Siem Reap, Cambodia

When I was younger, I always used to visualise myself in different places around the world. Stand on top of the Eiffel Tower, swim in the Mediterranean sea, walk on the Great of China, eat sushi in Tokyo… Throughout the years, these visions have turned into reality and every time I’m in that moment I feel so happy and grateful, because it feels like everything and everywhere is a reachable destination. For me, traveling to Cambodia and watching the sunrise in Angkor Wat felt a little like that again.

Although there are still so many more places in Cambodia I want to see, three days in Siem Reap was a good place to start. We (my best friend, Sammie and I) experienced the sunrise, received blessings from the temple runs, tuk-tuked around the city with the sweetest driver, ate with locals in a rural village, feasted at the night markets, visited endless museums and sights to learn more about the unique history of the country, met interesting people from all around the world, and the list goes on. An unforgettable trip is so many ways. Short, but sweet.

We met our tuk-tuk driver on our first day of arrival and he took us around everywhere we wanted to go for three days straight. He drove us to his family’s village and we ate local food, prepared in a very local way as you can see. He shared so many stories and perspectives on life that made me really reflect on myself and my life. This part of the trip was definitely the most cherishable one. I can’t quite describe it. Just experiencing this trip and my two months in Vietnam… I mean, wow. What a life you and I are living.

There are still so many other stories I haven’t told (like how I was literally half-blind the whole time in Cambodia), but I’m going to keep this post short. The fact that I managed to squeeze out a few sentences and not just upload a bunch of photos is already progress for me and my blog. Stay tuned for many, many more. P.S. The story behind this photo is pretty surreal. Need to finish the book I’m holding in my hand, and then you just might hear about it later.

Kyoto

Hello there! Here's a few of my favorite shots from my trip to Kyoto in January. I actually started this blog post one month ago, but somehow it never got posted. Time flies so fast, I have no idea how we're in the middle of April already. I'm sorry it has come to the point where I'm so far behind on my travel updates, but if you have been following me on IG you know that I've been traveling quite a lot since February and in between I've been studying and writing exam papers... so needless to say I have had other priorities. But I'll do my best to catch up in the next few days!

Visiting Kiyomizu temple, walking through the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrines, exploring the Gion district, Arashiyama bamboo forrest and Tenryū-ji temple, were some of the activities we got to do during our three days in Kyoto. Out of all the Japanese cities I've visited so far (Tokyo, Osaka, Nara and Hakuba), Kyoto is my favorite. So beautiful, and too many things to see so there's no doubt I'll be back one day to explore the rest. 

Sensō-ji

- Japan pt. 4 -

- Omikuji Paper Fortune -

The Little Monks of Bagan

They say early bird catches the worm. This is especially true for Bagan, where you'll miss out on half the experience if you don't rise with the sun. Not only will you witness an amazing sunrise from the top of a pagoda, but also catch the morning meditation at the monetries in town. This is where the monks collect their daily alms, also known as food donations from the local community - and it's a sight not to be missed!

The iconic monks of Bagan 

During this early morning, Sophie and I met a friendly local who was so kind to guide us around and show us some of the unique pagodas in the area. The people in Myanmar are very approachable, but in a very friendly and non-tacky manner. Since they're mainly interested in practising their English, we as tourists also get to learn so much about their history, for free. It's a real win-win situation. 

Sunrise and Pagodas

An ancient city located in central Myanmar hosts one of the world's greatest archeological sites. Over 10 000 pagodas, temples and monasteries used to be constructed on the city's site, in which about 2200 still remains per date. 

Sophie and I travelled to Bagan by a very comfortable night bus from Inle Lake, and we flew back to Yangon. The temperature was above 30 degrees celcius and walking all day didn't feel like an option. Nor did biking, which was our initial plan. Thank God for e-bikes and its cheap rent of 4000 kyats/ $0.30 a day. 

The Temples of Bagan at sunrise, photo by traveller.com.au for illustration

Bagan is famous for its magic sceneries of hot air balloons drifting over the pagodas during sunrise. Unfortunately it's suspended during the rainy seasons from April to September, so we didn't get to see it this time. But who knows, I might be back one day!

Every morning at around 4:30AM, Sophie and I would be up and out with our e-bike, in search for a new pagoda to climb for the daily sunrise. 

We stayed three nights in Bagan at Ostello Bello, which definitely is one of the most popular accommodation in Bagan amongst foreign travellers. We booked a private bedroom for our stay, which I think was one of the best decisions we ever made considering our physical conditions at that time. Dormitory plus food poisoning would just be a nightmare within a nightmare. 

I personally think hostels can be a very fun experience, especially if you travel solo because you're more incentivised to meet new people. Not to mention, like-minded travellers. Luckily both Sophie and I are social animals, so we managed to meet a lot of new people on our Bagan adventure despite being in our own comfortable hub.  

Overall, I really enjoyed Bagan and the authentic sights it has to offer. It was unlike any place I've ever been to before - truly unique! More stories and photos coming up next.