Siem Reap, Cambodia: Why sunset is better than sunrise at Angkor Wat

Siem Reap, Cambodia: Why sunset is better than sunrise at Angkor Wat


SO NICE, I WENT THERE TWICE - ANGKOR WAT IN THE MORNING VS. THE EVENING (AND WHY SUNRISE AT ANGKOR WAT IS OVERRATED)  

With peak season in Cambodia (November to January) coming to a close and savvy travellers such as yourself (you clever thing, you) looking into visiting Siem Reap in the less crowded, less expensive off-peak season that is May to October, it seemed timely that my first Asia travel story of the year should be of arguably the most famous of Cambodian monuments - the instantly recognisable and incomparable Angkor Wat. You know by now, of course, my 2018 mission to see all the South East Asian countries I've yet to visit. With Vietnam, Singapore, my native Malaysia, Thailand, and now Cambodia under my belt, that leaves just six countries to go. I can't think of a better destination to kick off this year's travel stories with, so here are the first of my photo diaries from Siem Reap, Cambodia, and my observations on why sunset trumps sunrise at Angkor Wat.

January 17, 2018

Siem Reap, Cambodia: Why sunset is better than sunrise at Angkor Wat

SO NICE, I WENT THERE TWICE - ANGKOR WAT  IN THE MORNING VS. THE EVENING  ( AND WHY SUNRISE AT ANGKOR WAT IS OVERRATED ) ...

Turning the (Passport) Page: my 2017 Travel Review and my 2018 Travel Plans


Before I turn the page to a New Year, here is a look at my show reel of 2017, followed by the upcoming attractions and my travel wishes of 2018. 

BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE IRREPRESSIBLE (IF SHORT-LIVED) "CAN-DO" SPIRIT THAT SEEMS TO DO THE ROUNDS EVERY FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY AND INSPIRED BY THE FIRST #TRAVELLINKUP OF 2018


LAKE BLED, SLOVENIA'S MOST FAMOUS AND ROMANTIC BEAUTY SPOT.
2017. 12 months. 14 Countries. 34 Cities. 
A carbon footprint the size of Bigfoot.

You just can't keep a wanderluster down. You can take away her passport while dragging your feet about whether to grant her Indefinite Leave to Remain, but she will pull some strings to get her application approved in neck-breaking record speed even in the wake of all the post-Brexit immigration scramble. Not even a tangle of Home Office red tape couldn't hold me back, let alone recovering from cosmetic surgery. Less than a week after waking up from going under the knife, my year of travel kicked off. Seeing friends in Australia...conquering Hong Kong in 24 hours...a Mother's Day weekend in Prague...the failed detox program in Chiang Mai that we shall never speak of again...my epic 3 week road trip across the Balkans...Autumn in Japan...Winter in South Korea and Cambodia, and finally; ushering in the New Year in Singapore.

Oh, the places I've been (in 2017)...

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ  1. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (several times in 2017)
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ  2. Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (twice in 2017)
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ  3. Sydney, Australia 
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ  4. Melbourne, Australia (twice in 2017)
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ  5. Hong KongHong Kong 
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ  6. PragueCzechia 
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ  7. Chiang Mai, Thailand 
STARI MOST, THE ICONIC BRIDGE OF MOSTAR, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA.
CONTEMPLATING THE COLOURS OF CINQUE TERRE IN ITALY.
FEELING THE HAPSBURG YELLOW FANTASY IN ZAGREB, CROATIA
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น  8. ViennaAustria 
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ  9. MariborSlovenia 
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ  10. LjubljanaSlovenia  
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ  11. Bled, Slovenia 
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  12. Zagreb, Croatia 
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  13. Plitvice, Croatia 
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  14. Trogir, Croatia
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  15. Split, Croatia
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท  16. Dubrovnik, Croatia
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ  17. Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina 
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ  18. Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ช  19. Kotor, Montenegro 
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น  20. Florence, Italy  
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น  21-25. Manarola, Vernazza, Corniglia, 
Monterosso, RiomaggioreCinque Terre, Italy
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น  26. Portofino, Italy
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น  27. Pisa, Italy
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต  28. KyotoJapan 
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต  29. Tokyo, Japan
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท  30. Busan, South Korea 
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท  31. Seoul, South Korea
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ  32. Siem Reap, Cambodia 
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ  33. Phomh Penh, Cambodia 
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ  34. Singapore, Singapore

_____________
A SLICE OF WILDNERNESS ON LANTAU ISLAND, HONG KONG
LEAN IN - I'VE GOT SOMETHING TO SHOW YOU IN PISA, ITALY...
THROWING SHAPES IN YOYOGI PARK, TOKYO, JAPAN.

Upcoming travel stories...

I have a back catalog of travel photos and travel stories from Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, and Singapore that I really ought to get cracking on with. Expect in the New Year: a review of Japan's best new luxury hotel The Four Seasons Kyoto, as well as 24 Hour Guides to Kyoto, Tokyo, Busan, Seoul, Singapore, and Phnom Penh. Siem Reap's many beautiful temples gets their own series, including tips on how to beat the crowds at Angkor Wat for the perfect souvenir photo. 


Quality over Quantity

In this age of the competitive social media humblebrag, clocking 34 cities and 14 countries in a year of perpetual travel comes across as #GOALS but honestly, beneath the glossy facade the cracks are showing. Travelling all the time is exhausting, especially when you realise you've spent more nights in hotel rooms than you have in all of your homes combined. So, this year I choose quality over quantity. To give myself room to breathe, I'm going to limit myself to no more than 12 countries and 24 cities. 



SUNRISE IN BAGAN, BURMA (YES, I STILL CALL IT BURMA)
My New Year's Travel Resolution for 2018:
South East Asia & Malaysia.

Look, here's the tea - it is the height of bourgeoise to make your gap yah in South East Asia  a point on your resumรฉ, be it LinkedIn or Tinder. Nothing reeks of pretentiousness more than the multiple photos of wearing the same beads in your hair, dusty pair of flip flops, and elephant-print pyjama pants for months on end while you wax lyrical about how the locals helped you find your spiritual awakening ("They are sooo poor and have sooo little but they're sooo happy!"). Especially if you're a white person on a "poverty tourism" binge. For a Malaysian who grew up in the '90s whose sensible upbringing verges on pearl-clutching hysteria, the rest of South East Asia* are our less-prosperous neighbours whose only notable exports are cheap domestic help (yeah, nobody does casual classism like Malaysia). 

*all of SEA except for wealthy, modern Singapore - their best-known export is their bastardised, overly sweet version of Malaysian street food. Sorry 'bout it. 

For the affluent Asian back in the day, the travel destinations of choice were usually European countries - what we deemed to be exotic and faraway. Naturally, a lot of the beauty in our backyard went ignored, which is a bloody shame - one that I fully intend to rectify in 2018. 

THE GATEWAY TO HEAVEN IN BALI, INDONESIA
IN THE LAND OF GODS AND MONSTERS IN LAOS
BEING A ROYAL PAIN IN THE ANGKOR AT PHNOM PENH ROYAL PALACE

Of the 11 countries in South East Asia, I've already visited 5: Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia (my native country), Thailand, and Vietnam. This leaves me with 6 countries: Indonesia, Philippines, Burma, Laos, Brunei, and Timor-Leste (East-Timor); the capitals of which I hope to have traversed by the end of 2018. In keeping with the "closer to home" theme, I'm also hoping to get to know my own country outside of the metropolitan bubble that is Kuala Lumpur. I've visited (and blogged about) 9 of the 13 states in Malaysia, which I'm terribly chuffed about, but I'm still 4 states short. No matter, it's a new year, begging to be filled with fits, foibles, and passport stamps!

My 2018 Travel List

South East Asia:
1. Bali, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta; Indonesia
2. Manila, Cebu, and Boracay; Philippines
3. Nyapyidaw and Bagan, Burma
4. Vientiane, Laos
5. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
6. Dili and Atauro Island, Timor-Leste

...and in Malaysia:
7. Mulu Caves, Sarawak
8. Alor Setar, Perlis
9. Kota Bahru, Kelantan
10. Negeri Sembilan

Here's wishing you a bigger, better, brighter, and more well-travelled New Year. x
January 01, 2018

Turning the (Passport) Page: my 2017 Travel Review and my 2018 Travel Plans

Before I turn the page to a New Year, here is a look at my show reel of 2017, followed by the upcoming attractions and my travel wish...

Kyoto, Japan: Fushimi Inari Taisha



November 20, 2017

Kyoto, Japan: Fushimi Inari Taisha

20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

A city a day keeps the wanderlust at bay...
20 DAYS. 20 CITIES. 6 COUNTRIES.
AUSTRIA • SLOVENIA • BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA • CROATIA • MONTENEGRO  ITALY

THE FINALE, DAY 20: RIVIERA REALNESS IN PORTOFINO, ITALY

Reminiscing the end of a mini era with a post about the Italian Riviera...

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I pen this post, the final entry of my travel diary series 20 Days in 20 Cities and 6 Countries. Not just because writing these chapters has been the most fun I've had with Posh, Broke, & Bored this year; but also because this post marks the end of a era - travel-wise and also on a more personal level. At the ripe age of 31 I can hardly describe myself as being marked by "the loss of innocence" but even so, at every and any stage of life certain events bring with them upheavals of hitherto heaviness. Without going in to too much detail, you may have read between the lines from my presence on social media that I'm currently fighting some battles, hence the recent short blip from my blog. And I would've taken a longer break from writing, if not for my #TRAVELLINKUP sisters and brothers' posts about journeys reminding me that all is transient and that the only way is forward. So thank you for inspiring me to write this final chapter, to move forward, and to take one last look at my epic summer road trip across Austria, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, and Italy.





Picking up where I left off in Cinque Terre, the drive from Riomaggiore to Portofino for an afternoon (before moving on to Pisa where I would depart for home the next morning) was as stormy as my mood was tempestuous. Heavy rain lashed down, making the usually-2 hour drive around narrow, winding mountain paths even more treacherous. But the drive, now twice as long thanks to poor visibility and slippery roads, was made less tedious and more atmospheric with a playlist of Guns 'n' Roses greatest hits and with sweeping views of the Italian Riviera, albeit sprinkled with rain.



THE CHARACTERISTIC COLOURFUL HOUSES OF THE PIAZZETTA...
...AND THE RED CARPET LEADING TO...
...THE CHURCH OF SAN MARTINO.
CACTUS, YOU NEFARIOUS CREATURE, WE MEET AGAIN...
STIRRING UP A STORM: THE RAIN FOLLOWED ME TO PORTOFINO...
...AND SO DID THE MOST APPROPRIATE FRAGRANCE I PACKED FOR THIS OCCASION. 

THE LUX AND THE LANGUID: FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF PORTOFINO

I felt right at home in Portofino: a neat, petite, and ready-to-eat village with my kind of flavour combination - shiny and luxurious in some parts, yet rustic and rural in others. I've always been drawn to an aesthetic best described as "crumbly European chic meets New Traditional" ie. genteel decreptitude and faded grandeur brought into the 21st century with a few new glossy accents. Portofino captures that contradiction beautifully; with upscale fashion houses and yachts making up a playground for the international jet-set in this tiny coastal village on the Italian Riviera. Off the bat, it's obvious that Portofino was destined for a reputation of exclusivity based on its geography alone - the crescent-shaped village sits on its own peninsula, bound by the Natural Regional Park and Marine Reserve.

Portofino has two faces. The iconic Piazzetta, the meeting-up point for the international jet-set, is the symbol of the village's glamorous side; while the port with its famous pastel-coloured houses is the icon of Portofino's maritime heritage - whose inhabitants were so skilled at sea navigation that the ancient Greeks and Romans called them delfini (dolphins). The two sides of the coin form a sea resort with encapsulate both the distinctive 'Mediterranean luxury' and 'Riviera romance' personalities that have inspired so many artists, writers, and composers.


20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

I didn't have a great deal of time to enjoy Portofino as much as I would have liked, and my brief spell in this captivating coastal village was further dampened by unseasonable showers (itself a running theme in this trip - my face, above, says it all). I'd love to return in Summer for the 'season' - that's when it all kicks off, from regattas to religious celebrations. Till we meet again, Portofino...

20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy
BAG DOLCE & GABBANA


That said, for all its ups and downs it was a thrilling 3 week ride. The sights, the sounds, the flavours - it all made for an unforgettable journey, one that I feel incredibly privileged to have not only experienced but also relived and to have shared with you.



20 DAYS, 20 CITIES, 6 COUNTRIES:
MY SUMMER ROAD TRIP ACROSS THE BALKANS



Thank you for coming along for the ride, and I bid you goodbye...for now. 
November 07, 2017

20 Days, 20 Cities, 6 Countries - The End of the Journey: Portofino, Italy

A city a day keeps the wanderlust at bay... 20 DAYS. 20 CITIES. 6 COUNTRIES. AUSTRIA  •  SLOVENIA  •  BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA...