Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Great Indochina Adventure: Prologue

Vietnam Cambodia RM Bulseco

Hey, everyone! Look who's back! It's been a while since my last post.

I'm finally back in Tacloban. Back to work, back to controlling planes. You know what I really hate about going home from an awesome trip? It will take me forever to finally get over with it - the scenic Angkor Wat sunrise, the sand dunes of Mui Ne, and the delicious taste of Pho Noodles. And as the famous song of Nelly Furtado goes, "Why do all good things come to an end?"

Several months ago, my travel blogger friend, Robbie invited me to join him in his Vietnam and Cambodia trip. Since the fare in and out to these destinations were cheap, I immediately said yes. It was like hitting two birds with one stone - two countries with just one round trip ticket.

But the road to Indochina was rather bumpy. Literally and figuratively.

Days prior our trip, our country was battered by two tropical cyclones. I had a similar incident two years ago. Before I embarked on my first international trip (Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia), the weather in the northern Philippines was really bad... really bad that I thought I'd cancel the trip.

Add the fact that my connecting flight to Manila was rerouted via Mactan-Cebu due to the ongoing runway repairs here in Tacloban. Hence, I arrived in Manila a day earlier than my scheduled flight to Saigon. I think it was a blessing in disguise because on the day of our flight, several domestic flights were cancelled due to bad weather. Should I decide to book a direct flight to Manila on the 19th, I might not be able to catch my flight to Saigon.

Our flight was scheduled to leave Manila 10 minutes before 11PM but due to the late arrival of our turnaround aircraft, we left Manila at almost three in the morning. Thank God for the free one-piece Chicken Joy meal of Jollibee.

The Heat is On in Saigon

Vietnam Cambodia RM Bulseco
The busy streets of Saigon!

Because we got exhausted of waiting, we immediately fell asleep after we settled down inside the aircraft. We need to catch some sleep before taking a bus to Mui Ne, the resort capital of Vietnam, which is six hours from Saigon by bus. Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat (pronounced as 'nyat') International Airport, we changed our dollars to dongs (and yes, we became instant millionaires) and hailed a cab to our hostel. We got ripped by the driver, but we were too tired to argue.

Mui Ne in my Mind

Vietnam Cambodia RM Bulseco
Sand dunes of Mui Ne!

It was my first time to ride a sleeper bus. Perfect time to catch some Zzzzs. Waiting for a delayed flight and got scammed by a taxi driver first thing in the morning was really stressful. But despite that, Mui Ne greeted us with picturesque white sand beaches, commercial districts, and Vietnamese stores and restaurants. We visited Mui Ne's sand dunes, fishing village, and the fairy stream.

In the Middle of Cambodian Nowhere

The usual 12 hour bus ride from Saigon to Siem Reap became 18 when our bus broke down right in the middle of the Cambodian grassland, two hours from the capital Phnom Penh. Even Google Maps can't locate our precise location! The rescue bus arrived an hour and a half later and right there, we knew that we were going to arrive in Siem Reap half past midnight. Crossing the borders of Cambodia and Vietnam was fun albeit stressful.

Of Raiding and Running through different Temples

Vietnam Cambodia RM Bulseco
Sunrise | Angkor Wat Temple

I can finally put a check mark on my bucket list - visit Angkor Wat. Actually, the 18-hr bus ride to Siem Reap was truly worth it. Prior the Angkor Wat day tour, we only had less than 4 hrs of sleep. But seeing the ancient temples right before my eyes was truly amazing in spite of sleep deprivation and intense heat of the sun. It was a national holiday in Cambodia thus there were a lot of people inside the ancient city, making our tour more interesting.

Four Days of Fun and Adventure

Four days weren't enough and if only I had the chance to extend it to a week, I'd gladly do that. I never thought that my Indochina trip would be that exciting and memorable. We got scammed twice in Vietnam, and got torridly kissed by the sun. Great memories were made, and several life lessons were learned on this trip.

I am very certain that you are all excited to read my Cambodia and Vietnam trip. I can't hardly wait to write all of it! And there goes my fourth and fifth country. 25 more to go! #30BeforeThirty


Indochina Series:

The Great Indochina Trip: Prologue
Day 1: The Mui Ne In My Mind
Day 2: The Hidden Gems of Mui Ne
Day 3: The Modern Kingdom of Cambodia


  1. Cool. I feel envious because I have been planning to visit Cambodia and Vietnam but haven't materialized the plan until now. Those photos and the vivid descriptions stirred the desire to go for real. I'm hoping that would be sooner. And I hope you can visit Thailand as well. There are a lot of great places for you to go here.

    1. Cambodia is just one border away from your place! :D I'm planning to visit Thailand soon. :D

  2. I also feel the same way as I get home coming from a trip. It's hard to get back to reality.. travelling is like love.. nakaka-adik.

  3. I've been to Angkor Wat 3 times and it still looks amazing until now. I need to explore more of Vietnam though since the only time I was there was a full day tour of the city before my flight.

    1. Angkor Wat literally took my breath away!


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