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Going back to vienna

Up on the last day around 6am, had bought an ice coffee and a brownie for breakfast, delicious on the balcony. Thought what to do, first I wanted to go to a museum, decided then to give the shopping on more try. Had read everywhere that they have an outlet center (one village) close by the airport, organized me a grab cat and headed there. The whole mall was easily to walk through in 10 minutes, had expected something slightly bigger… Headed for the timberlands store, no shoes I liked.. went into the Levi’s store, they offer get one free if you buy one. Went for 501s, only one blue or black available. Took a camaflouge hoddy instead of a second Jean and another second Jean (that was reduced by 60%), so paid in the end 120 euro for 2 jeans and the hoddy. Back home, bought me Subway sandwich at my subway station and walked home. Took shower, packed my stuff and he a relaxing nap. Around 4:30 to the bus and last time fitting of my suits.Everything fitted nicely, some things they still have to finish, no problem as we agreed that he will send everything home to Vienna (therefore no Hussle with border duties). Back to the appartment, left there around 9pm, heading to the airport. Beside that it is incredibly hot (9pm 30 degrees), everything worked fine, did check-in, security, searched for a magnet on the airport and boarded the plane. We took of with nearly one hour delay (scheduled 11:55pm, takeoff 12:50am), landed in Vienna with 30 minutes delay (and at a temperature of 3 degree) and took a taxi home. Finally back, home sweet home

A day in bangkok

Was up in my nice Airbnb appartment around 6:30am, had a shopping day planned. Went out around 8:30, first to Amazon cafe (the chain I never visited in Laos and Cambodia, here it is around the corner and therefore my first choise. :-)). Coffee was ok, went to the cityline to get to the city. Wandered around, lots of big malls, the good thing with the malls is, that they are ac and therefore a good choise on a hot day (discovered this last year in Saigon). Beside the cool air Bangkok is to my mind no longer a shopping paradies. 9 years ago when I was here last everything was cheap compared to Europe, this is no longer the case. Looked for timberlands only to find out that they are pricier here then back home…. Had a least the first European meal in 3 weeks, in all the malls they have burger chains, so I ended up with mc Donald’s… Went home for a refreshing shower and a nap, out again around 4:30 pm. Had to go to the first fitting of the suits, so took again the bus, looked a little bit around in that area and went for a phat thai at one of the stalls. Was ok, still not my favorite (think I had too much on my first visit). Did the first fitting afterwards (shirts are already nearly finished, the suits looked like they need some time), had a beer there and was brought again back to the cityline by bike. Went home by subway, bought me a beer ant ended the day as always on the balcony.

Going to an already known city and still new experiences

Last day in Siam reap, was up around 6am, down for breakfast, had eggs Benedict again, again delicious 🙂

as desert I ordered again pain o chocolate, this time I received it 🙂 met seila shortly after seven to say goodbye and handed him a birthday present, received also a present from him. I asked him once which sort of Budda I should by for home, forgot to buy it and thought I will by one at the airport. But received it now from him, was nearly speechless, one of the nicest present someone gave me. I’m lucky because I met him, told him he is like a son for me (would also match from the age perspective, he is 27). Still thinking how I can support his new business, if someone needs a guide in Siam reap just ask 🙂

Was brought to the airport at 7:45 (flight was scheduled for 9:50), reached the airport at 8:15, managed to be last in line for checking (has also never happened before to me). Nonetheless finished check-in by 8:45 (and as I was last got a seat in the emergency row,.meaning more space for the feet :-)). Passed security, did boarding, as the lady saw my ticket she told me she had to seat me to the back of the plane as they need the seat. I told her I paid for this special seat (what was obviously not true, but I also didn’t believe her story), immediately she told me no problem and I can have the seat. In the end the whole row was empty (but the plane overall quite full :-))

Reached Bangkok ahead of time, were brought to the airport by bus as we had a far away parking position. Went to immigration, long lines, as I arrived a security opened a new line for the men in front of me, so was second at immigration. Arrived even at the baggage claim before the band started, mine was the fourth, was out of the airport by 11:15 (scheduled landing was 11). Seems I have a good karma currently!

Went to the atm to get Thai bath, checked me a ticket for the hightrain (cityline) to my Airbnb host.

Tried this time Airbnb, looked for something along the high or skytrain. Have been to Bangkok before, 9 years ago, was always travelling by taxi and paid a lot of money for this on my last day the hotel told me there is a direct train… At least I remembered that, so went by train for nearly no money (4 stations from the airport, to the city center it’s 4 more). Found my meeting point (thanks again to Google offline maps), it’s about 500meters from the station. Sat down in the cafe already around 12, sent here an email that I’m already here (she have me the wifi password in advance that I could use there), she showed up 5 minutes later. Lalalan, nice young girl, she told me appartment must still be cleaned (check-in is 2pm), so waited in the cafe, had some lunch (minced chicken, chili, rise, was good).

Exactly at 2 she showed up again to show me the appartment, very nice, one room on the 8 (and final floor) of a building, own balcony and a bathroom. All clean and nicely decorated. Had a refreshing shower (it’s hot as hell here, around that time 33 degrees, they have winter now …) and a short nap. Only Todo for the day was going to a tailor, my Christmas present this year should be a tailored suit. Had looked one up, highest rated on TripAdvisor and still affordable (according to their homepage a suit tailor-made for euro 250, normally I buy boss from the rack for 500). Checked the address on Google, recommended me the public bus as best option (station is 100 meters from the flat and I could do the whole way with one ljne, subway would have been first line, then change to another one, not so easy here as the lines belong to different companies you can not buy one ticket for the whole ride but first a ticket for the first, get out, to vending machine, second line). My host told me she never used a public bus in her life here. Googled it (fortunately), learned that you have to give the driver a signal that you want to ride the bus (otherwise they do not stop at the station, even when people are there waiting), that it is safe in the bus and that you will be the only non Thai on the bus, therefore an experience. It was exactly as described, hailed the bus, showed the counter girl that is going around in the bus my station on the mobile (as o was for sure the only English speaking on the bus), paid nearly nothing (I think it was around 30 cent), was lucky again that I had an AC bus (therefore more expensive :-)), took my seat and enjoyed the ride. Needed around 60 minutes for 7 km (the traffic here is slightly heavy here :-)). Reached the point Google directed me to and was in the middle of nowhere.. no tailor to see around… Were in an alley coming from the mainstreet, walked back to the mainstreet, found a free WiFi in front of a hotel, sent a mail to the tailor that I’m lost. Waited, no reply. had then the clever idea to insert the name of the tailor shop into Google maps, he showed me where to go (was merely 300meters). Do not know why I didn’t do that in first instance, copied just the address (and that was obviously misleading). So reached him in the end, entered the shop, completely sweated, needed some relaxing in the air conditioned room and a water (they also offered me beer, thought better to start with water). After cooling down he showed me different garments, obviously you get suits for 250, it’s a mixture of polyester and wool. Then came 5 different qualities of Kashmir wool, decided on the second best. The price he told.me then nearly kicked me out of my shoes… far more expensive then one boss suit. We started to bargain, result is now that I pay for 3 suits more then for 3 boss suits, but 1 highest quality, 2 second highest, additional second trousers for each (in same quality) and 9 shirts (3 in different whites, 3×2 in different blues), all tailor made (boss style was the master). Took a while to agree on everything, taking all measurements, spent nearly 1,5 hours there. Was asked how I come back, told them no clue, offered me that their company motorbike driver (was a woman) could bring me to the city line station (from there it’s one stop). Agreed and tried also motorbike (not recommend by any website). Worked still fine, was brought the cityline station, was already advanced in buying ticket and standing in line for getting in and was home in no time. Bought me a beer at 7/11 (situated in my appartment block, but they are everywhere here), went to the balcony, wrote a blog (at 9pm still 30 degree) and finished a day with lots of new experiences.

A lazy day in Siam reap

Was up as always shortly before 6, as I had no plans for the day started a little bit slower (meaning I was at breakfast at 6:30 instead of 6 :-)) had now the Khmer mansion breakfast, also nice, but after 5 days it’s more or less different combinations of already known things) Asked if I could have a chocolatino again afterwards (that’s how the call the pain o chocolate here in the hotel), again some miscommunication and received the super yummy brownies I got at check in again 🙂Decided on a short walking tour seila recommended, a wat at the river first. Really nice, quite old, had lots of (more modern) sculptures inside.
WWalked further alongside the river to the Royal palace, big park there, bats in the trees, bought in the end my missing souvenirs from Cambodia there from a small girl (magnets, this idea came from my sister, she asked me when in had been to the Easter islands to bring her magnets back, now she has some from the Easter islands, I don’t …)
Walked back, had set lunch in the hotel (was also not more expensive then on the street, 10 usd for 4 courses. First a banana bloodom salad with chicken.

Then lemongras sour fish soup, then fish amok again (its a really nice dish) and as a desert banana ssku in coconut milk (delicious). As it was the last day went for a neck and shoulder massage, didn’t liked it that time so much as the girl was coughing and sneezing the whole time (as I complained received 30% reduction on the price)
Afterwards a nap (was already 3pm), out for the last time to pubstreet. Decided to try the Angkor what bar (slogan: promoting irresponsible drinking since 1998), had two draft beer, suddenly a local girl asked if she could have a seat (table was for 4, a couch on each side) opposite to me. Did already know from her look what she was up to. Agreed (also the bar was half empty), watched still the people on the street (had always tables directly on pubstreet to watch the people/tourists). As I ignored her she asked if I mind if she would sit beside me, Agreed also on that but still ignored her. So she started to talk, where are you from. Talked a little bit with her, she was from Cambodia (what a surprise), asked her if she works here, no, she was playing the whole day pool and her arm is hurting a little bit. As that seems no money bringing profession here I finished my beer and went (she looked a little bit disappointed, do not know why :-)) happened the first time in the holidays, normally only the tuktuk drivers asking all the time: need tuktuk? No. Need girl, bumbum? Same answer…
On the way home had to try a fried icecream (there are lot of stalls, never tried it before) they pour a milk who knows what mixture on a frozen plate and form icecream rolls out of it. Never seen before, had a Oreo one, was good!
Went home afterwards, finished the blog (started at Angkor what bar) and called it a day.

The floating villages of tonte sap and the final temples

Was up as always before 6, had delicious breakfast again, this time special selection breakfast. Again some misunderstanding, wanted to get bacon instead of sausage, he asked me how much, was a little bit confused and told him 2 slices. Received two baguettes 🙂 clarified the miscommunication and received a plate full of bacon within 5 minutes 🙂 also managed to get better pictures of the breakfast menue, just to make you jealous 🙂 Met seila at 7:30 as the day before, managed to be at pubstreet even ahead of him (at 7:15, he showed up 2 minutes later). Went with him to the floating villages on tonte sap lake, biggest lake in Southeast Asia as I learned. Lots of houses on high poles (due to the high water levels during rainy season), went out on boat, stopped first at a wat, then changed to a smaller boat to do a short tour through the mangroves. Must admit saw a lot of garbage in the trees and everywhere and no animal live (was told there could be monkeys, saw none). Back to the big boat, visited a crocodile farm (poor animals in small basins), some snakes, frogs and other animals you would not be allowed to keep like that in Austria. Back by boat to the car, next heading for 3 more temples. As they are close to the lake (meaning farer from the city) not so many tourists. They were quite old, 9th century, so older then Ankor wat (some build as the king choose to have the capital of the empire there). Temples were the lolei temple, the prae Ko temple and the phnom bakheng temple. All not very big but for their age still in good shape. Tour ended already by 12:30, therefore skipped lunch during the tour. Payed seila for his guiding and made some donations to him (some extra money for his kids). He recommended me the Khmer kitchen for lunch, 30 meters away. Had Khmer dumplings (quite good, one filled with meat, one with egg, two with vegetables) and fish amok. Both really good, big portions, value for money (paid 10 USD with a Sprite). Went home for a shower and a nap, ordered me a tuktuk via the hotel to see my first sunset in Cambodia. Headed for phnom bakheng, near ankor wat. Had to be there early as this is the main sunset spot in the temple area, only 300 people are allowed on top at any time. Started from the hotel at 3:15, was there around 3:45, habto climb the hill and entered the temple by 4pm. So had to wait now nearly 2 hours, did my blogwriting there, was becoming fuller and fuller by the minute, I assume 90 percent reckless Chinese people (eg as all the places to sit in the shadow were full the tried to sit on stones that were guarded by ropes, do not know what this is a sign for in China, I told them don’t be that reckless, was ignored, but luckily there were also guards that told them to go out of the guarded area). Watched the sunset, really beautiful (even without a sunset beer, had only a sunset water with me :-)) headed down the hill with a mass of people (had a look down shortly before sunset, there were really about 50 to100 people still hoping to get on the top last minute, they saw nothing but the backside of the temple), reached the meeting point, my driver told me he is looking for me, in the end I found him 🙂 as it was ordered by the hotel received a cold towel and was asked of I need water 🙂 pure luxury here. Back to town, went out at pubstreet for a 50 cent beer (or two), on the way home bought another beer at the minimarket, back home on the terrace to finish the blog (could only do offline work on the hill) and called it another nice day, the last with temples, used my 3 day ticket till the last minute 🙂

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The temples of Angkor

Up around 5:45 pm, another hot day coming up (according to weather forecast 32 degree). First for breakfast at 6, had today American breakfast, didn’t get it completely, I would have had to select the eggs (thought is an assortment of eggs), so received an omelette in the end.

Nonetheless delicious as always.
Had agreed on meeting with seila at 7:30 at pubstreet, was there early, he even earlier as he awaited me already.
Today we had to do the main temples, so after learning a lot about Angkor the other day in the museum I had to see it for real for the first time.
Approached there with only few tourists, really an impressive site.

Looking even more impressive and higher from the distance. First a swimming bridge (as the original entrance is under construction) over the big moat sorounding Angkor wat, then some libraries on the way to the main structure.
Did the round to see the galleries (8 different ones all in all, each stretching alongside the walls for several meters) with beautifully inscribed stories, mostly fight good against evil and good wins in the end.

Went further up and did even the last clime up, there they have a queuing system, so only a certain amount of people is allowed on top all the time. Had about 15 minutes waiting time, did my round on top, saw also on top lots of asperas (the Royal dancers, only allowed for the king to see in real) and down again.

On the second level some pods for the king, also two monks were there, went there, donated small money and was blessed with holy water and received my wristband. During blessing I had to knee in front of the monk, my hands folded, head bowed and had to think about a wish. Not hard to find one 😀
Went some meters further to the center of the universe (in the believe of the culture the Central point of Angkor wat is the center of the universe), had a selfie with seila there.

Walked down from Angkor wat and out of the area again.
Next on the list was the nearby Angkor Thom. Impressive when you reach it, a stone bridges over the moat flanked by serpents, one side the serpent is hold by demons, on the other by God’s.

Drove further in to reach the bayon temple, the sanctuary inside the Angkor Thom. Temple was build at the time of change from Hinduism to buddism, lots of towers with faces in all four directions. Went up and down and around, heard a lot more stories but thinks enough told.

Had a lunch break alongside the big moat of Angkor wat, think I had some amok with chicken.
Last on the list for the day was ta prhom or tombraider temple (as some scenes of the movie with Angelina Jolie were shoot here). A temple deeply in the jungle, most impressive all the trees that are in, on and around the temple. But most of the temple collapsed, so main point of interest are really the trees here.

Went back to seilas car and he brought me back to pubstreet.
Had a really deserved shower and did a short nap.
Went back out and down to the river to have an early dinner around 5 at a street stall for a lok lak (hope I remember it correctly), beef with vegetables and rice (for a fair price of 3 USD). Headed then for pubstreet for sunset beer (also you do not see the sunset, but draft beer for 0.5 USD is unbeatable). Also here they are now decorating for Christmas (also most of the people are Hindu or buddist).

Around 7 went shortly to Siam reap night market (who is just on the other side of the river I had dinner), bought me my souvenier t-shirts (3 for 10 USD), on the way home another beer for the balcony and called it another very nice day.

Ziplining through the jungle

Slept again quite well (have I told you I love it here), woke up nonetheless around 5:45am (ok, I’m going to sleep around 9pm, so no need to wory), went for breakfast at 6, this time my choice was the hungry breakfasy. Delicious as always.Was scheduled for pickup at 7:15am, going to the Angkor zipline gold course.Picked up in time, 4 people in the minivan, one more was picked up and then we haded for the temple complex. Arrived around 8am, received a short security instruction and to had fill in some form. Then they put us into the hear (was the same procedure as in Vang vieng, only there was no security instruction..), back to the car and after a 3 minute drive the fun started. First went up by stairs a tree, first zipline. Followed by many more, 2 skybridges (was nearly the biggest challenge, I already found out in Vang vieng that also I’m afraid of hight the ziplining is no problem at all, especially here it was easy as you nearly never saw the ground due to the dense vegetation). They also had a honeymoon zipline (two in parallel, you were tied to your partner), a long one with 300 meters and so on. In the end there was abseiling, as it was merely 5 meters also no problem.Had a short walk through the jungle back were we received some information about local animals and plants. Back at the office handed back the equipment, saw a nice sign at the smoking zone.Some lunch was included, were driven to a quite fancy (tourist trap) restaurant overlooking the moan of Angkor wat. Received chicken curry, fried morning Glory and fried vegetables, was quite nice (sorry, no pictures). Still the adventure was overpriced to my mind, had also a fair amount of ziplines (no skybridges, no honeymoon zipline) on Vang vieng, there I paid for two days tours (including ziplining, tubing and everything else) 50 euro (and I’m still dreaming about the zipline at the bolaven plateu, looked really great over the valley to the waterfall, they wanted 40 USD)

Was back at the hotel around 12;30, had refreshing shower and a nap and headed for the national museum. Thought first about walking (2km), as we have 32 degree went for a tuktuk

Was 2 USD, once there paid entree fee (12 USD and 5 USD for an audio guide) and did the museum. Was recommended by lonely planet for hot days as it’s air-conditioned. No pictures from here as pictures were not allowed inside the museum. Learned a lot about Buddhism and Cambodian history, quite interesting. Lasted over 2 hours, around 4:30 went out. Still hot so took a tuktuk to pubstreet. Had a sandwich at a street stall, went for a happy hour beer to pubstreet. From there I wanted to go to the nightmarket, missed it even with assistance from Google by far 😀 turned around, bought me a beer (as it was anyhow already after 7:30) and went back to my little heaven on Earth for writing the blog