MANILA, PHILIPPINES â€“ As I start the new year 2010, I cannot help but reminisce and look back at all the travel adventures that I had in 2009.
Of course, my year was filled with several trips to some of my countryâ€™s domestic destinations.Â One of my favorites would have to be my trip to Coron, Palawan during the first half of the year.Â After a few months, my partner and I embarked on our biggest adventure yet.Â We pulled off our Three Countries in Ten Days escapade!
From the Philippines, we booked our US$100 tickets with one low cost carrier.Â Our first stop was Bangkok.Â But we were just transit passengers in Bangkok.Â We waited for about seven hours at the Bangkok airport for our connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Â Per our itinerary, we were only to stay in Kuala Lumpur for one night.
Given that it was my partnerâ€™s first time in Kuala Lumpur, we decided to head immediately to the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC).Â At KLCC, we had our lunch at the food court where a variety of cuisines were offered such as Chinese, Malay, Indian, Greek, American, etc.Â For our quick snacks, we had the famous Coffee Buns at Roti Boy.Â We also decided to see the marine life on exhibit at the KLCC Aquaria (Ticket Price: RM 38/person).Â When it was nearly sunset, we proceeded to the fountain area of Suria KLCC to take souvenir shots of the marvelous Petronas Twin Towers.Â No trip to Kuala Lumpur would surely be complete without seeing these famous towers.Â For dinner, we tried out al fresco dining at Jalan Alor â€“ a must for any visitor of this bustling city.Â Since we were supposed to wake up early to catch our morning flight, we returned to our hotel and called it a night.Â It would be wise to book a room in advance in Kuala Lumpur given that this city is a favorite tourist destination.Â One nice hotel to try is Capitol Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
The following morning, my partner and I rode our plane from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap in Cambodia.Â We were giddy with excitement as we were finally in Cambodia to see the famous Angkor Wat.Â Tourists who wish to explore the different temples of Cambodia tend to stay in the city for a couple of days.Â This is no problem given that there are a lot of comfortable accommodations to consider like the Angkor Star Hotel Siem Reap.Â After we checked into our hotel, we immediately headed to Angkor Thom.Â We spent all afternoon learning a lot of interesting information about the temple from our tour guide, Mr. Sambo.
In the few days that we stayed in Cambodia, we visited so many famous temples Ta Phrom and Pre Rup.Â Another priceless thing that we experienced there was the breathtaking sunrise at Angkor Wat.Â We are thankful for the friendship with our bubbly tour guide â€“ Mr Sambo â€“ and our equally patient and thoughtful tuktuk driver â€“ Mr. Rith.Â We left Siem Reap with a sad heart but hopeful that someday we can go back and visit our new friends again.
We boarded the bus that brought us to the capital city of Phnom Penh. When we reached the bus terminal in Phnom Penh, we met a new tuktuk driver named Ghiva.Â He brought us to our hotel and offered to drive us around the city.Â Again, there are a lot of places to see in this city and it is a good idea to plan to visit for more than a day.Â There are a lot of hotels to stay in like the Juliana Hotel Phnom Penh.Â Since we were only scheduled to stay for a day, we immediately rode in Ghivaâ€™s tuktuk and proceeded with our tour.Â This leg was an eye-opener given that we got to visit not just regular tourist spots like the Indenpendence Monument, Grand Palace and the National Museum.
Our most important stops included the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.Â We got to understand more about Cambodiaâ€™s dark past and appreciated the effort the Cambodians were giving to rise above their horrifying history.Â To give back to Cambodia, we visited an orphanage and left a donation for the wonderful children who lovingly referred to us as Madam and Mister.
From Phnom Penh, we rode the plane back to Bangkok.Â Of course, our stay in Bangkok had been wonderful.Â We got to visit shopping areas like the famous Chatuchak and MBK.Â We left Bangkok and traveled for about two hours on the freeway to visit olden Ayutthaya.Â It was also our first time to experience traveling via the Chao Phraya Express to visit the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Temple of Dawn and the Vimanmek Mansion.Â Plus, we even got to stuff ourselves full with different Thai delicacies and yummy food.
Looking back, my partner and I have no regrets.Â We got to visit three countries in ten days without spending a fortune.Â We will forever cherish all our experiences and adventures.Â Most of all, we will always remember the new friendships that we made during our journey.Â Deep in our hearts, we are hoping that the day will come when we can go back and see all our new friends.Â We wish that that time will come sooner rather than later.Â One thing is for sure, we will do our best to make 2010 brighter and filled with more travels.
Happy New Year everyone!!!