Not going to lie, I wasn't too excited about going to Phnom Penh after freaking myself out and reading horror stories from other people about their experiences in the city. But after three days, I ended up really liking the city. I think I mostly liked the city because of the great Airbnb that I stayed at. I decided to stay with a local family and it was amazing! I fell a little bit under the weather and the host made sure I he everything I needed to be comfortable.
Before coming, the Airbnb host from HCMC told me that the country is still slowly coming back from the Cambodian Genocide and that Phnom Penh is quite depressing. While I agree with that statement, I think the Cambodian people are very friendly even though this terrible event happened nearly 35 years ago.
Arriving in Phnom Penh and finding the Airbnb was easier than I thought it would be. My host, Long, was such a sweet guy and an amazing host. The Airbnb is further away from the backpacker area so got more of a local feel for this city. The first day I just walked around the Russian Market and explored the neighborhood.
After a four hour flight to Singapore, a four hour layover, and a two hour flight, I finally arrived in Ho Chi Minh City! My Airbnb host Andrew gave great detail on how to arrive to his apartment and I made it safe and sound with no hassles. The apartment was so spacious and modern and I instantly became obsessed with it. In addition, Andrew was a great host and provided a map and itinerary of what I should do on my first day there.
On Day 1, I walked all around Saigon. The city is bustling with cars, buses, and mopeds zipping through the streets with no cares for the traffic light. I was a little scared at first since everyone kind of just drives but quickly got over that. Saigon still has a French vibe with all the cafes lining the streets and all the architecture in District 1.
I visited the Norte Dame Basilica and Post office first. Both very beautiful and reminiscent of western architecture. Afterwards, I walked down the street to the Opera House, which once again has a western vibe to it. It's really amazing seeing French architecture in an Asian city! The streets around these monuments are filled with it. Finally, I went to City Hall. The area is very nice and walkable. However, the heat does get killer!
Annnnnd here we are! My last day of work at C.C.C. Kei Wai Primary School (Ma Wan). It seems like only yesterday where I had my interview and now I am officially done. There were some problems here as any job but overall, I really liked my time here and the work. It was a really easygoing job and it's sad to think that I will never have a job this easygoing again. But on to the next chapter of grad school!
However, before I leave Hong Kong, I will bee traveling for a month around South East Asia and I could not be more excited! I will first fly into Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam then bus it to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia, Bangkok, Thailand, then take a ferry to the Half-Moon Festival in Koh Phanghan, Thailand, then fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and finally end my trip in Bali and Gili Trawangan, Indonesia. Afterwards, I will fly to Hong Kong for a day to see my family and friends before heading back to the good ole States!
Here I come South East Asia!
How is it already July!? It feels as if it were September just yesterday. As I reread my blog posts, I realize that this has been the shortest and longest year of my life. I'm really grateful for the opportunity to take a year off and teach but sadly my time is up. I'm excited to go home but I'm also really sad to leave. Here is a list of what I'm looking forward to and going to miss.
What I'm looking forward to:
-Chipotle (soz family and friends but I NEED Chipotle)
-Seeing my family and friends
-NY Pizza and Bagels
-Good cheese and dairy products
-My comfy bed
What I'm going to miss:
-My family and friends
-Easy access to the beach and different amazing hikes
-My noodle stand and the people who run it
-The safety (I can walk alone in an alley and feel 100% safe)
-Easy access to Asia
-Nightlife and Junk Boats
-Cheap dumplings (cause they're life)
-Street waffles and egg puffs (also life)
After finding cheap airline tickets through a sale on HK Express, I booked a spontaneous trip to Taichung, Taiwan. I have never heard of Taichung before but was excited to get away for a bit and explore another country. When I arrived, I walked around the hotel and picked up some bubble tea. It's said that bubble tea was created here in Taichung and it was just amazing.
The next day I spent the whole day walking (and sweating) around Taichung. There were a 5 major things I wanted to see in the city: Taichung Confucius Temple, PaoChueh Temple, Caihongjuan Village, Maple Garden, and Fenjgia Night Market. I started the day walking to the Taichung Confucius Temple. Since it was still morning, there was only one other family touring the temple alongside myself so, it was nice and quiet. Afterwards, I walked on to the PaoChueh Temple where the famous golden Buddha sits. Once again, it was morning so it was nice and quiet. In Taichung, the major mode of transportation is the public buses. I didn't want to bother too much with the bus and decided to walk most of the city. There are many parks scattered throughout the city so when I got tired, I would take a quick break in one of the parks.
It has been hectic figuring out my final months here. I have a lot of mixed feelings about leaving Hong Kong. I really love Hong Kong and my life here but am missing my family, friends, and Chipotle at home. It's been quite a year with it's ups and downs but I'm finding more and more resistant to leaving (but obviously I am leaving).
It has dawned on me that I am returning to school and will become a students again. That scares me a lot. I feel like this year has been the longest and shortest year of my life and it just feels like ages since I took an exam or actually studied. However, I am extremely excited to go back, study psychology, and earn my Masters.
This past weekend was a long weekend because of the public holiday, Labor Day. So, I decided to take a weekend trip to Shanghai, China. The previous weekend was my birthday so treated this mini trip as a birthday present to myself! My friend, Susan, raves about Shanghai and I was compelled to go. Shanghai is pretty similar to Hong Kong in the sense that it is a metropolitan city. The skyline is painted with many different skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Jin Mao Tower, and the Shanghai Tower. I was lucky enough to have such clear, blue skies when I went to the Bund to check out the skyline.
The weather was just absolutely beautiful when I went so I spent majority of the weekend walking around as well. Unfortunately, it was a busy weekend as well due to the long weekend. I visited Old Town where the Yu Gardens are and it was completely packed. While the Yu Gardens are beautiful, I found myself getting frustrated with the shoving and pushing of the tourists in the Gardens and in the shops surrounding the area. However, my spirits were lifted when I left the area and headed to the French Concession.
IThe final stretch before the summer holiday starts now. Between Chinese New Year and now I have been busy creating my final lesson plans and presentations for the final book I will be teaching. From today, I have exactly seven weeks left of teaching. However, school doesn't end until July 11th. Not too sure why I have to get called in but I'll be able to catch up on some reading, TV shows, and blogging.
So, I spent my Easter holiday in Singapore and the Philippines and what a lovely trip it was. One of my best friends is back from San Francisco while he sorts out his visa so, it was nice being able to spend a couple days with him. Singapore is a great country too. Apparently, the cost of living is expensive like Hong Kong but it is just so much cleaner. Also, the food was so cheap! All of my meals were under 5 USD. I was able to see some great things in Singapore too. I went to Universal Studios, which was much better than Disneyland Hong Kong, Gardens by the Bay, Marina Sands, and of course the many shoppings malls.
Just traveling the world and sharing my adventures and experiences.
Travel Wish List