Kingdom of Cambodia

I visited Cambodia at the end of October for 2 weeks after leaving Vietnam. I crossed the border from Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) into Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. I had met an amazing group of travel buddies, so crossed the border with five new friends.

Cambodia was so different to what I expected, initially entering Phnom Penh I was struck by all the ‘wealth’ I could spot about me, including the many expensive cars and restaurant chains. According to the World Bank, Cambodia has exceeded the Millennium Development Goal poverty target and poverty rates have more than halved from 2004- 2011. However there is still a way to go in protecting Cambodians most vulnerable.

Cambodia also has had a very harrowing history, it is currently under a ‘constitutional monarchy’ and the current non-royal leader has ruled for over 25 years (the longest serving in South East Asia). Those who talk about Cambodia will know it for the famous Angkor Wat temples and the awful genocide that took place under the Khmer Rouge.

Here are some of my highlights from my time in Cambodia –

Angkor Wat or “Capital Temple” – 

This beautiful temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world and is easily accessible from Siem Reap. It was originally constructed for the Khmer Empire in the 12th Century and has become the symbol of Cambodia. I went here for sunrise and ended up spending the whole day wandering around this spectacular set of temples (you could easily spend longer here) It cost $20 USD for a 1 day pass (prices are set to go up) but you can also buy 3 day or 7 day passes if you have more time. I went with a group of travellers and we ended up hiring a ‘tuk tuk’ to take us all around for the day. The weather was pretty disappointing, but the temples lived up to there name and were absolutely spectacular.

Angkor Wat temples, Cambodia.

Travel buddies at Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

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On the 1st October I travelled to Vietnam from Laos for 1 month on a tourist visa. I was excited to experience Ha Long Bay, the famous green lush landscapes and taste delicious Vietnamese food! I landed in Hanoi, which is the countries capital and was greeted by people! Vietnam is the 14th most populous country in the world. Trying to cross the roads was a task and when I first arrived I was escorted across a very busy intersection by a kind Vietnamese guy…the idea was to basically step into the road and just walk! The motorcycles and cars didn’t stop…they just went around you! I ended up travelling across (or down) Vietnam over a month, I feel in love with the country and would love to go back one day!

Hanoi streets at night, Vietnam.

My Vietnam highlights…..

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Laos love!

Luang Prabang night markets, Laos.

I travelled to Laos overland in September across the Northern Thailand border at Huay Xia via night bus which took me around 14 hours (some of which included some hair-raising/stomach churning driving through windy small roads!).

I really didn’t know what to expect from Laos and having only been travelling for 2 weeks when I entered the country, I was feeling nervous and apprehensive! However this quickly changed once I arrived in Luang Prabang, a beautiful city in the North central of Laos which has the Mekong River meandering through it. Parts of the city actually hold UNESCO World Heritage status, due to the beautiful architecture and the good condition of the city. I was amazed at how stunning the city was and could have stayed here for weeks exploring, eating and watching sunsets over the Mekong River.

French colonial architecture, Luang Prabang.

My highlights of Luang Prabang included the Kuang Si Falls, the night market, tasting the French patisseries at some of the local cafes, visiting Mount Phousi at sunset and wandering round the beautiful Buddhist temples.

I ended up arriving into Luang Prabang at 3am in the morning when I first arrived, which wasn’t ideal, but meant I managed to catch the early morning Alms Giving Ceremony with the local monks. This is a tradition in which the monks come round the city at sunrise and locals give them their offerings (usually food) to take away with them. Tourists are welcomed to also take part in this ceremony, it was very beautiful and peaceful to watch especially that early in the morning.

Alms Giving Ceremony at 5am in Luang Prabang, Laos.

I ended up spending two and a half weeks in Laos, it was not long enough and I missed out a lot! However here are just a few of my highlights.

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First stop Bangkok

Travel ready!

On the 1st September 2016 I left my family and friends to travel around the world on a ticket with the aim of travelling for one year. This blog aims to sum up a few of my adventures along the way and maybe even give some useful tips to those wanting to travel more.

My first stop was Bangkok, the city that has everything. I have been once before but for me it is summed up by the smiling faces, Tuk Tuks and a place you really can get anything! There is also the smells (which can unfortunately not always be good ones) but mostly it is from the Thai spices and cooking from the tasty street vendors, food markets and array of cafes and restaurants on every corner. There are temples sprawled across the city, floating markets, riverboats and off course the infamous Koh San Road (a backpackers dream!).

Spending just three nights in Bangkok, here are my highlights –  Continue reading

The last epic adventure in 2014…

Uluru/ Ayres Rock, Australia

My last ‘epic trip’ was a trip ‘down under’ in 2014 on a one year working holiday visa. I loved every minute I spent in Australia from visiting the ‘big red rock’, driving the Great Ocean Road and swimming with Whale Sharks in Western Australia. I spent 6 months living in Bondi and miss that gorgeous Sydney coastline everyday.

On returning to my lovely hometown Bristol, I began to plan my next adventure with a desire to explore more of this big beautiful world. So in July 2016 I booked myself a round the world ticket with my only plans so far being to stop in Bangkok, Sydney, Auckland, Santiago, Los Angeles, New York and London.

Swimming with Whales Sharks in the Ningaloo Reef, Australia.

Read about the beginning of my trip here →

All photographs copyright Jemma Nicholson.