Sep 5 2016

Cambodia Siem Reap Travelogue

Here to blog about my Siem Reap trip! So many travel posts to catch up on! Earlier this year, I had the chance to head to Cambodia Siem Reap for a management workshop.

Hahaha as you can see it was quite some time back, but better late to update than never!


My first time to experience being ferried to the airplane by bus then having to climb up this flight of stairs! Should have just checked in my luggage zz. But thankfully there were lots of guys on this trip so I just dumped my luggage to them hahaha.


On route to our resort! Along the way it was just very barren.


We stayed at Hotel Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort for 4 nights.


Would have been better if it was not a work trip!


I shared a room with my colleague cos we were both scared to stay alone hahaha.


What greeted me in my room! So cute!! They actually made our company logo out of jelly?


First food I had after touch down. Some noodles which came in a gigantic portion.

Since our flight was a morning flight and we had all the way till evening to spare, a few of us decided to head down to the temples to take a look! We hired a mini van to bring us around and covered a total of 3 temples in about 4-5hrs. My colleagues were frequent travelers there since we have products there, so they knew who to contact!


You have to purchase this ticket (which covers all temples). Passes are sold in one-day (US$20), three-day (US$40) and seven-day (US$60) blocks that must be used on consecutive days. Your photograph will be taken a printed on the spot and you have to be ready to produce this ticket as and when they require it! So keep it safely!


First stop was Angkor Wat, which is the largest religious monument in the world, and one of the 7 wonders of the world.


This was the king’s pool I think.

The place was quite big but it’s just a straight path down and you exit from the other side. Our van was just waiting at the other side for us. After that we hopped on, and he sent us to the next temple!


We visited Ta Prohm temple next which is more famously known as the temple where Tomb Raider was shot at! Similarly, it’s just enter from one entrance, then exit at the other side.


One very interesting thing about this temple is that you’d realise the roots of the trees actually grow out of the ruins.


Things you’d do for a good shot.. Climb up a few level of rocks. It’s actually quite high up!


Meet my new friends!


To be honest I’m abit lost now which temple is which cos ruins all look roughly the same lolol.


Bayon Temple – The last temple we visited!


This temple is where you can find lots of faces on the ruins.

So with that, I survived climbing up and down stairs and rocks for 5hrs in freaking 37degrees. Remember to stock up on water!!

Along the way there would be young kids coming to you to sell stuffs like fans, books, etc. If you’re not interested, just try to not have eye contact with them or entertain them. If not, they’d walk with you all the way till you get something from them. And after you’ve gotten something, they’d try to get you to get even more things. Honestly, I think they make quite good salesmen in future but that is if only they can get proper education and not think that they can do this for a living. :(

Went back to our hotel all tired and sticky. Went for a quick shower before heading to our welcome dinner by the pool!


Buffet style.


On the spot grilling. I didn’t take the full spread but there was so much food to feed an entire army!!


Day 2 was the start of our 2.5days workshop. It’s a workshop involving 5 different countries and a few different functions, so it was quite a big turnout! Good to be able to see my colleagues from overseas again too!


One of the nights, my manager brought our team (4 of us) out for dinner. The restaurant sent a complementary tuk tuk to bring us there. It’s actually just a short 10mins walk from our hotel. But you can get the hotel to call the restaurant for you to check if there’s seats, arrange transport, etc.


This is like my ultimate favourite dish there. Some grilled mushrooms. They added black pepper and some sweet sauce and it’s SO good! Shit I miss it so much now.


Some spring roll thing.


I obviously did not touch this cos it’s just a pile of raw vegs.


As you can see, Cambodia food is like a fusion of Thai/Vietnamese style.

Had some time after our workshop on Day 3 so I decided to tag along with some of my colleagues who wanted to try the Quad Bike.

I had an ATV experience before in Bintan and it was just not very memorable. So I initially was dreading this cos along the way I thought: “Oh shit, Imagine 4hrs under the hot sun.” The other time in Bintan it was only 1hr, but now it’s 4hrs of driving.


But after doing the test drive and getting on the road, it was really fun! And windy!! Not hot at all like what I imagined. We drove along the countryside and the paddy fields.


Rest stop. Sun was setting and it’s so beautiful!


And as soon as I saw this view it was so serene?? Huge patches of vast land that seemed endless. Something you’d never see in Singapore!

No regrets for this trip even though it’s not exactly very cheap. Can’t remember how much but I think it’s about 50-80usd per person? But I highly recommend going at least once in your life if you’re there! I can’t remember which was the shop that we went too but be careful of scams especially if you’re in a large group. We were scam of the change where the shop owner insisted that they already gave back the change to xx guy but he didn’t receive it. Said that they’ll view the CCTV records but the CCTV was never connected in the first place.

Super long post which marks the end of my 5 days trip in Cambodia, Siem Reap. About 3 days was occupied by work stuff but glad that I could still explore key attractions there! I almost couldn’t make it for this trip as initially it clashed with my Japan holiday. And I guess without work, Cambodia wouldn’t have been on my to-go list. So I’m thankful for all the opportunities I get from work.

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Jan 21 2014

Aloha!

Hello!!
*Does virtual wave*

Headed to Krabi (Thailand) for a short trip last week and I’m missing the sea and sand. :(
Here’s a short post of 4 pics from my iPhone!

Watched the sunset almost every evening and it was sooo beautiful. One of the most relaxing trips where we just sat around eating and walking by the beach or hanging out at our resort and doing nothing. It’s good to rot your brains once in awhile after using so much brain power at work!

Will blog about my trip when I’ve sorted out the photos and have more time!

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Sep 29 2013

Taiwan Day 4: Taipei (Jiufen + Shilin Night Market)

Continuing on my Taiwan trip which I’ve left it sitting for quite awhile! On day 4 we visited Jiufen (九份) and Shilin Night Market (士林夜市)! (If you’ve not read my previous posts on Taichung, Wu Fen Pu and Raohe Night Market, click on the links to read them!) Have also blogged a brand new version of Taiwan 2015 on Taichung.

So the initial plan to get to Jiufen is to take the Taipei Railway Station at Taipei Main Station and stop at Ruifang (which would take about 1hr?), then take a cab up. But the night before I was doing some research on alternative routes and I realise that taking a bus all the way from Taipei to Jiufen would be much cheaper and it doesn’t take long as well.


We took the Metro to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station. I can’t remember which exit to exit by because the directions on the website was a little outdated and the initial bus stop was relocated. So check with the counter at the station for exact directions when you’re there!


Board the bus direct to Jiufen (the one towards Jinguashin (金瓜石) and the fare should cost less than 100NT. Journey takes about 1hour plus. I calculated if we went via the initial route of railway then cab it would easily cost 4 times that price. Travel time doesn’t vary much and you can rest on the bus instead of transferring here and there!


My EasyCard! Can get cheaper fares (a certain % discount) with this card compared to using cash and you don’t have to worry about having your money stuck in this card cos we managed to get our remaining amount inside refunded on the last day!

How the bus looks like. Not very new but it was pretty empty and quiet along the journey.

Jiufen! This is my second time to this place since my first trip to Taiwan with my family 8 years back and the entire place still seems the same to me.


The layout of Jiufen is like walking through a narrow path with rows of shops. Reminds me of Bugis Street. I don’t think there’s any off-peak period to visit Jiufen because tourists seem to be swarming in at all times!

Herbal Tea Egg for 10NT each (About S$0.40).


I got one of these on my first trip before!! It’s actually a wind musical instrument.

Sophisca, which you can find in Singapore as well. But I think prices are slightly cheaper there.

Grabbed a bite at this fishball place.


So good!!! Even though this is considered a touristy place, prices of everything is quite reasonable and not as rip-off as other places.


There are also many teahouses/cafes in Jiufen. Good for siting around and chill.

It was raining occasionally when we were there but thankfully it wasn’t pouring. Some of the walkways in Jiufen are sheltered as well and you can easily get shelter in one of the teahouses too.

Meowr!

Many cute handmade items for sale, which would be good as souvenirs.

When you’re a tourist, you’ll take photos with every single thing… Maybe even dustbins.

View from above.

This is one of the must-trys in Jiufen. 2 scoops of ice cream wrapped with peanut in popiah-like skin. You can choose if you want to coriander leaves or not.


There are 2 stalls in Jiufen selling this so I think you need to go to the correct one. We tried the not-so-nice stall so it wasn’t anything great. But still it’s something different and you don’t see this in Singapore so you should try this! We tried a very similar one in Raohe Night Market and that was so good!! Preferred the one in Raohe Night Market than this.


I love Taiwan’s pudding! There’s quite a number of stalls selling this kind of souvenir items. Most are at the same price but some will offer more freebies (like buy 5 get 1 free), so we always like to scout around before buying anything. This is by far the cheapest I’ve seen selling. 100NT for 1, buy 5 get 1 free.

Super love this flavoured Muah Chee!! It was 3 for 100NT (S$4.20) if I remembered correctly. So good that we finished like 1 packet that very night for supper.

I ended up not buying the pudding there because I didn’t want to lug the heavy boxes around. And I realised later that other places in Taipei sells around the same price too (I got mine at Shilin Night Market in the end. Think it was buy 5 get 2 free at 100NT each)


Spent a few good hours there before taking a bus back to the main city area in Taipei. Jiufen is a good scenic place to go and something different from the city area.

It was raining rather heavily when we reached our destination so we went into the Sogo mall to walk around.

Took the Metro to Shilin Night Market (alight at Jiantan Station, one stop before Shilin Station would be nearer to the night market).

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken! Queue was long but the staffs were very efficient!

Tastes about the same as the one in Singapore but at like half the price?

Shilin Night Market has this basement area for all the food.

So good!

Love this Ai Yu Lime!!! Very refreshing.

Fried Oyster Omelette. I still prefer the ones we have in Singapore.

This is the Hot Star store in the basement area. Notice that they’ve Grilled Chicken Steak and Crispy Chicken Steak which isn’t available in Singapore!!

Lots of clothing shops at the open area in Shilin.


Find it really different that Taiwanese really queue up when boarding public transports unlike in Singapore. (During peak hours we do see queues forming in Singapore but usually you’ll have 3-4 people forming another queue beside if you get what I mean. And usually the queues are pretty much useless once the doors open and everybody just rushes in)

And that concludes our Day 4! Looking through the photos make me miss Taiwan alot!!

If you’ve missed my previous posts:
Taiwan 2013: Day 1 & 2:Taichung
Taiwan 2013: Day 3: Wu Fen Pu + Raohe Night Market
Taiwan 2015 Day 1: Taichung
Taiwan 2015 Day 2: Cingjing Farm, Little Swiss Garden, Old English Manor

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Jun 28 2013

Taiwan Day 3: Taipei! (Wu Fen Pu + Raohe Night Market)

Back to blog about my Taiwan trip!! If you’ve missed out my previous post on Day 1 & 2 in Taichung, click HERE to read! Have also blogged a new version of Taiwan Taichung 2015. Click HERE to read!

So on Day 3 we set off from Taichung to Taipei. Our initial plan was to take the High Speed Rail all the way there which would take about 1hr and about 720NT per person for the tickets I think (About S$30). But our Minsu owner recommended us to take a coach instead and he said that’s how most Taiwanese travel to Taipei if they’re not in a rush as it’s much cheaper.

So we decided to take a bus from Choma Bus Station (We took a cab to that place from our Minsu in Fenjia Night Market. Total fare was about 80NT)

Coach ticket from Taichung to Taipei is only 140NT (S$6) per person and it takes about 2hrs 45mins to reach Taipei Main Station.

Comfortable and clean bus with ample leg room. We preferred to take a longer route cos you get to rest on the bus as well and catch up on some sleep.

Haha masks to protect ourselves from germs from coughing people around.


The bus stopped at Taipei Bus Station. That’s at the Taipei Main Station stop where all the transports are there – The Taipei Metro (like our MRT in Singapore), the Railway (the older and slower train system I think) Station, the High Speed Rail Station, as well as Bus Station.

(:

Took a cab down to our Minsu in Taipei. Actually we could have just taken the MRT cos our Minsu was really near the station but oh wells.

Super love the room in our second Minsu! The place was really cosy and big. And it’s very affordable too. This room size is actually 1400NT a night, but we only paid 1200NT (S$51) a night. Somehow we got a free upgrade cos I think they were out of smaller rooms. But ah, I only like the room and not the outside.. Cos you have to climb like 4 storeys high with no lift and imagine having to lug your luggage up and then down on the last day…. And it’s quite quiet in the area and a little scary. But once I’m in the room it’s nice and fine! Lol.


Really like the location of our Minsu too. Usually people would think of staying in Ximending/Shilin area.. But I thought about our itinerary and thought that this area in Houshanpi would be a better choice. Accommodation in this area is cheaper too. (I was quoted about 1890NT in Ximending) And you can see Taipei 101 in the distance! (They claim that it’s 5mins away BUT no please. I’ll touch more on that in the next few posts lol)


Okay anyway, Houshanpi is where you want to alight if you want to go Wu Fen Pu, which is like a wholesale area for clothes. It’s about 5mins walk I think, just follow the signs or go with the crowd lol. Damn alot of clothes for sale. Prices are quite okay… But I didn’t buy anything cos I didn’t know where to start!! So I was like “OKAY WHATEVER. LET’S GO EAT!”

Pretty sunset.


As you walk up further from Wu Fen Pu (about 5mins walk), you’ll reach Raohe Night Market. But before that you’ll reach this Citylink Shopping area (that was still in construction). It’s also where the Songshan Train Station is. Note that this is not the Metro line but the Train Station line. I realised that this Citylink font looks really much like the one we have at Cityhall in Singapore.. Could it be by the same boss??


Raohe Night Market!! This is one night market you should visit. In other night markets you’ll walk around and around and get lost, or get motorcycles cutting your lane once every 10 seconds. But this one you get none of those. It’s actually quite a small night market compared to the rest, with just 2 rows of pedestrian walkway. So it also mean that you just have to continue walking down then go one round to the other side and walk all the way back. Which means that you wouldn’t get lost, that’s why tour groups like to bring their guests here I guess. Very easy to say where to assemble cos they’re only 2 entrances.

So when we reached, we saw this long queue at this stall right infront of the entrance. Selling some pepper bun or something like that. So okay, we queue.

Everything is freshly made!!

The buns are cooked like this. Looks good!

Okay laa you should try this at least once haha. The meat is really good actually.

Probably one of my favourites here! Another favourite is this peanut ice cream roll which I’ll talk more about in later posts.

It’s chicken leg wrapped in some skin-like thingy grilled to perfection. And you can add seasoning of your choice. DAMN JUICY AND GOOD!!! And cheap too. Like 35NT (S$1.50) for one? Or 3 for 100NT

Okonomiyaki! 50NT (S$2.10) for one. Has a steady flow of queue. Something worth trying too.

Then we stopped for mango ice cos I wanted somewhere to sit. The mango ice in Taiwan is so worth and nice. So much mango and jelly! In Singapore I always finish the mango and left with so much ice, but there I finish the mango together with the ice! And mangoes in Taiwan are really nice too!!

Apart from food, there are some stalls that sell craftwork and other interesting things too. This stall owner is like blowing glass on the spot. The last time I saw someone doing that was on my Italy trip and I was so amazed.

So intricate!!

Pretty flowers in a jar.

So pretty right!! These are hand-drawn on the shoes!! And I remember them being quite affordable, like only S$30?

The crowd was alright on a weekday, not too sure about weekends though! Alrighty I’m so tired. Byebye till the next post!! (:

Continue reading about my Taiwan trip:
Taiwan 2013 Day 1 & 2:Taichung
Taiwan 2013 Day 4: Taipei (Jiufen + Shilin Night Market)
Taiwan 2015 Day 1: Taichung
Taiwan 2015 Day 2: Cingjing Farm, Little Swiss Garden, Old English Manor

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