Travel Bites: Siem Reap, Kingdom of Cambodia

Collect moments not things.

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My vacation in Cambodia is literally a random trip after knowing that my friend, Morgen is leaving Germany to teach in Siem Reap for couple of months. I bought my air tickets 2 days before my departure, at first I was thinking to stay in the country for only 3 days but then again, I booked my hotel reservation and my flights for 5 days without any intentions.

Day 1

Arriving in Siem Reap is not so okay, my tuk-tuk driver was late for almost 30 minutes because the hotel staff forgot about my arrival day. Since my tuk-tuk driver was not around, I was forced to buy a local sim card to call them and pick me up. I rarely buy local sim cards knowing that i’ll be in the country for a short period of time.

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Blue Indigo Yoga Cottage

Meeting Morgen is like the continuation of our conversations in India and in Germany. Of course, she’s very energetic and vocal! She toured me around her yoga sanctuary ‘ The Blue Indigo Yoga Cottage.’ Inside, I met her co teacher and roommate, Jin from China. After some ‘cuentos’ we attended Jin’s flow class and there I met her friend Mikey from the UK and some of the Guests in Blue Indigo like Alana from USA/Honduras, Valerie from Austria, the couple Sam and Marie from the Philippines and happens to work in Singapore like me. After the class, we decided to have dinner together in an Indian Restaurant; most of us are vegetarian, which is really cool.

My first day/night in the city is full of laughter despite the fact that the hotel pick me up so late.

Day 2

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Hot Afternoon indeed!

Alana, Morgen and I decided to visit some temples. Our tuk-tuk driver took us to Bayon and Ta Prohm. It was very hot but the ruin temples are beautiful, the growing trees, the preserved religious carvings are worth to see.

After visiting these temples we had our fruit shakes and decided to go back to the Yoga Cottage to have our lunch. In the evening, Mikey gave his time to teach the yoga flow class and after it was Jin who conducted the Yin Yoga class. And of course after the class all of us went out for dinner but this time in a fusion restaurant in the heart of the Night Market. There I met another of Jin’s friends Sam and her mum from Malaysia and Edita from Czech Republic.

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Hello Night Market!

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Fish Spa and my hairy legs. Oooppsss

After dinner, Morgen, Alana, Valerie and I decided to walk around the market and let Jin and her friends have their own mini reunion. We went off and checked some Buddha/ Elephant pants, along the way we tried the ‘fish spa’, I was freaking out while trying this out but Morgen and Alana were just enjoying the moment. As for Valerie, she’s enjoying her night shopping! After the spa and the shopping we tried yummy yogurts to finish the night.

Day 3

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Funny Moments with these two

Alana and I decided to visit the Angkor Wat, since Morgen can not make it because of her yoga classes in the cottage. Randomly, I decided to invite Paul to join us. Paul is from the UK, he’s a yogi traveler and currently exploring Asia. Anchor Wat is beautiful, from its very detailed stone carvings to its well preserved buildings. After visiting the Angkor Wat we went to a smaller temple called Preah Khan, we had so much fun, from taking candid shots, ‘stiff pictures’ to yoga pictures. Before we ended our tour for a lunch, we decided to visit the Angkor Wat again for sun rise.

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Preah Khan

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Warrior Temple

In the afternoon,back in Blue Indigo Yoga Cottage, I volunteered to teach the Yoga flow class. Afterwards, Edita (Jin’s friend) volunteered to teach Yin’s class. After the yoga classes, we had dinner at the night market with Paul, Alana, Valerie, Morgen, Me and Mintoi (new guest in the cottage). After our dinner, I was able to buy a patch flag of Cambodia, something that I can put in my travelling bag.

Day 4

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Morning Divine with the Angkor Wat

I woke up around 3:30 am to prepare for our Angkor Wat sunrise journey, I was with Paul, Alana, the couple Sam and Marie. Before heading straight to the temple, our tuk-tuk driver sent us to the ticket office. While the couple were buying tickets, Sam came to us and told us that they won’t be able to join us because Marie is suddenly vomiting and not feeling well. And so off we go.

The 3 of us again. Alana, Paul and I.

Inside the temple, we waited for the sun patiently to come out. Maybe it was not our day, Mr. Sun was hiding behind the clouds but then again, Paul who’s very eager to have some good pictures was able to capture Angkor Wat and its reflection on the water. And in my case, I forced Alana to have a yoga picture in the old library building.

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Virabhadrasana Alana

The morning was just beginning, but we decided to go back to Blue Indigo, Alana packed her things for her next travel which is Chang Mai, Thailand. Paul and I had breakfast near his hotel. After our breakfast I headed back to my hotel room and had shower. When I return to the Yoga Cottage Valerie was not there anymore, I missed to say goodbye to this beautiful lady. Alana is waiting for her departure time, and while she’s waiting, she’s crazy teasing me that I will miss her and that I will cry once she left. Crazy Gringa!

After lunch, it’s time for Alana to leave. I gave her a huge hug same as with Paul. My afternoon vibe changed right away, two sweet, funny and energetic ladies already left the cottage. We still have long time for the next yoga flow class which will be conducted by Rochelle, another in-house Yoga teacher from the UK and Jin who will be teaching the Yin Class. Paul, Morgen and I decided to do some acro-yoga, all of us are beginners. It was very fun doing such partner yoga acrobatics. Afterwards Jin and Rochelle join us practising different kinds of asanas, from inversions to back bends.

My last night.

My last night. My last night was very different from the rest. First of all, Alana and Valerie was not there anymore. Morgen was not feeling well. The couple, Sam and Marie have their own ‘gala’, Mintoi was with another new guest. Jin was entertaining her friends; and so Paul and I went to visit Chamkar Vegetarian Restaurant. It was a beautiful place that serves authentic vegetarian / local food.

The evening was so young and fresh after a little shower from the sky. Paul and I had a an amazing conversation about life, pain, yesterday, tomorrow, future, yoga, family, dreams, career and life. I learned so much from this man. And I quote what he told me and i’ll never forget ‘Being happy all the time is not possible, but aim for most of the time and when you are sad, accept it, don’t deny it, but don’t wallow in it. Just allow it to pass, like a cloud and then the sky is clear again.’

Day 5

My last day.

My last day was full of self reflection. I did not expect that I will enjoy Siem Reap because of the people the I met. God really has amazing plans in our lives. If I booked my air tickets and hotel reservation for only 3 days, maybe I will not be able to know these beautiful souls. Paul, Morgen and I had our last lunch together.

I was so emotional that I don’t want to talk, I just want to look at them and be with them. It was so hard to leave the place especially if you know that you already made a special bond with one another.

But then it’s time to leave, God is amazing because I have the same flight with the Filipino couple.

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with Paul and Morgen after lunch

Flying to Singapore.

It’s my first time to cry inside the airplane not because I don’t want to leave the place but because I don’t want to leave the special people in my life. Thank goodness nobody’s next to me inside the air craft.

Cambodia reminded me so much about life, that we always need to be humble, to be grateful, that we need to celebrate both happiness and sadness, that we need to love ourselves and other people.

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Sad Goodbye, Siem Reap! 🙁

PS. The next day I was sick, I had 39.9 fever. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t about the food in Cambodia, I had tonsillitis. Siem Reap Withdrawal Syndrome.

Below are some random clips during my trip. Enjoy!

Mark Louie Maycong