This will be the last post of our 7 month adventure around South East Asia. Last but not least – Cambodia ranks as one of our favourites!
We started in Lolei, a small village just off Siem Reap. We stayed at Angkor Legacy Academy where we did some volunteer work with local communites.
On the way to the village
The two classrooms where the English teaching was held
We taught English to children aged 5 to 14 years old. Our classes were very interactive!
We also did food distribuition to local families
And at the end they sang in Khmer to show gratitude and thank us for the food. Our hearts shrunk to the size of a pea.
We distributed clothes brought by another volunteer to the local children. The happy looks were indiscribable.
Our pupils coming and going on their bikes
At the end of the day we would go for a walk around the village, playing with the children and talking to the parents
Beautiful fields around the village
Happiness 🙂 all around!
The happiness and the gratitude shown by these people taught us so much and inspired us to be better. We left feeling small but with a great life lesson.
The next 3 days were spent exploring temples in Siem Reap – one of the most unique and special experiences we had during our travels!
The cliché photo – sunrise at Angkor Wat
This was a challenge and it doesn’t represent the situation. Check out below!
The crowds in Angkor Wat are a real problem!
Inside Angkor Wat temple
We were very lucky as we had a motorbike (they’re forbidden to foreigners in Siem Reap) to explore the park on our own. We also avoided the big temples on rush hour and spent most of the time exploring the smaller ones.
Most of the times it was just us, the immense jungle and an amazing temple.
Sometimes the exploring took us to dead ends in the middle of the jungle
Ancient archways all over the park
… with stone carvings of the Buddha
The passages in the temples make a big labyrinth
Carlos showing off his djembe skills to the locals
Beautiful lake on the way to Neak Pean temple
Sunset from the top of a temple
Our days were spent wandering around, getting lost in the jungle until we bumped into another temple!
The massive trees all around
Bayon temple – one of the biggest and most popular temples! We went during lunchtime, it was boiling hot but with almost no one around.
Looking up close you can see all the faces that make up the temple
One thing that really impressed us was how nature has taken over, with trees invading temples and roots slowly causing its destruction. It creates a fascinating scenery.
Ta Prohm also known as the Tomb Raider temple, where the movie was shot
On our last day we decided to visit Beng Mealea temple which was an hour away from Siem Reap.
The way there was a wonderful ride across the countryside, passing by beautiful villages and fields.
Beng Mealea temple – where nature meets history
On our last sunset, we jumped over a wall and found a gorgeous lake lost in the middle of the jungle. We wanna go back!!
Three days wasn’t even enough to see and experience the incredible and mysterious Angkor Wat. We loved it and it was hard to leave but it was time for us to go to Phnom Penh.
Our quick stop in Phom Penh was mainly to visit the killing fields where about 17 thousand men, women, children and infants were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime.
An excellent audio tour guides visitors around the site with compelling stories from survivors, guards and executioners. Here you can see one of the mass graves where corpses were found.
The tour was emotional and draining but it gave us compelling insight into a fraction of the atrocities that took place across the country under the genocidal regime.
More than 8000 skulls, arranged by sex and age, are visible behind the clear glass panels inside the Memorial Stupa
After all the cultural sightseeing we took off to one of the most breath-taking islands we had ever been to, Koh Rong, an undeveloped island with a jungle-clad wilderness rimmed by pristine white sand beaches.
Our morning view from the hut in Longset beach.
Clear blue water and powdery white sand beach… what else could we ask for?
The island had no roads and the only way to get around was by walking along the beach or take an expensive boat. One day we trekked across the jungle to the other side of the island for sunset.
Jungle path connecting our beach to Koh Touch beach
View on our way up
Beautiful sunset on the other side of the island in Long beach
On our last days we stayed on this amazing seafront tent
After beach bumming for 5 days, we caught a boat and then a bus to our next destination, Kampot – known for the world’s best pepper!
We visited a pepper plantation – La Plantation – where we learned about the history and production of the Kampot pepper while visiting the fields.
Before the tour we did a pepper tasting of different pepper types: black, red, green and white which all grow on the same plant, but are harvested or processed at different stages of maturity.
Picking some pepper berries
Green pepper, the first stage of the pepper plant – eaten fresh and undried unlike the other three types.
The black pepper is made by harvesting the berries when they are fully developed but still green in colour, then dried in the sun.
Red pepper is made from the green berries that are left to mature on the vine.
White pepper is the result of the transformation of red pepper. Its outer coat is removed by soaking it only for 1 night.
Hand picking the red pepper
Red pepper drying
At the end of a steaming hot tour we felt like we deserved a fresh coconut, relaxing under the shade.
On the way back from the plantations
Kampot is a sleepy riverside town with a stunning mountainous backdrop where the sun sets filling the sky with warm colours. It’s very laid back with cool hidden bars along the river, ideal for a lazy afternoon chill.
Arcadia Backpackers bar
Relaxing by the river
We spent a whole day exploring the Bokor National Park where remnants of the French colonial days can still be found.
View from the top of the Bokor Mountain
Abandoned Catholic Church
Buddhist temple at the top
Popokvil waterfall – quite dry during this season.
The people, the culture, the landscapes, the good vibes and the weather – that´s what made this special country one of our favourites. We left with the feeling of coming back one day.
And so our 7 month journey comes to an end… what a ride it has been!
Getting to know different cultures and adapt to new realities, meeting travelers from all over the world and sharing experiences together, trying the most delicious food and touching the best beaches, diving the clearest waters and swimming with turtles, hikking a 4000m volcano and flying across canopies, teaching English and learning to be grateful, feeling at home on the other side of the world and enjoying life oblivious to time.
Thank you to everyone who has travelled with us through our posts!
We leave with warm hearts, high spirits and a bag full of memories – thank you Asia ❤️It’s a sad goodbye with a sure return!