Thursday, September 27, 2012

11 August: Phu Quoc to Siem Reap

We managed to grab a few pieces of fruit for breakfast before our 7:15am transfer to the airport. It was pretty easy going but, just as we moved to the security check, a busload of tourists arrived and the check-in counters became chaotic.

The departure lounge was pretty dull, plenty of overpriced items, as with anywhere. And a little weird because there is only 1 gate.

When we landed in Ho Chi Minh City, we were in a mad rush to make our International flight. But it was hurry-up-and-wait because it was such a small plane (we worked out approx 64 passengers), we had to wait for everyone before the bus even took us to the terminal and then they offloaded *all* the luggage before they brought any of it to the conveyor belt.

But, really, we needn't have worried. We speed-walked from the domestic terminal to the international one and then walked straight up to the counter. Yes, please. There are perks to having had to book Business Class for the flight. Haha.

With suddenly so much time, we headed for the nearby Burger King we'd passed on our way into the terminal. Haha. Weirdly, it seems they don't let anyone but the people flying into the Terminal building. We scoffed down the burgers for breakfast. I had a Spicy Tendercrisp with cheese, it's a chicken burger and more like our KFC than McDonalds.

Then we went thru Passport Control. Goodbye Vietnam! We headed off in search of the Vietnam Air Business Class Lounge. As someone who's never flown Business Class before, the experience was awesome. And, I think just what we needed. Some quiet, free food (which we bagged and it came in super handy on our Angkor Wat day!). And then, of course, the actual flight. We were 2 of maybe 7 people in the whole section. Wow. It is fantastic! Damn shame it was such a short flight (less than an hour!).

We landed at Siem Reap and I dunno how much of a general reflection on Cambodia this is (it's still a pretty small city), I can't believe the difference to Vietnam we felt.

We'd organised evisa's online and this was definitely the way to go, the queue for arrival visa's looked tedious. But just generally things seemed calmer here already.

Travel Planning tip: I highly recommend getting yourself an evisa when visiting Cambodia. The turnaround time online was fantastic and the experience at the airport was hassle-free. Just remember, it's only for certain types of travel (I think only air) and you can only use it when arriving at certain cities.

We checked into our hotel, the Soria Moria, and then hired a tuk-tuk to go to the War Museum. It was okay, but I'm not sure it's actually worth the travel and entry expense, unless you are super into your rusty old war machinery tho.

Travel Planning tip: We booked all our Vietnam and Cambodia accommodation thru Agoda and I would definitely use them again when planning my own overseas accommodation. 

After that we decided to walk from our hotel to the Angkor National Museum. We paid extra and got the audio guides after very little English explanations in the Vietnamese museums we went to but, it was quite unnecessary. It's kinda interesting, and I'd probably say check it out just because it helped me with some of what I ended up seeing at Angkor Wat.

Then it was time for some relaxing. The Trucker slept, I looked up Cambodian stuff on Wikipedia. I've been doing that quite a lot on this trip. The free wifi in all the hotels and having the tablet with us has been great. I'm amused tho at how many tourists I've seen holding up their tablets to take photos on this trip. I think that's a bit mad!

Have also reflected on this trip, with all the free wifi and Facebook check-ins, how things have changed in the years I've been traveling. I remember my first trip to Europe in 97/98 and one or two phone calls home at most. Oh, and plenty of postcards. And then things had even changed by my trip around Southern Africa in 2004: Getting half an hour in an Internet Cafe, maybe once a week if you were lucky, writing the longest email about everything you'd done and sending it to everyone you knew all at once. Now if we can't Facebook check-in to a place the trip feels incomplete :P

Around 7pm we took a tuk-tuk to the Night Market and had a wander around. What a fabulous Market :) We had great fun. I was quite determined not to buy anything more, but it really is harder than it sounds! I ended up with a new bag that I absolutely love, so totally worth it :)

We had dinner at Khmer Queen (there was no show on when we were there, but now I understand the stage - haha). The Trucker had the Beef Amok, which was surprising and delish! I had the Cambodian Chicken Curry. Quite tasty.

And then we had another fairly early night. Our tuk-tuk is arriving to collect us at 5am tomorrow so that we can be at Angkor Wat for sunrise :) *excited*

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin