12.04.2012 - 20.04.2012 40 °C
So we’ve come to the time for our final blog post, it’s sad but true. We have had quite the journey on this adventure of ours and we are so grateful to have family and friends who have kept up with us along the way. So we’re going to jump right in where we left off…
Our bus ride from Saigon to Phnom Penh went smoothly and we had no issues getting our Cambodian Visa’s (this was a relief considering all of the horror stories we had heard). As soon as we crossed the border from Vietnam into Cambodia we immediately noticed the increased level of poverty and the aroma of garbage that had been left on the street for days. Upon our arrival in the capital city we were told that it was the beginning of the three-day celebration of the Cambodian New Year. Initially we were excited for the festivities but we soon realized that this was more of a locals-only event and all but a few tourist destinations were shut down. After dropping our bags in our room we headed out for a drink and to plan our short and sweet five days in Cambodia. The next day we set out for the S-21 Prison which was were Pol Pot had ordered hundreds of men, women and children to be sent before they were murdered during the Cambodian genocide. It was an eerie feeling to walk around the prison grounds and imagine what it must have been like for the innocent people who were tortured. We decided to lighten things up with Sarah getting a massage while Jess enjoyed a beer on a patio. While walking around the city we met an older American man who had been living in Cambodia for the last decade. He helped us with directions and then invited us to a local pub for a pint. He was a really friendly guy and he was genuinely interested in meeting two young North Americans who were travelling. After hearing some of his war stories and taking note of his advice we left to get some pub food for dinner. The next day we took a tuk-tuk to the outskirts of town to the Killing Fields. The Killing Fields was where prisoners from the S-21 Prison were sent to be murdered under the direct orders of Pol Pot. Entering the Killing Fields we were reminded of when we visited a concentration camp in Berlin. It was an eye opening experience and we learned a lot about the impact of these atrocities on Cambodian culture.
The following morning we took a six-hour bus ride to the small town of Siem Reap. The major draw to this area is Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples that make this attraction one of the Unesco World Heritage Centres. After checking in to our guest house and walking around the town we reunited with our friends Mike and Celia. We had dinner out on a Patio on Pub Street and then went our separate ways so that we could get a good sleep before our 4:30 am wake-up call for our sunrise tour of the Temples of Angkor. The next morning we slowly rolled out of bed and met up with our friends for our Angkor Wat tour. Despite the early hour there were already many tourists milling about the temple. We spent the morning and afternoon roaming through the various temples and ruins while our tour guide “Bunny” gave us the history of the monuments. The afternoon heat was really starting to get to us so at around 2 pm we wrapped things up at the temples and headed to a roof-top pool to cool down from the near 40 degree weather. Once we had cooled off and relaxed a little we hit the night market in town and then went to dinner.
On the morning of April 18th we took a bus from Siem Reap to the Thai/Cambodian border. At this last border crossing we waited for 3 hours in the blistering heat with hundreds of other gringos while Thai’s continually strolled by us and right on through immigration. The wait was the ultimate test of our patience and resiliency, more than once we thought Jess was going to pass out due to heat stroke. Once we were finally in Thailand we took a 4-hour minibus ride to Bangkok. We were dropped off right on the infamous Ko San Road where we sadly said goodbye to Mike and Celia, who we had been travelling on and off with for the last three weeks. We were so exhausted after our long day on the road that we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at McDonald’s, where we enjoyed the air-conditioning and yummy fried food. After regaining our strength we set out to find accommodation on the backpacker filled party street. We settled on a mediocre place and planned to move to a new area the next morning. After a good sleep-in we grabbed some coffees and some breakfast and started looking up luxury hotels for our last two nights. After finding exactly what we were looking for we happily set out for our new fancy digs. That afternoon we checked out a couple of Bangkok’s largest malls. Our remaining money was burning holes through our pockets so we treated ourselves to some shopping. The high-class living continued that night when we ordered room service for diner. Needless to say it was one great day in Bangkok! The following two days were similar, and we spent our last few dollars indulging ourselves and creating a perfect end to an awesome trip. Our final day in Bangkok was spent lounging by the pool and sipping on iced teas while before packing up our bags for a final plain ride home. We went out for a delicious Thai dinner followed by some rich desserts and tea and then grabbed a cab to the airport.
We boarded our flight at around 3am on the morning of the 21st and tried to catch some shuteye before landing in Seoul for our 8-hour stop over. Once we arrived in Seoul we met up with our friends Maria and Catney, who were living in South Korea to teach English. They took us in to the city and we had traditional Korean BBQ for lunch. We had a great time catching up with them and before we knew it we were back on our way to the airport for our flight to Vancouver. Finally we were back in Canada! Sarah’s family met us at the Vancouver airport and after hugs and kisses were passed around we got the feeling that we never left.
We had an absolutely amazing adventure together throughout our four months of travelling. We saw and experienced things that we will never forget and we made some great friends along the way. Now it’s back to reality and we are looking forward to the next chapter in our lives – jobs and an apartment! Thanks again to everyone who read our posts, we hope we kept you entertained!
S & J xoxo