Cambodia // Siem Reap – “Arkoun” [South East Asia Series 2019.20]

I got to Siem Reap slightly sad and missing my Vang Vieng crew. A weird feeling considering all the exciting things I’ve got ahead of me during the next few weeks.

The first day was all about settling in, getting my head around what I was going to do for the next few days etc. Met a couple of people around the hostel and booked my Sunrise tour for the next morning (had to be up at 3.30am!… like… what is even that).

The Angkor temples are indeed gorgeous and an experience I recommend to everyone however it needs to be said that there were thousands and thousands of tourists around and it’s all becoming a bit of a tourist trap.

Angkor Wat at 6am

On my second day I decided to get a Tuk Tuk driver (Mr. KoKo) to drive me to a couple of temples I really wanted to see. I went at peak heat time (11am-3pm) and went to the furthest away temples (45min drive) and that was a bliss experience. Barely anyone around and I could really take me time to appreciate it all.

On my third day I was all “Templed up” and decided to just have a chill day. I spent the morning with Zoe who then recommended I pop by the Angkor National Museum which has a lot of Angkorian artefacts and provides information about the Khmer civilisation. Zoe, that was a great great idea! Be like Zoe and suggest good stuff to do, be like Mariana and follow Zoe’s advice.

Now… once again I’m left overwhelmed by the amazing people I meet wherever I go, and although everyone keeps saying I’ve got this weird ability to bring people together I honestly think it’s all about the fact that I do indeed meet incredible individuals that I don’t want to let go of. It really is not about me, but about this crazy welcoming community of random travellers that keep this smile on my face.

To Gonzalo…. thank you for being the first person I’ve met and for saving one of my million bobby pins. You started a conversation as soon as I arrived and that really made me feel welcomed and sure that I can still talk to others everytime I move hostel. You seem to have this ability to easily strike a conversation with anyone and your smile and kindness won’t be forgotten. Enjoy your travels, and I hope to see you again one day.

To Annika and Melanie, the two best roomies one could have asked for… thank you! Thank you for sharing your travel experiences and for being a joy to be around!

To Amaji, for being the most open and kind soul. It was really reassuring to feel that you were fully listening to me during our talks, not just to reply back but listening with a full understanding of everything I was saying, as if every single cell of your body was absorbing unsaid meanings within my words. Thank you for bringing a special light with you and for not being scared of sharing it. Oh and of course, for introducing me to Mr. KoKo.

To Matias…. you will do exactly what you’re hoping to do and it will be a great adventure. One of a lifetime. You’ve got it all and just like me, you just need the courage to take the first step. And I know how scary it can be because I haven’t yet followed my instincts and started my own adventure for the same reason. But when we both do take that first step, it will be spectacular. Thank you for the time you took to listen.

To Zolboo (Zoe), the first person I’ve met from Mongolia and someone who started has a great companion during my Angkor sunrise tour and has become someone I will want to hold on to for the rest of my life! I feel like I can talk with you for days, go out for coffee (or fruit shakes) and simply enjoy time. The similarities between us are ridiculous and being able to openly talk about such personal things with someone I’ve just met is unbelievable. Thank you for listening, for supporting my random ideas (The FamVan!), for being the best company and for inspiring the name of my potential future first daughter.

The past few days have allowed me to take some time to think… and as I said in a fairly tipsy toast during my second night here…. here’s to the courage to believe in our dreams, the strength to pursue them and the resilience to stick with them.

Never has travelling been so easy and so difficult. Never have I felt so much like I just don’t want to leave a place. Asia, you’re changing me.

Published by Mariana Vieira da Rocha

"I think it's perfectly acceptable and rather admirable to be moderately delusional"

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