See you later Canada, I’m off to Thailand & Cambodia NOW!
Sunrise over the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia
After months of planning, I am finally embarking on another one of my infamous international clusterfucks. Every year, I make sure I use my passport at least once. I love gearing up my backpack and disappearing into someone else’s homeland. I love being this anonymous ghost. I love looking at the world with eyes of wonderment, as if everything is brand new and here just for me.
The islands off of Phuket, Thailand
Ever since I went to India in 2009, I have been jonesing to explore more of South East Asia, and I knew Thailand and Cambodia had to be my first stops.
The ancient ruins at Ayutthaya, Thailand
When I travel, I like to plan my route methodically so that I know where I’m staying, what to do there, how to get there, how much things cost, whilst still leaving some space for spur of the moment, spontaneous decisions.
I actually made a “Thailand-Cambodia-Kit” in Word which is 64 pages long! In it, I put in all the relevant information about my “SituAsian” that I could possibly need (thank you internet). Everything from where the Canadian consulates are, to vegetarian restaurants, bus tickets, bike rentals, party etiquette, snorkelling, Thai massages, Muay Thai, floating markets, the Karen people… and even just how to catch the ferry to Koh Samui. I’m too cheap to buy travel guides so I made my own!
Koh Samui, Thailand
So what’s my itinerary? Today I take the bus down to New York Shitty. My flight to Bangkok departs from JFK on Monday, so I thought I’d go down to NYC for the weekend and chill with friends 🙂
Then after 24 hours in transit and a stop-over in Doha, Qatar, I arrive in Bangkok on Wednesday morning.
From Bangkok, I’ll spend a month exploring the north and south… to Ayutthaya (former capital of Siam, ancient temples!), Kanchanaburi (where the Bridge over the River Kwai is located!), Sukhothai (other former capital of Siam, ancient temples!), Chiang Mai (the Karen people and mountain climbing!), Pai (a place for hippies to chill), Phuket (James Bond island and Hong-diving!), Koh Samui (leisure beach time and rocks that apparently look like male & female genitalia), Koh Phangan (THE FULL MOON PARTY!!!!!!!!).
The view over Chiang Mai, Thailand
Then, in November, I go to Cambodia. I fly into the capital Phnom Penh but I only spend one night there before I’m off to Sihanoukville (former French colony and beautiful beaches), then I spend the rest of my Cambodian time at Siem Reap where the famous, historical, majestic, world-heritage-site Angkor Wat is located. I’m going to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat, then rent a bike and cycle from ruin to ruin, working my butt and my soul at the same time.
The temples of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
After a week soaking up the ruins, I return to Bangkok for a few days (maybe will take a day trip to some islands just outside of Bangkok) before I fly to London mid-November for my Eurail.com adventure across Europe!
To answer your questions, yes I’m doing this all by myself. No I am not joining a tour group. Tours in the area like G Adventures or Intrepid are way too expensive, considering you can do it all on your own, on your own timeline, for much cheaper, without the rush. Doing it on your own means you get to have the experience you want, and you get to go to the places you want. You answer to no one, and you save a helluva lot.
I’ve done tours before, and I really enjoy them, so this isn’t a slight against tour groups. I just didn’t want to pay $1000 for only 8 days or 12 days. I’m doing 6 weeks for much less than that.
Ta Prohm temple at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
So, as you’ve probably guessed, with these two world-class/world-traversing trips back to back, I actually won’t be back in Canada until 2013.
Of course, I’ll be blogging, Tweeting, Instagramming, Foursquaring, and Facebooking the shit out of this trip, and I’ll be doing it regularly, so don’t expect posting frequency to lag. I’ll also make one of my infamous travel short films after the trip, and will of course photograph ALL THE GRAFFITI AND STREET ART I find.
Alright, we got a SITUASIAN.
But, I will still be gone for a long time.
I know I’m going to meet amazing new people, experience new adventures,/adrenaline-activities/sensations/wonders, discover new places, try new things, push myself out of my comfort zone, test my limits, get dirty, scrape my knees, wear awesome onesies, eat everything and feel guilty about nothing, and discover more about this 31-year-old lady that I like to call Me.
But I’m going to miss you.
I said the following once before… prior to one of my early backpacking adventures of my 20s… but I think it applies again today…
“My body is a boat, and you are travelling in me.”
I click “publish.”
I step outside.
I head for the station.
I do not look back.
And I do not say goodbye.