Four months ago I remember looking at my calendar app on my phone counting down the days till I was to return back to the United States, daunted my the large number that stood in front of me and home. Yet, three weeks into my program I realized I never wanted to leave this part of the world and decided to push my flight home back by a few weeks, extending my time abroad even longer.
Our Vietnam abroad program ended and four of my new friends and I decided to pack our backpacks for a week and head off to a bus station to embark on long journey to Cambodia. The first leg of the journey was a 6 hour bus ride to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. After a hectic time crossing the border and getting a Visa, I was able to step foot into a country that I had been wanting to visit since I was little.
Cambodia holds a special place in my heart. My two cousins were adopted from this country and I have been privileged to watch them grow up. I was excited to get to visit their both country as well as explore the world. My time in this country was met with welcoming people, delicious food, and HOT weather. I was so fortune to have the opportunity to travel here, and went to bed thanking God for my cousins every day.
Our itinerary for Cambodia consisted of visiting Angkor Wat, the largest religious site in the world and one of the man-made wonders of the world. It stretched 402 acres outside of Siem Reap and is a must see! These beautiful and ancient temples were worth the ticket price and the amount we sweated in the heat. Taxis are not a thing in Cambodia so we payed for a Tuk Tuk driver, to take us around for the day.
Our second stop in Southeast Asia on our backpacking trip was Bangkok, Thailand. We flew from Siem Reap to Bangkok and after a LONG wait through immigration and a LONG taxi ride in city traffic, we arrived at our Airbnb.
Honestly, I hated Bangkok as soon as I entered. The traffic was overwhelming and the expansiveness of the city was frightening to a small town Connecticut resident. However, as soon as I ate dinner I fell in love with this city, proving my first impressions to be false.
Bangkok was filled with beautiful temples, boat rides down the river, and shopping. But the real focus of our time in this city was on food. So let’s recap (some) of the meals I ate.
Night One: Imagine this! A bucket of seafood in a garlic and butter sauce, dumped onto a table covered in wax paper. Then you are given gloves and told to go at it. HEAVEN! Utensils are overrated anyway! We also indulged in my first ever Pad Thai & went to a dessert bar to celebrate one of our friend’s birthday.
Night Two: We figured out the subway system and traveled to Victory Monument to walk through the street food stalls. We food hopped and ate a total of 9 meals. From pad thai (round 2) to Thai donuts, to Boat noodles, and meat skewers! By the end of the night we were stuffed.
Day Three: We spent the day touring temples so by lunch time we were starving. So we headed to China Town to indulge in the most amazing food I have ever tasted. Fortune cookies, shrimp toast, and ginger dumplings were by far some of the favorites.
Night Three: We headed back to China town for dinner and found what we had been looking for…MANGO STICKY RICE! So we ate dessert before dinner. Then we found oyster omelettes and the best pad thai I have ever eaten. It was wrapped in an egg and served as an omelette, with lime and chili flakes.
Up until this trip, I had never been outside of the United States, I didn’t even have a passport. But I have seen so much of the world and cannot wait to keep traveling. Bangkok did not disappoint. I gained a few pounds, added several stamps to my passport, formed lifelong friendships with my travels buddies, and sweated buckets.
Now it’s back to Saigon, Vietnam to spend the week further exploring the city that has stolen my heart from day one.
Sincerely, your wanna be world traveler.