ( I never thought I will be lucky to experience a delayed flight!Haha. My patience was definitely tested).

Before  I end my Bohol entry,here are some souvenir shops and establishments you may find useful:

Hat shop beside the Blood Compact

the souvenir shop

another shop to find alot of souvenirs

  The above shops our so convenient as they are just  few meters from our hotel. The prices they have would also match that of the tourist souvenir shops so we had an easy time buying there.

my live saver!

The BPI Panglao branch is really a life saver as I did not bring a lot of money and I just withdraw from here when I need to buy something. This is located just walking distance away from our hotel as well. This is at the heart of the little community.

Bohol was so fun that we could stay longer there and we’d had a lot to do still. It was truly a worth-it trip that I could recommend to anyone planning a vacation. 🙂