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Monday, 24 August 2015

Siem Reap, Cambodia Day 1


Yes, I am back from my voluntary work of 4 days trip to Siam Reap Cambodia, together with 16 team members of  Inspiring Star.

In short, Inspiring Stars is a non-profit organisation found since 2007.  Inspiring Starts brings volunteers to Siem Reap to distribute sponsored school items, as well as visiting villages to donate food, daily necessities and pre-love/new clothings.

Preparation work started as early as in May where we did a Garage Sale to raise some funds.
Read more about it  HERE.

About a week before we set off, we had a get together.
It was my first time meeting our team members, quite a few of them were joining first time, just like me.   We wore our names for easy identification lolxx...

We packed the pre-love/new clothes into different categories - men, women, boys, girls and infant.

I nearly fainted at the enormous pile which formed a hill over the living room lolxx..
In the mist of packing, there were items we wanted very much to keep for ourselves, but the leader said "CANNOT!"  The donors gave these to Cambodia, not to us.

I took charge of packing the infant wear, some were brand new.  They were so cute that I had an impulse to have another baby lolxx...

Once they were all packed and labelled accordingly, we each brought a bag home.

Ada Wong, founder of  Inspiring Stars gave us a briefing on the outline of the schedule, advised us on what to wear and what to expect.

An evening's hard work was rewarded by a home-cook feast.

As I was going to Siem Reap as a volunteer, some physical work was need in the schools and villages It doesn't make sense to wear make-up and fanciful clothes.  So there won't be glam OOTD shots, you will see a less pretty but a more down to earth me....

and the  REAL SIEM REAP.


Destination: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Duration: 13 to 16 Aug 2015

Flight:  Jet Star -  2 way rounded up to be S$366  -____-

Accommodation:  Steung Siem Reap Hotel (4 star) - Street 9, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Website - www.steungsiemreaphotel.com

Mode of travel: A local coordinator was with us.  We had 2 vans drove to drive us around.  We engaged a guide for AngKor Wat visit.

Time difference: 1 hour behind Singapore

Currency: USD and Cambodian Riel, but USD is used more often.

Weather: around 33°C with occasional rain.

Note:  The main purpose of this trip was to visit the schools and villages, but we did have a bit of fun and leisure.

13 Aug 2015 - Day 1

I half dragged, half carried the 15 kg bag and pulled my small luggage to the road side.

No taxi, no car, nothing on the road.... EVERY TIME when you need a cab.
One finally came after more than 20mins of wait.

Happy selfie in cab ^.^

Check-in counters were replaced by machines, ie. self check-in.
Not familiar with the machine, basically the service staff did everything for me.  I really don't like it.  Are the other budget airlines doing the same?

I didn't join the others as I need to shop, then had a quick bite alone.

After filling my stomach, slowly strolled towards the gate, admiring Changi Airport, I love our airport so very very much.

Clouds of cold air was coming out from the air vents, but it was still too warm for a sweater.

After a short flight of less than 2 hours, we reached Siem Reap Airport.
We had to brave through the scotching sun to get indoor.

The custom was new, everybody gotten their chops in a few minutes time and we were officially in Siem Reap.

One of our team members put her items in rice sack bag which is more sturdy, our cheena bags are more prone to tearing.  Perhaps we can get more rice sack bags in future.

We brought with us about 200kg of clothes and toys, phew...

The 16 of us had these 2 mini buses to drive us around for the next 3 days.

Stay connected online was everybody's priority.  There were a few network providers, I bought from the cheapest available at USD3 for unlimited usage of 3G for 5 days.

Inspiring Star's local coordinator Chhay and me.
We keep in contact via Facebook for many years, this was the first time I met him in person.  Many tasks are impossible without him.

The traffic here weren't busy, Chhay brought us to this local place for some food within 20mins drive.

Stated there "breakfast" but the items were available for lunch too.

The dishes were decent and comforting.  Here's a GIF -

After lunch we headed to the hotel.  Pic taken during the journey, entering the town I suppose.

It was another swift 20mins drive to reach Steung Siem Reap Hotel.

The French-colonial exterior was lovely.

So was the tut-tut with baby pink seat covers.

The interior was however different, I felt as if time had turned back to 1970s.  But it was clean and spacious enough.

Here's our 200kg baggages.  While they might looked a massive and big deal, I soon realised that they weren't enough.  That part of the story will come later.....

I was too excited to rest at the hotel, so I followed my sis Ada around.  Being the leader of Inspiring Stars, she had more to do.  Her first stop was this stationery shop.

Here's Ada and Chhay calculating the number of students at the schools and also to select useful items to purchase.
Orders were made and to be collected the next day.

2nd stop was this grocery shop.

We ordered milk, packet cakes, waffle biscuits, sweets, detergent powder, tooth paste and many other items.

The shop looked like a distributor warehouse.

Cat spotted sleeping on the shelf, it refused to wake up no matter how we disturb it lolxx...
The shop keeper knew that we were buying for the school children and she was kind enough to provide us mineral water ^.^

It's crazy, but I followed Chhay back to the airport (again) to pick up my another kid sis as she took a later flight.  Chhay bought this to welcome her.  He said it's a wrist wreath.
My sis placed it on the bedside table and it was the best room fragrance ever for the next few days.

After half an hour of travel, we were finally back at the hotel.  Here's our room with 2 super singles.

The duo panel window opened with a small balcony.

The front view was another block of Steung Siem Reap Hotel.

Left side was a tip of Pub Street.

Restroom was clean with all the basics - basin with vanity top, hair dryer, toiletries (tooth brush, tooth paste, shower cap, cotton bud, comb, shampoo, bath gel), shower and bath tub, of course WC with rinser.

Night set in together with excitement, the slight drizzle did not affect at all.
Stepping into Pub Street, my first impression was it resembles Khao San Street of Bangkok.

Numerous pubs and restaurants lined at the 2 sides of the street.

Caucasian, Koreans, Japs, China were all here, obviously a tourist place.

We walked in here -
Till now I have no idea is it Tex Mex & Steak House or Cafe Latino, also dun have exact address >.<
But no worries, if you walked along Pub Street, you will find it, Pub Street is not too big.

This place has got 2 floors.

Ignore me, I very cui, just have an idea of how the interior and ambience is like.

I would say it's quite a nice place to chill.

Curry Chicken with rice (forgotten to note price)

 Tortilla Soup USD3.75
 Spicy Chicken soup with diced tomatoes, bacon, onions, peppers, fried tortillas, guacamole and cheese with shredded chicken.  Tasted good with that spicy kick initially, but later there was a meaty taste with the chicken.

Latino Mini Burgers Plate USD7.50
 Cheese burger, mexican burger & wagyu burger which all tasted the same to me.  Mini meat patties were over done, but my bro-in-law's regular burger looked fine.

Kitchen knife was used as a table knife, so amazing lolxx...

Green Orange Juice
I couldn't remember the price but this was really sweet and good!

Their local beer has got less foam, taste is mild but it's cheaper than mineral water.
This was USD0.50 if I am not wrong.

After dinner went walking around the Night Market which is just next to Pub Street with one team member while the rest went for massage.  There were numerous stalls selling the same items.
Saw R-rated ash trays, heehee.....

The Fish Spa here looked scary to me.  The fishes were as big as 3 inches compared to ours at 3cm.
My sis said they should pay us for feeding their fish instead lolxx...

It was 10pm and we were trying to find our way back to the hotel.  We got lost lolxx....  Blessing in disguise we chanced upon this -

Mango Milk Shoved Ice USD2
Very yummy!  I'll know how to get there for the next visit, but I don't have the exact address.

We literally combed the entire Night Market and all lanes of Pub Street but still couldn't find our way back.
Our hotel was just 2 mins walk from this area, but somehow we were just walking round and round lolxx...

Got durian, but not keen to try.

Saw a stall selling fried insects.  Paid USD0.50 to take photos.  There's no way I'll eat them, I don't even dare to touch them lor >.<

We walked and walked, very determined and confident that we would eventually find our way back.

By 11pm, we gave up, got a tut tut, paid USD2 and reached our hotel at one turn in less than half a min T____T
We realised that we had actually walked pass the lane to our hotel a few times without knowing.
--______--|||  Seriously, we so poor thing, hur hur....

I knew that tomorrow's gonna be a long and tiring day, but little did I know I would be experiencing so much........

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