A Travellerspoint blog

March 2006

Phnom Penh

By bus....

sunny 33 °C
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6 hour by bus to Phnom Penh
As promised, at 6.30 am we have to be ready in front of the hotel as our bus will picked us up to go to Phnom Penh.... And exactly at that hour, the bus arrived; as we are traveling with back pack, it was really pampering us when the bus crew is more than happy to take care of our heavy luggage.
We didn't know that this was only a feeder bus who picked the passenger from every hostel in Siem Reap. The bus itself was not a mini bus, it was a really 54 seater bus, but the location of the hostel was not all in the main/big road. To my surprise, although the road was only as big as 3m width, the bus manages to do maneuvers and get away with all the dirt on small alleys.

Posted by NPearson 16:01 Archived in Cambodia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Heading to Angkor Wat

Siem Reap

sunny 30 °C
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Although the flight was at 10.00 in the morning, we have to be in the airport - KLIA - at least 2 hours prior to departure time. There are other questions, we are not sure of which airport for "Air Asia". My sister arrives in Malaysia, with this airline yesterday in LCC, instead in KL International airport. Thus to avoid of being late out of confusion, we need to get there early enough, incase some changes.
It is true, it was not written in our itineraries about this change. We need to go to LCC to fly with Air Asia, which is 15 km away from the new airport. Luckily, there is shuttle bus that runs between the two airport.
After almost an hour delay, finally we arrive in Siem Reap, the local international airport. As per our order, we were picked up by Tuk tuk that parked outside the parking space of the airport. This 'vehicle´ is later become our means of transportation in Siem Reap as well as guide through out our stay in the city and the temple.
What intrigue me is unlike many other country in the East part of Asia, where driving isi on the left side of the road, in Cambodia, the drive on the "wrong" side of the road. However, I don't thing in this particular town this is important issue. Tuk tuk, motorbike and bicycles certainly can drive on either side of the road. But a car, the position of it's steering wheel will most likely dictate by the which side of the road you drive. Other things worth to observe is to register the car, and get a plate number not to mention to get a license to drive. I do not think they required these things as you do not need a plate number to be able to drive around your car.

Excellent Lodge and Tour Package System

Once we got our bums to the hostel and do the administrational job, instantly Kunn, the owner of the Jasmine Lodge, (the hostel we booked through travellerspoint) offer us the tours available as well as the connection trip to wherever we want, to Phnom Penh, to Thailand, or maybe to Vietnam overland... I was amazed on how professional they are, despite the fact that they look shabby.
we have to leave the lodge at 4.30 pm and hit to the temples area by our tuk tuk to the first Wat and wait for the sunset.
I was hoping to be a quiet and peace full sunset. But it turns out to be a crowded place with hundreds of people waiting for sunset, and it was really difficult to find a good spot to see the best sunset moment, and it was hardly a sunset on the beach at all. And no matter it was cloudy or not, this is the package of e one day tour, from dusk to down, or maybe from down to dusk..., or maybe from down to dusk and beyond...?
We have to climb the steps to get to an up high Phnom Bakheng Temple to be able to see the sunset. As usual, my sister is always chicken out with the condition of the surface. I had to convince her that she is good enough for this exploration.
Outside the temple, there is nothing in Siem Reap except all the facilities for tourists who want to see the famous temples, everything is to facilitates all the tourists needs.
As I use to live outside Indonesia, I use to hear other people speaking different languages, other than Indonesian or English language. But sometime to my surprise, in all those places I have been, I heard Indonesian language here and then, but not in Cambodia.

The Package

It all began with waiting for the sunrise at Angkor Wat.... we need to get up in the morning before five in the morning, As I need more sleep and relax, this kind of vacation is really not a lax vacation at all, and I believe these has been going on for 3 weeks now including all the busy life before I leave.
It seams that everybody in Siem Reap, including the informal entrepreneur knows everything about the Great temples compound, and the routine of different tour. I realize that there is several option to see the tamples, there is this one day tour, 2 days and it goes up to 6 days tour. If you don't have so much time, and you will only spend for 1 day, than the routine is already set. Its like a free n easy tour, as the tuk tuk driver, our guide was just show us the way and introduce us with a little of its history and the rest is up to us to explore.
I think we make the right decision to do this tour, not the really guided tour with a proper tour guide. Amateur tour guide can be found once we are in one of the temple. Beside, local people as small as 10 years old is already good for giving us bit and peaces of history and background of the temple, not to mention his ability to speak perfect English.

We finish our pilgrimage to Buddhist temple at around 2.30 p.m feeling exhausted and fed up with all the temples. What make it worse was the heat and the humidity... but what can we do this the climate in this part of the world.

Seam Reap

What can we see in Seam Reap? A small town just to accommodate the people who's living depends on the attraction of the temples. There is this old market where they sell local groceries and souvenirs including antiques and collectible things, showing local cultures, which to my opinion, was heavily influence by the Chinese, in fact, I was a bit confuse whether there really any Cambodian culture at all.
This town was really amaze me, even though this is a very small town, one can never expect too much, but everything in their shabby way is there. Although we stay in budget accommodation, it does not means that there is no such a 5 star hotel. In fact there are plenty of choises. Communication wise was also very good, we can find interenet café in almost every 300 m.

Posted by NPearson 05:42 Archived in Cambodia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Kuala Lumpur

Meeting Point

sunny 33 °C
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petronas.jpgArrived in KLSentral, knackered. All shops were still close; but this is the meeting point with my sister, and her schedule was to arrive at 10.30. at this time she hasn’t leave Jakarta yet I presume… and I have been on the road for 34 hours and another 4 hours to go before I could checked in to our so called hostel.

This is really a very long waiting time, from 6.30 to 12.10 pm. Before finally she arrive. I don’t have any energy to get mad at her, there are other factor that make things like this, the cheap airlines as well as the fact that she arrive not in KLIA but LCC, the domestic airport and force to take airport bus instead of the express train that transfer her from the airport to KL Central

We met each other after another delay for another 2 hours. Check in straight away to “Casa Embon”, the best located Hostel (at least to my view) in KL. Unfortunately, the place was crap. I was really disappointed for this place. The place was dark and dirty… but then again what do you expec? what you get is what you pay.

Posted by NPearson 05:42 Archived in Malaysia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Back to Civilization

The First Leg

sunny 33 °C
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Arrive in Singapore, a bit tired but happy as this is the place I always knew for a long time, and it’s really a nice place to stay, even though I could have never stay here for a very long time. However, this a civilized place for me, after more than 6 months in the desert.

What I like from Singapore is I knew the place, how to get going and how things are worked here; I could function well without having the need to ask help from others. The other things is that I have friends here who would always welcome me and happy to show me around. Just like any other Indonesian who always likes to see each other.

The feeling of Singapore, with all the hassle dazzle of city life. It was just like what I had expected. The airport was as usual, not really represent the city yet, but everything I need to travel was there, communication card, internet access, as well as superb public transportation.

Dump my travel bags in a friend’s office and move around the city was the next thing I had to do. However, to get to her office was not easy, as I need to walk more than 2 km from CityHall to our meeting point; and I was already tired of carrying my backpack as well as may rucksack. What makes things worse was that that the weather was so warm and humid.

To my surprise, her boss wants to meet me and turns out that he was keen to hire me to join the company. Well, I think my Middle East experience given me some new opportunity as they are looking for somebody with my qualifications. Sad to say I am not looking for a job now, but maybe yes later this year.

She send me to the train station, near Tanjong Pagar. I asked her to buy me one ticket with KTM – Kereta Tanah Melayu to take me to KL by rail. It was an idea as well to travel all the way to Bangkok by this train. As a true adventurer maybe this is an interesting option, but I don’t think I have the energy and the time to do so, as this require more energy, stamina as well as flexibility in time. I don’t think I am ready for this, and I don’t think I will.

As I need to give my back a break, I was a bit disappointed when she told me that she only bought me a second class train ticket; but it turns out to be a terrific coach; a wagon lie… or in English the term is sleeping coach. The worst part was only there is some body snoring and it was louder than the sound of the train and it went on till the next morning.

Posted by NPearson 19:58 Archived in Singapore Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

The Beginning

First Trip with My Sis

semi-overcast 28 °C
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The first 6 month working in a strange country was always the hardest…. I really needs a break, but as it is difficult to do anything on my own, thus I decided to ask my sister to accompany me begin my travel adventure….

Out for her convenience, we will travel around South East Asian only; but to make it more interesting, I don’t think I want to travel only to Singapore like most Indonesian do. Thus after a carefully planned, these are my travel tales of SE Asia in 2006

I started my trip by hoping to a flight from Doha to Singapore after my golf class, and a farewell party for a colleague who leaves the company for good. This is supposed to be an overnight flight to Singapore, where I was schedule to arrive at 13.45 the next day.

There is nothing new about this trip, and not too exiting for the usual back packer. I thing the difference between this trip and other trip is that I come from Doha – the Middle East and will meet up with my Sister from Jakarta in KL.

This is my travel SE Asia travel map:

Posted by NPearson 22:38 Archived in Qatar Tagged backpacking Comments (0)