Bye Bye Cambodia

Singapore Travel Blog

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The scholarship class I taught with Mr Ty and his students - brilliant!

I can't believe I am in Singapore now, staying with friends for a week after an amazing 3 weeks in Cambodia. Man, I love that country! I have no idea why I didn't take advantage of staying the full 4 weeks, but airasia flights, man, you gotta grab the cheap deals when you can!

So, my time in Cambodia was mainly supposed to be teaching English. I have always wanted to do some volunteer work in Cambodia and organised to go down to Kampot (a quiet riverside little place not far from Phnom Penh in the South of Cambodia) and I did stay there a week teaching English which was a fantastic experience. In hind sight, I should have been more prepared as I may have been able to get more out of the experience if I had organised myself a little better than simply rocking up! But, hey, I am actually a teacher back home, so I am sure my skills were appreciated.

Bokor Hill Station, outside Kampot
.the Cambodian kids are just gorgeous and so eager to learn English. The teaching was only for 2 hours every afternoon from 5-7pm which made my days very free! I taught one scholarship class, which I absolutely loved..these were the really poor kids who couldn't afford to pay for the classes and so their English lessons were free. They were a delight and I got so much out of teaching these kids English as they truly wanted to be there and just loved having volunteers helping them out. I was then rotated over the week with the other classes where we sang songs, played games and of course got really stuck into the grammar - they love grammar here!!! The local teachers are just wonderful too and they really are working so hard to give these kids a chance.
Sunset, Bamboo Island Cambodia
That is one thing I loved about the whole experience, it was run by locals where the volunteers assisted..so it really was a local project, not run by foreigners for foreigners. That is one thing I really learnt about volunteering, you really need to ask yourself why are you volunteering. Is it just for an afternoon or two to make yourself feel good?? That was not why I wanted to be there and I was privileged to work with some dedicated local teachers who were doing so much work to help these kids have a future. I really would like to one day go back to Kampot and do some more volunteering and also organise myself a little better so I am more prepared for the work.

After volunteering, I headed off down south for a bit of R & R and partying.

Fun times, Bamboo Island
.ended up at Bamboo Island, off Sihanoukville and had sooo much fun! Sihanoukville is a pretty dirty place, too many hawkers and beggars for my liking, but at night a bit of fun all the same..always up for some partying and meeting cool people so it was great! Bamboo Island however was bliss! Had a great time there with some cool people I met up with and basically it felt like we had the place to ourselves at night where we sat around the bonfire on the beach drinking and chilling out and also a bit of partying too one night with the crazy Mexicans we met! In Sihanoukville there is a great cinema..where for $3 you chill out watching a movie on those great bamboo lounges with comfy cushions and drinking beer! The night we went, The Beach was playing.
Bus station - Kratie, waiting for our pickup to Sen Monorom
.very appropriate for being in SE Asia I say!!

After Sihanoukville, headed back to Phnom Penh where I farewelled the Dutch guy I had been travelling with and headed up to Kratie...meeting more cool people along the way. One night was spent in Kratie (seeing the dolphins there was cool!) and then the Kiwi guy and English couple I met all went to Nature Lodge in Sen Monorom for some fun times of trekking! Getting to Sen Monorom was an experience in itself..all day on the top of a pick up...man, it was hard on the arse..haha! At times it was kinda scary as it started to rain and it was either hold on to the tarp to keep dry and risk sliding off or hold on for dear life and get wet! I had to hold on, I was on the edge and the driver sped up as it rained so it was hold on tight or really fly off the top of the pick up!!! I lost my thongs though.

BBQ frogs on our Cambodian trek!
..damn it, they were Haviana's!!

We made it safe and sound to Nature lodge...unreal location! rooms located in the tree tops and outdoor (hot!) showers! Bliss! It really was set in a serene location and the owners are unreal...really welcoming and the food fantastic! I swear all we did was chill out, play pool, drink beer and eat! We organised a trek for 2 days which was a fantastic experience. Our guides were Rocky (crazy he was..so much fun!) and the other guide who knew the Cambodian jungle inside and out, we later found out was a former Khmer Rouger..WTF! We walked for 2 days getting to some great waterfalls (where one of them we could jump off!) and at night set up our hammocks, sang songs around the campfire and ate frogs! Yep.

Camping out in NE Cambodia - drinking rice wine - lethal!!
..this was so cool..the guides caught us frogs..then marinated them, skewered them and BBQ'd them! sweet! it was great fun! (and rather tasty!)

Man..so much has happened in the last 3 weeks and getting back to Phnom penh (yep by pick up again..our "confirmed seats" on the minibus were not so confirmed on the day..hmmmm!!) I spent the last night in Cambodia with the cool English couple and was really sad to think that on the 1st April I would be leaving Cambodia...I am so happy to be spending some time in Singapore with friends but had such a great time in Cambodia, I actually wasn't ready to leave...well, that confirms it, I will just have to return!

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The scholarship class I taught wit…
The scholarship class I taught wi…
Bokor Hill Station, outside Kampot
Bokor Hill Station, outside Kampot
Sunset, Bamboo Island Cambodia
Sunset, Bamboo Island Cambodia
Fun times, Bamboo Island
Fun times, Bamboo Island
Bus station - Kratie, waiting for …
Bus station - Kratie, waiting for…
BBQ frogs on our Cambodian trek!
BBQ frogs on our Cambodian trek!
Camping out in NE Cambodia - drink…
Camping out in NE Cambodia - drin…
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