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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

Thailand, Cambodia & a quick pit stop in Turkey - Bangkok, Ayuthaya, Phnom Penh, Siem Riep

THAILAND | Tuesday, 1 January 2019 | Views [64]

Thailand, Cambodia & a quick pit stop in Turkey - Bangkok, Ayuthaya, Phnom Penh, Siem Riep, Bangkok & Istanbul

After a short and nice, 2.5 hour flight we arrive in Bangkok. We’re tired but so happy. Travelling in Thailand is so easy and tourists are treated as a valuable commodity. You leave the airport and there’s a nice and cheap AC shuttle bus to Khao San Road for 1 Dollar, they really know how to do it. We arrive at the Khao San Art Hotel, 20 euros and as it’s really early we go for breakfast and wander around the city. One hour before our early check in (yeah, they do that in Bangkok), I decide we deserve a Thai massage and we go for it, what a lovely thing to do. The ladies kicked our butts and released our tired and aching muscles, what a treat. We have only two days here this time but will be back for another 9 days after Cambodia, so, we take our time to eat and relax. On the second day, we catch a local train to Ayuthaya, an ancient temple complex 3.5 hours away from Bangkok. The train trip is lovely, gorgeous Thai countryside, we try some local food. Paul is watching some local ladies eating something very curious and they offer him some, it turns out to be tamarind, to be dipped in a sugar, salt and chilli flakes mix, delicious. We get to Ayuthaya, have a delicious lunch and walk our way around the gorgeous temple complex. Back to Bangkok on the last train, btw, the train costs just about 1 euro for 3.5 hours.

Next morning, we get up early and catch another 5.30 hour train to the Cambodian border of Poipet and then a seriously horrible almost 10 hour bus to Phnom Phen, then a tuc tuc to our hotel. We get up next morning and explore a bit of the cambodian capital. We’ve been here before, so, nothing much new to see and do, we walk along the river, go back to our favourite eating places and revisit the markets. After a couple of days, we catch a Cambodian Post van to Siem Riep, 3.5 hours, 8 dollars, absolutely recommended! Starting to use dollars as Cambodia uses the American currency in general and only use their own money for anything smaller than 1 dollar.

As we’ve been to Siem Riep twice before and seen Angkor Wat in it’s almighty greatness, we’re just here to eat, hang around and later on, catch up with family and friends. We check in at the lovely Areca Boutique Hotel, $25, and settle in for a smooth 2 week ride of cold Anchor draft, cheap liquor (yeah, no taxes on booze in Cambodia), absolutely awesome food (if you’re in the area, you have to try both Khmer Grill and The Christa Restaurant) and lots of markets and lovely walks. We have pizza and beer for Christmas and afterwards we catch up with Paul’s brother and sister in law from Australia and another couple of friends. What do we do but drink a lot, eat delicious food and catch up after 8 years. We also manage to squeeze in a trip a national park with some great water falls, not bad but a bit too touristy for us. We pass xmas and new year in a haze on Pub Street.

We also realise that Buddhist funerals include lots of prayers and chanting on loudspeakers and last for 3 days. Prayers begin at 6 in the morning and last all day for 3 days. Yeah,you got it! The Areca is in a very residential area, so we were able to witness some slices of everyday life, for example, children in school uniforms sweeping the streets around the school area and people feeding stray dogs with their leftover food.

Around NYE our hotel is fully booked, so, we change to another one and it’s seriously basic. We stay for a night and find another one. The second one was fully booked and they put us in what looks like the manager room. After a couple of nights we go back to Areca, they take us back with a smile as the NYE rush is over.

On the 2nd of January we go back to Bangkok, as we got 9 days and no plans at all, Bangkok sounds perfect. After a 3.5 hours ride to the Poipet border by minivan, we spent 2.5 hours to clear immigration immigration, so of course we miss the train to Bangkok. So, another minivan to BKK, this time for 6 hours. When they stop for dinner, the driver, who doesn’t speak a word of English, checks up on us to see if we had some dinner. One of the other passengers explains that she saw us getting 2 minute noodles from a 7/11, so he’s satisfied. After a tuc tuc ride to Khao San Art, we settle in for 2 days. We then change hotels to the great value for money New Siam 3 Guesthouse, 20 euros, where we stay for a week. This time, we explore BKK like pros, we get more more boating hours in than a Greek sailor, up and down the Chao Phraya river. Chinatown is a revelation and we go there 3 times for some serious street-food hopping. We also go back to MBK, Platinum, Siam Paragon food hall, walk along the river, go to the amazing hutongs (Chinese neighbourhood) around the Royal Palace, visit Wat Arun and the Golden Buddha amongst other places. It’s our 13th time in Thailand and we’re beginning to feel like locals. We also manage to squeeze in a couple of Thai massages, one hour long each, of pure joy.

After 9 amazing days, it’s time to leave BKK and fly back to Delhi. We take the lovely bus back to the airport and after a quick Airasia flight, we arrive back in New Delhi. Our friends pick us up from the airport and we hang out, cook and eat for 3 days. Then it’s time to come back home. We fly Turkish Airlines from Delhi to Istanbul, the flight is one hour late and we miss our connection to Porto. We spent 6 hours at the airport with the airline trying to find another flight on the same day. We’re tired and annoyed and in the end they find another flight for the next day, so we go to the Istanbul Marriott, not too bad, for the night, including dinner and shuttle back to the airport the next morning. We catch a flight to Lisbon and then a TAP flight to Porto, where my backpack is waiting for us but Paul’s isn’t. We sort it out, catch a train back to Figueira and a taxi home. Yeah, what an amazing 10 weeks it’s been, already looking forward to the next trip, will talk soon.

 

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