My last morning in Thailand, the “Land of Smiles” was definitely bittersweet. I set out to find the last of my desired swag from the local market and grab my last Thai meal. I walked to Sri Mariamman Temple, a Hindu temple, to pay my last respects to the beautiful country of Thailand that I’ve spent the last two weeks growing to love.
I had been looking for a specific Ganesha pendant my entire trip in Thailand since I first saw it in Krabi and decided not to buy it. Ganesha is the Hindu elephant God widely known as the “Remover of Obstacles.”
Throughout my yoga and spiritual practice, I’ve always had a strong connection with this particular figure and wanted to keep something with me along my travels. When I got to the temple I looked at the charms and trinkets they had and, sure enough, there was my Ganesha pendant.
After stringing it onto my necklace, I bought my last Thai iced coffee, my last grilled plantain, and my last “folded pancake like taco filled with marshmallow cream and shredded coconut” thing I can’t pronounce in English.
I made my way back to the hostel to say my final farewell to Apple, her sister, Katy, and Sevi. After meeting Apple on the flight from Melbourne to Bangkok, meeting Sevi and Katy in Koh Phi Phi, and reuniting again in Koh Phangan, we somehow managed to all meet up in Bangkok one last time. There was never really a need for goodbye until today.
We hugged it out, and Lindsay and I were on our way.
I must admit our airport experience was seriously amateur. We arrived 3 hours early and managed to almost miss our flight. After checking in, we got comfortable and grabbed some lunch, organized our things, took a survey for some local kids (while they snuck our photos), wasted time, and didn’t even think about going through customs!
Twenty minutes before our boarding time, reality bashed me upside the head as I realized we are most likely going to miss our flight.
We booked it to the international departures line and waited and waited. We finally made it through security and got through quicker than we anticipated. Thinking we had plenty of time before boarding, we stopped to smell colognes and browse the duty free shops. We then decided to head to our gate at 21C.
Wait… There’s no 21C???
We checked our tickets again and, sure enough, we had read the seat number. We ran to the departures screen and we realized our plane was literally on the other side of the terminal and it was reading “FINAL CALL.”
*Insert cuss word here*
We sprinted down the terminal for what seemed like forever, lugging all of our bags, until we got to our gate. There were about four employees waiting and, upon seeing us, smiled in relief and rushed us through.
You’ve got to appreciate a culture known for smiling even in times when you’ve pulled a major blonde moment!
When we boarded the plane, there was this strange steam coming from the overhead bins. We figured it was some sort of fragrant incense. At first we questioned whether or not it was laughing gas but apparently AirAsia goes a step above the rest to ensure a comfortable flight.
It was only an hour flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia but we saw some of the most beautiful cloud formations I’ve ever seen on a flight!
After landing, we had to get our Cambodian visas.
Apparently, I was supposed to carry some extra passport size photos with me. Noted. Also, Cambodia uses US dollars! Noted yet again. I started feeling seriously unprepared for Cambodia.
Now… What to do with the 14,000 Thai baht I have on me?
We decided to catch a night bus to Siem Reap so as not to waste any time and get a full day in at Angkor Wat in the morning. A lovely Spanish couple, Carlos and Sara, approached us outside the airport to organize the adventure together.
We all got a cab to the bus station and booked an 8:30 pm bus to Siem Reap. After eating dinner, we boarded our bus for the 6 hour trek up north. I had many friends tell me how rough the roads were here, but that’s a serious understatement!
Imagine 3 ft diameter potholes every couple of feet and driving straight through them at 30 mph!
Anyways, thanks to my friend Cody’s recommendation, we booked a hostel in Siem Reap and were picked up at 1:30 am when we arrived (complete with welcome sign).
Welcome to Cambodia, the “Kingdom of Wonder!”