Exploring the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Boat ride through the floating village.
Day one at the Angkor Wat temple!
Inside the incredible Angkor Wat.
Photoshoot with my new friends.
Climbing around the Bayon temple.
Kissing one of the faces in the Bayon temple.
Riding around in our tuk-tuk.
At the top of the Pre Rup temple mountain.
Sneaking around the Ta Som temple.
One of the octopus-like trees in the Ta Som temple.
Happy Sunday friends! As I mentioned in my previous post, 2016 in a Nutshell, I recently quit my job to embark on a world adventure for a few months. I am currently in my sixth country (Spain) and finally finding some down time to catch up on blogging, while in my cute little apartment in Madrid. I’ve just been having too much fun! My plan has been to give a little recap of each of the countries that I’ve traveled to from start to finish so here goes…
I began my journey in Southeast Asia, first with Cambodia. This was a country honestly not originally on the travel agenda but added to the itinerary quite literally the day that I booked my first flight. And I could not have asked for a better place to start this trip! Of the many countries to which I’ve traveled, this one was without a doubt full of the friendliest people that I have ever met.
I began my trip with my mom and we arrived to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, the last week of April. Here we visited the beautiful Royal Palace and the silk island. The Royal Palace serves as the residence to the king of Cambodia and houses amazing pagoda style buildings. We also took our first of many tuk-tuk rides on the trip in order to visit the silk island. This was one of the most memorable experiences because we had to take a ferry in order to get to the island, and it was completely packed with tuk-tuks and motor bikes, which was such a sight to see. Both my mom and I regret not taking any photos! While on the ferry, we met a pair of friendly sisters that brought us to their home to show us the scarves that they and their mom had made. We next continued our tuk-tuk journey to visit a farm and learn how silk is made. Long story short, there are really a lot of steps that go into making and weaving silk!
The following day we moved on to Siem Reap, as the primary purpose of our trip to Cambodia was to visit Angkor Wat and the other temples there. We spent two full days exploring the temples so I had to painstakingly narrow down the hundreds of photos! At Angkor Wat alone we explored the grounds for at least a couple hours the first day and then dragged ourselves out of bed the following day at 4 a.m. to watch the sunset there! While all of the temples are absolute treasures, Angkor Wat is the largest and certainly most impressive. On the first day, we also ventured to the Bayon, which features a number of stone faces in the towers (one of which I’m trying to kiss in the above photos!). We got our workout on at the Baphuon temple, part of Angkor Thom, where there is a set of steep stairs on either side. And lastly, we concluded the day by visiting Ta Prohm, one of my favorite temples, as the trees are left alone to grow throughout. This is also the temple used in the movie Tomb Raider so it’s a pretty happening place with tourists! Unfortunately, this is the point at which my camera died so I don’t have photos of this temple but it is definitely a must-see.
On our second day in Siem Reap, we visited Banteay Srei, also known as the Lady Temple because of the ornate detail that only ladies would have the patience to complete. Sounds about right. Next, we ventured to Pre Rup, a tiered mountain-like temple, which was another brutal climb, but so worth it for the view from the top of the temple complex! Another favorite for me was the Ta Som temple (featured in the last two photos above) for the pretty carvings and fun-shaped octopus-like trees.
While the temples in Siem Reap were absolutely incredible, there were many other highlights during our short stay there as well. For starters, can we talk about the $5 manicures and pedicures?! So relaxing! I passed out during the foot massage and woke up to two sets of painted toes and my second set of fingers being painted! The other highlight was the hotel that we stayed at in Siem Reap, Green Leaf Boutique. It was a small non-profit hotel run by humanitarians, benefitting multiple charities in Cambodia, including a local orphanage. Not only was the hotel beautiful with its swimming pool perfect for a dip after a hot day at Angkor Wat, but the staff incredible and we loved that our money went to such wonderful causes! Both my mom and I cannot say enough wonderful things about this hotel.
I’m off to explore more of Spain now but will be back soon to share the next chapter in my world adventure – Vietnam! Have a wonderful week everyone!