Captivating Cambodia

Tripoto
24th Nov 2016
Photo of Captivating Cambodia by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)

Day One - Odyssey

Day 1

It was 24th November 2016. Everyone were excited about the expedition that we are about to begin. For some of us it is the first overseas expedition. Moreover, this is the first time we are going to cross an International borders over land.Although the entire trip was planned, we still had confusion regarding the Visa process. As we read through different travel blogs and in-hand experience of fellow travelers who have crossed the borders several times, we were slowly catching up fear. Some said: One must have Multi-Entry Visa while the others suggested to get visa from the Thailand/Cambodia consulate before starting the trip. We never had time to decide which path to take. Moreover, there were fake websites and fake guidelines all over the internet. One of the travel blogger was requesting for money, so that he would provide us the itinerary for successful travel. We ignored all of that..A Wise Man once said: Life is all about taking risks. If you never take a risk, you will never achieve your dreams.That's Right! We prepared ourselves to take the risk crossing an international border over land. What we had in our hand prior to boarding the flight was just the e-Visa for entering Cambodia. Also we had booked a minivan that would take us to the Thailand Border (Aranyaprathet). From the border, we are on our own. I know you can already feel how scary it was for us to enter a country where law is not maintained and the people do not speak the language that we speak and there are landmines , yes LANDMINES which are still ALIVE. The only language that works there is "Money".Alright... Let me not scare you further and continue with the journey.

We cleared the immigration at Mumbai International Airport. Now we are technically not in India.

We boarded the flight and reached Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand. We were walking towards the immigration with lot of questions in our mind. But the primary one is: How to re-enter Thailand during our return from Cambodia?At this point you might wonder why we would like to enter Thailand once again... That's because our return flight to India was from Thailand. We stumbled upon an information desk at the airport, where we tried speaking to a lady who scarcely spoke English, but she called few other immigration officers and confirmed that we can get a re-entry visa at the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border. We were still not convinced with the authenticity of the information that was received at the information desk and the attendee wrote us a note in Thai Language to show to the immigration officer. Once we reached the immigration desk, we were asked to fill the Visa on Arrival forms and they also called the border and confirmed that we can get a re-entry visa in the Aranyaprathet Border. This is the moment that we were waiting for and it was worth the risk that we took.We cleared the immigration and called our Minivan guy (Mr.Yut).

He was so generous and took us to the border on time, where we acquired the re-entry visa(single re-entry) to enter Thailand during our return from Cambodia. We then walked towards the Cambodian Border (Poipet) and filled the forms and got stamped. Yay!! We are now in Cambodia!!

We took a private shuttle from Poipet to Siem Reap. We reached Siem Reap at around 11 PM in the night. But the place where we were dropped wasn’t the place we had to go. These locals are not trustworthy and they are like minded. The shuttle dropped us in the location that is far away from the Siem Reap city and that is the place where you get Tuk-Tuks (Motorcycle/Rickshaw Mashup). This guy who walked in to the shuttle kind of scared everyone since we refused to pay the money. We refused to pay because the deal was to drop us in the hotel and not in some dark alley on the back roads of Siem Reap. There were two foreigners along with us, who got scared and paid the money the Tuk-Tuk guys asked and went with them to the hotel. Please do not judge us as heroes... But we are in no position to pay the money for what they have done. We walked all the way towards the hotel ( roughly 4 kms ).. The trick here was to use the offline maps by Triposo Inc that we pre-loaded to our mobile prior to the trip. We are the #GeoGeeks and we are built to do this kind of stuff.

Once we reached the hotel (Okay 1 Villa - The best hotel with great service in terms of food, cleanliness and hospitality), the time was already 12AM. We settled down in our rooms. We were tired and couldn’t move as we spent the entire day traveling/crossing borders by all possible means. The next day is going to be a whole new day as we are going to explore the remnants of Kingdom of Cambodia!

Day Two - Excitement & Adrenaline

Day 2

Started at around 11 in the morning, we have decided to cover two temple complexes called the "Angkor Wat" and the "Angkor Thom" on this day without judging how big the temple is going to be. So we hired a Tuk-Tuk to go to the Ticket Center. It took us 15 minutes to reach the ticket center, where we bought 3 day pass for ourselves and then from there we headed towards to the Angkor Wat complex. When we landed there, we saw a spectacular sight of Angkor Wat. But then something was missing from the photographs that we saw online. Yes, the water body in front of the temple complex was missing. For a moment, I thought it was summer and the water must have evaporated but there is no sign of the water bed at all, which was nearly impossible to believe. We explored different sides of the temple and then we headed towards the exit. While exploring the temple complex and admiring the beauty of the sculptures and making up our own stories from the carving and relating the carving to Indian Mythology, we ended up with two missing people. We could not find Prasad & Dipak. At this point, we have decided to stay together no matter how vast the temple complex is to explore and how slower it could be to explore every nook and corner of the temple complex. As we were slowly approaching the exit, we realized that the Tuk-Tuk guys have actually dropped us in the exit of Angkor Wat complex, which is a good thing in a way. Because, the entrance to the complex was flooded with nearly some 200+ people (actual figure might be more). We had some refreshments and then we planned to head towards the next temple complex, which is Angkor Thom. We have asked a police guy, who was flaunting his Honda CB1000 who told us the complex is just 10 minutes away. We walked and walked and walked and walked... And then realized that the walk is not 10 minutes away. Whatever we saw in map is not a perfect scaled image.. Coz, there is no scale to the map. What an idiots we were to decide to take the walk.

We took a tuk-tuk again to reach the Angkor Thom complex. When we reached there, the time was almost 5PM. This is where we met Prasad and Dipak, who flew towards us and said that they have already completed everything in Angkor Thom Complex(that statement is still under investigation, coz Flash is the only fastest man alive :P and these two cannot be Flash or his sidekicks). We covered Bayon and walked towards Phimenakas but we were not allowed to go up, since it was already 5.30PM and the gates are closed at 5.30 PM. But the security allowed us to go inside and asked us to complete the monument and not to go to the top. It was a structure that was built like once of those flat top pyramids(in the front) but when you go to the back of it, you will actually find a reclining Buddha who is kinda camouflaging into the structure. This is where the day ended and this is where we realized that we cannot complete these structures if we start late or go by the scale-less maps.

We headed towards the room and then went to night market, talked to people from different countries, bargained with the locals to get some souvenirs to India, had a really good an fresh ice-cream rolls that were made in front of you based on your choice of natural flavor. And then I saw that the ice-cream guy had a Honda Grom aka MSX125 (MotoStreetXtreme). That is it, he had my attention there and then I went to him like a kid and asked him to give me the bike to take a picture with me on it. He said YES! When we finished the Ice-Cream and went to the room, the time was already 30 past 12. We decided to get up early in the morning, so that we can cover most of the sites.

Day Three - Late Start & Finding Sandy

Day 3

We did not get up early. All those walks took a hit on our body. We were so tired, we woke up late in the afternoon. However we hurried and covered the Tomb-Raider famous Ta Phrom temple first and then headed towards the other complexes on the way. On this day, we covered almost everything that we missed the previous day even though we started late. The trick here is to take the Tuk-Tuk wherever you go. Word of Advice to people: Hire a tuk-tuk guy for the days of visit and he wont charge much if you are good with bargaining. We are Indians, we bargain a lot.

After completing Ta Phrom, we headed towards the Terrace of elephants, Royal Palace(it was there once), the pool (Sras Srang), sunset at Phnom Bakeng, etc. If you look at this place in the map, you would just find trees, because everything is covered in the shadows of these trees. And this time while we were exploring this complex, we lost Sandy. Everyone had reached the tuk-tuk but not Sandy. It was getting dark and we were afraid due to the fact that no one had phone with the SIM or the wifi-network. How stupid of me to expect wifi in a jungle? Ashwin and I decided to go back to the tracks through which we reached the roads. As we head towards Bapuan, there were many tracks heading in every direction and we started to think that Sandy might have taken some other track. But we continued with hope that he might not have reach this point and started yelling his name until we reached Bapuan and saw him capturing the photos there. Then we all headed towards the room and had dinner and slept. Some of the mates decided to go out in the night again, but few of us stayed. Because we do not want to miss anything the next day.

Day Four - Adios Kingdom of Cambodia

Day 4

It was 4.30 AM in the morning and I called Ashwin from my room and made sure he is awake. We have decided to wake up others, so that we get to see the sunrise. The previous day, I had told the tuk-tuk guys to come early at 5AM. Once I took bath, I went down and made sure that they arrived. They were on time. Some of us were still sleeping, since they reached room late in the night like 1AM. You see why some of us decided to stay back in the room? We somehow made everyone stick to the schedule and we headed towards Pre-rup, where we saw the sunrise.

And then we covered Ta Som, Neak Pen and Preah Khan and back to the room at around 11.30 in the morning.

Our Mini Van was ready and we said GoodBye to Siem Reap and headed towards the Poipet-Aranyaprathet border. We reached the border at around 2.30 PM and cleared the immigration process in no time and we waited for our generous Mr.Yutt to arrive.

He took us to a Hotel where we had some good food. And then we headed towards Bangkok to our Hotel at Sukhumvit. It took us 3 u turns to find the Hotel and we were did donuts again and again in the same road until we figured that the Hotel was inside the gully. We were under an impression that the hotel name was Capital. But the actual name is "Waterford Diamond". You will never find such massive rooms for such a less price tag. I was surprised and impressed. The rooms that we took were like a 3 BHK flat in an apartment. We took 2 rooms in the hotel. Once we settled in our rooms, some of us (Ashwin, Prasad, Sandy and I) went out and decided to have some Indian Food. Although the food was amazing, the bill wasn't. It was the expensive Indian Food that I ever had in my life.

Day Five - Bye Bye Bangkok and Back to Bombay

Day 5

We had plans to visit Grand Palace and Wat Pho temple in Bangkok. These open at around 10 AM in the morning. So we started at around 9 to reach early. But all our plans were shattered to pieces by the traffic in Bangkok. The palace was just 9kms away from the Hotel and yet, it would take us 45 minutes to reach there. On top of that, the Uber taxi that we booked would only reach us after 15 minutes, which made it to an hour. By calculating the time to get there, explore and then come back to room, we have decided to stay put in the hotel itself, since we might miss the flight to India, if we had decided to be the explorers. Since there was nothing in the plan, we have decided to head out for breakfast. We saw McD on the map and headed towards it. But there wasn't a McD in that location. We walked past "Thong La". Believe me! It is the name of the place, where we found a good cafe called "Goodfellas". They served amazing coffee and sandwich. About the Sandwich, I ordered a smoked salmon sandwich, which turned out to be tasteless. But the coffee was really great.

Once we headed back to the hotel and once Divyank had settled the money transactions with the Hotel, we booked our Ubers. Four people left first and they got Toyota Fortuner. We were like "Wow"... Then came our Uber, which was a pickup truck... A dream come true... I traveled in a pickup truck.... But still not the one that I wanted ofcourse... But it was fulfilling...We reached the airport and finished immigration check. Then we headed towards the food point, where we had our choice of food. Then announced the boarding of our flight. And there you go... We were off to India...Last but not least, Thanks to Vish, CEO of Cybertech Systems and Software and Raman Sir for co-sponsoring the trip. And also thanks to everyone who wished us success. It was a great overseas road trip we have ever done. Next time, on motorcycles.... What say???

Action Cameras: Garmin Virb Ultra 30 & Garmin Virb XE

DSLRs: Nikon D5200 with 18-105mm, NikonD5300 with 35mm prime and Canon EOS 500D.

Smartphones: Oneplus Two and Oneplus One

Software: Google Snapseed (editing completely done using an Android Smartphone)

Sleepless waiting at CSIA - Coz of Night Shift

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)

Food Time - Tastes good

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)

What a view in the morning

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)

On the way to Ticket center

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)

Rear view of Angkor Wat Complex

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)

Ashwin

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)

Met some friends (if someone recognizes them, please DM me)

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)

These Monks are very casual and they are on Facebook

Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Bangkok Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Amphoe Muang Chachoengsao, Thailand by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Poipet, Cambodia by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
Photo of Poipet, Cambodia by Jegan Somu (motowanderer)
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