7/20/2019

ten days in southeast asia


Two months ago, I spent ten days wandering through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand with my mom and brother. I don't think I'll ever forget the dazzling colors and tastes of these countries. Each sight was undeniably breathtaking—the most memorable being the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap that's pictured above. We groggily woke up at four in the morning, took a bumpy tuk tuk ride to Angkor, then waited by the still pond and watched hundreds of lily pads gently float along the water until we were able to catch a glimpse of the first gorgeous ray of sun radiate between the shadows of the temple. What a wonder.

(many, many pictures coming your way courtesy of my new Google Pixel 3a ~)

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hanoi, vietnam




I can confirm that Hanoi is such a beautifully unique (and hot) city. Motorcycles! Everywhere! Whew, I don't understand how people drive there without getting a heart attack. Things I did: walk along Train Street, order coconut coffee and condensed milk coffee at Cộng Cà Phê, and try the most delicious (and cheap!) bún chả at the restaurant that Bourdain took Obama to. How I miss it...












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ha long bay, vietnam




Hanoi's [nonexistent] traffic rules thankfully didn't make my heart stop, but Ha Long Bay surely did. I love big bodies of water, and it was so refreshing to take a ferry tour through the maze of limestone islands. We had yummy seafood for lunch on the ferry and went kayaking in the middle of the jade-colored (!!) waters.




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siem reap, cambodia



If I'm allowed to choose a favorite out of the three countries we visited, I'd choose Cambodia. I don't know how to explain it, but there was something so very sweet and vibrant about the people we encountered and the sceneries we saw. Cambodia is also where I tried durian for the first time (yeah... not a fan oops), met some amusing monkeys, and witnessed the most magnificent sunrise as I mentioned earlier.











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pattaya, thailand



More crystal clear water! Pattaya revived a wish of mine—to live near the ocean someday. I made sure to get my fill of mango sticky rice while I was here. We also took a serene walk with elephants at the Pattaya Elephant Jungle Sanctuary (an ethical and sustainable way of experiencing the elephants of Thailand) and watched them hilariously spew muddy water onto other visitors as they bathed. There was a cute three-year-old that wouldn't stop swinging his trunk and swaying his booty back and forth. We asked the attendant why, and he answered that the baby elephant was just genuinely happy. :')






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bangkok, thailand


Our time in Bangkok was unfortunately the shortest, so within the few hours we did have to explore the city, we decided to stop by the famous temples of Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn). The reclining Buddha was pretty incredible (and so incredibly big that I couldn't even fit the whole statue into one shot), and the ornate designs of the pagodas were stunning. We ended our trip by chilling at our hotel for the rest of the evening, as we were quite tired by then. There was a supah cool infinity pool ~









If I had a dream job, it would be what Anthony Bourdain did during his lifetime. Bourdain's two cents on how to live:
“We are, after all, citizens of the world—a world filled with bacteria, some friendly, some not so friendly. Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico, and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafés and McDonald’s? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.

If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel—as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook."
I'm turning twenty-two in a few weeks... time to figure out how I can achieve my dream!

Much love,
Chaereen