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Holiday in Cambodia - plus Myanmar for a wedding.

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Holiday in Cambodia - plus Myanmar for a wedding.

Old Nov 16th, 2015, 01:54 PM
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Holiday in Cambodia - plus Myanmar for a wedding.

We leave tomorrow morning, and after about 15 hours (door to door) we should be in Yangon. Fingers crossed that we make a tight connection (1 hr 55 m) in Singapore. I reckon if you have to have a tight connection, Changi is your airport.

We are a 50 something Aussie couple, third time to Myanmar for me, second for DH.
The initial holiday plan was 3 weeks in Cambodia. Then we were invited to a wedding in Mandalay, and we just couldn't pass up that opportunity. So holiday was extended a bit, and we're still going to Cambodia (for the second time, but with some new to us destinations).

We fly with Scoot, it's a budget carrier owned by Singapore Airlines. It services our local Gold Coast airport, which saves about an hour of "to airport" travel time. We've flown with Scoot several times before and have had a reasonably good experience, (hope they've fixed the video streaming issues).
I purchased Scootbiz (more like PE on a full service airline) because it gives us priority boarding and (more importantly) de boarding in SIN, plus 15 kg of carry on luggage.

I also get a window seat, so if it's a clear day I get to see the amazing Australian landscape unfolding below for about 4 hours. We live just about at the halfway point of the east coast of Australia, it's a huge country.

Our second flight is on another budget airline (Jetstar Asia) so we'll need to clear immigration, check in, check one bag and clear security and immigration again.
If you have a travel God, could you please put in a word to him or her for me ?

In Yangon we are staying 2 nights at Garden Home B & B. It's a a small boutique hotel near Kandawgi Lake, and within walking distance to Shwedagon Pagoda. I have lots of ideas for this all too brief time in Yangon, will report later on what actually happens.

We have 6 more nights in Myanmar, split between Mandalay for the wedding and Hsipaw. Then we're off to Cambodia, starting in Siem Reap for 5 nights at 7 Candles guesthouse, 3 nights in Battambang, 3 nights in Kampot, 1 in Kep, and finishing with 4 in Phnom Penh.

Our two dogs know something is up.
I'll miss them, and I'll miss cooking, but that's about all I'll miss....
To be continued.
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 05:04 PM
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Have a wonderful trip! I envy you 15 hours door to door to Yangon!
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 05:19 PM
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Safe travels, Sartoric, and good luck on your connection at Changi. Looking forward to your experiences, especially since I haven't visited either country.
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 07:08 PM
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Thanks Kathie. The proximity is one of the reasons we visit SE Asia so often, it takes around 20 hours for us to get to Europe ! Also, of course we love the people, climate,

TP, I plan to post updates along the way, thanks for your well wishes.
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Old Nov 16th, 2015, 10:20 PM
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Have a fantastic time sartoric. Looking forward to reading all about your trip
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 12:10 AM
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Enjoy.

How are you getting from Battambang to Kampot? If you are going by bus, then you'll [probably] have to change buses in Phnom Penh. If your first bus is late, then you might miss the last bus for the day to Kampot. In any case it's a very long day on the road.

It's easy enough to combine Kampot and Kep without changing accommodation. Base yourself in Kampot, and just hire a Tuk Tuk from Kampot for a full day in the Kep area.

Just in case you haven't sorted your Kampot accommodation out...

http://www.rikitikitavi-kampot.com/

If you do the Bamboo Train in Battambang as part of a day trip to the surrounding Battambang countryside, then ask you Tuk Tuk driver to take out his padded passenger bench seat, so you can sit on it on the Bamboo train [you'll be glad of it!]
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 01:34 AM
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Thanks Crellston, your blog gave me many ideas, it was most helpful.

Thanks LL We are going to take a car back to Siem Reap for an afternoon flight to Sihanoukville, then car to Kampot. It should take a fair bit of a day, we'll leave BB about 10.00 and should be in Kampot by say 19.00.

My favourite food in the world is crab. The hotel I've booked in Kep is 50 meters from the crab market...that's why Kep is in the mix for just one night. I can roll back to the hotel, ha ha.

Not sure about the bamboo train yet, but I'd definitely want that padded seat !
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 05:27 AM
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Crabs, yum! I want to visit Cambodia just for that! The best crab I've ever had was in Colombo, Sri Lanka, earlier this year, and I've been wanting to go back just to eat there again.
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 05:50 AM
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Signing on. The bamboo train is a great experience, I loved it, but a padded seat would definitely have been a good idea!
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 07:05 AM
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We had the best crab amok ever in Kep market (and chilli crab and bbq crab etc...) enjoy!
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Old Nov 17th, 2015, 04:36 PM
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Clocking forward to reading about your trip.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 05:03 AM
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So we're on board, sitting on the tarmac at Gold Coast airport when, shortly after our expected departure time the captain makes an announcement - " We're waiting on some passengers who've been delayed at border control ".
That's a first....I've never had a plane wait for me, and yes, I have missed a couple of flights.

20 minutes later, half a dozen people with way too much carry on luggage struggle up the stairs. If looks could kill, there would be 6 elderly Chinese people dead now.

It's at this moment that I know for sure that I can't control the tight connection in Singapore. We can run (and we will) but immigration, check in, all that stuff, there's nothing I can do about that. So, I relax, enjoy the ride and am so happy with my window seat. The northern part of Australia is just magnificent from 40,000 ft.

If you ever fly from the east coast of Australia to Asia, choose a window seat on the left side of the plane, you will be rewarded with some spectacular scenery.
I'll post some photos when I can.

I really like this Boeing 787 Dreamliner too, big windows, electricity on demand, and wifi if you want to pay for it.

I can see Singapore below us when the captain makes another announcement - "due to congestion, we are in a holding pattern, and expect to land in about 20 minutes".
We are already late, now even later, and I resign myself to just deal with whatever happens.

We made the connection. Jeez it was tight, and a little stressful, but it was the only option we had without spending a night in Singapore. So 3 more hours on a flight to Yangon, 40 minutes in a taxi to our hotel, and now, we've arrived, let the holiday begin !
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 05:28 AM
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Yeah! Glad to hear you made the connection. I have known a plane held for people making connections, but it was long, long ago.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 07:01 AM
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Thanks thursdaysd, now I'm trying to deal with the extremely slow internet connection here...

Crellston- you're the reason we're going to Kep !

Yestravel, I hope my travelogue is up to your standard, and TP, Sri Lanka is on the list, even more so now that I know they have great crabs.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 04:12 PM
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Glad you made your connection and that you arrived in Rangoon as planned. Would love to see the Australia photos.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 04:27 PM
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So glad you made the connection! And I'm glad you enjoyed the 787. I'm looking forward to our first flight on a 787 on our way back to Seattle!

Yes, the internet in Burma is very frustrating. I'm glad to have a good connection again now that we are in Bangkok.
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Old Nov 18th, 2015, 05:19 PM
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Looking forward to reading your ongoing trip report and can't wait to hear about the wedding!
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Old Nov 19th, 2015, 12:34 AM
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Today in Yangon we visited the Monastic school and met with our teacher friend and the assistant principal. They are both committed to providing an education which encourages critical thinking. A very good thing I reckon. We spent an hour or two discussing everything about the schools, the teachers and the students. They said that the government schools are the rote learning kind. While the teachers at government schools may have a degree or certificate, at the monastic schools they choose teachers that are on the same page regarding critical thinking, degree, certificate or not. It's all about the education, they actually teach their teachers how to teach.

They were both very positive about the recent election, I hope their positivity is realised.

We took a taxi to the Strand Hotel and had a look through the shops in their arcade, I had to restrain myself from paying US $2150 for a rather cool painting. It wouldn't fit in the luggage anyway. We wandered to Monsoon (the restaurant) only to be turned away at the door, fully booked by tour groups apparently. I asked if we could have a drink at the bar, so we did get in, and before too long they also offered food...amazing Shan chips with a yoghurt dip, and prawn spring rolls.....the Shan chips are like a thick pappadam, and very tasty, the spring rolls were whole prawns, in a tempura like batter. The best part was the conversation with the bar tender and a few of the other waiters.

I'm reminded of why I love this country, it's the people. We've walked a lot, had so many genuine smiles from strangers, and interactions with helpful folks who expect nothing in return. The wealth disparity between the western world and most of the Myanmar people is huge, and very sobering. Be grateful.

About Garden Home BnB - it's a Myanmar construction, uneven floors, uneven walls and dodgy power points. Our room has a high ceiling, about 4 meters. All the art is hanging only a few centimetres from the ceiling, and all paintings are crooked. There's a table and chairs, but it's only usable by someone with no legs. In the small art gallery, again, every painting is off kilter. This room is US $105 per night, so not exactly a bargain. Can't wait to see what our US $50 per night room in Mandalay is like....
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Old Nov 19th, 2015, 03:04 AM
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>

LOL! There goes my coffee all over my lap!

Enjoying the report and looking forward to more - especially the description of the $50 room in Mandalay!
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Old Nov 19th, 2015, 03:31 AM
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I know many people think is is sacrilege to say so, but we don't like Monsoon. We ate there on our first trip and the food was uniformly bad. Really bad. We have never been back.

The quirks in construction can be annoying but they are also fascinating - if you don't have to put up with them for too long!
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