A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about sunsets and sunrises

Cambodia

sunny
View Honeymoon Tour on Daft Slags Do..'s travel map.

The next couple of days were spent travelling with three flights in three days. We had a four hour delay at Kalibo airport to fly back to Manila, arrived at The Melting Pot hostel in the early hours had a kip and checked out the following morning to fly to Vietnam. Arrived again in the early hours and stayed at a nearby airport hotel in Ho Chi Minh for ease, then flew onto Siem Reap in the morning.

Once in Siem Reap we got a taxi to the Mad Monkey hostel and headed straight to the rooftop bar (that had real sand on the floor!) for some food. We went for a much needed sleep in the afternoon then joined the gaggle of Chang vest wearing twenteens in the bar on their 'gap yah' drinking their weight in alcohol. I say joined but in reality we sat at the back and ogled at the youngsters making utter fools of themselves and reminiscing what it was like to be that age again! Some poor sod did try and make conversation with us, which was going well until he was summoned to the bar for a free 'grenade' (a shot of vodka and a shot of Jager in a glass of red bull) How could you refuse?! We reflected on the fact that this hostel was maybe a little young for us, but what the heck, you have to try it! And off to bed we went. Although our room was directly underneath the bar we were luckily that it shut at 12am when the pub crawl continued down 'pub' street. A word to all hostel owners - stop putting your private rooms in the noisiest part of the hostel, they are more expensive and are most likely for people that would like some peace. Just saying.

After a leisurely morning we waded through the hungover masses down by the pool and approached the reception desk to book in a trip to Angkor Wat. We headed out into Siem Reap and had a look around the markets, had a drink at a bar and went back to catch our tuk tuk to Angkor Wat for the sunset. Our tuk tuk was driven by Lee and he drove us to the ticket office first to get our picture taken that was put on our temple entrance ticket, and then off to Angkor Wat we went. Unfortunately for us we couldn't find the 'big hill' that everyone goes to watch the sunset over the temple, although they only allow 300 people onto it. Instead we wandered through impressive structures and around the grounds and nevertheless got to see a rather impressive sunset from there. Lee drove us back to the hostel where we attempted to have a beer, however Kiwi had a very bad upset tummy that put a bit of a downer on the evening. It was pretty bad timing as we were setting our alarms for 4am to go and see the sunrise ovver Angkor Wat the following morning!

So up at 4am and down to greet Lee waiting by our chariot to take us back to Angkor Wat. Luckily Kiwi was feeling better and the drive was rather stunning, especially as the traffic was halved at that time in the morning. Again we found ourselves trudging the grounds of Angkor Wat looking for a good spot to sit and wait it out. We found a nice spot down by the lake in front of Angkor Wat and settled there. Looking back over our shoulders 15 minutes later and there were literally hoards and hoards of tourist that had gathered. The dark side of Angkor Wat. Much to the delight of the swarming mosquito's hovering on the lake however. We waited a while, got our snaps and decided to have a walk as it was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic. Also, a Chinese woman sat on Jack which was pretty much the last straw.
We waked around the main temple and down a back street where there were further temple ruins to peruse. On the walk back we saw a commotion up ahead and realised there were Monkey's rallying around a poor american girl trying to keep hold of her pack of biscuits. The Monkey's won. Back in the tuk tuk and off we went to look around a further two temples, one of which was used to film a scene in one of the Tomb Raider films - the one with the big tree. Feeling absolutely templed out and thankful that we only signed on for the 'short' trip we arrived back to the hostel for around 11am, booked in for the bus to Phnom Penh the next day and went for a nap. By eck was it a good nap! In the evening we walked out into Siem Reap for a lovely meal and a walk around the night market before a final beer at the bar and an early night.

We got picked up from the hostel at 8am in a mini bus that drove us to a parking lot and got on a different bus to Phnom Penh at 8:30am. We arrived into Phnom Penh at roughly 2:30pm and after walking for about 10 - 15 minutes, managed to locate the hostel ourselves. We were greeted by 'Rock' at the hostel and booked our bus back to Ho Chi Minh along with transport to and from the Killing Fields and Genocide museum the next day, Then we checked into our very basic room. Back down in the common area/restaurant we watched the nightly showing of the Killing Fields and had an early night.

The next morning we had a breakfast of undercooked eggs and awful coffee and set off in an extremely polluted 45 minute tuk tuk ride to the Killing Fields and afterwards the Genocide museum. I shall not write about our experiences here, other than it was a very harrowing but albeit interesting and knowledgeable experience. It is really something that has to be experienced individually rather than written about, well in our opinion. Although I will say that there were plenty of tourists distastefully taking photographs throughout, which was a little disappointing. To top off the day our tuk tuk driver tried to sell us a trip to the shooting range before heading back to the hostel. He didn't seem to understand how odd this was.
Back at the hostel we washed off the grime of Phnom Penh and went out to the Foreign Correspondent's Club for dinner and drinks overlooking the river.

Feeling a little 'touristed' out we spent our remaining day in the hostel common area to plan, sort itinerary and book flights etc. We did witness a disgruntled hostel goer accusing the hostel of giving them fake money, the police were called and when a policeman arrived stood and did absolutely nothing then had a good old laugh with the owner before getting his extremely corrupt behind out of there. It was entertaining, although did have us checking our money back in the room! Our money was real, phew!
In the evening we went back over to the Foreign Correspondent's Club for happy hour and then back to the hostel. Slightly peckish we asked Rock where we could get a pizza from and he offered to get us a 'happy' pizza, to which we politely declined and got a drug free pizza from across the road. Off to bed for an early night again, which was intermittently interrupted by a drunken, drugged traveller throwing up on the balcony outside our room. Lovely.

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Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 21:36 Archived in Cambodia Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises sky temples sunset temple cambodia sunrise palm_trees travelling travelling_honeymoon Comments (0)

Philippines

Boracay

sunny
View Honeymoon Tour on Daft Slags Do..'s travel map.

First things first... there is only one reason to go to Manila and that is to fly out of it again. Perhaps that sounds a little harsh. But it's true.

The flight from Hong Kong was a good one and arriving into Manila we had a two hour wait in the queue for a taxi (which turned out to be a 10 minute drive!) and thus, set a precedent for our general travel experience in the Philippines. We checked into our hotel for the evening and wandered down the street to a nearby 7/11 for supplies. It is hard to describe the general vibe of the area - imagine being in a down trodden, over-populated, smelly, underbelly of a red light district. Well that's what Manila's streets felt like. We sought refuge back in the hotel and ordered a take-away pizza before the following morning's early rise to get back to the airport and fly out of this overbearing city.

So off to Boracay we went, glad to be out of Manila and looking forward to paradise... it was one hell of a travel day, taxi to the airport, flight to Kalibo, coach to the boat, boat to the Island, mini bus to the air bnb. We roughly set off at 8am (although our flight was delayed in true Manila style - voted one of the worlds worst airports. We know why) and arrived at around 8pm that evening.

What followed has merged into one and much to your joy we did not keep a record of day-to-day activities, because quite frankly, there wasn't much. What we had not realised is that due to it being the Chinese New Year holidays and that the Philippines is fairly close to China there would be A LOT of Chinese tourists. A LOT. So the paradise island was not at all what we expected, but i will get back to that.

Our first accommodation on the island was a room in an air bnb house. The house was a little disappointing, an unusable, tiny outside kitchen area, a freezing cold shower, the bins rarely got changed the sheets certainly didn't. Stuff like that. Although the cat had the tiniest kittens which was a highlight of staying there. Tiny animals are cute. We met a couple of people while staying there that we saw on-and-off around the island.

We tried a few of the beaches on the island until we found one that was right for us. Station 3 beach was quieter but the sea was full of algae. Station 2 beach we avoided, it was crammed full of people and we constantly got bombarded with touts selling selfie sticks and dry bag pouches. Puka beach was lovely, although is was a 30 minute side-car ride away and the day we went was incredibly windy, the sea was too violent to enter and the wind kicked up the sand so hard it was like little needles all over your skin. Station 1 beach - we found it! Station 3 leads into station 2 that then leads into station 1, but it was about a 15 - 20 minute walk down the beach to find the right spot, nice and quiet, hardly any algae and only the odd tout walking past.
It was utter and complete paradise, talcum powder sand and the clearest sea water we'd ever seen. We spent most of our days here, sunbathing, reading, playing bat and ball (We got pretty good at bat and ball) and just generally relaxing to the max. In the evenings we often frequented the 'Local Bar' - a little reggae bar off the beaten track down a side street, where every evening there would be live music and the beer cost £0.70 per bottle.

One day we tried another beach called 'Diniwid' that was a short walk from our usual spot, just around the headland. It was a small and quiet beach that led to Spider restaurant that had a nice lookout point, although very popular with tourists that they like to pack in like sheep. We also had a look at the kite surfing beach 'bulabog' at the opposite side of the island, although we didn't dare to go into the sea at this side, as this is what is know to us back home as 'sewage treatment' enough said. On the way back from bulabog beach we took a wrong turn and ended up in the back and beyond walking through slums where children were playing on rubbish heaps and three men were wet shaving a goat.

For our second accommodation we moved literally 50 steps away into MNL hostel, where we had our very own hot shower and they put on specific nights where we got to chat to other travellers and share our thoughts on the Philippines. The hostel was also even closer to one of the restaurants we went to called 'Los Indios Bravos' where the staff knew us by name and served a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

On one of our last days in the Philippines we decided to get off our arses and do an Island hopping trip. We went snorkelling, cliff jumping (well Jack did) off 8 meter high ledges and got a free buffet lunch.

The Philippines is undeniably beautiful, scenic and for those that stay in a five star resort, a complete paradise. Although like the experience of bulabog beach, behind the scenes was chaotic, stuffy and extremely dirty. After moving around so much in the lead up to the Philippines, we had wanted to stay in one place for two weeks and chose Boracay for it's reviews and world renowned beaches. However we should have read on, as nothing prepared us for how busy it was and how much money was pumped into the tourism and not into the island's preservation or conservation. We found that the island was greatly lacking in culture and had we more time, would have explored other areas of the Philippines that had not been (for lack of sounding pretentious) inhabited and exploited by the common tourist. Don't get me wrong though, after a few days of feeling like we would never step foot back in the Philippines, we started to get into the swing of life there and thoroughly enjoyed our time together on the island. We left feeling completely relaxed, well until we got back into Manila...

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Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 22:25 Archived in Philippines Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises boats sunset beach island palm_trees travelling boracay travelling_honeymoon philippenes Comments (0)

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