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!
Person: “Where are you staying?”
Me: “In hostels.”
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!
Where I live, we have it bad. I mean I hate public transportation systems in the AV(where I live), but in Seoul they are a glorious thing that come rain or shine with every 10 minutes! But it’s life threatening! Bus Drivers, no, any driver in Korea is seriously crazy. They just push through traffic like no one is there. Pedestrians definitely don’t have any right of way. Oooooh and the Subways. They are a gift from the heavens. Although at first confusing and extremely loud. You get used to it though! Something else I had to get used to was seeing nazi signs everywhere!
Who knew that the swastika is the same sign as Buddhism. I felt stupid after finding this out, but it is merely a western perception. The countries who took part in WWII see it as a nazi symbol, but in Korea it is only the sign of peaceful Buddhism. The things you learn in Asia though. haha.
Day 13 in Korea
So the weather here is hot and humid. The worst mix ever. By noon you are all sticky and your hair is a disaster. It is an unusual change as that I live in the desert in California… I don’t know if I will ever get used to it.
So as it is day 13 I have been traveling around a lot more and I am starting to understand transportation. At least I thought so. The one thing every traveller must experience is the act of being lost. Today I was able to finally understand what that meant. It makes it even better when you are in a new world where you don’t understand anything around you.
So we have these “supporters.” They are native Koreans that speak English and we see them once a week to do an activity with them. We call them our brother and sister (오빠 Oppa/언니 eunni). Well my brother called me and told me to get off at this particular subway station. So I went to that subway station and no one was there. I waited for like twenty minutes…They called me and said I was at the wrong place. They told me to go to station “cheonoho” so I did. I was in a hurry to get to them so I rushed up the stairs and tripped up them while in a skirt. I seem to have done a lot of tripping in Korea so far. Well I get to the top of the stairs and no one was there. That wasn’t the station either. I guess I was supposed to go to “Cheonho,” not “Cheonoho.” So pretty much I spent 2 hours trying to find them. Of course I finally did, but it ruined everyone’s day and we were all late for class
But I think getting lost is the best part of traveling because you see new things and it’s just fun to experience an adventure. It is also a great way to learn a language. It really forces you to use the skills you have :]] In the end I had
fun looking like a retard with a map in my hand,and tripping on stairs.
Thanks for reading.