Hurrah! My #40days40blogs challenge meant I finally posted up all the details of my two months in Southeast Asia! Here’s a roundup of all the places I managed to squeeze into my two months solo and on a shoestring budget, including detailed itineraries, travel journal entries and more:
Two Months in Southeast Asia: Myanmar (Burma)
I started my two months in Southeast Asia with Myanmar, also known by its old colonial name, Burma (this confused some of the Brits back home so FYI).
This country is fascinating. I was intrigued by its history and the tragic stories of the governing military regime and the colonial wars.
Also, I personally found Burmese cities to be overwhelming, even for someone like me who had been living in Asia for five years. The traffic, the crowds, the business, the noise! It was chaotic, but beautiful. I really felt like I’d thrown myself into the deep end. Read more
OK, so if you’ve been keeping track then you’ll know that so far on my travel diary, I’ve done 10 days in Myanmar, one week in Laos. Next up in my Southeast Asian adventures is two weeks in Cambodia.
I had been anticipating a trip to Cambodia ever since I first moved to Asia, so this part of my trip was definitely a treat for me. For a detailed itinerary of my trip, you can read my previous post on Cambodia travel advice.
Here is my travel diary from my two weeks in Cambodia:
Day 1 – Vientiane, Laos to Phnom Penh, Cambodia
After an intense one-week fling with my new lover, Laos, I was now ready to head to my next destination. I started my two weeks in Cambodia in Phnom Penh, flying into the capital city. Read more
My recent trip to Cambodia was on a shoestring budget. With tickets to visit the ancient city of Angkor starting at US$37 for one day and a limited time in Siem Reap, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to see that many temples in Angkor.
Hostel staff advised that I would be able to see five temples in Angkor if I took a bike, more with a guide. My trusty Lonely Planet told me I could only manage three Angkor temples in 24 hours.
Not to be thwarted, I rented a bike for the day for US$3 and decided I would try and see as many as I could. I left my hostel at 4am, cycling through unlit city streets to get to the ticket office (confusingly, notwhere near the entrance of Angkor), before heading to Angkor Wat for sunrise.
I didn’t see five temples. I didn’t see three. I saw TEN temples in Angkor and I have the sweat-drenched t-shirt and toned glutes to prove it! Here are the ten temples in Angkor that I managed to squeeze into just one day: Read more
So, I had started my Southeast Asia trip in Myanmar followed by Laos. Now, I was ready for the next leg of the adventure, Cambodia. This is the ‘big one’ for many backpackers, myself included. Here is how I planned my trip and all my Cambodia travel advice:
My Itinerary: I spent just under two weeks in Cambodia, including travel days. I flew into Phnom Penh and left the same city by bus for Vietnam. I zig-zagged around from Phnom Penh, visiting Siem Reap, Kampot and Sihanoukville. However, if you have more time, then there is definitely plenty to see and do. (See ‘Things I May Have Missed’)
Disclaimers: I have quoted prices in US dollars because locals use this currency more commonly than Cambodian riel. When I visited in November 2016, the exchange rate was 4,000r to US$1 and prices can often be bartered and haggled.
It’s a rite of passage for all backpackers country-hopping around the continent. Despite your best efforts, you will definitely have to take a few long bus journeys in Southeast Asia. Whether it’s from city to city or country to country, the prices are so much cheaper than flying (and arguably safer than the trains).
Of course, you won’t be travelling in luxury. The roads will not be safe. The driver will be grumpy, drunk or short-sighted. No one will speak English, including staff and your fellow passengers. But it’s all part of the experience, right? It’s character building!
What you need is a survival kit. Here are a few things I learnt from taking 10 long-haul bus journeys in Southeast Asia: Read more
Three pictures taken in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Three places that were difficult to visit, but too important not to miss. Let me share the stories behind them…
Sometimes tourism is more than just a holiday in a nice resort, cocktail with curly straw in hand. More than being brave and backpacking solo around Southeast Asia, posting lovely photos of exotic places on Instagram.
Travel educates you about the world in a way a textbook and the Internet can’t. And part of that education is learning about the history of a country or city to discover what shaped it into the place it is today. Read more