I had just finished saving up for my trip to Cambodia. I could not wait to pack my bags and jump on the next flight all the way east. I had such high expectations concerning my first vacation, and all I needed to do was turn my dreams into a reality. But dreams and hopes were all I had, apart from the savings I meant on spending. I did not know how to go about booking my tour. I had no idea what to do next. All I wanted was a great vacation, that's it. How to get to that vacation was a bridge I was yet to cross.
I searched online for the most praised Vivutravel that were within my budget. I did not want to fall victim to yet another made up positive review on some random tour guide company out there. I came across a couple of great reviews on this travel and tour company, decided to throw all caution to the wind and let them guide me towards my dream vacation.
Although I could end this review right here, I can't help but feel like it is my duty to share with you the excellent experience I had in Cambodia, all thanks to this travel and tour company. Right from the start, their agents are extremely helpful and understanding. They organized my two-way airline tickets for me, one less thing to worry about. They also booked me into the Nita by Vo Hotel in Siem Reap. From the service to the décor, and overall ambiance, Nita by Vo Hotel was my home away from home. The staff was so friendly that I felt like I left my family behind when my vacation was over, and I came back home…
So the first day I was ready to tour the land. After a hearty breakfast, I was introduced to Mr. Chann, my tour guide provided by the travel and tour company. Right away, Mr. Chann had a broad smile and asked me in surprisingly good English how my first night in Cambodia went. Our trip downtown to Siem Reap was filled with easy conversation and laughter, and I immediately liked Mr. Chann. I was so grateful Vivutravel paired me with Mr. Chann, and now I never have to imagine how much worse it could have been.
The first day I just had to visit the Angkor Wat, the stone ruins of Cambodia from the 12th Century. Mr. Chann was quite knowledgeable about the history of the Angkor Wat, and how it is considered as Cambodia's symbol of strength. I felt this sense of awe as I took in the sheer magnificence of what is left. Visiting Angkor Wat is a definite must do for all planning on visiting Cambodia anytime soon.
After my tour of Angkor Wat, Mr. Chann recommended I tour the downtown area of Siem Reap. He even suggested we take a tuk-tuk into the middle of the town, something I was very skeptical about but did anyway. I loved every minute of the tuk-tuk ride, the wind through my hair and holding on to my seat for dear life (in a thrilling way). I spent the rest of the afternoon sampling delicious native cuisines and doing some light shopping on souvenirs for my friends back at home. I returned to the hotel after a day of different sights, tastes and smells and it was wonderful.
I love cooking. There was no way my tour of Cambodia would be complete without learning a few Cambodian dishes or two that I could cook back home on my own. The travel and tour company was thoughtful enough to include a cooking class at La Tigre de Papier for me! The cooking class came as a wonderful surprise as I had not specified this information during my interactions with the travel agents. My cooking class was phenomenal! As a whole class, we visited the market to purchase the ingredients we would need, and had a two-hour class on preparing the starter, main course, and desert. I perfected the fish amok and lap Khmer, a lime-infused beef salad. You can bet I'm cooking up a storm every time I have friends over.
The next three days were spent touring the areas around Siem Reap. My reliable, and very knowledgeable tour guide, Mr. Chann, did not hold back in ensuring I made use of every second in this exotic town. On my fourth day, Mr. Chann arranged for a tuk-tuk to take me to the Landmine Museum. I had gotten fond of the tuk-tuks, and I meant to have them ferry me to different parts of the town as much as possible. The Landmine Museum left me with contemplative thoughts and appreciation for simple things in life that I sometimes take for granted. It was an eye opener.
After my somber tour to the Landmine Museum, I decided I needed to do something crazy. Believe it or not, Mr. Chann recommended I try tasting deep fried tarantulas for a change. I have tried eating fried termites and also fried caterpillars (yes), but fried tarantulas are as crazy as it gets! After chomping down two huge, deep-fried tarantulas, I decided I needed a full body massage as a gift for actually swallowing the fried arachnids. My massage catered for by the friendly professionals at Nita by Vo, the hotel in which I was staying.
I spent my last day at Siem Reap doing some much-needed shopping. It is amazing how you can find so much unique, 100% original items at the market without breaking the bank. That evening I toured the pubs in the area with some fellow tourists from the hotel. We all had the soles of our feet chewed up by fish along Pub Street. By far the most thorough and ticklish pedicure appointment of my life. We had a couple of drinks at Angkor Wat? before proceeding to Pizza Company for that cheesy pizza.
I never wanted to leave Cambodia. My time at Siem Reap was a blessing, something I need to do more often when I need a break from my monotonous life. Mr. Chann made sure I was at the airport in time. I will come back to Cambodia sometime in the future with the company of friends. I need to share this experience with as many people as I can. I would not have these memories to cherish if it were not for Vivutravel. Their services were brilliant! I will plan my trip to Vietnam next year, and definitely use Vivutravel again.
Visit Cambodia in Mar 2017
(Kendall White from the UK)