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Published: December 11th 2012
With the Lying Buddha
A inspired trip up north from Bangkok to Ayutthaya
And so, I embarked on my first solo backpacking trip in my 22 years of life.. A crazy impromptu decision after doing a week's camp in Thailand, Bangkok. Took the money earned from the camp and spent it in a short 8 days adventure to Ayutthaya, Thailand, then to Siam Reap and Phnom Penh, Cambodia, before finishing the journey in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Totally enjoyed the experience of 'pack and go' and do it before you turn your back against the decision. Scattered maps and booking transportation/lodging on-the-go, it was exactly the kind of adventure I would like to try, and continue to do so. So below was the excerpt of my experience:
So, that’s the end of my short adventure. Having been to amazing historical places like the palaces, the awe-inspiring Angkor temples, genocide museums and the Cu Chi war tunnels; passing from a border to another and experiencing the vast difference in the standards of living between countries and states; staying at different places almost every night and taking transport by boat, train, bus, plane; meeting many people from different nationalities and making friends with them; understanding at a much deeper level the history of
Sepia look of Angkor Wat
Watching the sunset casting a reflection on the majestic structure; simply amazing
Cambodia and Vietnam; and experiencing a multiplicity of emotions from excitement to weariness, joy to melancholy, from being at ease with nature and self to being interrupted with the buzzing economical evolution, basically sums up this impromptu solo backpacking journey.
Some interesting things to share during this Bangkok-Ayutthaya-Siam Reap-Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh trip:
Most ‘wow’ place:
• Close contenders between Angkor Wat and Bayon but I will choose Angkor Wat for its enormous size and delicate bas-relics, not forgetting the ever-so-beautiful sunset scene.
• A British Teacher in Cambodia telling his local students TGIF only to be corrected as TBIF: Thank Buddha it’s Friday.
Most common encounter:
• Locals asking me
B&W photo of Angkor Thom
A serious contender to Angkor Wat as one of the most impressive structures around the Angkor arena
if I’m from China or Hong Kong. And when I say, Singapore, they will go “Oh yeah, part of china!”
• A copy of Lonely Planet’s guidebook of Vietnam for US$5
• Young kids and the disabled selling souvenirs, begging money on the streets a common sight in Cambodia. But this stands out: this young girl followed me around for 10 minutes bugging me to get the bracelets despite numerous rejections from me in the face. In the end, I relented and she just smiled widely at the dollar note, said ‘Thank You” and ran off happily.
Craziest thing done:
• Don’t really have like a craziest thing, but probably staying overnight
Bowling with fellow travellers in Phnom Penh
one of the most heartwarming feeling on the road
at Bangkok’s train station like a local waiting for my morning train stands out, as I hugged my backpack and belongings tightly to sleep in apprehension.
• It has got to be Tuol Sieng Genocide Museum, where mankind’s extreme cruelty is shown during the Poi Pet Regime
• Going bowling with a bunch of newfound friends in Phnom Penh, drinking “Mekong River” and just chatting away about life.
• I have definitely learned more about the big world out there and about myself but this has to go to understanding and appreciating the history and culture of Cambodia. It’s an amazing place to visit (while it still hasn’t been sucked into
Cu Chi Tunnels
An eye-opener to the historical hide-out in Ho Chi Minh
economical encroachment unlike its neighbors Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh)
Best part of the trip:
• Just travelling around freely, meeting new people, seeing different places, gaining knowledge on their history and enjoying every process of it!
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