Day5: Siem Reap at Last + Apsara Show

What I hate most in this backpacking trip is I need to transfer from one place to another; and that means I need to pack my things over and over again. The more I have used/dirty clothes, the harder it is to pack. Oh well in time, magiging talent ko din mag-organize ng bag.

Moving on..
Day 5: At exactly 6:30am, the bus to Siem Reap picked me up directly at Nguyen Khang Hotel. Ticket costs $20. I sat beside a Vietnamese woman and she was eating a local sandwich. I asked her where did she buy that, apparently she just smiled and gestured she didn't understand me. After several exchange of sign languages she went down the bus.

Act of Kindness #3
The woman returned and handed me a sandwich. Yes, she bought me one. I insisted on paying her but she didn't accept it. How sweet, she reminds me of my mother.

a Vietnamese sandwich - source

It tasted differently from the usual sandwich here in Manila, nonetheless I enjoyed it. Besides I don't know how long will I be staying in this bus until I reach Siem Reap.

That woman also served us my guide. It'll be the first time I will cross borders overland, and Im doing it all by myself.

After 3 hours I think, the bus stopped. Someone from the bus company collected our passports. Since the woman beside me gave hers without a doubt, I also surrendered mine. Then almost everyone got out of the bus, and so I followed them too. Gaya-gaya!

We entered a hall with many people. Now Im sure we're exiting Vietnam border - Moc Bai. Someone in the immigration will call your name (as he was holding your passport), he will stamp it, and after that you can pass. Since that person cant pronounce my name, he shouted "Philippines" instead. Ü Btw, it is prohibited to take photos inside.

I passed through the hall and saw the same bus we rode earlier. I saw the other passengers boarding so I followed them and boarded the bus again.
Some minutes later, I had a first glimpse of Cambodia. This is indeed the Kingdom of Wonder. I cant deny I got very excited. Everyone got their things and went out of the bus. I followed them again. Crossing Cambodia border is more organized than what Vietnam border has. I lined up and got my passport stamped and that's it. Again, taking pictures is prohibited.

Whew, Im finally in Cambodia! And this is the 2nd country where I traveled solo. I looked for the bus and boarded in again. At 11:30, we stopped by an unknown place. I followed the other passengers and found out it's a small eatery. I don't know how to order so I observed other passengers first. I don't have any Riels yet so I handed the waitress some dollars. I ordered a rice meal with fried chicken and vegetables.

After a satisfying meal, I went back to the bus and waited for the other passengers. Our journey continued. At 2pm, the bus stopped and everyone stood up and got their things. Ok, ano nangyayari? Ayun pala we're already in Pnomh Penh - a city in Cambodia. Almost everyone disappeared as I went out of the bus. I dont know where to go. I looked for the kind woman beside me and said "Siem Reap". She understood and said "aahh, Siem Reap". She dragged me to a bus across the street where we're standing and talked to the driver. This driver took my things and put it inside the cabin. I thanked the fine woman for assisting me though we dont understand each other at all.

I boarded the bus and found many western backpackers in it. I knew it will took another long journey and I needed a leg room this time. Lucky me, no one sat beside me. The 2seats were all mine.

The view was already breathtaking but I haven't really seen the Angkor. At 5pm, the bus stopped. akala ko yun na, hindi pa pala. Another stopover for everyone to rest, go the the rest room, or eat. I asked some lady vendors how far was Siem Reap, and she said in 2-3 hours more. I decided to eat a local sandwich, feeling ko equivalent ng Siopao yun, but after a few bites, I threw it. Baka masira kasi tyan ko sa unfamiliar food, mahirap na. Nasa byahe pa kami na hindi ko alam kelan hihinto.

At 8pm, naiinip na ko. Ang tagal, parang never ending na bus ride. Gusto ko matulog pero wala naman akong kasama na gigising sakin in case nasa Siem Reap na kami so delikado mahimbing ako sa pagtulog.

Finally after 14-15 hours, I finally reached Siem Reap. The bus stopped and I saw many tuktuk drivers around it. I saw a man who's handing a signboard with my name on it. Yep, I made reservations in a cheap guesthouse and luckily they also offer free pickup.

a welcome drink at Bou Savy

Bou Savy Guesthouse is the name of my accommodation in Siem Reap. For only $12, I got a private room with aircon, fan, ensuite bathroom, fridge, free breakfast, free dinner, free pick up from the bus station, and a 10% discount on top of it all. Super bargain!

instead of a Single Room they gave me a Twin Room
(with no additional charges)

tv, fridge, ensuite bathroom

What did I put inside the fridge?

kelangan pa ba i-memorize yan? *winks*

Among the 4 countries I visited in this SEA trip, Cambodia's map stood out. They provide every tourist a free book containing Pnomh Penh and Siem Reap's Angkor guides, city maps, transportation, restaurants, bars, hotels, guest houses, traditional performances, markets, boutiques, and galleries. All complete with the website, location, and contact details. Super!!!

super detailed Siem Reap guide book
(and showcasing my red nail polish)
Bou Savy Guesthouse

I planned to spent my first night in Siem Reap in a local restaurant that offers Apsara Show. Apsara is a traditional Cambodian / Khmer dance. Khmer is pronounced as Kmey (turo ng tour guide namely Kim Rieng). As per my tour guide's recommendation, I settled at Koulen Restaurant. Dinner Buffet + Apsara Show is $10.

Koulen Resto

buffet table

It's best to come here with reservations. There were many guests from different countries. Here are some of Khmer food.

meang pork, fruits, fried and spring rolls, stir fry noodles

veggies, curry, crispy chicken, native desserts

I cant take a photo of everything but my favorites that night were: Pumpkin soup, Stir fried noodles (bentang benta sakin ulit), Crispy Chicken, and Satay.

a plate of Khmer food

And because I made a reservation in advance, I was entitled for a good seat with a good view of the most awaited Apsara Show.

the Apsara dancers

they look stiff, but they dance so subtle

There were various performances that night. This traditional dance is a must see. And do I need to mention their costumes are really outstanding?

the dancers - up close

photo op session at the end of the show

Im really dying to have my photo taken with the dancers but I cant trust anybody who I can hand over my camera with. There I found this Chinese guy, he was with his parents. I asked him politely if he could take a photo of me. He willingly agreed. Yey!

dancing the Khmer way

Chinese guy: are you signaling me to stop?
Me: no, sorry for misinterpreting. i just need to pose with my 5 fingers.
(oo nga naman, parang STOP sign kasi yung kamay ko).. hihi

and that ends my Day 5 (whew, ang hirap ng low light shots!)

Koulen Restaurant

Note: because I miscalculated my time of arrival in Siem Reap, I missed this show at 7:30pm. This buffet + Apsara show took place on my 2nd night.

click here for the Angkor Wat complex

50 responses:

Chyng said...

mahirap ang low lights shots, lalo na wala naman akong tripod.. (ok, meron naman kasi tamad lang ako magdala)hihi

mishi said...

nkakapagod na travel ituh chyng! Major,major byahe!!haha! Nkakainggit ung lakas ng loob mo to travel alone,grabe! sarap foods, mostly veggies dn noh? Angkor wat na,yey! :)

Diamond R said...

Ang galing!

flipnomad said...

nagutom ako.... i remember the cheap but delicious vietnamese baguettes i used to eat for breakfast when i was in vietnam...

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

nakaka-inggit naman ang room mu! ang ganda! :) i missed that show too, as in konte lng napanood ko, kase andun na ko tapos ksama ko yung 2 Filipina na nanay na nakatira sa Phnom Penh na nakilala ko. eh New year that night,so niyaya nila ako mag bargain shopping sa night market, kakatawad namen, pagtingin namen, tapos na ang show. haha :D nakalimutan ko na xa balikan, hays.
tsaka, saan mu nakuha ang map? sayang! wala ako map noon eh, ang hirap kapag walang mapa. tsk tsk.

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

haha binasa ko uli, now lng nag-sink in., sa guesthouse mu pala galeng. kaya naman pala, kase maganda tlga guesthouse mu, yung akin super cheap, $5 w/ private cr pero walang generator so nung nag brown out, grabe para akong bulag at ang init tlga!

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

Chyng, pwede ka rin sanang nag-express boat via Tonle Sap lake from Phnom Pehn to Siem Reap para nakita mo yung mga floating houses doon.

Meedge said...

wow, mura ng guesthouse! unlike sa hong kong na ang mahal tpos ang knti ng amenities!

Traveliztera said...

Oh wow!!! Those are still the same dancers whom I've taken pics with last December ! :D I'm glad you enjoyed your trip! :D

J said...

we stayed in the same guesthouse, had dinner at the same restaurant. :)

JeffZ said...

good thing to read your day 5 so early in the morning.. :)

naunahan ko si khanto magcomment!.. yey.. off nya kasi ngayon.. haha

ang mura ng accommodation.. and i guess ang highlight nito
was the act of kindness.. nakakataba ng puso na someone you don't know and even understand bought u a sandwich?.. that's priceless man.. :)

goyo said...

nakakainggit naman yang mga adventures mo.. sana madami din akong pera para makapaglakbay!

docgelo said...

i am green with envy, chyng!
the food, the cultural show with beautiful ladies...puntahan ko yan someday..*wishful thinking*

gillboard said...

ang tapang mo. kakainggit. hehehe

dong ho said...

I followed the other passengers and found out it's a small eatery. I dont know how to order so I observed other passengers first. >> hahaha... malamang yan din ginawa ko kasi hindi ako kumakain ng exotic at mga di alam na ingredients.

14-15hours! haba pag ganyan kailangan ng magandang palabas sa gadget or at least music para makatulog but if it's my first time to pass by that area, i rarely sleep along the way unless it's a night trip.

ganda ng kuha mo sa stage talagang firm grip at nakuha mo pang makipose sa kanila. lol

pusang kalye said...

parang entrance palang at yung marker ng resto panalo na. although I was a bit surprised sa Interior kasi parang kubo lang. then the food, somewhat similar to Filipino food ang hitsura. pero yung may show tapos full costumes. san ka pa!!!!

rob said...

.. antagal ng binyahe mo to get there chyng!

wanderingcommuter said...

sabi nila, masama daw ang mainggit. pero what can i do? ang sarap mo lang sampalin!!! hahahaha! miss you girl!

Gepay said...

hahaha naunahan ako ni jeffz mag comment at naunahan ko naman si khantotantra.. grabe chyng we really love your blog.. sobrang follower kami dito sa TM.. elib kami sa lakas ng loob mo magtravel mag isa.. ASTIG!!

Photo Cache said...

you cant take photos of every thing - how true. exciting naman tong leg ng journey mo.

hey did you bump into some cute backpacker dude?

khantotantra said...

Wahahahah, ambilis nung dalawa.
pre-occupied sa kung ano kaya di ako naka-comment.

laging may kindness na nangyayari. free sandwich.

saka ngayon ko lang nalaman ang info about sa pagtatak ng passport kung lilipat ka ng ibang country via land transpo. new kaalaman.


outonvacation said...

at talagang kelangan nakapose ng ganung ang mga kamay kahit nagpapakuha lang ng pic hehehe..

sana next solo travel ko..mala ganyang level na..yung may pacross the border na hahahah..

so I sound like a guy pala sa Seoul posts ko :P

goyo said...

ako nga po ata yung goyo na yun. hehehehe. blogger kuno lang po ako..

--sana mapasama din ako sa blogroll nyo.. :)

Fickle Cattle said...

Sounds like you had quite an adventure. I also have the same problem with traveling. Packing. Really hate. I almost always forget something.

Ibyang said...

omg!!! you're in Cambodia na!!! ang galing galing mo talaga Chyng. Cambodia is one of my dream places to go to and i'm hoping matupad sya next year. :)

looking forward to your Angkor Wat photos.

kg said...

another cultural show! whoopie!!! and i love your room ha. sobrang panalo for $12!

in every country i've been to, including the philippines, bawal talaga magpicture sa immigration area...unless perhaps you want to see the prisons of that country. he he! joke!

Tala said...

Siem Reap rocks! Yun lang tlgang 15hours of land travel ang pamatay pero pag nakita mo na ang Siem Reap mawawala ang pagod mo. By far, Cambodian people are the friendliest of all SEA I have been too. Accomodation and food are cheap too. I hope you got to eat at those sidewalk food stalls around the Backpacker district. Tuwang tuwa kami ng kapatid ko sa fried rice nila na sobrang dami for less than 50 pesos at masarap sya. Siem Reap is one of the SEA countries I am planning to go back to even if I have yet to tick Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Mynmar and Brunei off my SEA list. :) Antayin ko yun blog mo sa temple tour.

Arvin U. de la Peña said...

good luck lagi sa mga pagbibiyahe mo sa ibang bansa..

Thea said...

This is a delight to read. My husband is Cambodian-American but I've never been to Cambodia. I plan to backpack end of this year of early this year. May I ask if you booked your hotel in advance?

Anonymous said...

nice, naaaliw ako magbasa dito... at seeing your pics :)

nicquee said...

natawa ako ng malakas dun sa pagtawag sa iyo sa immigration! hahaha!

ang dami mo ng napuntahan, nakakatuwa ka! i'll definitely refer to your blog pag turn na namin magtravel.

Allen said...

bakit ang swerte swerte mo lage? nakakainis. wahahahahahaha!

nagpunta ka ba angkor ate chyng????

pamatayhomesick said...

hi chyng, sa ganda mo, at sa ganda ng mga kuha mo...malamang na maisantabi mo nga ang tripod..:)

aubu22 said...

grabe, ang astig nyo po talaga, Ms. Chyng! Your guts to travel alone definitely inspire me. I am hoping to try an adventure like yours in the future: D

nina said...

Kakatuwa naman yung Jellyace! Walang mintis talaga!

Don't worry Chyng, ma-master mo rin yang packing/unpacking. Easiest way is not to unpack anymore XD

Amry said...

Dear thanks your siam reep FR help me complete my itinerary plan for 23 rd september travel.
keep traveling dear look foward

Anonymous said...

Hi Chyng! Do you think it is safe to bring a laptop if mgVietnam-Cambodia na trip? Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Chyng, thanks sa reply mo. Another question sana.. meron din bang free maps sa airport ng Vietnam kagaya sa HK?

mon said...

hi there ,

paalis ako ng vietnam tonight tpos punta din cambodia.. ask ko sana mula sa bou savy how far ung distance sa khoulen resto?

Chyng said...

Hi Mon,
about 10mins. malapit lang. pero wag mo lakarin. =)
btw, make reservations in the morning.

Markyramone said...

I'm Cambodia bound too, but in November pa. I'll wait for your next entries about Cambodia. Excited na ren ako sa foodtrip

So_Cynical said...

You write well and take nice pics..i like your blog, you make me want to travel and get bargains...doing stuff for the first time is fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chyng! My friends and I will be doing the Indochina trip this June. Ask ko lang, which bus operator did you use from HCMC to SR? From your blog, you said you transferred bus pagdating ng PP. Does the $20 cost included na yung PP to SR or separate payment pa ulet?


Chyng said...


soryar yung bus company =)

Anonymous said...

gaano po katagal ung Apsara show??

Chyng said...

around 1 hour ang Apsara Show. excluding the eating time ^_^

adventurousfeet said...

okay start nako magbasa basa siem reap mode ako by feb.. naaliw naman ako sa shot kulit nung pose na stop onga naman hahaha. kahit low light maganda naman shot mo eh parang di ka naman nahirapan teh! :)

Chyng said...

^ CA!
haha bagets na bagets pa ko jan. 3 yrs ako. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm here in Thailand now and planning to visit Cambodia by Apr. Since it will be my first travel then,can you suggest things I should do upon arriving at Cambodia to avoid scams?

Anonymous said...

hi chyng! ask ko lang what bus company ang sinakyan mo from ho chi minh to siem rep? how much is the fare? 5 days lang booking ko do u think it is possible na ma explore namin siemrep and ho chi minh? prob ko pa sa siem reap arrival namin from mla then departure is ho chi minh. help! can you suggest me in planning my iterinary?

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