Thursday, 21 April 2011

Trotting around

So this year, for my 25th B'day, I decided to treat myself to vacation in the South Eastern part of our continent. For those who did not see on Facebook or twitter (or have forgotten since they have better things to remember), my itinerary looked thus:

On 31st March 2011, the end of the financial year, yours truly clambered onto a flight and flew off to Singapore.

On April Fool's day, I landed in Singapore, was promptly picked up at the airport by my lil sis and then had a very scenic drive to her place. The city-ness of Singapore didn't really sink in on that day... but more about that in a separate post.

On 2nd April, sis and I strapped on some seat belts (I have seen seat belts in more colours than I can remember on this trip) and flew to Bali amidst much questioning on how we could want to spend the day in any way other than watching India win the cricket world cup. We did, incidentally, watch the match at the only sports bar showing cricket at Kuta in Bali.

On 3rd April, amidst wishes stating that all of India was celebrating my birthday, sis and I toodled off to sightsee in Bali. We covered Ubud and the Batur volcano, 2 temples (Gunung Kawi and Goa Gajah) and our driver's village

4th April presented anything but Monday morning blues as we headed to Nusa Dua beach for jet sking and some somnolent sunning. Lunch at Jimbaran beach and then a visit to the Uluwatu temple for the sunset and the Kecak dance completed our travelling for that day. Back in Kuta, we shopped till the shops shut :)

5th April - some last minute shopping later, we clambered back onto our flights and flew right back to Singpore

6th April - yours truly in complete vacation mode slept the day through before heading out at night to Arab street, a street with great food and some funky street art.

On 7th April I finally got on with exploring Singapore on my own and headed to Sentosa. I must admit it was a disappointment. The Doplhin and fur seal shows were cute but I have issues there too (I have a separate post planned for this one... so please wait patiently). The evening ended well as a friend of sister's met me at the botanical gardens and two shutter happy women went clicketty clack! The National Orchid garden was a place of sheer delight since they are my favourite flowers (people can generally take hints... I love flowers and bouquets :P )

So happy was I with the gardens that the two of us woke early on the 8th to catch the sunrise there. Of course, we resembled beached whales for the rest of the day! A quaint, gorgeous Swiss restaurant also resulted in much tummy happiness as I caught up with a college friend for dinner.

9th was the typical lazy weekend with sis and I catching a movie and generally lazing around with my getting completely excited about leaving for Angkor the next day!

On the 10th a bunny rabbit couldn't have been bouncier as I counted the hours to my 11pm flight to KL and then on to Siem Reap in Cambodia for 4 days!!!

11th April - Cambodia impressed me from the first moment! A very smooth visa process later (Bali had  us standing in the queue for half an hour) I reached the hotel and set off within the hour on my explorations. Starting with the first temples in the Angkor region (the Roulos temples), onto Angkor wat and finally the sunset from the highest temple in the region - Phnom Bakheng. (Much much more on Angkor in a separate post again).

Day 2 of Angkor began with sunrise at Angkor wat and breakfast in its serene grounds followed by a visit to the walled city of Angkor Thom, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm. In the evening, I chose to take a break from the temples and visited the National Angkor Museum and rounded off the evening with a traditional dance performance along with dinner at one of the restaurants in Siem Reap.

Day 3, 13th of April, I decided to get out of Siem Reap and went to the farther Banteay Srei, the only temple commissioned by a Brahmin as opposed to a ruler of the Angkor Empire. On my way back I stopped at Pre Rup and the proceeded to see the Floating Villages on the Tonle Sap. Driving back to the hotel, the driver took me to his village to see preparations for the Khmer new year and meet his mother and the evening ended with a traditional New Year dinner at the Hotel.

On my last day in Siem Reap, I decided to spend some time just walking around the town and saying byes to the friends I had made at the hotel. The high point of my return journey was the landing in Phnom Penh. The aerial view of the Mekong Basin and the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap was just gorgeous.

Back in Singapore, I spent 15th and the 16th eating, shopping and generally lazing around. And sooner than I liked, it was time to pack up and come back

This trip has been fulfilling for many reasons. As the first trip that I have planned entirely on my own, it has been quite an experience. I have learnt loads on what to do and what not to. I've also learnt something of the kind of travelling that I would like to do in future. The thing I am really glad about is the places I chose to visit. Not only were they beautiful and relaxing, they also gave me differing perspectives on my own culture (which is another of the things that I plan to write about in subsequent posts).

So, on that note, I do hope everyone who is going to be spammed with links to the posts and pictures and those who are going to stumble upon them, do enjoy reading (and seeing) them.


Aarti said...

Loved the post.
makes me wish i was there tooo!!!!

Shravya said...

Lovely :)

I also want to go on a trip aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah