My trip this summer was about pushing myself out of my comfort zone and traveling to a place that is completely new. Thailand, didn’t quite hit the spot for me, but Cambodia sure did.
I choose Cambodia because I really wanted to go to Angkor Watt, one of the largest and oldest religious structures in the world. The moment I stepped outside and took the Tuk Tuk to our Guesthouse, I was in love with Cambodia.
Some things to love and think about in Cambodia:
Cambodian life is so simple. Life is simple. Little kids running around barefoot playing in the mud. It makes you content with life at that moment.
Cambodia is poor. That’s a weird reason to love a place, but it makes you appreciate the simple things in life. They don’t need Tv’s and iphones to have fun, they just need each other.
Angkor Watt is beautiful. I suggest getting a tour guide because it will make it so much better. Pay the money for it :] and just spend like 3 days at the most there.
Be careful of the food you eat. Just make sure everything you eat is cooked. But also remember that your stomach will never be normal in South East Asia. Its hard acclimate yourself to it.
They are interested in the wellbeing of their country. It’s dangerous to talk about politics in other countries, but you can always listen. So many people asked about American politics and talked to us about Cambodian politics. It was really interesting.
There are two beautiful religions (Hinduism and Buddhism) in this politically stricken country, but they come together peacefully. Now where else in the world does that ever happen?
Its poor, and everyone wants your money because they are living with nothing. The feeling of rejecting them compared to rejecting someone in Thailand is very different. In Cambodia its just sad, but it made me care and love the country more.
School is a privilege that they don’t take for granted. Our 23 year old tour guide was so excited to finally go to high school in the city. We partied with him and we drank beer, ate snake, and crocodile with us! It was a lot of fun!
Cambodia is very different, so if you like adventures, go! I’m sure the capital is very different from the town of Angkor, but Angkor is definitely worth seeing!
I have been wanting to travel to Thailand for a long time and I finally got to go and surprisingly it wasn’t all that I hyped it up to be. Not to say it wasn’t amazing, but I would have done a few things differently
Stay in Bangkok for 3 days, max, —Bangkok is cool but after 3 days it’s boring and you are sick of being hustled out of your money.
You might get scammed —Thailand makes the majority of their money through tourism, so scams are everywhere. The scams may be harmless, merely just upping the price or trying to push you to buy something, but just to warn you. There are nice people in Thailand, but sometimes people can be too nice. Usually those are the ones who are after something. Scam Rings of hustlers exists.
Don’t stay at Patong Beach
—Unless you want that city hustle like Bangkok again.Patong was a cool place to party and shop, but not the place to relax and enjoy the beach. However, Karon beach is much nicer and more chill. The water is more blue and clean too. I would have rather stayed there or on another island.
Fight for the price you want —I knew this going into Thailand, but the price they give you is high, so make sure you haggle the price with them. Walk away and they might pull you back and give you that price you want. Someone explained it to me as if you two are flirting with each other.
I’d spend more days at the beaches in Thailand
—because it is more worth it than staying in Bangkok. The islands and the beaches are beautiful and they are what make Thailand so beautiful.
Ride an elephant in a ethical sanctuary
—The tourist elephant trekking advertisements are probably inhuman and sad. They don’t treat the elephants with the care they need at those places. There are many sanctuaries in Chaing Mai, but we went to one in the Phuket area, near Patong Beach. It was by far the best day of my whole trip. The sanctuary was amazing and we learned so much about these beautiful creatures. The sanctuary is call Phanga Elephant Sanctuary http://phangngaelephantpark.com/
Take out money at home and exchange at the airport. Simple rule but ATM’s charge so much and it adds up in the end. Just make sure you keep your cash in a safe place. Money packs or in a safe at the hotel etc..
80% of the time it is spicy. But i’ve come to like it! I originally could not stand spicy food. Now I can deal with it. You always have rice with your meal and it helps with the spiciness. Unfortunately, I’ve found that Koreans like to drink their beverages after their meal for some reason. Also when they eat meat, they don’t eat a lot of it, but rather you have a main dish (sometimes meat) and a bunch of side dishes such as: tofu, bean sprouts , anchovies, kimchi, soup,and sliced cucumbers just to name a few. Some places give you sooo much it won’t even fit on the table!
Is a really difficult because now I am not in actual classes. Its hard to self study and discipline myself. It’s hard to sit there and just remember words and grammar all day. It’s a lot of fun to use new words, and find yourself understanding new words in their context though! Its rewarding. ❤
People in Korea:
They are really nice! Of course, I can’t say everyone is nice here, but for the most part. I haven’t had any horrible experiences! In Seoul,people would give up seats for the elders and they would ask if I needed help with directions occasionally.
The Dads work all the time and go out and drink at least 3 times a week. Drinking is a huge part of culture here.The Moms stay home all day and make breakfast for the kids and husband. Then wait all day for them to come home. Then make dinner. The kids just go to school all day. High schoolers have self study after school then private tutors and elementary and middle school students have cram school.
I love this place though. Im learning something new everyday!
I already did a full blog on Kilkenny, but I decided to fit my whole trip into one blog. Its easier that way. So Enjoy!
Day 1-Day2: Dublin–> Kilkenny
We landed at 5 am and caught a bus to Kilkenny. It wasn’t the easiest to find, but we asked around and found it. It cost us about 25 Euros. We got to Kilkenny and rolled our luggage on over to the hostel.We stayed at the Youth hostel which was not to shabby. Location and the people were both great!
Kilkenny was my favorite town. It was so small and quaint.
You could probably do Kilkenny in one day, but considering we were EXTREMELY jet lagged we took an extra day. Kilkenny is small enough to walk around. We just ventured around the town seeing the Cathedrals, the Black Abbey, and the castle. We went to a few pubs and just hung out with some of the locals.
Day 3-Day 5 Kilkenny–>Cork
We left early morning from Kilkenny in the pouring rain and headed to Cork via bus. Yet again rolling our luggage from the train station to our hostel (Bru Bar and Hostel). We arrived midday a bit tired so we rested a while then walked around the town a bit.
Honestly Cork was my least favorite town, but I had the best two days while staying in Cork.
Right down the street from our hostel is a place called The fish wife. Their fish and chip are incredible! You have to go!
On day 4 we visited the Rock of Cashel. Probably is on the top on my list of favorite places. They offer free guided tours, which I’d highly recommend. Theres also an abandoned Abbey at the bottom of the hill you can explore!. That was quiet fun!
(It is about 30 minutes from Cork by bus.)
Day 5 we went to Blarney castle to kiss the Blarney stone. No matter how long the line, you have to wait! It’s a must do in Ireland. Blarney Castle grounds is gorgeous and huge. You could probably spend your whole day there. Unfortunately, we had to get back to catch a bus to Killarney.
(Blarney is about 15 minutes from Cork.)
Day 5- Day 7: Cork–>Killarney
So we caught a bus from Cork to Killarney and arrived late day. We got some dinner and food at the pub. We met some locals and as it was Saturday night we partied and went clubbing! haha
The next day we booked a bus tour with Paddywagon to see the Ring of Kerry. It was a 6 hour tour and you do stop for lunch. The Ring of Kerry is gorgeous and it is a must do in Ireland. There is also the Dingle Peninsula tour.I heard it is beautiful, but we didn’t have the time for it. Day 7 we rented bikes for half the day and rode through Killarney National Park. I really wished we could have stay there all day. It was so beautiful and so peaceful. If St. Patricks Day wasn’t the next day then I totally would have. We had to get back to Dublin for the festivities though.
I loved Killarney!
Day 8 ST PATRICKS DAY
We didn’t get in until late the night before so we crashed and got up a little early to head out to Dublin. Staying in the city on Paddys day was expensive and fully booked. We stayed in a hotel by the airport, which was not too bad. Our bus dropped us off around 10-1030am in Dublin. We met up with some locals who we knew from a mutual friend and pub hopped all day. It is a mad house with hundreds of thousands of people. It was so much fun, but it is crazy.
We left our hotel and moved to a hostel in the city called The Generator. It was a really nice hostel and fairly new. Definitely recommend it! We spent the day recuperating after a gnarly St.Paddy’s day. One thing I enjoyed about our trip was that we weren’t rushed to do things all the time and it gave us lots of time to relax from all our crazy nights of drinking. haha
Day 10 Dublin
All of the sightseeing things in Dublin a pretty close to each other and can be walked to. We walked by St. Patricks Cathedral, but didn’t go inside since there is a fee. You can always go during Mass to get in for free, but we weren’t interested enough to go inside. We checked out Dublin Castle which we weren’t to thrilled about either, so we decided not to pay to take the tour. We had already seen so many cool castles. We were over being royal!
We stopped by Trinity College and went into The Long Room. Very cool place! A must see in Dublin! So many old books being preserved there!
That night we headed to Temple Bar. For a Thursday night, it was crowded and loud. It is a must see in Dublin, but drinks are a bit expensive and we weren’t feeling the crowd that night so we headed back to the hostel!
Day 11 Dublin
We switched hostels and moved to Jacobs Inn. They have a pub crawl they do with 4 other hostels in Dublin. It’s 12 euros and you go to 4 pubs and a night club.(A free drink or shot at each place and free club entry!) I recommend it! We had so much fun that night. We met people from all over. Also if you keep the wristband you don’t have to pay the next time around!
Day 12 Dublin
We spent a few days in Dublin, more than needed. But considering our drinking habits it might have been a good idea. haha We went to the Guinness Storehouse on Day 12. The place is huge and really interesting. It is a bit far from the main part of the city, and is situated in a rougher area. I wouldn’t recommend walking there at night.
Day 13 Galway/Cliffs of Moher
I wish we could of stayed in Galway, but we just did a day trip to the west coast to see the Cliffs of Moher via Paddywagon tours. You have to see the cliffs. 700 feet of amazing cliffs. The bus will drop you off at different places to see along the way too!
Day 14 Dublin
Our last day we ran out of things to do, but we did visit the old prison which is on the other side of town in Dublin. You get a tour with your entry and you get to learn a lot about Irish history and rebellions. I enjoyed the tour. We did walk from the main part of the city and it is quiet far. I would suggest a taxi or maybe bus. Although we had the time so walking was fine for us.
Day 15 Return
It was time to head home. That was the end to our amazing trip. <33 I loved Ireland.
Person: “Oh my gosh! Haven’t you ever seen the movie Hostel. You could die.”
So many people are scared of Hostels, but there is really nothing to be scared of. The chances of you getting hit by a car or pick pocketed while traveling are a lot higher than being murdered in a hostel. However, I don’t advise any traveller to see the movie. I know I haven’t. I think it would just freak you out and ruin the experience.
Hostels are really amazing and provide a different experience than staying at a hotel. You get to meet people from all over the world, you make traveling buddies, and hostels provide great ways to meet people, such as things like pubcrawls, free walking tours, and game nights!
The only thing about staying in hostels is that they can be a little uncomfortable, so I have put together some tips to improve your stay at hostels!
The bathroom situation is just something that is unavoidable and annoying. Sometimes sharing one bathroom with 10 other people is something you will just have to suck up and deal with.
1. Bring a bathroom bag. Just a bag that you can put your shampoo, conditioner,soap, shaver, and clothes in. It easier to be able to take the bag into the bathroom, and it is faster.
2. Bring your own towel and flip flops. Hostels usually rent out towels for a fee in case you forgot one, but just bring your own. Also bring flipflops for the showers. If there are 10 other people showering in that shower and I just always feel better with flipflops on.
3.Use the bathroom at odd times. The bathroom is usually being used at night or in the morning. Backpackers love to get an early start, so wake up a little later, go down for breakfast in you PJ’s and then come back up to shower. You might get a later start, but you aren’t rushing in the shower and you don’t have to wait or fight for your turn to use it. Its vacation! Relax!
4. Find hostels with the shower and toilet separate. It sounds weird and very particular, but I swear life is so much easier when the toilets and the showers are in two different rooms. Then when you need the toilet in the morning you don’t have to wait for everyone to shower. Keep it in mind when searching for hostels.
5. Bring or buy a power outlet. Plugs can be slim to none in hostels, so save everyone from fighting over the only outlet and bring a multiple outlet. Be careful with changing voltages though.
6. Going out for the night then set up for later.Nothing is worst then stumbling in drunk and trying to find your tooth brush and Pj’s in your bag. So save everyone from the noise and lay everything on your bed before you leave.
7. Pick a hostel with a good location. It is an obvious tip, but read reviews on the area and make sure its safe to walk around in at night. If the hostel is a 10 minutes walk from the nearest pubs or shopping area that’s okay, as long as the area is safe.
8. Take advantage of laundry services. I know I didn’t and I kept on procrastinating it. I ended up having no clothes because the next hostel I stayed at didn’t have a laundry service on location or near it. If the place has one, use it.
9. Book a hotel for a few nights. If your trip is two weeks or longer, i’d advise you to book a hotel for a night or two in the middle of your trip. If your trips for a few months, then book a few hotel stays throughout your trip. It gives you a break from the hostel life and lets you treat yourself!
I hope these tips help you out for your next trip!