We have made it to the eighth and final installment of my Cambodia 2013 adventure. Writing these posts over the last few months has given me the opportunity to reflect on what an amazing experience it was and remind myself of all the fun I had along the way. To wrap up the series I thought I would share my highlights and lowlights of the trip.
Whilst obviously the whole trip was a massive highlight I thought I would share the top six things/moments from my Cambodia 2013 trip.
Two weeks was simply not long enough time to try all the delicious food Cambodia had to offer. My favourite meals were the ones in which a delectable array of dishes were chosen for me and I got to try a bit of this, that and everything.
Taking part in a workshop at Epic Arts in Kampot gave me the opportunity to see how dance (something I love so much), could help and heal in such a different way to anything I had experienced.
I honestly can’t remember a bad experience with any people in Cambodia. Everyone we met was so kind, helpful and welcoming. The children especially were so happy and loving to their families and us as visitors. I met so many incredible people that I wish I had gotten contact details for to share the photos and memories on this blog with them.
Our homestay with Siphen and Mach really set the great tone for our trip. It gave as a few days to adjust to the new climate in a relaxing environment (compared the busyness of the cities) and also spend some time with local students and participating in community projects.
Kampot was definitely my favourite place we visited. It was a relatively large and busy town but not such a popular tourist spot, so there was a lot of opportunities to interact with locals. Our accomodation in Kampot (Les Manguiers) was beautiful and it was the point in the trip where we all really bonded as a group. I have so many fond memories of late nights on the porch and jumping into the river. We also helped build a house and it was amazing to see what we achieved.
Not only did I have the experience of a lifetime but I came home with a whole bunch of friends that are now some of my nearest and dearest. As a group we clicked so quickly and honestly became like family. We share connections that are difficult to explain to others and I love them with all my heart.
Not as great bits
A bit of an obvious one…I was unlucky to get sick twice. Once with heatstroke and a second time with a gastro bug (that about half the group had). I am eternally thankful for our wonderful guide Hils for looking after me both times and her handy hints for a speedy recovery; lots of fluids, electrolyte drinks and the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples and toast). But being stuck in a hotel room for 36 hours did result in a new bff – love you Leysh, if you’re reading 😉
Apart from the aspects of Cambodian history we learnt by visiting S21 and the killing fields I found Phnom Penh too busy. It was also the only point of the trip where I felt the need to be extra safety conscious. I do think Phnom Penh is worth visiting but it is not somewhere I’ll be rushing back to.
Whilst I was happy to come home and see my family for Christmas it was so weird to suddenly be alone all the time and not constantly surrounded by my new family. I almost experienced reverse culture-shock readjusting to being back in New Zealand society. It took me a good few weeks to stop thanking people in Khmer with my palms pressed together.
I really hope you have enjoyed reading these posts, I have really enjoyed reliving the amazing experience and it’s certainly making the travel bug itch!