SE-Asia for beginners
Trip: SE-Asia for beginners
Date: 5th of July 2015 – 4th of August 2015
Route: Bangkok – Poi Pet – Siem Reap – Beng Mealea – Siem Reap – Phnom Penh – Chi Pat – Sihanoukville – Kampot – Kep – Kampot – Phnom Penh – Kratie – Bangkok – Ko Samet – Bangkok
Transport to Asia: Airplane (flight to Bangkok): Turkish Airlines
Transport in Asia: bus, taxi, tourbus, tuk-tuk, water-taxi, BTS, metro, train, hitchhiking, ferry, rental moto.
Company: Julia van Deventer (study mate)
Stayed the night at: the Overstay (Bangkok), couchsurfing (Bangkok), Hua Lamphong Station (Bangkok), Home Sweet Home guesthouse (Siem Reap), Me Mates Place (Phnom Penh), Guesthouse (Chi Phat), Wish You Were Here (Sihanoukville), the Naga House (Kampot), Silver Dolphin Guesthouse (Kratié).
Highlights: Wat Mahathat, Angkor Wat, Kbal Chhay Waterfall, Kampot, Dolpin spotting Kratié
On the way
Boy was I excited to see a new part of the world again. Apart from a short stop-over in Singapore (on which I had seen nothing but the airport) this was an entire new continent to explore. The journey started of as any other: by getting into an airplane. This time it was Turkish Airlines: an airline I would very much recommend. The service is great and so is the food (for airplane-meal standards), you get a lot of food too and a Turkish delight now and then (a delicacy I’m afraid to say I had never tasted before either). The entertainment system has plenty of movies, music and games to play so no need to get bored on your many-hours flight.
A few hours on Istanbul Airport allowed us to explore here too. It is not much different to any airport, we had more time at our hands than shops to visit. I would have liked to quikly glance at the mosque at the airport, however I had nothing to cover my head with and did not wish to be disrespectful. Anyhow, it was time to move on.
Finally arrived at our first destiation, things did not start off very well. I stumbled out of the airplane to find my foot swollen and very painful. Airport staff even offered to fetch me a wheelchair when they saw me limping about. Part of my plan was to hike nice tracks and now I could hardly walk to the luggage belt. Bad luck? It was possibly a mosquito bite from back home that had gotten inflamed and perhaps the pressure in the plane had not had a very good effect on that to. Anyhow, the first thing I did in Thailand was visit a pharmacy. Luckily many medicins in Thailand are available without a doctor’s receipt. I got some anti-inflamatory and painkilling pills that eased the pain soon enough so I could walk again, at least well enough to find the hostel. After a few days of pills the swelling and pain were both gone for good. What a relieve… Holiday was about to start after all! Don’t let anything hold you down!
The first time in Asia
Cambodia had gained my interest somehow, I don’t know how it happened, but sometimes it happens that a certain destination comes to mind and won’t get out of your grip until you have actually been there. I had never been to Asia before and I did not know much about the ways and cultures, but I knew that it many backpackers enjoyed Asia and I was expecting beautiful surroundings. Never was I dissapointed, however I was amazed. It turned out to be significantly cheaper to fly to Bangkok than to Phnom Penh, so I decided to see that little bit of Thailand as well.
Bangkok is an enormous metropolis and my arrival sort of shocked me, when people came at you from everywhere: some wanting your money, some genuinly wanting to help you out. Finding directions was terrible, but here is a guide to help you experience that a bit differently. Many streets where full of people and streetfood (some smelling better than others) and the view was overwhelming. However I learned to appreciate the city in the short time I spent there and Bangkok is nothing like the rest of Asia.
My advice? Let this amazing part of the world amaze you and be prepared for anything. Do some preparation reading in this lovely lonely planet that gives more than just the major tourist attractions. It has been my bible on the way. Also check out the other pages for more info (:
For an in-depth review of my experience during this trip, explore the other Asia pages!