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Friday, November 6, 2015

10D9N to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

with Jack, Carmen, Andrew, Beverly and the fiance (heh!)
on 16-26 September 2015

It's been like more than a month since we came home from our very first backpack trip. We initially thought that travelling through 3 countries in ten days should be fine. Wrong! A bit too packed since to travel from one country to the other takes at least 8 hours and above. That's a lot of 8 hours that we had. Not to mention the 12 hours midnight ride from Bangkok to Koh Phangan. Heh. 

Anyways, I have no idea how I'm going to fit all 10 days of experience into one post so I am trying here to summarize as much as I can, yet not to lose out on the interesting things that happened! 

Packing was the first challenge for me. I had no whatsoever idea how to fit all the things that I wanted to bring in that backpack, which was a real struggle because I left behind half of the things that I wanted to bring. Turns out, there were a bunch of things that I really wanted needed and it was not in the backpack. Sad betul. Partly also because I won't be able to carry too heavy of a load, if not my spine sure bengkok lagi.




The planning prior to this trip was already posted before the trip even begins, so you may want to start there :)

WARNING: NO DOUBT IT'S GOING TO BE A REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY LONG POST. I'VE WARNED YOU, SO READ ME ONLY WHEN YOU HAVE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES OF SPARE TIME BECAUSE YOU MAY WANT TO STOP AND ENJOY THE PHOTOS OR RE-READ ME. HEH. ENJOY!

SIXTEEN - EIGHTEEN OF SEPTEMBER

PENANG-KUALA LUMPUR-HO CHI MINH

It was my first time taking a mid-noon flight, so the excitement didn't really kick in until when I left to Koay's house for a lunch date at Genting Kopitiam. 

While writing this, I just realized that our hashtag team name for this trip really is very accurate. From the very start of the trip till the very end, we have had a series of tiok-cheh-kia moment, hence the name #tiokchehkiabackpackers. 

This will be the first one for Koay and I. 

TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #1


We were having some trouble to get someone to fetch us to the airport, but I confidently told him that I've got it covered and planned for Uber to get us there because I've received some free rides from Uber. He was not very confident that there will be Uber available near is area because it was a Public Holiday, to which I explained that the Public Holiday is the reason that there will be many more Uber drivers around. 


One thing about Uber though is that there is no such thing as pre-book service, so he was very nervous because if we couldn't find an Uber driver, we might miss our flight to KL. 

So at 12pm, we decided to call for one and get to airport earlier. While I was using the app to get a ride, I searched for the special code (for free ride) and key-ed them into the promo code box. THEN, IT SAYS THAT THE PROMO CODE FOR THIS FREE RIDE IS ONLY APPLICABLE FOR FIRST TIME USERS. 

G!

To cut the story short, we made few calls and finally his mom was able to get us to the airport. Wah, I feel so embarrassed okay. I was so confident that it will be a free ride  to the airport. We didn't want to pay for the ride because we have quite limited ringgits and wanted to bring them for the trip. Now, Koay will and has been using this against me. Bleh. 

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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #2

It was our turn to check in our backpacks so I handed in all our passports and e-tickets that I printed in the office. Then, the MAS man behind the counter raised both his eyebrows. Oh oh not a good facial expression and definitely not the kind that you want to see when you check-in. 

He asked about our returning to Malaysia and we told him that it's a backpack trip so we're gonna probably take the train home, but we haven't purchase any tickets yet. Then, he showed me on his work screen on some terms and conditions. Basically, it says that we need a proof to show to Vietnam's Immigration Officer (upon arrival at HCM) that we will not stay in the city for more than 30 days. Since we don't have like a returning ticket, we will need some kind of other proof. 

That was like an hour before our flight departs. KAN CHEONG TO THE MAX.

Without any proof, he cannot let us board the flight to fly to Vietnam because he fears that Vietnam might send us back upon arrival. So, our only option at that time was to get a proof of some sort. We cannot get the train tickets from Bangkok to Penang because we might want to go to some islands before we head back. In the end, we decided to purchase online bus tickets from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh. We stormed to MAS office like superheroes okay. 

They cleared us in the end and we managed to board the flight. 

So, that my dear friends, was once in a lifetime experience. Never again I would like experience this kind of adrenaline rush thank you. 

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Penang - KL 
MH1149
2:45pm - 3:45pm

The journey was okay-okay if you ask me. It's a very short one so nothing much to feel also. I initially thought that the domestic flight's plane will not have entertainment on board so I went to get a magazine, which I never even read throughout the entire backpack trip. I can feel Koay's deadly stare at me now. Hah.



Travel tip: Always bring an earphone with you whenever you travel, especially if you're going to fly. As far as I know/experienced, headphones will be given to you for all international flights but they will take it back when the plane is about to land, usually there's still like 15 minutes left. So, with your own earphones, you won't have to stop midway while watching your favorite TV series. For domestic flights, you can still use their in-flight entertainment but they won't provide headphones, so imagine watching without sound. HORRIBLE FEELING. 

Back to this. We got to KLIA and everyone was kinda feeling hungry. We walked around, explored the other Terminal and decided to eat at Old Town in the end. Expensive but probably the cheapest we could find at that time. 

KL - Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh)
MH 766
5:50pm - 6:45pm (Ho Chi Minh's local time)


TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #3


We arrived at Tan So Nhat International Airport in one piece and our excitement kicked in already right. So, at the immigration counters as we were all lining up, I decided to take a panorama view which was not allowed (I forgot at that time!) and happily chatting away until this happened.

"YOU! COME HERE!"

A Vietnamese man behind the counter stood up, walked to the counter in front of us, pointed at me with his index finger and shouted that. I knew instantly that it was because of the photo. 

Now imagine this okay. At the immigration counter, it is usually (MOST OF THE TIME) very quiet. No one talks other than the immigration officers. With that being said, everyone and I mean EVERYONE there was looking at me. I walked to the shouting officer's counter and said, "It's the photo, isn't it?"

Got nerve to ask like that some more. Then he smiled. HE SMILED AT ME and nodded his head and asked me POLITELY to delete them, which I obviously did. 

So, in everyone's head, I was shouted at by this really fierce dude but the truth is, he's so nice. He smiles so warmly at me and I bet no one saw that! So, I became that "poor girl kena yelled at, at the airport for taking photos when the sign already says no photo!"

I was embarrassed. Very embarrassed. I wonder if any famous blogger were to do that (innocently of course), he will react the same. He was really loud and fierce okay.



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Ho Chi Minh is 1-hour behind Malaysia, so after 1 hour and 55 minutes of flying with MAS, we reached HCM at 6:45pm (7:45pm in Malaysia). Hungry of course definitely.

Guess what I ate first after we checked in?

BANH MI OF COURSE! :)

It's not a kind of noodle dish. It's Vietnamese sandwich and you can easily find them by the street of HCM or Hanoi. Vietnam is starting to grow on me because of their food. Mmm.



TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #4

We walked out from the airport and already there were so many taxis around. We asked one taxi driver and he was going to charge us 800,000 dongs to send us to Thanh Long Hotel at District 1. That's about RM160! SIAU MEH. That means we have to pay RM40 per person just to get to the hotel, which I google-searched and it's about 20 minutes away with no traffic. Pfft.

We then decided to walk out of the airport area and went to a mall opposite (very nearby) and asked for another taxi from a company called Vinasun. We decided that it was better to go with a metered taxi than a fixed-rate one from the airport. 

GUESS HOW MUCH WE PAID FOR THE WHOLE TAXI?

113,000 dongs! That's like RM23 only! Crazy right. RM23 for the whole taxi, so per person only RM6! The difference damn huge okay. Needless to say, throughout our stay in Vietnam, we only use Vinasun taxis that run on meter, whenever we need one. Most of the time, we walked because there's quite a lot of things to do around the place we stay. 

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Thanh Long Hotel at District 1, highly recommended! 
54, Pham Hong Thai, Ben Thanh Ward, HCM


We've made the booking before the trip (WHICH IS SOMETHING EVERYONE SHOULD SO TO ENJOY THE GOOD RATES. PLEASE DO NOT FOLLOW WHAT WE DID BY LEAVING ALL HOTEL BOOKINGS TO WALK-INS. PRICE WILL BE MORE EXPENSIVE!) and managed to get a room with 2 double beds. 

Perfect for 4 persons. 


The room was clean and proper. Breakfast although just eggs and banh mi bread, was sufficient for us. Actually , they have fried noodles and porridge also but when in Vietnam, don't lah eat at the hotel. Must go street food style. 


After check-in, we went to their Pasar Malam and shopped. Well, actually Koay shopped. Heh. Then, we had beef noodle, Pho (pronounced as fur) by the street and called it a night. 




We got our hotel reception to book a half day tour to Cu Chi Tunnel (price below by Tuan (pronounced as Tun) Travel) so it was early morning in HCM for us. The bus ride was 4 hours so that's more sleeping for us, which is not really a good thing because we sleep too much this trip! And all on moving vehicles so that's really crazy. 



After Cu Chi Tunnel's exploration and getting to use a gun (Carbine) for the first time, we came back and explored the rest of Ho Chi Minh's city on our own. I shall just let the photos do all the talking. It's raining season at Ho Chi Minh, so less tourists everywhere and things are probably a lot cheaper too. Heh.



TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #5

"Babe! Where is the Go-Pro camera?"

Carmen said when we got back to the room from Cu Chi Tunnel.


Turns out, they both had left the camera in the mini-bus and immediately rushed to the receptionist to call Tuan Travel.


To cut the story short, it was in the mini-bus, but they were not able to get it as the mini-bis had left to another place for touring. 


Good thing it's not the real Go-Pro and good thing they were kind enough to 'maybe' mail it back to them to Penang. 


Hopefully they do.


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Also, according to the email from our purchase of bus tickets from Ho Chi Minh - Phnom Penh at the Penang Airport (TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT: #2), we had to go to the travel agency shop and present the email/print-out one day before our departure day to collect the real tickets and we did just that after Cu Chi Tunnel Half Day Tour.




The four of us spent the rest of the day exploring the other sides to the city that we can cover. Since I've been there once many years back, I could remember some of the iconic places that they have to go and see. We walked along the streets, and stopped at any street food stall we could lay our eyes on. At least Koay and I did lah. It's like our tummy can never be full. Heh. 


TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #6

We were at Saigon River's Pier and wanted to make our way to the famous Notre-Dame Cathedral when a few men approached us and signaled to us what seemed like they were offering a bike ride to our desired destination. 

Eh wait. We approached them because we were asking for directions! Ahh yes yes. That's when they offered to fetch us there, to which we immediately politely declined.


If you have been to Vietnam, you would know how crazy their bike-life is. Most bikes do not have side mirrors because to them, honking works better than checking in the mirror to see if there's incoming vehicles. You honk means you win and you get to go first. Vietnamese logic of road-sense. 


So, in all our right minds, we said no thank you and walked away.

Less than 50 steps ahead, our backpack-adventurous-mood kicked in and we turned back and walked towards them and gave it a go. 


Yep, three grown-ups on a normal mirror-less bike, driving through the city like a pro. IT WAS SCARY OKAY! At the same time, it was so much fun. 


What makes it more fun was the fact that I dared to hold my iPhone out to take photos! Now, that's insane when I think back. Oh myyy.


It's listed in the #tiokchehkia list because there was not a second that our hearts were at rest on that bike. Not at all. Every turn has us holding our thighs even tighter, secretly hoping that if we crash, our legs will stand up and save us! Hah. 


Our bike-rider was so friendly that when we were taking a selfie, he turned and smiled. HE TURNED AND SMILED WHILE RIDING THE BIKE WITH OTHER MILLION RIDERS ON THE ROAD. If this is not taking risk, I don't know what is. 


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EIGHTEEN - NINETEEN OF SEPTEMBER
HO CHI MINH-PHNOM PENH

On our last day here, Andrew and Beverly met up at our hotel and we walked to Ben Thanh Market to have brunch and around the area just so that both of them can see a bit of Ho Chi Minh before we leave for Phnom Penh. 

Needless to say, they were completely shocked by the bikers on the road. They've learnt that in order to safely cross the street in Vietnam, just close your eyes, hold your partner's hand and walk across. HAH.

Our HCM-PP's bus leaves at 3:00pm so we didn't really have much time to do anything here, except to buy more food for the trip and wait in the shop because it was too hot outside (what raining season guys!)



TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #7


If you didn't know, this was the incident that gave us the #tiokchehkiabackpackers name for the entire trip. 

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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #8

We were waiting for our Vietnamese Kebab (for pre-dinner in the van) along the street, when a man came to me and start marketing his fake RayBan shades and was pretty persistent I may say. Since I don't have much dongs left, I told him that I've got no more dongs and I obviously already have a sunglasses so means I don't need to spend on another one that is fake. 

His starting price was 400,000 dongs (about RM80) and we thought that was crazy. The bargaining went on for a good 15 minutes and finally I told him that I will only buy if it costs 50,000 dongs (about RM10). That was the price that I was willing to pay for one since I thought that life is harder on him considering now low season for tourists. Also, because I thought that the price was so low that he would walked away himself knowing that I will never buy if it's more than that. 

This guy was persistent I tell you. I walked away and he said loudly, "Okay okay, 50,000 dongs for you!"

HAHAHA! I don't know should feel happy or not also. Hah. But I didn't have enough dongs so gave him RM10 and he took it. 

From RM80 - RM10. I feel my bargaining skill really leveled up kao-kao already! 

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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #9

While TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #7 was happening, the other couple was also having a similar incident.

Except that their encounter is not with someone who sells a kind of product but more of a service. 


This man from a distance must have seen Andrew's sport shoes and noticed a small opening on the front and quickly stormed over to the kebab stall and kept insisting that Andrew lets him fix the opening gap thing. Andrew and Beverly clearly said no probably like a million times but was ignored kao-kao.


The man just went down on his knees and pour some sort of what appears to be like a 3-seconds glue and wipe the shoe. So, the shoe now has no more gap and whatsoever and this man demands for a fee.


Andrew obviously said no because it was done against his will. ANDREW NEVER SAID YES. The man will not move a single muscle and kept insisting on 1 dollar. 1 US DOLLAR for something that Andrew himself didn't consent to. 


The man just stood there and to avoid making any scene, Andrew bit his tongue and pulled out a 1 dollar note and gave it to him. 


Guess what happens next?


The man SHAMELESSLY walked over to Jack and squat down and seems like he was going to do the same tactic but Jack immediately screamed at him a really loud NO. Then, and only then the man stopped at stared back at Jack.


Yeah, stared back at Jack. He's probably like in his early twenty or so and he was staring at Jack because Jack shouted at him. Pffft. This man is rude okay. He walked away in the end, but only after staring Jack down. 

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I have been to Vietnam three times. Twice to Ho Chi Minh and once to Hanoi. I have never met a Vietnamese who is this rude like the man who fixed Andrew's sport shoes. Okay, maybe rude is not an accurate word to describe this young man. He's persistent I'd give him that, but he has ultimately ruined the first impression of Andrew and Beverly on their first visit to Vietnam.

Of course, this man will not entirely destroy their desire to explore other parts of Vietnam, but at that moment, the mood was affected.



We arrived at Vietnam's Immigration Checkpoint and was asked to fill up an Arrival card. It was pretty easy and quick.

No, I did not take any photo on the inside because I wouldn't want to be called upon again. Heh. We felt quite lost because the driver only told us what we needed to do and he didn't mention anything extra that we need to know, like there is another checkpoint in front or something.

There was a Cambodian lady (next to Jack in the photo above!) in our van that speaks pretty decent English so she filled us up on the procedures, sort of. We also met a girl from England but she is currently working in a pub in Australia. Pretty ang mo :)

After passing the Cambodian border/checkpoint, we stopped at a local deserted-lookalike makan place. We were all hungry and tired and hungry. 


TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #10

After being on the van for so many hours and when we're about to reach Phnom Penh in just a couple of hours, we found out that there is wifi on-board.

Yeah. Wireless internet access! On board!


The whole entire time! If we have knew earlier, we would not be forcing ourselves to sleep all the time. Pffft. 


You can imagine our excitement when we realized we could use the wifi! Ahhh. 

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NINETEEN - TWENTY-FIRST OF SEPTEMBER
PHNOM PENH-SIEM REAP

We took a tuk-tuk (costs 1$ for the entire tuk-tuk and yes we all squeezed) and he brought us to a few hostels. It was late at night and we're only going to spend a night at Phnom Penh so we took the cheapest we could find at that time.



One mistake that we will never do again and you all should not either is going with the flow when it comes to hostel bookings. We thought that walking in will make the backpack experience 'wilder' and more 'authentic' which turns out to be an expensive experience.

No idea why we have never thought that booking earlier on any online platform is a better idea. Well, now we know.


Golden Boat Guest House 2. Pretty clean and decent.

Dormitory style with shared bathrooms and air-conditioner that works like a giant fridge.



TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #11

We walked out on the street where Golden Boat Guest House 2 is and looked for food. It was really late and we were really tired, but when you gotta eat, you gotta eat.



We saw this stall at a corner of a junction and there were many locals dining there. We walked towards it and the food seems normal, so we went ahead with it. 


Not knowing how to speak in Cambodian language, Koay and Andrew ordered based on pointing at the main ingredients. We looked around and found a place to sit and be comfortable.



Wait, comfortable? 


No. Not comfortable. Wrong word to use now though I wanted to be comfortable while having my meal since after such a long ride, but no. Comfortable is not the word.




Yep, right next to me. Oh and this was how it looked like at the entire area. Everywhere also sampahhhh. No one cares okay. You come, you eat, you drink, you wipe your mouth, you throw on the floor, you pay and you leave. 


Basically, the routine of this place.


Being quite a hygiene-freak-when-it-comes-to-food-person, I struggled. I had to look at Koay's face the entire time while eating because if I looked at the floor or see any Cambodia roaches, I would freak out. I would leave perhaps. Maybe not since I was seriously deprived of food.


Food was good tho.. which brings me to the next moment.


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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #12

The saying, "Hungry what also eat" applies here perfectly. That and also everything is in US Dollar so we try to save as much as we can by not spending it too much on food. No shopping of course.

Anyways, we ordered and waited. The food came pretty quickly, so we all started eating. The photo you see below is not the real condition because we used our hand-phone lights so that the food can be seen. It's actually really dark.




You cannot see exactly what you're eating. You can see that it's vegetable and meat and onions and gravy but that's all you see okay.

We were eating happily when Jack suddenly said, "Eh is this an ant in my rice?" 

We kinda like ignored him because we thought that it's just one or a few and continued eating. We even asked him to eat it anyway because it's healthy protein. Heh.

Then, Jack looked to the side and saw that the man next to him has A LOT of black ants on his rice and he was sure that it's ants because on white stuff, it becomes very clear and there was a lamp post there. Jack then told the man and surprisingly, the man understood Jack and pointed back to our dish. 

I'm not sure if he said anything in English but he seemed to understand us. 

He pointed at our dish and got all of us curious. We looked closely (without any light) and see a few ants. Then, we decided to use the light to see clearer.

WRONG MOVE. 

When we found out, we let out quite a loud, "Oh my goodness! Are you serious!?" and the man and his friend giggled at us.

OH GOODNESS.

This, my friend is called The Red Tree Ants with Beef. How we found out about the name? We went to a local restaurant the next day and it was in their "Cambodia Specialty" page menu. No kidding.


We finished everything tho. It was really yummy okay or we're seriously deprived of food and rice.

I think it was really yummy.

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We only have one full day at Phnom Penh and that also because there's nothing much to do at Phnom Penh. Two main tourist place that we wanted to go: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison) and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

We only visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum because the Killing Fields are located outside the city, quite far to travel.

Entrance fee to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was 3$ per person but if you have a student card, you go in for free. 

Guess who didn't bring student card?


ALL OF US EXCEPT ANDREW CHAN.


So since his entrance fee is free, he gave his 3$ as tips to our Museum's Tour Guide. 


I would recommend everyone to visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum based on 2 reasons. First because there is seriously nothing else to do in Phnom Penh than this and snacking on escargots for a very cheap price, 1$! Second because it's a very historical place and it will shock you on the things that happened there and oh got third reason! You get to meet two men who went through all the torture and survived to tell their story. 


 So yes, please do go have a look.



We walked around the area while waiting to meet Andrew's sister for lunch. We saw a 7-11 lookalike and boy, were we happy or what.

It's too hot in Phnom Penh. I know it's the same sun that shines through every corner of this world, but that day, it was too hot. It was a hot that I've never experienced.

I like being under the sun, but that day I find myself looking for shades after every 10 steps. SO HOT!

 

Thank you Evelyn for the lunch treat! It was very nice meeting you and hearing more of Cambodia, and of course finding out that our tuk-tuk might have charged us so much more that he was supposed to. Heh. 


TWENTY-FIRST OF SEPTEMBER
SIEM REAP-BANGKOK

Our van took about 7 hours from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. We reached Siem Reap at night. Late at night, and we didn't have anywhere to sleep.

Our tuk-tuk driver took us to one hostel (which I forgot what it's called and forgot to take photo of the front! Pfft) and they wanted to charge us 7$ per person for one night. 

That's expensive for a room like that. So, we told the tuk-tuk to take us somewhere else but he refused, saying that all other hostels now also this price. We also refused lah.

We told the man that we are only willing to pay 5$ per person and he accepted that. Since late at night already, we settled down in our room while the boys went downstairs to plan the itinerary for our 2 days in Siem Reap with the tuk-tuk driver. 


TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #13

Andrew was the last one to use the toilet. While the rest of us are clean and lying on the bed, surfing the net, watching Youtube and playing games, this happened.

"Guys! I can't open this door! I'm stuck!"


We all jumped out of our bed and went for his rescue. The door knob turned but the the thing that clicks the door is stuck, as in it won't move. So, we got the receptionist man to help and after a few tries, he failed so he went to ask someone else to help.


Andrew was locked in the toilet for a good 15 minutes I reckon. 


During the waiting time, we laughed at him of course. Good thing it happened to him and not anyone else. Hah.


This was one of the hilarious moment. 



After that incident, we never close our door tight anymore. Everything is based on trust solely. Heh.

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The next day is Angkor Wat day! So, we all woke up at 4:00am and left hostel by 5:00am. We wanted to catch the sunrise so it was worth the lack of sleep. 

To our surprise, there were so many others who woke up at 4:00am just to catch the sunrise. MUST NOT MISS IT YEAH.

20$ for a day's entry okay what. So many things to see inside. I may be biased since Angkor Wat is now a very meaningful place for us. Heh. If you didn't know, shame on you okay. 

Nevermind. I help you. Go read this then this and this and THEN only continue reading this. Hah. Go now please thank you :)


Remember to keep their entrance ticket carefully because without this, you won't be able to enter other ruins or toilets and they have to make sure that you look exactly like in the photo (taken when you pay 20$). 



The start of Angkor Wat's entrance. SO BEAUTIFUL ALREADY OKAY! I would say that Angkor Wat is one of the main historical piece inside that MOST (if not all) people will stop to catch the perfect sunrise. 


Please correct me if I'm wrong. I got no time to go Google and check out the facts all. There are so many historical ruins/temples in Angkor Wat that you will find yourself spending at least 6 hours at Angkor Wat. That of course includes the part where Lara Croft filmed her movie there. 


I can't remember what it's called already.


Also a very important advice I would give to you all is that ENGAGE A TOUR GUIDE TO ANGKOR WAT. If not, you will be like us, walking everywhere not knowing the history behind it and that kinda sucks. 


Everytime there's a group near us, we would stand closer to listen the stories. So yes. PLEASE DON'T KIAM-SIAP LIKE US. IT WILL BE WORTH PAYING FOR A TOUR GUIDE.




TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #14

Yes, this is obviously the most tiok-cheh-kia moment for me during this entire trip. The second would be my love for banh mi almost caused us to sleep on the streets of Bangkok. 

You've guessed it right.

The proposal.

I shall not mention about it here since we've blogged about it earlier on. If you have not read on that, go now please thank you. 

Nah, make life easier for you. Click here or here. Whichever side you want to read first. Heh.

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All these sunrise over Angkor Wat's photos are all taken before the proposal happened. Who would have ever thought that he would do it here? Not me for sure. 

Anyways, the view was amazing. Beyond amazing actually. Too bad photos do not do its justice. It's the very definition of what breathtaking is. I never thought I would fall in love with a view like this one. 

It's the same sun that is shinning but still, there's something different about this place. No lah, not because this place is most meaningful place for us.

I fell in love with it before the man kneels down okay. Hah.



It's impossible to choose which photo I like better, so might as well post all up. Muahaha.


We spent about half a day in Angkor Wat and that also we didn't manage to go see all the temples there. We feel the tuk-tuk driver (I forgot his name already) tried to cheat us lo, and we some more just everything also okay. 

Haiz.

Also, really partly it was very tiring and hot, but worth the 20$, well obviously right.

We walked in there as boyfriend girlfriend, and walked out as an engaged couple leh. Of course it was worth every penny. Heh.





TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #15

Before the trip, we already got the idea that in Cambodia, everything is going to be in US Dollar, so we were prepared. Sort of.

People around told us that when you pay to the locals in USD, they will return the change in Cambodian Riels. THAT IS 100% TRUE.

So, the common advice is to bring the smallest change of USD so that you don't need to receive any Cambodian Riels from them. Well, this advice not so helpful.

You see, when we needed to go to the toilet or get certain drinks that costs less than 1$, it will only make sense if you pay the locals in Cambodian Riels. That can only happen if you have the small change of Riels, right?

So yes, please keep/have some Cambodian Riels. Don't panic if locals give you Riels okay. Just keep it. It's not that they have no value but yeah. 

Anyways, the tiok-cheh-kia part about Cambodian Riels is that most of their food items/drinks are all charged in USD. I can say about 90% okay.

If you see the photo below, that was our lunch in Angkor Wat. A typical bowl of curry costs 6$. Vegetable also same thing. However, the lady gave us 50% discounts because of our tuk-tuk driver. 

Even with 50$ discounts, we only can afford to order 2 dishes shared by 6 growing youngsters. IMAGINE LAH. 

Surprisingly though, it was enough. Heh.


We were on the tuk-tuk and Mut kept looking at my hands to make sure my diamond ring doesn't come off, because it was pretty loose. He was so paranoid it was so funny and cute. 




TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #16

There is absolutely nothing else to do at night here at Siem Reap other than hunting down pubs/bars that sell 0.50$ beer, watching football, playing ping-pong with the bartender and eat street food that is overpriced. 

Since USD is not our favorite currency (only when we have to spend using them) and we were running low on it, we went to hunt for the cheapest street food we could find, backpacking style.

We found one whole row of people selling what looked like maggi goreng Cambodian style and looked for a comfortable place to sit. 

By comfortable I mean, if you managed to find a mini chair that's meant for 3 years old toddler, you found yourself a pot of gold. Heh. 

Okaylah, it was quite not bad lah. Good experience.

The noodles came and it tasted so good! Oh myyyy. It was the best 'maggi goreng' I have ever eaten. I not kidding. I don't eat maggi goreng often but since Cambodia, I find myself wanting to order that so often here in Penang, hoping that I may be able to find that Cambodian taste again. 

IT WAS REALLY GOOD. 


TWENTY ONE - TWENTY THREE OF SEPTEMBER
SIEM REAP-BANGKOK


TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #17

Before the trip begins, we so gungho right so we decided not to do any pre-booking of hostels so we can feel like a real backapackers. So much win hor.

WRONG!

Turns out all the backpackers that we were with already knew where they wanna go when they reach a country or a city. These 6 Asians were so clueless we didn't even know where to ask our tuk-tuk driver to drop us. I kid you not.

We were so lost okay.

So, nevermind. We did some research prior to the trip so we roughly know where. The thing is we never know if the rooms are fully booked or they increased in price because we poor backpackers okay.

We walked back and forth on Pratunam Street to find decent place to stay. They say, beggars cannot be choosers right?

Not in our case. Found nice hostels, refused to stay because they are either higher than our budgeted price or cannot fit all 6 Asians in one room. Heh.

We almost did not have a place to sleep okay. So kesian. 

One of the hostels that were in our list is called Link Corner. That was our last hope in finding that perfect hostel. We did finally found the place and praying so hard that they have a room for us and it's not going to cost us a bomb. 


I cannot begin to tell you how relieved we all were when we checked in. All 6 of us in a 6-bedded-dormitory with shared bathroom at only 350 baht per person per night. 

WIN!

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No such thing as girls do all house chores anymore right? 

Yes.

So blessed to have our boys to do the laundries voluntarily, because they love doing it :)

TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #18

It's not as difficult as in Hatyai to find mini stalls selling exotic delicacies. In Bangkok, every corner of the night market you can see.

When we first started the night walk, we were all like so definitely not going to try the scorpions or roaches. Nope, not at all.

But funny how as the night got later, the 2 jokers had a hint of curiosity in them. I think its all the scorpions we saw that night itself. Oh goodness.

By the look of it, its insane and still feels insane that the 2 of them were going to do it. Not one each of course. They share share. It's only 50 baht for a medium size.

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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #19

On our first night at Bangkok, we went to a counter along the night market and engaged with a tour driver whom agreed to fetch us anywhere from 9am to 10pm at a fix cost of 250 baht per person. So, we listed down the places that we wanted to go and he was okay with all of them.

The first place was definitely the famous Bangkok Floating Market. 

The journey took about 1 and half hours to reach the place that he was bringing us to, to get boat tickets. From the beginning, we told him that we don't want motorized boat. We wanted sampan style.

He took us to this place, which we strongly believed that he must have had some commission from this vendor.


He also told us (the night before) that the floating market ride and elephant ride will only costs about 600 baht per person. BS!

This is the part where I started to be upset with him and the vendor.


Their first price was 1,500 baht for both activities. AND ON A MOTORIZED BOAT.


"Eh please lah. Don't give me your innocent face all. You've told us earlier, and now you want to twist your words. BS!"


I didn't say that to him of course. We negotiated to 1,000 baht. 


We asked for sampan, and they said today cannot use sampan. All must use motorized boats. We of course just keep quiet lah, what can we say since they give us no choice. So, 1,000 baht includes the boat ride to the Floating Market and Elephant ride.


WHAT THEY DIDN'T TELL US IS THAT WE CAN ONLY HAVE THE BOAT FOR 2 HOURS UNTIL THE END OF THE TRIP!



Still smiling because floating market awaits and that means more food!


We started seeing food stalls but didn't buy any food because we all know how the real floating market looks like. So, we waited till when we saw a sampan selling Pad Thai, and bought some. Apparently, the best they have ever tasted. 


THEN GUESS WHAT WE SAW!

ALL THE OTHER TOURISTS ON THEIR LOVELY WOODEN SAMPAN! 


Oh myy. That time, my flame already started. 


The photo below this is THE ONLY PHOTO I HAVE OF THE FLOATING MARKET. THE ONLY PART OF THE FLOATING MARKET THAT WE EXPERIENCED.




The boatman steered our boat right in front of the entrance to the busy floating market and then took a turn to the left and we've never seen that lovely scene anymore.

We were all shocked but couldn't say much because the boat was loud and moving.


So, I waited till he stopped at a temple WHICH WE DIDN'T EVEN SAY WE WANT TO GO and I claimed that we were supposed to go to the floating market and he explained that he only have 2 hours and after this he has to send us to the elephant riding place already. 


WHATTTT!


I was burning with anger because this is daylight robbing okay! Told us one thing, gave us another thing! We paid 1,000 baht TO PASS BY THE FLOATING MARKET.




So, basically he obviously refused to bring us back to the floating market and Koay calmed me down. I was so mad that I promise you tears was gathering behind my cornea already. If Koay did not step in, I would have exploded and probably spoilt the entire trip, so good call Mut. 


I calmly joined the rest and smile because this ain't going to be spoiling my trip. Of course, there was a lot of deep breathing and talking to self moment. 



I cannot entirely blame the boatman because he was just working under that shitty vendor. So, I let it go and we proceed to our next destination, elephant riding.

It was my first time and needless to say, I was excited. Mut took over the taking photos part and that helps actually for me to just relax. 



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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #20

We got a small elephant and we instantly felt bad. Then, this elephant also quite rebellious I think. He walked dront few steps and walked backwards few steps. 

I shouted of course because I was shocked. Ithought I was gonna fall off the seat! Then, when we were at the palm trees area, he walked back again and reversed into the palm trees! 

The giant leaves hit my back so hard that I shouted again. I thought it was going to bruise because it was such a hard impact.

Then, the navigator took our what-looked-like-a-curved-parang and hit the elephant so hard I thought that obviously will hurt more than what hit me. That kinda shocked me a lil and I kept quiet throughout the entire trip because I don't want the elephant to get hit again :(

Mut says that elephant skin very hard and tough so he will most likely just felt a pinch, but still very inhumane.

I will not ever go for this tourist activity again. SAY NO TO ELEPHANT RIDING!





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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #21


The driver told us that we could use him till 10pm right?


After the floating market and elephant riding, he got us back to the city and we went to a few place but did not enter because no money to pay to see where the kind sleeps. So, just stand outside take photos. Hah.


The driver asked us where we wanted to go next and we told him that we wanted to go to this specific cat cafe.


He has the guts to tell us that after that we have to go home ourselves because his service will be until 5pm.


My fire seems to be like fuming again. This time, Mut reminded him of his words last night when he said we could use him till 10pm.


Guess what he said?


"Oh, that one my assistant said. I no say. You hear wrong. My assistant don't know anything"


WAHHHH! IT WAS FROM YOUR MOUTH LEH. EVEN IF YOUR ASSISTANT SAID IT, YOU'VE STILL GOT TO HONOR IT, YOU NONSENSE!


In the end, he dropped us at Caturday and went back.


And that's also because we are a bunch of very nice people and did not demand him to do what he promised to do. CHEATER.


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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #22

Okay, back to happy posts. No more angry mode.

Jack and Carmen have always been a big fan of cats, so it's only right that we go to a cat cafe in Bangkok. We chose Caturday because it was probably the nearest to us and easiest to find. It was pretty okay.

I didn't think that I would enjoy myself in Caturday because I am never a fan of cats. More of a dog person. I did actually. I had loads of fun. 

These cats are all so blessed okay. People pay money, and they get fed like the royals. One thing that I really like about this place is it's very clean and proper for an indoor place that's filled with furry animals. Then again, I guess cats are quite clean in general. 

So yes, surprisingly, both Mut and I enjoyed our time here wit the cats :)

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TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #23

We spent our time walking around in Pratunam and went into The Platinum Mall. MISTAKE NOT! Things were so cheap in there I cannot. IT's just big concrete wall of endless temptations! 

AND THE THAI FOOD IN THE FOOD COURT IS AMAZING!

Cheap and so tasty! WIN!

Walking into Platinum Mall is the best decision ever. 


They do not take cash at their food stalls, so you gotta go buy a card and pay money that is then converted into credits. If you didn't use finish, can change back to baht.

Very convenient.


TWENTY THREE - TWENTY FIVE OF SEPTEMBER
BANGKOK-SURAT THANI-KOH PHANGAN


Before we boarded the night bus to Surat Thani, we of course went to 7-11 first. 

My croissant looked disgusting right? 


It actually tasted really good.




TOUCHDOWN! 

We all love taking night bus because time passes really fast when asleep and we woke up feeling good! So, night bus for future travel it is :)




Can you see that?

Sun and sea waiting for us! Oh myyy. BEST WAY TO END OUR TRIP!


Just in case I got sea-sick on the boat :)


Again, we did not book hostels prior to the trip so we walked and walked till we found this hostel, called Hacienda Backpackers Hostel.

They have a proper hotel called Hacienda Resort and Beach Club, just behind this hostel, that costs only 350 baht per night per person. This hostel is 300 baht. The thing was we had to stay for minimum 3 nights if we were to stay at Hacienda Resort, so we opted for the hostel.


Good thing is we could use all the facilities in the resort so yay!




TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #24

Night came and although Koh Phangan is a small island, it is still impossible for us to go to happening places there. After discussing forever, we decided to o ahead and rent 3 bikes for 6 of us.


The only problem was, Mut doesn't know how to ride a bike. Neither do I. 


Do I trust him to fetch me on a bike at Koh Phangan?


Nope. No need to think straight no. He himself also don't trust himself to ride a bike okay. I wasn't going to risk both of us just so that we could have some fun. 


But that was the only option for us to enjoy Koh Phangan. 


Yeah, we went for it in the end. 


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We stayed near the Pier, actually not that near but it's somewhere in the middle of the island. So, there's two other sides of the island that you must visit when you're at Koh Phangan.

Haad Rin Beach.


This is where all the nightlife happens. Party every night and even if you do not want to party, this is still the place you want to be at to chill by the beach, enjoying songs throughout the night. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. In case you didn't know, that's where the famous Full Moon/Half Moon Party are usually held. So, if your main purpose to Koh Phangan is to attend the Full Moon Party, then you should opt to stay at Haad Rin Beach instead. 


Oh and you cannot walk there from the pier okay, but if you seriously tried and did it, please tell me! You either rent a bike and ride carefully or take a tuk-tuk. We went there twice so that means it's pretty okay. If Muthu can ride the bike through the roads there, I think you all should do just fine :)


I didn't really snap a lot of photos there because I got lazy in the night. Heh. 

Chaloklum Beach.

After breakfast, we took the bike and started our journey to the other side of Koh Phangan. We didn't really know how far it was going to be but hey, we couldn't say no since Beverly recommended it! 

The beach is insanely clean and warm and lovely! The ride there was fun and umm, adventurous if I may say. Life-changing? Yeah, life-changing. Read on, you will know why. 

Anyways, the view on the way to Chaloklum Beach is AMAZINGGGG! So many wow moments.

TIOKCHEHKIA MOMENT #25

The view was so amazing almost after every turn, that we made quite a few stops to take photos. So, being a lazy person that I always am, I decided to not keep the iPhone 5s in the bag anymore because every time we stop somewhere, I have to take it out anyways. The 'wise' me thought that it would be safe to put the phone in the pocket of the bike because it's a very deep pocket and it won't fly out. 

I didn't think it was a need to tell Muthu about it since he already have so much on his plate that moment, which is only one: making sure we don't crash. Heh. 

We went up and down the hill as usual till when our bike went through a small rock and then it happened, before our own eyes.

The phone jumps out of the pocket and flew to the other side of the road and my hands were obviously too short to grab hold of it. Muthu lagi no need to say. If he had reach out his right hand to try catch it, we both would have crashed on the uphill-tar-road. 

We didn't manage to stop immediately as the other bikes were behind us and there were a few incoming cars too. 

According to Andrew, there was a jeep coming from the other direction and he saw my head turned so fast when the phone drops on the road, that he thought if the jeep was a bit nearer, there goes my head. 

Thank God for a local man who was behind us and stopped where my phone was, because if he had not, the car behind us would have gone over the phone and crushed everything. I ran to my phone and watched the car go over my phone and praying so many times in my head that God will preserve my phone, and He did. 

I thanked the man and picked up my phone while he watched the road for me. So thankful for this angel :) He went on his way after I thanked him.

So yeah. 

Thank God my phone is still usable :) And yes, I was still all smile-y after the incident. Muthu is a great distract-or :)



TWENTY-FIFTH OF SEPTEMBER
KOH PHANGAN-SURANT THANI-PENANG

Goodbye Koh Phangan. It has been beyond lovely. We will be back for more parties and probably will bring more $$$ too!

The moment we got to Hatyai's border where local vendors accept Ringgit, we were so relieved! It's so hard to live without the right currency because we've got no more bahts and we couldn't buy drinks or food to eat. IT WAS SO SAD OKAY.

Before the trip, I was like, "Oh in Thailand, we're going to be spending like kings and queens!"

WRONG.

SO WRONG. 

First and definitely not the last backpacking trip with a bunch of mad people. It was very tiring, but it was super fun. At times, it could get challenging but that's the fun of it right? Things like getting lost during the most tiring time or something.

All very fun yes. 


ONE VERY IMPORTANT TIP: BOOK YOUR HOSTEL BEFORE YOU GO ON THE TRIP! 


Next up, maybe backpack throughout the entire country of Vietnam? Heh.


Okay, maybe no more talking about travel first since the big wedding is happening in less than a year and all spending shall be frozen. See Mut, I am saving :) Hah.


TOTAL MONEY SPENT/person


For 3 days and 2 nights at Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam 
16-18 September 2015
PEN-KUL-SGN airfares via Malaysia Airlines (one way) : RM284
3D2N at Thanh Long Hotel, District 1 : RM60
Food: RM115
Shopping: RM35
Cu Chi Tunnel (transport [mini bus] + entrance fee): RM55
Firing off on a Carbine (a rifle) with 5 bullets at Cu Chi Tunnel: RM25 
Vinasun Taxi from HCM Airport - Thanh Long Hotel, District 1: RM6
Bike ride from Saigon River to Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica (Cathedral): RM6

TOTAL SPENT: RM586

[Note: 1,000,000 dongs = RM198 (as of 15 September 2015)]


For 2 days and 1 night at Phnom Penh, Cambodia
18-19 September 2015
Mekong Express Limousine Bus ride Ho Chi Minh - Phnom Penh 6 hours: RM60
2D1N at Golden Boat Guest House 2 : (5$) RM21.25
Food: (14$) RM60
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Entrance Fee (if show student card, free): (3$) RM12.75
Tuk-tuk (around the city): (3$) RM12.75

TOTAL SPENT: RM166.75

[Note: 1$= RM4.25 (as of 15 September 2015)]


For 3 days and 2 nights at Siem Reap, Cambodia
19-21 September 2015
VIP van ride from Phnom Penh - Siem Reap 6 hours: (15$) RM63.65
3D2N at a 3-single-bedded-room (opposite a club named Premier) : 10$ (5$) RM42.50
Food: (14$) RM50
Angkor Wat (one-day-entry): (20$) RM85
Tuk-tuk inside of Angkor Wat: (3$) RM12.75

TOTAL SPENT: RM253.90

[Note: 1$= RM4.25 (as of 15 September 2015)]


For 3 days and 2 nights at Bangkok, Thailand
21-23 September 2015
VIP van ride from Siem Reap - Bangkok 6 hours: (15$) RM63.75
3D2N at Link Hostel (6-bedded dormitory) : (700 baht) RM83
Street food: (760 baht) RM90
Shopping at Khao San and Pratunam: (1430 baht) RM170
Foot massage at Khao San Road: (250 baht) RM30
Full body massage at Pratunam Road: (250 baht) RM30
Motor-boat ride to Floating Market, Elephant Ride: (1,000 baht) RM117.6
Rent car with driver to go anywhere: (250 baht) RM30 


TOTAL SPENT: RM614.35

[Note: 10 baht= RM8.5 (as of 15 September 2015)]


For 3 days and 2 nights at Koh Phangan, Thailand
23-25 September 2015
Overnight bus ride from Khao San Road, Bangkok - Surat Thani 7 hoursRM70.5
Boat ride from Surat Thani - Koh Phangan Island: Included with bus fare
3D2N at Hacienda Backpackers: (500 baht) RM60
Food: (425 baht) RM50
Bike rental for 24 hours: (50 baht) RM6
Petrol: (120 baht) RM15
Bus + boat ride from Surat Thani - Penang: (1250 baht)RM147
Shopping: (200 baht) RM24

TOTAL SPENT: RM372.5

[Note: 10 baht= RM8.5 (as of 15 September 2015)]

FOR 10D9N TO VIETNAM, CAMBODIA & THAILAND, TOTAL SPEND FOR ONE PERSON = RM1993.50

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