Sunday, 22 March 2015

#ProjectMCambodia - Phnom Penh


After the bumpiest 7 hour journey, (the Cambodian roads aren't the smoothest; there were so many moments we thought we were going to die) nudged by PC (our tour guide) whilst I was in the land of nod, with my mouth slightly wide open, I gave out a slight grumpy cat groan. 

We all waddled off the bus, stepping off with our influx of groggy emotions. Never felt sexier. 

Dizzy,
 bleary eyed whilst bashing into the coach struggling to carry my bag pack, I noticed the others point to the direction of the swimming pool. Ah, now we're talking. 

Welcome to Phnom Penh. The capital of Cambodia.





Me & Claire hopped into a TukTuk to explore what Phnom Penh could offer us. 

We found a nice little hut restaurant called Aniali. We of course, ordered our favourite drink of refreshment - fresh coconut juice. The perfect way to cool down.



Oh wise words, Aniali. I like this place.




After we finished playing with our lovely bunch of coconuts (oh behave) we took a walk through the market.

This was a fresh foods local market, so, fried insects anyone?


There's something wonderful about being surrounded by Pak Choi, Bak Choi & every kind of Choi all presented in colourful baskets, knowing that it has probably been plucked that morning. 


I love how they slap-dash hot or cold food into a plastic bag for you in Asia. It's great.

As soon as we walked into the fish section, a big waft hit us in the face and we slowly walked backwards and both looked at each like,  erm, yeah, let's get outta ere'.




The architecture at the grand Royal Palace caught our attention. Its full name in the Khmer language is Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol, we were so pleased with ourselves that we didn't have to ask for directions.




After a hard long day of sightseeing, we all went for a dip in the hotel rooftop pool.






The perfect way to wind down. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

#ProjectMCambodia - Siem Reap


As soon as you step into Cambodia, the atmosphere grabs you instantly.

After getting through immigration, we all secretly thanked ourselves and above, for making through it alive (sorry mum if you ever read this).

With that initial step, a culture/poverty shock will slap you in the face. We were greeted by young children who surrounded us for a dollar, it was so hard not to give into their beautiful little cherub faces, but we were told not to,
 as their pocket money goes to the naughty triads. 


Cambodia is hectic, corrupt, flawed, and barren, but it's the amazing sprit of the Khmer people, that will make you fall in love with the country. It's a place where you can still see the rawness from decades of blood, war, violence, genocide and death, yet the people are so warm and kind. You will notice they're always smiling and will always greet you with open arms. They don't have much but what they do have are strong communities. They leave their homes open, when one family has food, the whole community has food. They live by a genuine, 'what's yours, is mine', mentality. That's what I love about Cambodia.

The first place we headed to was Siem Reap, a town of tranquility; it's surrounded by green rice fields and almost everything is made of bamboo.

Our tour guide PC took us to probably the most scenic restaurant I've ever been to in my life.




Yep, that's right. We had dinner here. It was so ridiculous that I couldn't resist having a snap taken by it.


Not to sound like a weirdo, but check out the entrance to the toilet.


UnbeLEAFible. 

I had sweet & sour chicken (no, not the Saturday night takeaway kind) and for desert I was given this star shaped goodie.



It was crunchy and sweet, and, tasted like sugar heaven. I have no idea what it was called but I liked it.

The next morning we headed to a local orphanage which was located in a small village.




I befriended a cow. I named him Angus. 




The children of Spean Chreav is a home for underprivileged children, they are taught English to increase their prospects, which is so fundamental in a popular tourist country.

William, aged 7, is so sweet, he kept picking up flowers for me, about seven altogether, he could do with teaching a few men at home how to charm the ladies.

Panni, aged 9, is the girl waving a dollar, she is too adorable. We counted to 100 together in English, she's well on her way onto becoming the next humanitarian. It's so inspiring that the founder looks after 15 children to help them towards a better, brighter future.

The next day, we woke up at 5am to make the sunrise (my friends know how I feel about waking up) but it was totally worth it. Just look at that view of Angkor Watt.




Our tour guide told us that this great Buddhist monument was originally a Hindu temple. Mysterious and captivating, it was built by the Khmer King for his empire and it's built on, water.

You can tell it was built for him, because his face is sculptured on almost every wall, with his slaves bowing down to him. Victorious, for, you know, in case you have one of those days where you forget what you look like.

Aside from its obvious beauty, this historical temple has survived invasions and wars, yet it's one of the most amazing buildings I've ever seen.

I could happily have spent the rest of the day in the darkness, drinking in the history and gilded artworks… but there were more temples to be seen


Happily temple hopping, we landed at Ta Phrom, which was the set for the movie Tomb Raider, pretending to be Lara Croft, we had way too much fun jumping though the maize and discovering ancient treasured rocks. I even got the gun fingers out... I can't believe I just admitted that. 

Ridiculously spoilt, we were taken to another scenic restaurant called Batchum Khmer Kitchen Food, I thought the first one was my favourite, but this one became a good contender. 

I was so jealous of Tom's (another fellow traveller in our group) fish supper that I had to take a snap of it.

What I loved about this restaurant is that they had floating sleeper things outside. IT'S LIKE THEY KNOW ME. 

The next day we went quad biking to fuel our adrenaline thrist. 
I made it alive!

We then headed to the famous Pub Street for a delicious meal (I think you can see a trend here #foodie).

Before heading home, I spotted my very own cocktail bar!



Then we hopped on TukTuk to catch our coach for our 7 hour journey to Phnom Penh.

Siem Reap, you were incredible.


Location: Cambodia - Siem Reap