Choosing the right hostel can take some internet research and sometimes word of mouth from other travelers helps. Your mood is also a factor. I chose a hostel in Bangkok that appealed to me because of its location away from a busy noisy area. It seemed to have a few things within walking distance to check out, local bus stops, and a short 750m walk to the famous (or should I say infamous?) Khaosan road. The Here Hostel had photos showing a rustic charm and pleasant garden area. Having a pool was also a plus.
Mechrey is one of several floating villages in the Siem Reap region of Cambodia. This one in particular is still floating even during the dry season. Several of us from the Lub D hostel have booked this tour via the Adventure Travel Co. and we start our day with a 2:30pm pickup for a sunset visit to this village.
Kbal Spean which means Bridge Head is a river of carved relief stones. The ‘bridge’ is a natural sandstone arch. These stone carvings are mainly of lingams (phallic symbol of the Hindu god Shiva). Also known as the River of 1000 Lingas, the trail head is about 48km to the north of Siem Reap. I was curious about seeing these and thought it would be a change from the temple agenda.
It’s a Thursday the morning after a night on Pub street and I’m feeling up to some more temple exploration in the Angkor Archeological Park. What no one realizes at first by looking at the map is that the whole park is about 400 square km. My first thought was that it would be nice to explore the temples by bicycle but it’s 7.3km just to Angkor Wat temple from the hostel. Then another 7km from Angkor to the next temple, Preah Khan, on my list and today is going to be a hot 36 deg C.
One happening touristy pedestrian street night spot in Siem Reap is Pub Street. Lined with restaurants and bars with beers ranging from 50 cents to $2.50 USD. Everything in Siem Reap is priced in USD. Bright lights, loud music, street vending of anything on a stick, and buckets of alcohol, no really, buckets. Backpackers, young, old, everyone visits this street. How long you can hold up along this street is up to you.
Where and what is Angkor Wat? It is probably the most well known tourist attraction in Siem Reap, Cambodia. A temple built in the 12th century as a temple dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu, then became a Buddhist temple. Remaining in use till the 1800’s it’s no longer an active temple and had undergone much damage since and as recent as the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970’s. The name Angkor Wat translates to Capital City Temple. Besides Angkor Wat there’s so many more temples in the Angkor Wat including one made famous in the 2001 movie Tomb Raider.
Lub D Siem Reap is one of the top 10 hostels accommodations I’ve experienced. It is easily number one for best value for the lowest price at $47.50 for 5 nights. The hostel is in a great location with a short walk to Pub Street. The staff couldn’t be friendlier and the relaxing atmosphere made every guest be just as friendly. There’s a chain of Lub D in Asia and I plan on staying in Lub D in Phuket. Welcome to the new breed of hostel accommodations.
The first thing you notice about Hanoi, the capitol of Vietnam, is how much cooler it is from Ho Chi Minh. Though it’s about 1500km (under a 1000miles) to the north the temperature dropped about 20degF (12degC). Unlike Ho Chi Minh the Hanoi sky was rather cloudy the whole time. Being the Capitol and more political I encountered many restricted areas as I wandered out of the Old Quarter to explore some of the sites.
Ha Long bay in Northern Vietnam with it’s thousands of towering limestone islands and islets was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994. With it’s emerald waters, pinnacles topped with rainforests and sea level eroded bases it’s a sight to behold.