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To Travel is To Live

Strike a pose!

Strike a pose!

I was looking for travel inspirations across the internet when I stumbled upon a quotation by Ernest Hemingway. He said “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love”. But what if, you get a chance to travel with people you do not know? Will you grab the chance? It was a particularly hard question to answer. I always get the notion that traveling with strangers is such a bad idea. What are you going to talk about? What if you don’t have the same wavelength? There are just too many questions that need answers, but you will never know the answers until you try.

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Backpacking Indochina Day 7 – Blood, Sweat, and Tears

For the endless bus rides

For the endless bus rides. (c) Stef Carandang

Day 0: Manila to Bangkok, Thailand

Day 1: Grand Palace, Chao Phraya River and MBK

Day 2: Songkran and Khao San Road

Day 3: Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia, Pub Street and Night Market

Day 4: Angkor Wat Heritage Complex and Apsara Show

Day 5: Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Preah Sisowath Quay

Day 6 Part 1: Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Central Market

Day 6 Part 2: Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

At 6:00 in the morning, we went downstairs to have breakfast. I honestly thought we will be the first ones but I didn’t know what kind of people are the others because they woke up so early. We ordered breakfast from the hotel restaurant. Kat seemed to have a rift with breakfast. Ang malas malas nya. She ordered bread with jam and butter while Shiela ordered bread with egg and butter then I had bread with egg and cheese. I had an entire entree when the waiter served my food, Shiela’s wasn’t bad at all. But when Kat got her breakfast, she had what she asked for: jam and butter. Yun naman pala by default lahat ay may jam and butter. Hahaha. Naawa nalang si Kat sa sarili niya.

At Golden Wind

At Golden Wind (c) Stef Carandang

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Backpacking Indochina Day 6 Part 2 – False Alarms

 

Habang tumatagal, matumal na ang group pic.

Habang tumatagal, matumal na ang group pic.

Day 0: Manila to Bangkok, Thailand

Day 1: Grand Palace, Chao Phraya River and MBK

Day 2: Songkran and Khao San Road

Day 3: Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia, Pub Street and Night Market

Day 4: Angkor Wat Heritage Complex and Apsara Show

Day 5: Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and Preah Sisowath Quay

Day 6 Part 1: Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Central Market

Midday of April 17th, after a heartbreaking trip to the Killing Fields and S-21, it’s about time to leave the humble city of Phnom Penh. At 11:30 we made our way to look for a place to eat. We decided to eat just near Hometown Hotel because time is of the essence. With 30 minutes cooking time, Cambodians I think didn’t get that memo.

We were joined by the others -Tikoy, Edge, Golden, Dan, Ms. Lyn, Vhik, and Froi. I ordered my comfort food–spaghetti and garlic bread. When the waiter started serving the food, he handed “my garlic bread” to Froilan. I didn’t even know it was mine (False Alarm #1) because the waiter didn’t say so and it was a small-sized french bread. I thought it would be just like the usual garlic breads here in the Philippines. We all thought it was free so they munched it, it was far from me to get some so I just passed. And Froi was having fun eating it so I didn’t bother taking some. Vhik and Froi were really enjoying the “i-didn’t-know-garlic-bread-of-mine”. Until Shiela asked “Umorder ka diba ng garlic bread?”. Froi laughed, I think he realized that he was eating my garlic bread. Hahaha. I myself was clueless that it was mine so I just said it was fine. At least I got to taste some. And whew I thank Vhik and Froi for eating half of it, the moment I tasted it, I asked “ano to tinapay na garlic flavor o bawang na tinapay flavor?”. Chunks of garlic were literally inside the bread. Haha. Anyway, my pasta was exceptional, as always.

Chicken skewers for lunch

Chicken skewers for lunch

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Backpacking Indochina Travel Guide: Where to Go, What to Eat and What to Do

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

The world is not in your books and maps. It’s out there. – Gandalf the Grey

April 11-19, 2014

“Indochina? Indonesia and China?” I always get this response whenever I tell my friends that I am going to Indochina. Saying Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in one is already hard but explaining what Indochina is, is even harder.

So what does Indochina mean? Or rather, where in the world is Indochina???

The term Indochina was derived for the term French Indochina, a combination of India and China, which refers to the territories/lands between these two countries. Other countries included are: Singapore, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar.

Now, why did I decide to visit these Southeast Asian countries when I could have enjoyed the spring in Korea or cherry blossoms in Japan? Simple. Because of the rich culture and tradition of these countries. Because of the endless adventures that I knew awaits me there. Because I knew that upon returning from this trip, I will be a different person – made better by the long hours of travel without having a proper meal and carefree transportation; more appreciative of what life I have back home; and wiser with the many lessons I have learned from the people I met on my journey.

Let me share now a snapshot of my Indochina adventure with Travel Factor. The detailed posts per city/day will be posted soon. For now, eto muna. 🙂

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What I Have Learned From My Backpacking Indochina Experience

 "Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

Adventure without risk is Disneyland“–for a theme-park addict, this slapped me on the face. But if you come to think of it, it is true. Ok, I am grooming myself here to become the most adventurous person I can be. After backpacking for nine days, I can completely define a tourist and a traveler quite distinctly.

James Michener said “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home“, should this stop me? To tell you, it did, once! It took me quite some time to ingest that I will be in the middle of the bustling street of Bangkok, the heat of Siem Reap, and on the sidewalk of motorcycle-packed Saigon. But that turned out to be the best decision yet. You really cannot imagine how far you can go by just trying something new. Being a foreigner is definitely not easy, there are questions like “Is there a McDonald’s?, How about Starbucks? Or even KFC?” And being stuck in Indochina with nothing compared to Manila in terms of Fast-food per mile, keeping your sanity for a long time is quite a challenge. But hey, I tried new food, and I liked it. now I am definitely adventurous in my own scale.

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