Month: November 2015

Easy Siem Reap and Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat at dawn

Angkor Wat at dawn

Easy trip to Siem Reap – just follow these instructions. We stayed with Andy at the V & A. You can follow the same principles if you stay elsewhere.

PRE-TRIP
– do some reading on Cambodia, Siem Reap, and Angkor Wat, preferably
– book airline
– book transport to and from your local airport
– book accommodation with Andy and tell him your arrival details for airport pickup
– pack – you can see here for my list for travelling light
– take care of any arrangements necessary for your home – these I can’t predict

THE TRIP
– On boarding plane – pick up entry form and customs form at gate, just before boarding and fill them out before landing.
– Deplane from steps, walk along outside terminal for three minutes and then into terminal.

visa form

visa form

– Pickup visa form in hall and fill in. Then hand in at long counter. USD$30 if you have one photo, $2 more if no photo. Wait for a few minutes and they call out your name and hand you your passport
– Then join queue for immigration and they take entry card. Fingerprint taken sometimes. Not for me, though
– Alcohol is about the same price in town, so no need to buy in the duty-free shop
– At customs as you exit they take customs form

You will exit where the crowd (of driver) is waiting in the middle of this photo. Turn to your right and you will see the SIM shop with green signs.

You will exit where the crowd (of drivers) is waiting in the middle of this photo. Turn to your right and you will see the SIM shop with green signs which you can see on the left of this photo.

– Get sim card – turn right when exit airport terminal doors and find shops selling sims

SIM shop

SIM shop

SIM prices. I took the first choice on the left which was ample for 10 days

SIM prices. I took the first choice on the left which was ample for 10 days and data was 4G

 

SIM

SIM

useful numbers to check account

useful numbers to check account

– I found it very useful to have a sim – I booked restaurants, called a few places and sent few texts. Many places have free WiFi, so I only used 500MB of data – for Google Maps etc. when out. The $5 calls and 1.5GB of data was sufficient for 10 days.
– Also, as you exit terminal the tuk tuk drivers are waiting with name signs. One tuk tuk should be sufficient for two people with their luggage. If you arranged it with V & A a tuk tuk will be waiting for you and will transfer you to the hotel free.  Most hotels do this.

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THE STAY
– It’s about 10 minutes by tuk tuk from the airport to the V & A .
– There is a hefty flat fee for withdrawing from ATMs. For UK cardholders this may not be charged if you use the Canadia Bank – I am waiting on my statement to check this. Thus it makes sense to withdraw as much as possible each time. For me I was limited to $400 per withdrawl. Their ATM is on the corner of Sivatha Street and Hospital Street.
– If you’ve done your research you know what you want to do during your stay. You can ask Andy to book anything you want.
– If you’ve done insufficient to no research, Andy will tell you what there is to do and arrange it for you. He’s very helpful.

some tour suggestions

some tour suggestions

 

ticket prices for the temples

ticket prices for the temples

– A few of the activities: temples galore, enough for days or weeks of visiting; a huge varied number of restaurants, many very reasonably priced; cultural shows; the circus; local life in villages to see; hiking and adventure activities; craft shops and manufacturing visits; Angkor Wat, of course, is the star.

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OTHER INFORMATION
– A tuk tuk should cost $2 within Siem Reap, from anywhere to anywhere. They will sometimes try for more, so ensure you negotiate before riding.
– As there were six of us we hired airconditioned vans with a driver to tour the temples. The cost per day mainly depends on how far you drive. It was $30 for the shorter distance days, and $60 for the longer day tour.  A tuk tuk makes you so hot and dusty if you use it for the temple tours, and costs very little less than a car or van. And it’s much slower. For two I would recommend a car, and for four or more a van. The ones we used were all Mercedes.

Mercedes van

Mercedes van

– I found the dust and fumes gave me an allergic reaction after few days. I bought a nasal spray at a pharmacy – about $10 – and rested for a day – and I recovered and carried on. I hate taking medicine, but in this case it was better to do so. I only needed it five times.
– You can see my blog from our visit to Siem Reap three years ago.
V & A is a very pleasant hotel, with pool, library, decent sized rooms, common area to chat to other guests, and importantly Andy, who will take care of any arrangements you need. It is a few minutes from the centre – you still pay the same for a tuk tuk to anywhere – but the air is cleaner than in the town centre. There are a few restaurants and coffee shops within a few minutes walk, too, on the main road.  You also have an unlimited free supply of drinking water, which as you know will save so much trouble buying water every day – plus not throwing away huge numbers of plastic bottles.

another typical power point

typical power point

one typical power point

one other typical power point

– As usual with all my blogs I earn no money or freebies from my blog, and I never have.  The aim was to make it very easy for you by giving my specific experience.

restaurant receipts

restaurant receipts

restaurant receipts

restaurant receipts

restaurant receipts

restaurant receipts

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Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in November 2015

Born February 2015. Died November 2015.  It had grown from seed to be above the fence.  There would probably be fruit to eat in two months.  And then it was cruelly killed.

in nine months it was above the fence height, and soon would be fruiting

in nine months it was above the fence height, and soon would be fruiting

a storm knocked it over, but it still had roots in the ground and could have been uprighted.  Howeverf a lorry just drove over it, and that was the end.

a storm knocked it over, but it still had roots in the ground and could have been uprighted. However a lorry just drove over it, and that was the end.

 

two other papaya suddenly are dying

two other papaya suddenly are dying

 

other papaya live on

other papaya live on – some are flowering or have a couple of small fruit – which will fall off while still tiny.  Later fruit will grow to maturity.

 

damaged by haze, but now recovering

damaged by haze, but now recovering

 

mock orange died while I was away

mock orange died while I was away – lack of water? 

Well, that’s the bad news out of the way.  It still rains most days or evenings – for a relatively short time.  So we have some cloudy periods and some sunny periods during the day.

protective envelopes on passionfruit

protective envelopes on passionfruit

 

despit protective envelopes on passionfruit one was attacked

despite protective envelopes on passion fruit one was attacked

 

despite protective envelopes on passionfruit another attacked

despite protective envelopes on passionfruit another attacked

 

another passionfruit attacked

another passionfruit attacked – I hadn’t noticed it to protect it

 

one day I picked 35 passion fruit

one day I picked 35 passion fruit – I have to pick once they start ripening as if I wait longer they will be attacked by rats or squirrels

 

other mock orange are very happy

other mock orange are very happy – so much rain

 

limes growing

limes growing – still tiny

 

bean plants growing well

bean plants growing well – no beans as yet

 

Jpeg

Canna Lilies coming up. I transplanted 15 from one pot to two. So far eight are coming up.  I hope the others sprout sometime.

 

trying again to grow papaya in a pot

trying again to grow papaya in a pot. 

 

pumpkin plants growing well

pumpkin plants growing well

 

a tomato is growing on one plant

a tomato is growing on one plant, although all the other plants have none

 

capsicum growing

capsicum growing – from compost

 

chilli plant

chilli plant – from compost

 

we think it's a lemon tree

we think it’s a lemon tree

 

Bougainvillea happy as usual

Bougainvillea happy as usual

Even more signs of Siem Reap, Cambodia

Last in the series:

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lotus flower in pool towel

lotus flower in pool towel

one typical power point

one typical power point

another typical power point

another typical power point

 Khmer traditional herbal steam sauna - Chupong

Khmer traditional herbal steam sauna – Chupong

 Khmer traditional herbal steam sauna - Chupong

Khmer traditional herbal steam sauna – Chupong

 Khmer traditional herbal steam sauna - Chupong

Khmer traditional herbal steam sauna – Chupong

typical electrical infrastructure

typical electrical infrastructure

typical electrical infrastructure

typical electrical infrastructure

so many motor bikes

so many motor bikes

market

market

many roundabouts have statues

many roundabouts have statues

many roundabouts have statues

many roundabouts have statues

many roundabouts have statues

many roundabouts have statues

houses have spirit houses

houses have spirit houses

there are so many comms towers and thus one gets a good mobile signal

there are so many comms towers and thus one gets a good mobile signal

in the suburbs of Siem Reap

in the suburbs of Siem Reap

yes

yes

a temple scene

a temple scene

on a bridge near Angkor Thom

on a bridge near Angkor Thom

two-faced?

two-faced?

nice Naga

nice Naga

nice Naga

nice Naga

about to leave

about to leave

about to leave

about to leave

Signs of Siem Reap, Cambodia

On the road

school children - public school is from 7AM to 11AM

school children – public school is from 7AM to 11AM

 

 school children - public school is from 7AM to 11AM


school children – public school is from 7AM to 11AM

 

three or more on a bike is common

three or more on a bike is common

 

three or more on a bike is common

three or more on a bike is common

 

some riders wear helmets, some not - but children usually not

some riders wear helmets, some not – but children usually not

 

riding sidesaddle is common for girls

riding sidesaddle is common for girls

 

Siem Reap features Angkor Wat nearby

Siem Reap features Angkor Wat nearby

 

motorbikes are used for many things

motorbikes are used for many things

 

motorbikes are used for many things

motorbikes are used for many things

 

bicycles are also used a lot

bicycles are also used a lot – coconut transport

 

fruit stand

fruit stand

 

fruit

fruit basket

 

tuk tuk at bay

tuk tuk at bay

 

tuk tuks are the main transport mode for tourists

tuk tuks are the main transport mode for tourists

 

sometimes tuk tuks have more interesting decorations

sometimes tuk tuks have more interesting decorations

 

sometimes tuk tuks have more interesting decorations

sometimes tuk tuks have more interesting decorations

 

around Siem Reap

around Siem Reap

 

around Siem Reap

around Siem Reap

 

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around Siem Reap

some traffic lights have countdown timers

some traffic lights have countdown timers

 

food stall

food stall

 

food stall

food stall

 

shop

guest house

 

?

store

 

car sales

car sales

 

elephants - tourist transport - they are going back for lunch

elephants – tourist transport – they are going back for lunch

 

pub street - a complex of streets with many restaurants for tourists

pub street – a complex of streets with many restaurants for tourists

 

 

Packing for travel – my latest method worked!

UPDATE

I am just back from a trip.  Instead of hours packing, this method took me less than 30 minutes a few days before the trip, and 10 minutes just before departure from home.  Then another 20 minutes to ensure the pre-packing for the next trip was done, once I got back.  Total, less than one hour. And a lot less stress.

Previous post on this topic:

I’ve been travelling all my life. From literally a few weeks old. I guess my parents did my packing at first. But for decades I’ve been doing my own. And I am still rubbish, that is to say, inefficient at it. I don’t like doing it, and I dither and take hours, even though I have a detailed list.

At one stage many years ago I had a Kombi van – and I had most of my gear for camping in plastic rubbish bins permanently stored in the van. Friday night after I got home it was just a matter of grabbing some food and heading off into the country for the weekend. That worked OK.

Usually I start packing a couple of days before the trip, just in case I find there is something I have to buy, or foreign currency I should change. A problem is that there are some things that I only have one of, and those I am using right up until I leave – electric razor, phone charger etc.

So I am trying something new. I have modified my packing list so that I have a three sections: A prepacked section of things I will always take – which requires buying some duplicates such as an extra toothbrush and so on; a packing section of what I must pack for this trip – and this would vary depending on the weather etc.; and a last minute section which I will pack 15 minutes before I leave, as I cannot have duplicate phone chargers etc.

This is my list for the trip to Sri Lanka – reclassified with my new system.  I used everything I took, and wasn’t lacking anything.

pre-packed items

pre-packed items

 

PREPACK PACKING LAST MINUTE
Toileteries 4 electronics Clothes Toileteries
socks razor
toothbrush UK triple adapter upants mossie repellant
toothpaste adapter plugs shirts
shampoo earphones hat Documents
hairbrush tripod uniqlo jkt
hair gel USB-micro USB cord shoes driving licence
deo usb sd card reader t-shirts money -USD
soap SD-micro-SD adapter belt debit card
tissues USB mob charge cord day pack credit card
nail clippers MY plastic 2 prong trousers glasses
CS passport
floss wallet
wet razor Documents
laundry line
pegs pen
Documents
4 electronics
sink plug OR paper
plastic bag for wash travel insurance card directions mobile charger
laundry detergent passport copy plane/train tkt mobile
toilet paper passport photo maps tablet
spoon etc. money pouch light book tab charger
ziplock bags umbrella itinerary print eBooks
piri kari powder sunglasses music
bandaids torch
cotton buds bag weigher cam charger
ear plugs camera
cam batteries
Clothes ON RETURN
swim cost
towel Replace or top up any prepack items
eye mask Return all pre pack items to their container
flipflops

recovery from haze

It seems the haze has gone, and we’ve been having some beautiful sunny days – often with rain in the later afternoon.  This morning is glorious.

So now my body seems to have shifted into recovery phase.  While my symptoms during the hazy period were a certain vagueness, and sometimes worse, as previously noted, now it’s a bit different.  I have bouts of vagueness still, itchy eyes, runny nose and a headache.  And I never get headaches normally.  And an upset stomach. I had done some cupping on my back and neck, and this releases toxins, so the symptoms are more acute as my body is presumably detoxing faster.  Last week I suffered for three days, and then it was gone.  So far, this is my first day this week. Hopefully it will soon be all cleared out.

The other day in the supermarket I thought I’d lost it.  I parked my half-full trolley and returned after five minutes.  It wasn’t there, so I was confused as to where I’d put it.  This was worse than the usual haze vagueness symptom.  Having looked around unsuccessfully it occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t the problem. I spotted a trolley somewhat near where I thought I’d left mine, so considered the possibility that someone had taken mine by mistake.  And indeed someone had – I found a lady happily wheeling away my groceries, and pointed out to he where what was presumably her trolley was.   Phew.

I am pretty healthy, and live a health life, and nevertheless this is what happens to me from the haze.  The occurrence of this year after year is just not acceptable.