Day 1 - Siem Reap, Cambodia : Pretty Little Town

28th February 2016

Took nearly 1 hour for me to go from Capsule Hotel to the departure gate. My flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia schedule to depart at 1.20pm Malaysia time. 2 foreigners seat next to me in flight: a guy from Spain planning to do some volunteering for few months in Cambodia & another lady from England that had been in Siem reap for past one year teaching in an international school. The time in Cambodia is 1 hour behind Malaysia. The flight took 2 hours and although the flight schedule to arrived at 2.20pm, it is actually 3.20pm in Malaysia. The Spain guy seating next to me get confuse about this and that the start of our short conversation.


Info for beginner: In any country you going to, we need to fill in an 'arrival' or 'entry' card, usually given by flight attendant, to be submitted at the immigration counter upon arrival. Bring your on pen during flight to ease the process. 
During take off, a women seat in front of me probably have flying phobia, she suddenly crying during the take off. An older lady across the aisle try to comfort her, giving her bit of food as distraction while saying "it's okay". Lovely. While watching The Killing Field movie on my tablet, it got me thinking that foreigners that choose to go to developing country like Cambodia are humble people seeking humanity and unique cultures. Some of my friend wouldn't want to come here as it is too much to ask from their comfort zone. Funny that i can wrote this much while still in flight to Siem Reap. Indeed as Ibn Battuta say: Traveling- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

Pre-booked meal in AirAsia flight. 
Tips 1: When travelling to non-Muslim country, I always book 2 meal. One to eat in the flight (always served warm), and another to take away as my next meal. This will save me from difficulty of searching halal food on first day in foreign country. If you took midnight fight (for example: 8 hours flight to Korea), you can ask to serve one of the meal during breakfast (one or two hour before landing) and another one to take away for your lunch.
As promised, a tuk-tuk driver assigned by the guesthouse waiting for me at the airport door. Actually, there's line of tuk-tuk driver with name signs.. you know like in a movie or dramas, so its an amusing experience for me. I tell the tuk-tuk driver to wait for me while i'm purchasing a cellcard.

There's row of cell card sell right outside the airport doors. I survey around and found second cheapest plan which is unlimited data for 7 days for only $3. The cheapest one is $2 that is limited to 1.4GB, that usually not enough for me for one week.. haha. (Note: at end of the trip, I use probably less than 1GB..haha...we keep exploring, who have time for internet? LOL)

The simcard here are called 'cellcard', tho that also a name of the telco brand. The above rates are from Metfone (green color). The staff will help you do the setting, super convenient.
Travel from airport to the guesthouse took only 20 minutes. It is very relaxing despite the hot & dusty environment. I booked a single room for 2 nights, and room for 2 for the remaining days. But they give me room with queen bed so i don't need to move room later on. We request additional bed for 1st & 2nd march, just need to add $3/night. Room is very spacious. The TV and the mini fridge is not working.. well i don't bother to use them anyway. There's aircond in room, but since i opt for cheaper rate, so only fan is working..good enough for me.

According to RunKeeper, I only walk 2.72km.
After Asr prayer, i start walking toward the pub street. I aim to go to night market, but i only found old market & pub street.. haha. Most likely the Night Market only open at night, well obviously. It actually less than 3km walk.. and i manage to come back to the guesthouse after an hour.. haha. 
Tips 2: Install MEPS.ME, an offline maps apps with GPS, in your smartphone and don't forget to download Cambodia map. I just use this to find my way.
Tips 3: Since i have unlimited internet, I open the 'RunKeeper' to keep track of my evening walk. 

Tips 4: This Cambodian Public Bank is located intersection of Sivutha Boulevard & Preah Sangreach Tep Vong Street (near the 2km mark at the above Runkeeper map). As you can see from the map, it is very close to Night Market, Old Market & Pub Street area: happening and safe to walk at night, but not as noisy as in Pub Street. It is best if you can find accommodation near here so you don't need tuk-tuk to explore around here until night. The guesthouse where I stay is slightly far and very quite (and dark) at night.

I love street fruit stall like this
I initially want to go to Central Market, but not really sure where is that. The Central Market Street is bit quite. So I just walk toward the Old Market.

Randomly found the Old Market..haha

Love this picture so much

I bought a cup of mango at pub street for $1. Then I found a decent mini mart: Asia Market. This shop have almost all you need. Too bad most guesthouse here did not allow for cooking. I bought a shower foam, a knife and mangoes which is cheaper here, $2/kg = $1.45 for 2. I end up buying and eating mangoes everyday in Siem Reap (cheapest bought at Angkor Wat, only $1 for 2).


In Siem Reap town, most people use USD, even the local. Their currency Riel will be use as the change. 1USD = 4000-4100 Riel. I do received the 10000 Riel note too, but didn't have chance to take picture of it. Bit confusing to use both currency in first few days, but by the fourth day, I can estimate paying in Riel too..hehe.

For this trip, i do forgot a lot of thing. I didn't bring the face  mask (to cover from dust) & my travel adapter. Apparently, my phone charger cannot fit the power point. Luckily my camera charger is 2-pin plug. So i charge my phone using powerbank, and i recharge the powerbank using the camera charger.
Expenses note:

Prepaid expenses:KCH - KL flight: RM6 airport tax + RM8 CC pf + RM1.50 KLIA2 fee = RM15.50
KL - REP flight: RM62 + RM8 CC pf + RM24 meal = RM94
Hotel booking: $3.22 (2 night single room deposit)

Cash expenses:Internet Plan: $3
Mango: $1
Hotel: $10.78
Shopping: $5.28
Total cash expenses: $20.06

Capsule Hotel, KLIA2 review

Capsule is located at Level 1 of KLIA2, near the bus area. You can book either from their website or thru agoda. The price at agoda is slightly expensive than the website after tax & service charge, but if you have credit card that offers discount, it can be cheaper.

Walk-in price

Online booking price for 1 person via capsulecontainer.com:
3 hours: RM50
6 hours: RM75
12 hours: RM95
Agoda Display Price: RM85.76
Total Price: RM100 (10% service charge & 6% GST)
after CIMB 7% discount: RM94.01
charge to my card: RM94.76 (0.8% CC border fees)
CIMB Cash Rebate 5% = RM4.74
Actual price i pay: RM90.02 for 12 hours stay
The sleeping unit are called CapSpace. You can refer all the details in their website HERE.

The check in process is easy. They provide you with towel, 500ml drinking water, toothbrush & mini toothpaste. Big locker is available, located near reception area.


Inside Capsule KLIA2. Although this is FEMALE area, but male staff freely walking around to clean up used CapSpace. 
The area within this hotel can be very confusing, no clear signage on where is where. CapSpace is easy to find, but not the washroom (the signage is too small.. it's not visible at all). The toilet is located near the female area main door entrance. It is small, few cubicle of shower & few cubicle of toilet; but decent to take shower etc. Body wash, shampoo & big mirror provided in each shower room. Water pressure is good with cold & hot water. Hand wash, tissue paper & hair dryer are provided too.



My capspace is located at end of second floor, near the bus area. It is quite area here, but if i need to go to toilet, i need to use the staircase that openly visible from the reception area & public chairs in front of it; thus i need to dress properly if i need to go to toilet. The same case with locker that located in front area. There's also a changing room available.

My CapSpace...kalau dapat pintu tepi ni best juga, xde la rasa macam keranda sangat walau sebenarnya sama je saiz...haha

The capspace itself is really spacious & cozy. I have decent 6 hours of sleep. The height within capspace probably around 155 - 160cm. I am 160cm tall; and i can perform my prayer standing in the capspace (with my head & shoulder slightly lowered down). Very comfortable but the air conditioner is bit cold, thus i'm keep on wrapping myself under the thick soft blanket.


There is a veil to make your capsule fully covered, yet properly ventilated but not sound proof. During my lucky night, people snooring can be heard, the air con sound was heard all the time, and people walking here and there in morning. If you are too sensitive with all the sound, this place probably not for you. But for me, i still have great sleep & shower here, thus really worth it considering the price and safety (yup, i do feel safe here tho i always carry my valuable with me even to toilet.. haha. There's actually a small box within the capsule unit where you can lock with your own personal lock, but i only notice that in the morning.. lol.

Reading / Lepaking area at the back

Overall, its a good stay & worth the price. Hope my review can help you decide on your accommodation.. hehe.

Korea 2012: Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju

Gyeongju, 19 October 2012.

Gyeongju map that we get from tourist information kiosk. It's good to start your day by visiting the kiosk to ask for direction, bus number, where to wait etc. They usually prepare with bus numbers for attraction that we want to go.
Initially, I don't intend to go to Bulguksa Temple because it seem far for me. I travelling alone anyway. But luckily I met Helen & she ask me to go to Bulguksa Temple & Seokguram Grotto together. After long and relexing breakfast at our guesthouse, we walk toward tourist Information Kiosk in front of the train station. The officer there are really helpful in providing info to us.

From Gyeongju train station (not Singyeongju KTX station) or bus terminal, you can take Bus 10 or 11 to any of famous interaction in Gyeongju. The different between bus route is that, Bus 10 will use road along Bomun Lake first heading to Bulguksa Tample area, before return using road along Gyeongju National Museum / Anapji Pond. Bus 11 is in reverse order (it's like circle). With this being said, if you wish to go to Anapji Pond from train Station, wait for Bus 11. In case you want to go to Bomun Lake first, then take Bus 10. Or else you will go long circle before reaching your destination.

We have no problem reaching Bulguksa Temple. We know that's our destination as most of people in bus alight here.
Main road where the public bus stop. In autumn, even road side can be so beautiful.
There's a big parking space at entrance, with Tourism Information Kiosk, Multimedia Kiosk, Public Toilet & ticket counter. Entrance fee for Bulguksa Temple is 4000won.
Multimedia kiosk....if i'm not mistaken...lol...cannot remember the buildings anymore...haha
Beautiful public toilet..
We need to walk about 10 minutes through beautiful parks before reaching the temple. There's few seller selling snacks, drinks & other stuff. There's even a fortune teller here. I'm actually curious with the local food. At this time, I don't really know about the local food because I assume it's not Halal..hehe. Missing some of good stuff like odeng. lol.
vendors along the road
very beautiful pond in front of Bulguksa Temple entrance
Temple's Gate
can't really get decent picture here as there's so many tourist here
beautiful lawn
I'm so glad that I follow Helen that day. This place is so beautiful. We spend lots of time here casually taking pictures.
colours of autumn
from the upper level
stacks of rocks

Beutiful is understatement
beautiful landscaping
we rest a while here while having lite lunch. Helen bought odeng, i didn't know it just fish cake so i skip & just eat tuna sandwich
We are at Bulguksa Temple from 10am to 2pm. We head to the information kiosk to ask about Seokguram Grotto, but the officer there not really friendly & helpful. From Bulguksa, take bus number 12 to Seokgurum Grotto. Last entrance is one hour before closing time (around 4.30pm). Calculating the time to wait for bus & walking toward the main attraction, we conclude that it is already very late & decide to just return to Gyeongju downtown. 

While waiting for bus, we go the Rumor Pang Cafe that located just across of Bulguksa entrance. Each city or town in Korea usually have at least one significant local product, and in Gyeongju, it's their red bean bun (bun = pang in Korean language).
while waiting for bus
While riding the bus towards downtown Gyeongju, I hear announcement about Shilla Millenium Park. That is my initial target destination so Helen & I split here. I alight the bus while Helen continue her journey going to Seoul. Wait for my next entry on my epic lost...again...haha.

engleham 31, Kuching

This is a Thai Food & BBQ restaurant in Kuching, Sarawak.


Open everyday except Wednesday. Opening hours: 11.30am - 2.30pm and 6pm - 10pm.

The food is awesome & very tasty. I love the steam fish with lime the most. The soup is the best fish soup i ever taste.


Kailan cook with salted fish


Pandan Chicken

Grill squid

My rice & drinks

The outdoor deco

Interior

They provide baby chair and plates for kids too.

Price is reasonable, hundred plus for 4 people. It's quite and cozy for Sunday lunch. Highly recommended.

[Accommodation] Shillabang Guest House, Gyeongju, South Korea



Hanok ialah istilah bagi rumah tradisional Korea. Senibina rumah ini unik. Bayangkan ratusan tahun dahulu, tanpa elektrik, rumah ini mampu memberi haba ketika musim sejuk, dan mampu mengekalkan kesejukkan semasa musim panas.




Ondol ialah jenis tempat tidur tanpa katil & hanya menggunakan lapisan cadar tebal. Ondol is a bed-less sleeping place that using only mattress. This is Korean traditional way of sleeping.

I book this accomodation via Agoda. RM132.95 per night. Spacious room with attached bathroom, room is big enough for 2-3 person. Wifi is excellent in room. TV provided in a room too.



They have common room that have kitchen & computer for everyone use. You are free to cook in the kitchen. Coffee and bread available for breakfast.



The lady owner is very helpful, talk very basic English. She teach me on how to use the heater, but I don't really understand it, so I just leave it at default setting. In morning, I felt so cold that I decide to go out with 3 layers of cloths..haha. Later I found out from Helen that we can adjust the heater. paboo me.



We chit chat for quite some time in next morning (Helen is the one that asking a lot, I'm blur & empty-headed all the time..haha). I ask if I can stay for another night, but lady owner say they are fully booked. But she help me book a nearby hostel and giving me direction to go there.

There's 4 guest room in this house, and the owner have another guesthouse. This place is very quite, I didn't see anyone else except owner's family & Helen, so I'm surprise when she say the room is fully booked. Thinking about it again, I probably won't met Helen if we arrived at different time. I'm just so glad I met her. We still keep in touch until today and I'm looking forward for chance to met her again.



They have one small room where Helen and I left our laugage before going out. The checking out is really simple, just leave the key at the room door. I believe most of the time, guest will come in the room on their own, no check in whatsoever, as she left the lock & key at the room door with notes if she's not around..hehe.

It was pleasant stay indeed. Highly recommended.

DIRECTION TO GO TO SHILLABANG GUESTHOUSE, GYEONGJU
(click picture to enlarge)



1) At the 3-way intersection, you can see Gyeongju Station (for normal train, not KTX), International Bank of Korea (IBK) & Standard Chartered buildings. Go to Standard Chartered side (but not really walking past SC), during daytime it usually become roadside market (see umbrella).

2) Go into the junction (look at the map), at Standard Chartered side walk toward Korea Exchange Bank (KEB). Across KEB you can see GS24 mart.



3) Walk into an alley just after KEB
4) Walk pass the yellow fin building, its a clinic if i'm not mistaken.
5) You will pass by a market. I think this market cross thru until Standard Chartered area, not too sure as I don't really explore.
6) There's a salon just before Sillabang Guesthouse.
7) You can see the signboard after the salon. Turn right to get to the entrance.
8) There's block of PC Bang in front of the guesthouse.

Note: The day time picture is taken with direction from the guesthouse, so you should walk toward camera direction. Night time picture is from KEB towards guesthouse. This pictures is taken in October 2012, surrounding building may change now.

Local market near Shillabang Guesthouse, Gyeongju


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