Having spent most of my 3 days at Siem Reap visiting temples, I wanted to do something different before leaving for Battambang today afternoon. That’s when I heard of Chong Khneas – a whole village floating on the waters of Tonle Sap, the biggest lake in South East Asia. So, how did I miss this in my itinerary?!? I went back to my Lonely Planet guide, and after much searching I saw a tiny paragraph quoting that the visit to the floating village had become too touristic and over-priced. Still, I was not satisfied with the other alternatives and decided to take the trip! It turns out that Lonely Planet was indeed right but I did enjoy some parts of the trip, so let me share them with you 🙂
By far, this is the longest I’ve spent in a bus travel! So how did this happen?! Allow me to explain 😀
The original plan was a 12 hour ride from Ho Chi Minh City with a one hour stop over at Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. The ultimate destination is Siem Reap, which is the base city for visiting the Angkor temples. With all enthusiasm, I boarded the Mekong Express Limousine Bus at 7 AM. Everything was smooth until we started from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Then the trouble began! I’ve never seen such crazy traffic before in my life. Coming from an Indian, it sure does mean a lot. We were stuck for almost 4 hours, scarcely moving and covering just 20 km in that span of time. Apparently, the reason for the congestion was Chinese new year! I ditched travelling in Vietnam during this time for the very same reason 😛
This Sunday was my 2 week anniversary of moving to Vietnam and I celebrated it by spending a quiet afternoon near the Saigon River with a copy of my Lord of the Rings. The cool breeze caressing my face and the presence of many couples-in-love reminded me of the Marina beach in Chennai! 😉 So of course it has entered into my list of favorite places in Ho Chi Minh City. When you move to a different country, there is always a culture shock. For me, it was immense when I moved to Europe but not so much here in Vietnam.
It’s been a week since my big move to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and so far I’m loving it! The sense of pride and accomplishment in settling down in a foreign land all by yourself can only be experienced and cannot be translated into words. Your first-times will always stay special and here is my list of “first-times” in HCMC :