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.
I wonder, why do I enjoy what i do so much ? Could it be that i'm insane ? Nope. Since young, i based all thoughts onto facts. Little did i know, since i enjoy what i do, then it gets fun over time. So the logic goes like this 'If design is fun, fun is design'. Over the years i had became, much like what i would expect a product to have. To be a valuable member to any organisation or company, be a happy person and to live life everyday. Despite numerous efforts of other people, that strive to keep you in their zone. I continuously strive to explore, experience and learn from cultures, societies, people, and life as it throws lemons to me. I believe it is a matter of how you take those 'lemons' and turn them into something beautiful.
Over the next field weeks, we will flashback all the way back in my first solo backpacking trip in Bangkok, followed by my most recent, Cambodia solo. Till then, cheers !