It was day 3. After a morning shower, I got down, and was ready to check out. Then I sort of got Shuwai up for brunch. We went to the Emporium, where we had Thai food.
I ordered a bowl of Pork Fried Noodles and a Durian sticky rice. The pork noodles were tasty with the raw egg that was broken and mixed. The durian sticky rice was confusing. It's coconut milk overpowered the durian as it was mixed. It sort of became a durian sticky porridge. Well that was slightly too much coconut milk 😂
We headed down and I got some groceries from their 'atas' supermarket. Then I took the MRT to chatukchat station. Where bus A1 took me to the airport at a small fee of 30 baht.
The airport was crowded. After checking in, I went through immigration via the ASEAN Lane (a benefit for ASEAN nations like Singapore).
On the flight back, the plane was tad bit empty and I even had the whole row to myself 😀😀 Maybe it was due to the fact that the next day was Chinese New Year Day!
Near Singapore, the plane circled for a couple of minutes due to high traffic at the airport. Still, we landed 30mins ahead of the stipulated time. Time was perfect and there I was, back to reality.
Damn. The land of smiles surely passed quickly. But I'll never forget their everlasting hospitality and the jet ride there. Through this trip, I met numerous people, with the best being Shuwai. Being of same age and having been to Bangkok solo, it was great to show him around Bangkok on the sights and little things to visit in Bangkok. Well, don't forget to check out his Instagram for more!
Rise and shine! Despite sleeping late last night, I got up early to catch the peak hours of the morning. Walking out of the hostel, the air was fresh yet cooling. Sounds of the traffic buzzing by got louder as I near the main road.
Bangkok, a buzzing city that is its best in the morning. The pace was slow despite the large gathering of street food around Phrom Phong BTS. From mixed vegetable rice to deep fried food, street vendors have much to offer to even the healthiest of person.
Just like my previous trip, I started the morning with a stroll to Ari BTS, a 20-minute walk from the hostel. En route, I pass by Benjasiri Park. A local park that offers a void of quiet space from the streets. Its flora was blooming as I visited, where Park goers did their morning rituals.
So I chanced upon a street stall that sold Pork Soup Noodles. I got a bowl of Freshly cooked soup noodles (40 baht).
Next stop, shopping for my other half. Literally dedicated the morning for just that. I guess I find little fun shopping as it gets pretty boring after awhile. I discovered Pratunam Market, a large market with wholesale clothing at cheap rates (only if you get it at wholesale price) after wandering around and purposely getting myself lost. That's the fun of it!
I came across a stall that claimed it does not have a branch in Singapore. Having that phrase plastered all over the store, I decided to give it a try. They sell just Wanton Mee and drinks.
Honest Review (2 out of 5 👍)
Taste: Bland and Plain, especially the noodles. The Char siew, wanton was dry and bland too :( Plus point: Deep fried pork fat gave a much-needed savory at the end
Texture: The overall dish was oily, which was understandable. Despite that, the texture of the noodles and its vegetables were just right.
Well, I wasn't impressed. What's more, the damage was 100 baht 😱
I soon wandered around before discovering a fabric paradise. Located just opposite Platinum Mall, it's Shibuya 19 (I think so) level 3-6. Japanese Canvas costs only 100 baht per meter or just 40 baht per meter for wholesale! Satisfied my fabric cravings there!
Next up, the food market outside Central World Mall. The market offered local cuisines such as barbecued seafood, mango salads, and sweet cravings such as Coconut ice cream and Mango Sticky Rice. Worth it and value for money, the market also provides sheltered seating areas in a new tentage.
Pretty much the morning was complete! I have to say that I did mixed Cambodian Riels with Thai Baht that cheated my feelings, thinking I had enough money to cover my shopping expenses. Damn to those embarrassing moments that I tried to give them Riels 😂 #epic
As the sun rose, it begins increasing hot and humid. It was noon, I headed back to the hostel for some reprieve from the heat.
It was 3 pm. I met up with Shuwai from the hostel and we head out for Rod Fai Train Night Market via Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Station. The amazing thing about that station was that there wasn't a Cultural Centre in sight. Nearby was Esplanade Mall, a retail and F&B mall that has only one thing I'd want to savor - iBerry Coconut Cake. The cake was great! Soft and mildly sweet coconut sponge cake topped with Sliced Fresh Coconut Flesh, and a gallop of fresh whipped cream at just 100 baht!
Next up, rock climbing at Bounce! Legend says that student passes are the world's best discount card. At just a flash of our student passes, we got a discounted rate at just 320 baht for a session of 1 hour. Once secured with a harness, one can scale multiple courses of different styles in varying difficulties.
After 15 minutes, I've reached my destination, where I took the train to Phrom Phong BTS Station, located in the green line. Phrom Phong is a quiet neighborhood with its nearest shopping mall, the Emporium. Its surrounding feature an array of Japanese themed dining, wellness services, and convenience stalls. Surprisingly, it is not difficult to get a seat in the Japanese restaurants in Phrom Phong, given its genuine look and the quality of food and service given.
The day before, I booked a bed from MonkeyNaps Hostel via Agoda. The cost was very affordable at only S$19 for two nights. However, it is located about 4 streets away from the BTS station. Being a hostel that was still undergoing renovation, it took awhile for me to find out where it was as its location wasn't clearly shown in Google Maps.
In the end, I found it after a tip given by a helpful passerby that noticed the 'Help me I'm lost' expression. Check out my review of the hostel through my TripAdvisor profile!
After checking in, I went out looking for dinner. So, yup I spent my first night in Bangkok savoring legit Japanese cuisine. Chancing upon a Japanese restaurant that didn't just serve sushi, I ordered a bowl of Salmon Sake Rice (140 Baht) & cup of Matcha Ice Cream (60 Baht).
Both filled me lightly as it was already near to midnight. Dinner was great! I needed some really good pressing at my back after months of working previously. Walking around, I surveyed massage establishments and decided on the one that was the most proper. After an hour of massage, I was back at the hostel for the night.
At the hostel, I chanced upon a fellow Malaysian named ShuWai. We introduced ourselves and I learn that it was his first solo backpacking trip overseas. In this case, it was Bangkok for 10 days (or longer) then train rides back to his hometown. Well, it seems pretty interesting! Perhaps I should try that soon in future.
I was offered a ride on a jet to the Land of Smiles, Bangkok. It was a dream come true as I boarded a jet that is very much equal to a business class seat in a regional airline, except that it has no frills and no flight attendants. I didn't need that, for which the airplane was enough to amaze me.
Arriving at Seletar airport, I went through a quick immigration and security before boarding a shuttle that took me to the jet. The ride went past similar jets that took the experience to a whole new level. From smallest of light aircraft to the larger brothers of business jets, it was a dream come true.
Upon reaching, I boarded the aircraft thru its flight stairs and sat at the back of the plane, just in front of the toilets. The ambiance was luxurious yet aged. Its leather seats were matured yet comfortable. Moreover, I could view the cockpit from my seat! #Amazeballs
Soon we're up in the skies cruising at an altitude of 35,000 feet to Don Mueang Airport, Bangkok, Thailand. After a mere 2 hours, we've reached the border of Thailand and landed shortly after. The jet then taxied to the parking area before its passengers de-board and the pilots begin the shutdown procedure. In a flash, I made it to Bangkok. Despite the exciting journey, I realize that the flight was extremely noisy and its toilets were operating in the form of in-flight portable toilets (just like those on the ground).
Immigration was a breeze and I zoomed out to the arrival hall, where I bid farewell and thanked the pilots for the great experience. From then, I was alone and experienced in the land of smiles.
Check back in a few days for my little adventures in Bangkok! PS. I would not be continuing the Cambodia series due to commitments at work. I'll try to do so when I'm free! Until then
I woke up at 4am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. At 5am, I boarded the Tuk Tuk I charted for the trip to Angkor Wat. As a first time visitor to the Angkor Temples, I knew a hindsight to the little histories of the temple since visiting the Angkor National Museum yesterday. Angkor Wat isn't just the main temple but a small part of the temples. Compared to Angkor Thom, the 'Big Brother' is 4 times larger that Angkor Wat (measuring at least 4km at the longer edge).
Reaching Angkor Wat, I was advised to walk in, where I can catch the sunrise at 6.30am. As I walked in, I recognize 'Naga', the seven-headed serpent protector of Buddha. Ticket control was present to check tickets for entry.
The journey to Angkor Wat was through a stone pathway cutting through the temple moat. Walking through, one can feel the peace and serenity of its surroundings. A calm wind blew from the east as I walked closer and closer to my destination.
Passing by an entrance, I spot the dark silhouette of the Angkor Wat. Beside the path, there was a large field surrounding the pathway for visitors to take the world famous Angkor Wat Sunrise pictures.
As the sun rose, the sun shined beneath the one of the world's great wonders, the Angkor Wat. The silhouette form from the sun made it seem like a dream and I stood staring at it for quite awhile, while snapping pictures after pictures.
Walking in, I passed the great west entrance of the temple where a long outer corridor greeted me. Covered with ancient drawings depicting stories of the past, the corridor is a great place to slowly stroll in.
Past the corridor, I entered the inner portion where large washing basins are held. These washing basins collect rainwater, for use in the temple. In one of the corridors around the basin, there was a religious statue where a few monks gathered to give prayers. Visitors were also welcomed to visit the monks to receive a blessing, with a donation of course.
I made my way to the east entrance of the temple to view the quiet side of Angkor Wat. It is said that the Eastern gate represents the death gate, where the dead leaves. The Western gate is where the living enters. From there, I strolled along the corridors to understand more about Angkor's Rich history. In the stories, it mentioned that there were many battles fought, where people became great, where their work bear fruit after long periods of battle. With the inscriptions worn out and weathered, one can feel the aged of the temple as with its extensive history during its existence. Well, that's all based on what I inferred from the inscriptions.
From there, I walked back to the basins to take a break. Temple fever rose and I left the temple. It was 7.30am, I was too early and went about to grab a drink at the nearby stall. Prices were expensive compared to the town area, where food ranged from $6 onwards. Drinks were slightly more affordable, where a natural coconut cost only $2.
Soon I boarded the Tuk Tuk, where I journey next to Angkor Thom, the ancient capital of Angkor.
The night was spent at Pub Street - the most lively part of town. Pub Street transforms itself into a hive of activity ranging from quiet bars, to disco clubs that serve cheap and affordable draft beers, alcohol and snacks. Also in Pub Street consists of Happy Pizzas that serve Marijuana Infused Pizza (Which I obviously could not try) and a variety of local cuisine. Street stalls are rampant and a majority of the stores were selling food like fruit juice, flavored pancakes, and BBQ skewers.
I settled down at a bar directly opposite a disco club where I savoured a mug of draft beer at only $0.50 and a beef skewer ($1.50). Music and atmosphere was great, where the disco opposite played great club music.
It was late, I got some breakfast and walked back. Passing through the Angkor Night Market, where a once quiet street transformed into a bright and lively street. Overhead lights were lit, and people walked in both directions. Walking into Angkor Night Market, I saw that it consists of several bars and multiple shops that sell almost the same thing - scarves, handmade soap and shirts of Cambodia. It's repetitive content made it sort of a boring place to walk around.
I headed back to my hostel, and prepared for the next day - a full day at Angkor Wat for Sightseeing. Join me, next week for the next day!
Morning was blue and quiet. It was 6.30am, a light breeze blew as I set foot in the town of Siem Reap. I was indeed, in a state of excitement. At the entrance, there where lots of Tuk Tuk Drivers. I thought maybe the demanding ones where bad peeps linger, so I walked out more in search of a driver.
I met a driver, probably in his late 20s that offered me a ride for Free to my hostel. It sounded absurd at first, but after getting to know him better, he looked more like a nice person (Was I being too nice?). He spoke almost perfect English, in a right tone and looks legit. Thus I took up the ride.
The ride was great. Lots of cool wind and fresh morning air, amidsts the rustling city of Phnom Penh. During the ride, the driver and I discussed on destinations to go in Siem reap. Despite having made an offer to BatMan Tuk Tuk, I went ahead to schedule an Angkor Wat visit ($30) with him tomorrow. He mentioned that we would head to buy the tickets later. In about 10 minutes, I've reached my hostel - One stop Siem Reap Hostel.
One Stop Siem Reap Hostel is a young and newly established chain of hostels that provide accommodation to various travelers from all walks of life. It features rooms from mixed dormitories to female ones, to single rooms too. In addition, the hostel has a in house cafe, roof top swimming pool and laundry service - more of it in another post!
Having booked my stay from Agoda, I read that check in time was stated as 12 noon. It was 7.30am. What should I do?
I first dropped my bag and went to ask the receptionist (which tried his best to help me ✌️) where I learnt that Cellcom is Cambodia's largely used mobile service provider. If you had read my previous post, I bought a useless SIM card that only works within the airport. Thus, I need another one that works!
I headed out of the hostel and explored the area around. The area around was quiet and shuttered in the morning,
but as researched, the area would transform into Pub Street in the evening.
I first got breakfast at a nearby restaurant. It turns out it was a Chinese restaurant that serve Chinese food. I ordered a bowl of Beef Soup Noodle ($2.50). The beef was plenty and it's broth was well cooked. Served with Chinese tea, it was a great start to the day. It was then that I found out that restaurants don't accept large notes such as a US 50 bill - lucky I had small change!
I then visited the old market. The old market was situated amidst a busy junction, where it sold a variety of products from fresh vegetables to poultry to home goods such as electrical and fashion accessories. However, there where many shops distinctively
selling similar goods, purposed for the tourists.
I walked far, exploring places and back alleys in
broad daylight. Siem Reap was indeed a beautiful city with great people around. However, it's streets are a challenge to cross.
I visited the Angkor National Museum, where I learnt more about the ancient history of Cambodia. It was an informative journey, despite the high entry cost ($12). Nonetheless I did not regret going there as I wanted to find out more about the Angkor and its history.
Lunchtime! I got back to the hostel for some lunch, a plate of fried rice for $2.50, add a can of Cambodian Beer ($1) - sumptuous indeed.
Finally, it was time meet up with the driver to get the tickets. The tickets for angkor wat had moved to a new location somewhere 1km East away from its existing building. It's building represented the looks of a royal palace, had large spaces and a number of ticket counters. Processing was swift, and I got my tickets immediately. For a 1 day pass, it costed me $20 where tickets for longer periods would cost more.
The driver then took me to Old market where I can get some dinner. During the journey we spoke and I asked him what foods should I try while in Siem reap. He mentioned about trying fish amok, a curry made with fish and vegetables.
Upon reaching, I got some snacks and munched away as I went look for dinner. I found dinner at Old market. A plate of fried egg black sauce noodles.
Tune in soon for part two of day one!
I couldn't sleep. I never felt so sleepy yet excited before, ever since my last overseas trip to Bangkok in early 2016. With my passport and essentials readied, I set off to my journey to Cambodia. I met my girlfriend, Emily (tell ya more next time) on the way there and we took the train all the way to Changi Airport. A world class airport with excellent service, there's more reasons to be excited for. Hours passed and I boarded the plane to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
9pm: I touched down to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. After the amazingly smooth immigration (no queues at all!) I went out and bought a SIM card at just USD 5. It gave me 3G, enough to last just the airport area. Soon after, I got a Tuk Tuk Ride to Giant Ibis Bus Terminal. Presenting, the most costly ride ever. I think I got cheated >< At $11, I got to the terminal, where my bus only started boarding at 11.30pm. I had about 2 hours to spare.
Little did I knew the day I entered Phnom Penh, it was their nation's public holiday, Pchum Ben, also known as Ancestor's Day. Through Tuk Tuk drivers, I found out that the festival is a 2 day event where families gather to pay respects to their departed loved ones then celebrate the night off through family gatherings. Thus result in the hive of activity near the terminal - Phnom Penh Night Market.
Honest Review: It's not made for people of height 1.7m. Stalls covers were short, and I literally had to bend over just to walk around. Plus point, it was lively yet had food and music. It was supper time! I ordered beef skewers ($1.50) and a bowl of Chicken noodles ($2). I must say, the skewers where the bomb. Sweet, salty yet tasty, accompanied with Cambodia's commonly found salad. Made a great combination of flavors. The chicken Noodle was abit like just instant mee. At least it came hot and served with shredded chicken meat. I finished the meal with sugar cane juice ($0.50).
Soon after I retired to the seats at the terminal, waiting for the bus. Fun facts, Giant Ibis is one of the newest bus companies in Cambodia serving daily buses from/to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Each ride costs $15 with a choice of seating. Each bus comes with an attached bathroom and a complimentary bottle of water, plus wifi and charging port. Packaged with the bed consists of a fresh pillow and a fresh blanket. Bed mattress are thin but suitable for resting.
11.30pm: The midnight bus arrived and I boarded the bus. Being a sleeper bus, shoes had to be taken off and placed in a black plastic bag for storage. It was a 6 hour ride to Siem Reap and my space was a slim yet short bed with the aircon directly on top of me. The bed was slightly small yet comfortable enough to rest. In fact, I found it hard to sleep as the space was small and compact compared to those at the bottom level. The road was very very bumpy. Hence it was difficult to sleep. With the help of the offline maps in my Maps.me app, I was able to know where am I without even a data connection. Remember the SIM card I bought at the airport? It doesn't work at all, maybe there was no coverage.
06.30am: I reached Siem Reap. The highlight of the trip :) I'll tell you more in the next few days! Happy Traveling!
The idea about backpacking in Cambodia happened exactly a year ago while i was at my cousin's birthday party on 29 September 2015. I still remember, i didnt even knew how to spell the word Angkor Wat! As months pass and my national service comes to an end, i started to find out more about the country using YouTube and researching it using Google and Guidebooks. From there, i was able to get hold of small bits of information from every book or information i came across.
About 3 months before the trip, i chanced upon a offer for discounted travel via Jetstar, which gave me largely discounted price to travel.
From there I gave myself about 1 month to decide on the accommodation, where it was based on comfort, cost and user reviews.
As a consistent user of TripAdvisor and Agoda, I relied on it to give me accurate analysis on the accommodation I chose before booking it. In planning wise, I pre planned things to do - Financials and the trips essential items to travel. Important Documents were backup to the cloud and available over print and digital formats. The plan was being foolproof, and being prepared in event of any emergency.
A week before the trip begins, I begin preparations for the trip. Preparations include changing money, packing my bag and setting aside expenses.
So what you're seeing here is a detailed report of my thought process before the fun begins. Check back soon for when the fun begins! ✌️
I started Scouting as a young cub at year 2003, where I went through many scout activities that couldn't show me what I thought Scouting was. After moving on to secondary school, I begun Scouting as a scout, where I learnt from foot drill to knots, tall towers to fostering brotherhood amongst my patrol. That was where I learnt the most so far.
Looking back, it has been a long, yet enjoyable journey, where I realized the importance of an exciting yet happy childhood, that will impact the child forever. As a appointed Assistant Group Scout Leader of the 1st Leaders Council in Stallion Scouts (open), I was tasked to take on Colugo Scouts as a Scout Leader, to lead, train and inspire them to be leaders of tomorrow.
What is my main purpose of Volunteering at Colugo Scouts?
I've always believed in inspiring future generations and touching the hearts of many. At the same time, I wanted to nuture young boys who previously were Cubs, to have a great Scouting experience yet fostering skills and knowledge via our progress schemes.
What do you think you can gain from this experience?
When I see my boys reach new heights, gain their progress Badges and reach their goals, that gives me some satisfaction to see that I was part of their journey. I can also gain some leadership experience in managing young scouts.
What are some of the difficulties you faced when volunteering at Colugo?
Some of the difficulties include time management, progressive planning for scouts, and managing scouts. As they are young and energetic, it's hard to impose discipline in them especially with a small group. However, I believe all this boil down to one's responsibility in the appointment, to uphold its task and move on with it.
How will your experience help you in becoming a better leader?
By putting theory into practice, volunteering every weekend enabled me to practice my skills yet learn a thing or two from leading young scouts. Through weekly objectives I've learnt to be adaptable to change, see things in different perspectives and communicate much better to them.
In future, I would like to see them grow up to be a good person, to be an active contributor to the world and inspire more to follow. For those that came for a part of my life, I like to mention that this entry is a reflection for my Woodbadge Course that I am currently pursuing.