Monday, March 23, 2009

Cambodia Trip '08 – Day 06: Getting back

Our last morning in Cambodia started really early as we had to check out of the hotel at 6:30am. After having the last breakfast at the hotel’s café, we loaded up our minivan with our collection of bags and proceeded to the Siem Reap International Airport that was about 10 minutes down the road where our hotel was. We said our goodbyes to our Cambodian hosts and thank them for their generosity while we were in their care. Once all the farewells have been said, the group proceeded to the flight check in area to check our bags in.

(Siem Reap International Airport Departures drop-off point)

The airport was quite empty when we arrive but the crowd soon grew as more people started to show up to check into the same flight that we were on. It was a good thing that we decide to start our day at the airport early as we did have 2 trolleys full of bags to check in. While waiting for the bags to be processed, I went and sat at the side to update my travel notes and take some pictures of the airport interior. After all the bags have been checked in, we went to pay the USD25 airport tax and proceeded to clear immigration which was quite a painless experience. There was not much to buy at the duty free shops there so we ended up just waiting until they called for flight boarding.

(Airport interior - nice decorations)

Our Air Asia flight back to KL came in about 10 minutes early that day and other than a little bit of turbulence over the Gulf of Thailand, the flight back was uneventful. We touched down at KL LCCT about 10 minutes earlier than expected arrival and said goodbye to the group that I have been travelling with the past 6 days in Cambodia. Since we were not looking forward to deal with buses and trains to get back, we decided to take a budget taxi back to Sunway and arrived safely at 2pm.

(Leaving Cambodia)

Cambodia was all that I expected and much more. It was an eye opening trip to see how they lived and the hardship that they had to go through in their recent history for myself. It was very inspiring to see that even after all that hardship, they are still surviving and for some even thriving as the country recovers from the dark national nightmare. There were many unspoiled beauty to be discovered in Cambodia and I was only able to scratch the bare minimum while I was there. It is definitely a destination that I plan to come back to again to spend more time when I am able to.

Travelling in such a big group was also a different experience that I was used to. Accustomed to making decisions on my own while travelling, it was a change to let someone else to do it and allow myself to enjoy the experience as they came. The outreach activities that they had planned allowed me to experience a side of travelling that I probably wouldn’t be able to experience on my own. In my own small way, I got the satisfaction that I was not only travelling but also helping those that I meet in my travels. I would definitely explore more ways of giving back to the locals when I travel in future destinations.

(Next destination - end March 2009)

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