South East Asia remains to be one of the cheapest travel destinations, ideal for young people’s pockets. In addition to cheap accommodation and meals, it offers rich culture, unsurpassed warmth, and it is safe. Cambodia makes a great alternative to Thailand, Phnom Penh, the capital, providing all the modern thrills, whilst Siem Reap is the cultural gem.
I bought a tour package with Intrepid, I was unsure about travelling means from place to place. So if you absolutely hate tours, renting a motorbike is the best way to get around. The drivers are however psycho maniacs and on the first day of the tour I thought I was going to die. So buy sufficient cover. The funniest is how they hoot incessantly at each other, but in their side of the world it expresses cheerfulness, opposite to the Johannesburg culture.
The Angkor Wat Temples are a must see, and take the opportunity of catching the sunrise at one of them. Worth waking up early for! Of course after being to a couple of the temples you start getting confused and they all start looking the same, so taking a cooking class for making Cambodian food is a great breather. Pub street is the Khaosan of Cambodia, filled with Australians to the brim though. So if you are brave you can venture outside the touristy clubs like Temple Bar. We ended up at The Blue Sands courtesy of a tuk-tuk driver Lucky, whom we’d met during the day through a series of hilarious events. I’d never seen fake smoke so thick in a club, and lasers so crazy. And the waiters all had this hair doos like characters from Dragon Ball Z. It was lots of fun dancing on the stage.
And of course shopping, shopping, shopping is essential. The night market in Siem Reap is really lively. I bought two beautiful oil paintings and a Thai print dress. It was during the last days of the trip, I had already learnt the concept of negotiating, but I felt terrible afterwards, because where on earth could I find an A2 oil painting on canvas for $15.