Kingdom of Wonder

Cambodia is known as the Kingdom of Wonder. The reason behind this is because of their cultural and natural attractions as well as their people and traditions.  I jumped on a bird from KL to Siem Reap, the home of Angkor Wat and its temples.  A nice 2 hour flight, except for when we encountered some turbulence! This is not uncommon in SEA because of all the storm clouds in the region.  It was like a stomach turning roller coaster – up, down, DROP, down, up. A few people screamed when the plane dropped, we are floating! 😀

Siem Reap is a small airport, but busy.  A lot of travelers come into this city for Angkor Wat. Get a VISA on arrival – DONT forget to bring an extra passport photo for the visa, and $30 USD. I was lucky I grabbed an extra photo right before I left, or I would have a hard time! *Happy dance*.

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KUL (KLIA2) Passport checking

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Met Haraz at the airport. Congrats to you and your wife on the recent wedding! See you in Brunei sometime!

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Welcome to Siem Reap!

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Passport collection.  On to immigration and Customs.  Customs here is a joke. No scanning, no checking, just handing the officer your immigration paper and walk through.  And the officers were sitting at a folding table by the door!

The hotel I am staying at is Angkor Orchid Central Hotel.  Offers free airport pickup, breakfast, water bottles, and clean accommodations.  I emailed the hotel in the morning to tell them about my arrival and they sent their tuk tuk driver to pick me up. The famous tuk tuk, a cart attached to a motorbike.

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The driver, they even had my name spelled correctly and pronounced it correctly too!

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Im sure Phnom Penh is a different style and has better infrastructure, but Siem Reap is completely different than Singapore and KL.  It feels much more disconnected from the world.  People here are extremely nice and welcoming. They have a double currency system, the Cambodia Riel and the US Dollar.  You can come here with a pocket full of USD and have a grand ole time, no currency conversion required – they actually prefer dollars.  If you can converse in Khmer and have Riel you can get better deals however.

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The motorbike is king here

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This is what many of the streets look like. Extremes side by side – high end hotels right next to shacks used as homes.

A fun surprise I encountered here is a mosque and muslim village! There is a decent size community here and a few muslim owned restaurants, called Muslim Family Restaurant.  They will be closed for the next 30 days because of Ramadhan, but the mosque is serving iftar on the 18th, I found my dinner spot for that day now!

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The green dome, behind the mosque is a muslim school.

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The mosque caretaker.

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The Muslim Family Restaurant – Lok Lak a either beef or Chicken/Rice/Fried egg plate – very good!

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The crew on duty that evening, thank you for lunch!

Siem Reap is full of surprises, excitement and people trying to sell you stuff all the time. Extremely cheap clothing – $2 to $3 for a tshirt, lots of Cambodia silver, and Cambodian Silk – supposedly the best in the world.

Ce Le Vi!

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