A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about temples

Cambodia

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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)

Malaysia pt. 2

Penang

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

On a sweltering Monday morning we took a coach from Kuala Lumpur to Penang Island. It was a four hour coach ride and we even had lunch included in the price. We had requested a vegetarian lunch for Kiwi only to be offered a "chicken sausage" to which was refused and then a chicken and egg sandwich arrived (one was chicken that looked like ham and the other egg) They got it 50% right, sigh.

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Alas! We arrived at the bus station in Penang and hailed a taxi to take us to George Town. George Town was a welcomed surprise - lovely old colonial buildings lined the pavements and the sun glaring down on the buildings made you feel as if you had stepped back to a world gone by,

We were dropped off by the taxi man (Texting for 20 of the 25 minute journey) Nerves a little on edge we soon found our feet and located our hostel further along the road. The Frame Guest House - http://www.theframeguesthouse.com/ We had a lovely welcome on arrival and were shown to our private room, basic facilities and a shared bathroom but all you could desire for a few nights. We ventured straight out to into the town and realised we were in the backpackers area of George Town, it had a great atmosphere and plenty of hustle and bustle around. We headed down "Love Lane" and found a quaint jazz bar opposite the cat cafe for refreshments. Afterwards we went back to the hostel for a nap and a refreshing cold shower. In the evening we went for pizza and beer at a reggae bar then an early night after a long day of travel.

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The room we had turned out to be near the stairs and therefore rather noisy with heavy footed travellers pounding past all night. After an interrupted night’s sleep we arose early and went to break our fast on a toast and coffee that the hostel offered. We walked down to the harbour front through the shaded pavements of the old colonial buildings and caught the free ferry over to a town called Butterworth, from which we located the train station and purchased our tickets for onward travel to Thailand the coming Friday. Once back across to Penang we got the bus to the nearby beach Batu Ferringi, (Costing £0.37 for a 45 minute drive)
The beach had an overwhelming feeling of abandonment with few people around, although still beautiful. It was hit in the 2004 Tsunami and seemed like it was still recovering, we stayed for a couple of hours and swam in the bath like waters of the sea then left this haunting place and back into George Town. The evening was much of the same and we both had a Pad Thai costing only £1 each.

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With a better night’s sleep under our belt (we got given free ear plugs at the hostel and Kiwi wore them for the first time – what a treat!) we got up early to beat the crowds at Penang Hill. After the bus ride there we then had to take an almost vertical tram 700ft up. However terrifying the view was worth it – we could see the whole of Penang Island just as the clouds were breaking and even the bridge over to mainland Malaysia. It proved better to have gotten up so early as on the way down the tram queue was packed out. During the bus ride back we decided to get off and visit the Kek Lok Si Temple, one of the largest in Malaysia. The street where the bus dropped us was full of traders selling their wears and we had to weave in and out in the baking heat to find our way to the temple.
Kek Lok Si Temple with its impressive structures and brightly coloured buildings loomed over us. To get to it one had to go through a long cobbled maze, winding up and round with shop keepers at every turn selling anything from water to Spanish flamenco outfits. There was a small bridge with turtles swimming all around on the way up, but again up and around along the never ending path with hand written signs leading the way.
Once we reached the top we were so hot and bothered it was an effort to take it in. We joined the scores of tourists taking photographs and appreciating its beauty. Incandescent Buddha statues shone brilliantly with the illuminating scent of incense from passers by offering prayer. We found a peaceful garden further up and sat in the shade, decorated with stone turtles across the lawn and the sound of water trickling from a nearby trough was thoroughly relaxing.
Back down into the street and realising what a juxtaposition the two places were in such close proximity, we caught the bus back into George Town to chill at the hostel and opted for another cold shower.
In the evening we headed out for dinner, not knowing what we were quite in the mood for we kept walking on. Down Love Lane, around the corner and down the wonderful street full of the lovely colonial buildings and to the end… then we saw it. Bright lights glistening behind trees just off to the right, Red Garden Food Paradise! It was like a secret world unbeknownst to passers-by. Once inside we found it busy with locals, travellers and holiday makers with a vast array of food on offer. Kiwi opted for a pad thai and Jack had a Thai Green Curry (a flapper, as he would say) The food was absolutely delicious and a fraction of the price in the busier back packer area. Just as we had finished eating the heavens opened once more and a storm was in full flow, no point trying to fight it so we ordered another beer and enjoyed the entertainment – a small stage with four singers taking it in turns to perform, along with the head guy on keyboard adorned in a cowboy hat.
An enjoyable evening!

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On arrival at the hostel we were given a map of the area which pointed out local sights. The next morning we set off to walk around George Town and follow the street art tour. Impressive paintings and drawings were found all over George Town, some the span of a whole building, others hidden away behind a shop door and even inside some buildings.
We walked down to the pier and around a beautiful sunlit park and across to George Town’s impressive town hall – a great white building that stood out among its neighbours. Afterwards we visited George Town’s camera museum. Jack found it very informative and they had one whole room as a pin hole camera projecting the image of two men at work out on the street. In the evening we went to the Red Garden Food Paradise again and enjoyed much of the same as the previous night, with the exception of stopping beforehand to do laundry (exciting!)

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Next stop... Thailand!

J & K xx

Posted by Daft Slags Do.. 21:57 Archived in Malaysia Tagged landscapes beaches temples honeymoon malaysia penang travelling georgetown travelling_honeymoon penang_hill Comments (2)

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