Sunday, 11 August 2013

Kingdoms on the travel route

Happy Sunday!

The Golden Triangle
After a long brunch with my family, I now find the time to post about my second part (first part here) of the South-East Asia experience: Thailand & Cambodia.

We entered Thailand at the Golden Triangle that is famous for drug smuggling (no, we didn't!) and then continued our route to Chiang Mai, in the northern part of the kingdom. On our way we passed Chiang Rai with its famous white temple that I adored: more an artwork than a religious site, the temple is all in white and the painting in the inside consist of comic figures such as Superman or Jack Sparrow.
As I love cooking I enrolled for a cooking class in Chiang Mai, where I cooked a spicy prawn soup, red curry (favourite!), hot papaya salad and pad thai. Everything was very tasty and I got an insight how the delicious Asian dishes are prepared. Just be careful when it comes to the term "spicy": our chef told us that 1 chili is soft, 2-5 is medium and more than 5 is hot. Since my friend and I were up for medium, we chose to put 2 chili. Believe me, I hardly couldn't finish my dish.
After only a short stay in northern Thailand, we headed towards the South, to the famous capital of Bangkok. We stayed in the middle of the centre, next to lively Koh Sun Road. In Bangkok I visited the overcrowded Grand Palace, was overwhelmed by the great shopping malls in downtown, did a boat trip through the canals and walked around the city for more than four hours. Actually, after two weeks of travelling, Bangkok was the place I felt really exhausted at. Within the three day I relaxed a lot at the pool, in the hotel room or in small cafes to write postcards. The unquestioned highlight was the skybar where Hangover 2 was filmed and that has an spectacular view over the city!
White Temple
Spicy Papaya Salad
Street market
Canal tour
In Bangkok lots of the other travelers left us, so that my roomie and I were put together with an entire new group. Together we went for the kingdom of Cambodia, the last country on my travel route. Arrived in Siem Reap quite late in the night, we concentrated on the next day: Angkor Wat, the biggest temple town in the world. With a small group of three others and a Cambodian guide, we went up at 4AM and spent 10 hours at places where Lara Croft was filmed and where Buddhism and Hinduism converge. Our guide was a very intelligent person who not only told us something about the temples and symbols, but also about Cambodian life itself.
First thing back in hotel was a three hours nap.
The next day we went to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, situated next to the Mekong River. The first night we had dinner in a restaurant where I ate a tarantula spider (my mom thinks I am crazy - but it tasted like chicken). The following day I fully dedicated to the horrible genocide that happened 35 years ago when one third of Cambodia's population was killed by the Khmer Rouge,. After having visited the genocide museum S21 (a prison at that time), we went to the so-called killing fields where more than 80 mass graves where found after the regime had stopped. I have never heard of this tragedy before and was therefore very touched by all the stories, places and relics. Currently reading a book - three weeks after visiting - I nearly cry on every page.

Despite only four weeks in this different world, I learnt so much about history, culture and life that I don't want to miss. I saw lots of poorness and know why I donate my clothes and money to charity organisations and realise how blessed I am. During my trip I met so many people who traveled much more than I did so far and who inspired my to see lots of different places in our diverse world.
That's been all to my trip, but if you have any further questions to my trip, just leave me a comment. I will be happy to reply!

Enjoy your week!
Angkor Wat
Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider temple)

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