Siem Reap, Cambodia

A clear lesson learnt for me about travel writing is to write them immediately or almost immediately upon my return home. Alternatively I should make conscious efforts to jot them down as notes or something equivalent lest I risk forgetting the more intimate details of both the ordinary and extraordinary encounters throughout my journey. It helps though that I take photographs of everything I find intriguing; they help me recall my thoughts and feelings and why I found my subject captivating. If anything else, they help me render our experiences in exact chronological order.

We flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia immediately following our trip to Sydney. It was a spur of the moment decision that did not take long to deliberate. We decided not to stay in Kuala Lumpur for the rest of our holiday and felt strongly about seeing other parts of South East Asia. As we had always wanted to visit the jewel of Cambodia- the Angkor Wat- the decision came to us easily.

Siem Reap is the second gateway into Cambodia after its capital Phnom Penh. It is home to UNESCO World Heritage site Angkor Wat along with countless other spiritual temples, some of which are still in use today.

There are two airlines operating the Kuala Lumpur (KUL) – Siem Reap (REP) route: Malaysia Airlines (MH) and AirAsia (AK). At the time of writing, MH and AK operate 5 and 11 times per week respectively. The flight took us about 2 hours which gave us decent time to get a much needed shut eye after the long flight from Sydney which arrived very early the same morning.

Our sightseeing started only on our second day there (we were knocked out the first day that we spent the whole day recharging ourselves!). As is probably customary for all travellers, we initiated our excursion with the obligatory visit to Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat was originally built as a homage to the Hindu lord Vishnu during the Khmer administration. It gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple by the end of the 12th century, propelling itself as the capital of the Khmer Empire. The Angkor Wat, or Capital Temple, is a colossal temple complex that sits within a site measuring 162.6 hectares surrounded by moat and protective outer walls. Purported to be the largest religious monument in the world, it is extolled for its grandeur and the intricate bas-reliefs and devatas (Hindu deity) adorning its walls.

Angkor Wat is one of many temples contained within the premise of the Angkor Archeological Park. To enter, you are required to purchase a one day (USD 20) or 3 day (USD 40) passes which will grant you access to no less than 40 temples around the park including the Angkor Thom, Banteay Srei and Ta Prohm among others. This can be done at any of the site’s entrances. Also note that there are check points at every temple where you’ll be asked to present your ticket; so do make sure that you don’t lose yours!

It took us more than half a day to thoroughly see Angkor Wat. We spent 2 full days temple hopping after which we had had enough and opted to travel out into the Cambodian villages towards Banteay Srei and Phnom Kulen National Park.

Tuk-tuks are ubiquitous in Cambodia and we were lucky to have met one at the airport who agreed to chaperon us throughout our stay in Siem Reap. We paid about USD20 per day which may seem quite hefty but taking into account the sheer diligence of our driver and the amount of kilometres we covered everyday, it was money well spent.

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Entrance at Angkor Wat’s outer wall.

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The grand promenade leading towards the main temple of Angkor Wat.

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Headless statues victimised by looters.

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Carved pillars which are emblematic of the Khmer architecture.
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The War Gallery where you’ll find the most intact bas-relief in Angkor Wat.

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Sydney, Australia (Day 2)

Day 2 saw us walking along the coast from vibrant Coogee Beach up to the infamous Bondi Beach. We had a late start to the day so we managed to walk only half of the trail between the two touchpoints. The train from Sydney Central took us to Bondi from whence we took a bus to Coogee. Instead of walking north-southwardly (Bondi-Coogee) we started from Coogee and moved northwards towards Bondi, stopping midway at Clovelly.

The views from the coastal walk were as spectacular as they were magical. Everything just seemed so vibrant and alive- from the cloudless brilliant blue sky, the rich emerald green grass with the many exceptionally rare vegetation, the intensely golden-white sandy beaches and the deep blue ocean- making everywhere I turn seem so majestic. Even then I couldn’t believe that I was really in Australia and had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t just dreaming.

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First sight of Coogee Beach.

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The hilly side of Coogee. The beach-goers were either just chilling in the sun or reading.
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Dramatic cliffs just off Coogee Beach.
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My Rock :’-)

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A shy glimpse of Gordon’s Bay.

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The more secluded Gordon’s Bay, perfect for private picnics or dipping in the water.

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Clovelly- the half-way point between Coogee and Bondi where we cut our walk short and took the bus into Bondi instead.

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Soaking in the sun!
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Busy Bondi Beach.
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When we arrived the sun was already beginning to set. It was also so cold!
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Leaving our marks in Bondi.
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One of the many skilful surfers still out in the waves. Some remained even past sundown.

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We ended our day chilling at one of the clubs on Bondi before a short stroll down the almost empty promenade.

Leap Year!

I feel so guilty for leaving my blog bare for quite a while, I am so sorry dear readers. But I am still here, just not as busy writing as I have before. The good news (I hope) is that I post photos of my styling on instagram so do give it a visit for quick inspirations.

Finally, I am thankful that I get to be in another leap year, marked by today, 29th February 2016 🙂

I hope you’ll have a sensational week, month and year ahead! X

Slapen in Het Bos

After a long restful weekend, I am right back in the mood for planning future trips. Now this one looks like a real score for when I return to the Netherlands, perfect for that much needed peaceful immersion with nature. This cosy Slapen in Het Bos cabin can be found in Apeldoorn, about 90km east of Amsterdam. What I love most about this cabin is its ordinary appearance from the outside and how it welcomes you with its surprisingly modern decor, its humble yet ostentatiously minimalistic interior. I am definitely penning this down in my to-visit list!

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Photograph via My Scandinavian Home.