And yes, we are back after a fantastic week in Cambodia. Back and suffering from self-proclaimed “post-vacation blues”. Severe Blues, that’s what I call it. Oh boy, where should I even begin? First and foremost, many of my friends assumed that this trip to Cambodia was solely a community service trip, similar to the one that I embarked with Harvest Care Centre last year. Refer to this blog entry. Here’s where I’m supposed to clarify this misunderstanding. MK and I visited Cambodia, mainly for leisure/holiday … to visit the different places of interest, try out the local khmer cuisine (fast becoming one of my favs now!) and basically, enjoy some time away from the city and work. However, as a promise made to both myself and the kids, I also made a return visit to Kolap 4 Orphanage to visit the lovely children who have made my visit last year ever so unforgettable.
This chapter will also see both MK and I attempting to blog about our short but extremely memorable visit to Cambodia together. Sure, we might have taken the route walked by many other tourists & travelers but this joint blog effort will be an attempt to document the trip through our lens.
Our Plan: 5 days in the touristy town of Siem Reap before taking a 6 hours mini-van ride to the capital, Phnom Penh, where we spent our last 2 days. My initial plan was to spend an extra day in the forgotten coastal city of Kep and Koh Tonsay Island (aka Rabbit Island). Unfortunately, due to the lack of time, a visit to Kep will have to be postponed till our next visit to Cambodia (next year).
The overall: What can I say? This trip provided the both of us with a much needed respite to get away from the hectic yet rather monotonous routine of life back home. A chance to kick back and enjoy the breath-taking sights of ruined temples (but be warned that you might get templed out pretty soon!) and scenic countryside where we were fortunate enough to enjoy the mesmerizing sunset that kept us in awe every single day. The icing on the cake was when we were given the opportunity to meet and interact with some inspiring locals who are motivated and determined to make a change for the better for the younger generations. The trip felt like a dream, one that we really wanted to extend; alas, we had to return to reality.
The memorable: Spending precious time with our sponsored child, Ple Sil and all the other children (Rodee, Lily, Srey Lin, Nari, Rady, Myonkea, etc) at Kolap 4 Orphanage again. Experiencing an extremely bumpy ox-cart ride at the countryside. Meeting many friendly and inspiring locals at Siem Reap. Feeling like Indiana Jones when we tackled the less-visited route at the ruined Beng Mealea temple. If you think that Ta Prohm (the jungle temple that was used during the filming for Tomb Raider) was rustic enough, wait till you get to Beng Mealea and rest assured that you will be treated with an adventure like no other! The suicidal 5 hours mini-van ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Pehn, all thanks to our driver who was driving recklessly at 150km/hr and honking incessantly at every vehicle that was in sight. Taking refuge from the intense sun by plunging into our very private sky-blue plunge pool in our pool room in Phnom Pehn.
The bad: The number of times that we had both been bitten by countless of mosquitoes. Getting sunburnt by the intense and scorching Sun rays! Never being able to escape the busloads of tourists (mainly from China, Taiwan, Japan & Korea) at the Angkor Park! The number of street kids and touts who were always trying to sell us souvenirs, handmade crafts and drinks at every temple/place of attraction – Enough is enough.