Solo in Cambodia

I’ve always wanted to take a solo trip. I was kinda worried about the cons of being a female solo traveler. However, if you as a solo traveler take extra precaution and did your research of the destination, I think you’ll be fine.

Here are some places you definitely need to visit when in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Ang Kor Thom

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Angkor Thom is an ancient city in Siem Reap. There are many temples situated within Angkor Thom, such as Bayon, Ta ProhmBaphuon temple and Banteay Kdai. The word “Angkor” means “city” while the word “Thom” means “big”.

In the past, there were at least one million officials staying within Angkor Thom in wooden houses to protect the city. It was built by King Javavarman VII during the year 1180-1220. He was a Buddhist King and known to the Khmers as the Great King.

Did you know the Great King built Ta Prohm in honour of his mother?

Entering through the South gate, you will be able to see 54 statues on each side. On the right are statues representing demons and on the left are the ones representing Gods. Sand stones were used to make the statues as it is easier to carve, while volcanic stones were used to build the walls.

Happy Ranch Horse Farm & Quad Adventure

If you love horse riding like I do, and being able to explore the villages and countryside,  you have to visit Happy Ranch Horse Farm! I did a 2-hour sunset ride with my trustworthy sidekick named Silver. He’s the gentlest of all horse I’ve ever met. He eats a lot and is easily spooked by anything and everything. How can I not fall in love with him?

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If you’re not a fan of horse riding but is an adrenaline junkie, go for a quad bike adventure. We rode through a village and the countryside. On the way, we stopped at a temple and monastery. According to my guide, during the genocide, 100-200 monks were killed in this monastery, by being burnt alive.

Pre Rup Temple

Located within the grand circuit, Pre Rup is one of my fave temples to visit. The name “Pre Rup” means chain from the body. Built in the year 961, the towers were made out of bricks while the decorations were made out of stucco.

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East Mebon

Located in the middle of a reservoir named East Beray, East Mebon is a Hindu temple. In the past, the only mode of transportation to the temple was by boat. However, the reservoir has since dried up and a wooden walkway was built for people to walk across.

Ta Som

Another one of my fave temples! Ta Som is a Buddhist temple built by King Javavarman VII, the Great King, who also built Angkor Thom as well as temples like Ta Prohm. It was built towards the end of the 12th century.

As mentioned earlier, Ta Prohm was built by the King to honour his mother. Ta Som was dedicated to his father Dharanindravarman II.

Neak Pean

Neak Pean was originally designed for medical purposes (the ancients believed that going into these pools would balance the elements in the bather, thus curing disease); it is one of the many hospitals that Jayavarman VII built. It is based on the ancient Hindu belief of balance. Four connected pools represent Water, Earth, Fire and Wind. Each is connected to the central water source, the main tank, by a stone conduit presided over by one of Four Great Animals: Elephant, Bull, Horse, and Lion, corresponding to the north, east, south, and west quarters.

Banteay Srei

 A 10th-century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today.

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Angkor Wat

The largest religious monument in the world. It was originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, gradually transforming into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. It was built by the Khmer King Survavarman II in the early 12th century.

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Xx,

Nic

 

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Adventures in Budapest (Part 1)

Are you like me? Is Budapest on your bucket list? Then you have to read this post to find out more about the places that should be visited in Budapest!

 

We were quite adventurous on our first day in Budapest, visiting countless places and walking to the point of exhaustion!

But these are some places I recommend visiting in Budapest.

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So here goes……

Matthias Church

Matthias Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Budapest, Hungary in front of the Fisherman’s Bastion at the heart of Buda’s Castle District. According to church tradition, it was originally built in Romanesque style in 1015, although no archaeological remains exist. The current building was constructed in the florid late Gothic style in the second half of the 14th century and was extensively restored in the late 19th century. It was the second largest church of medieval Buda and the seventh largest church of the medieval Hungarian Kingdom.

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Fisherman’s Bastion

The Halászbástya or Fisherman’s Bastion is a terrace in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque style situated on the Buda bank of the Danube, on the Castle hill in Budapest, around Matthias Church.

The Buda side castle wall was protected by the fishermen’s guild and this is the reason why it was called fishermen’s Bastion. Other people say, it got the name from the part of the city, which lies beneath the tower. The guild of fishermen was responsible for defending this stretch of the city walls in the Middle Ages. It is a viewing terrace, with many stairs and walking paths.

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Széchenyi Chain Bridge

The Széchenyi Chain Bridge is a suspension bridge that spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest, the western and eastern sides of Budapest, the capital of Hungary.

It is anchored on the Pest side of the river to Széchenyi (formerly Roosevelt) Square, adjacent to the Gresham Palace and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and on the Buda side to Adam Clark Square, near the Zero Kilometre Stone and the lower end of the Castle Hill Funicular, leading to Buda Castle.

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House of Parliament

It is the seat of the National Assembly of Hungary. A notable landmark and a popular tourist destination in Budapest. It lies in Lajos Kossuth Square on the bank of the Danube. It is currently the largest building in Hungary and it is still the tallest building in Budapest.

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St Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest, Hungary. It is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary.

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Széchenyi thermal bath

The Széchenyi Medicinal Bath in Budapest is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Its water is supplied by two thermal springs, their temperature is 74 °C and 77 °C, respectively.

Throughout its century old history, about a 100 millions of bathers have enjoyed the warm medicinal waters and the fun pools.

The 18 pools in Szechenyi Bath is open every single day throughout the year, including national holidays, when its an especially  popular place to visit. Besides the outdoor and indoor geothermal pools, you can get massage treatments (which I did), enjoy the saunas, the gym, or just relax by the pools with some beer or wine.

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Stay tuned for part 2!

 

Xx,

Nic

 

Adventures in Budapest (Part 2)

As promised, here’s part 2 of my Budapest post….

I really really wanted to visit the floating village at bokodi hűtőtó. I did some research on it and it was just stunning!

It was a one-day trip to the lake, but it was met with so many difficulties that I regretted suggesting to go.

We got lost TWICE heading to bokodi itself, and when we reached, I was quite disappointed. It was nothing like how people described it to be or anything like the photos I saw. Really an utter disappointment. We then missed the bus back to Budapest and the next bus was in 2 hours. There were no restaurants for us to sit and wait and it became too cold to wait at the bus stop. I felt like I was in a nightmare, the temperature had dropped and I was shivering like mad. We were all in a foul mood.

Luckily, the owner of a gas station was nice enough to let us hitch a ride to the train station. So very thankful for him and his girlfriend. Plus, they were so very friendly to us.

So yes, this day trip was a complete failure!

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On a better note, our last evening in Budapest was spent at Aria High Note Skybar, where we got to enjoy some drinks and tapas and watched a beautiful sunset. It was a great way to not only end our trip in Budapest, but our 3-week stay in Europe as well.

I highly recommend going to this skybar. It’s really worth it. Plus you get such a beautiful view of St Stephan’s Basilica. You won’t regret it!

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Xx,

Nic

Explore Vienna

Vienna has been on my bucket list for awhile as I’ve always wanted to visit my mother’s alma mater, which is located in Semmering.

Upon arrival, we went to explore Kurpark Oberlaa. If you’re a nature lover, you have to visit Kurpark. The view from above was so breathtaking. Don’t believe me, just look at the photo below. It’s like a canvas painting!

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On the day we visited Semmering, I got to see the school my mother studied in. After that, we headed to have some fun, sledding in the snow!

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Prater Servus, an amusement park in Vienna, is a must visit! I admit I was a scaredy-cat and didn’t dare to sit the bigger rides, but the crowd and screams filled the place with so much excitement!

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The places I’ve been wanting to see in Vienna are Schönbrunn Palace and Prunksaal.

Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence located in Vienna, Austria. The name “Schönbrunn” means “beautiful spring”. The 1,441-room Baroque palace is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments in the country.

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Prunksaal is the state hall and part of the Schatzkammer des wissens, the treasury building in Vienna. Prunksaal houses the 650-year-old Austrian National Library. It felt like I walked into the library from the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast”.

Don’t you agree?

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Xx,

Nic

 

Charming Hallstatt

Of all the places we’ve been to for this trip, I would say I enjoyed myself the most in Hallstatt.

Hallstatt is a village on Lake Hallstatt’s western shore in Austria’s mountainous Salzkammergut region. Its 16th-century Alpine houses and alleyways are home to cafes and shops. A funicular railway connects to Salzwelten, an ancient salt mine with a subterranean salt lake, and to Skywalk Hallstatt viewing platform.

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Considered as the oldest inhabited village in Europe, Hallstatt is known for its production of salt, dating back to prehistoric times. Located at the foot of the salt mountain with a view of Hallstätter See (the iconic lake), you’ll understand why Hallstatt is a tourist attraction.

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We started our trip from the town of Salzburg to Hallstatt really early. Even then, when we reached the village, it was already bustling with tourists.

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What caught my eye is that there are many signs to remind tourists to keep their voices down. However, as I walked down the streets, it was obvious the nobody was heeding the signs as a few tourists could be seen communicating to one another by shouting across the roads.

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As tourists, I feel that it is important we respect the place we’re visiting, as well as the locals who live there. They are so kind and gracious for letting tourists visit their village and we shouldn’t take that granted.

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Xx,

Nic

Day Trip to Oberammergau

Interested in checking out the Black Forest?

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The Black Forest is a mountainous region in southwest Germany, bordering France. Known for its dense, evergreen forests and picturesque villages, it is often associated with the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. It’s renowned for its spas and the cuckoo clocks produced in the region since the 1700s.

We took a day trip to Oberammergau, which is part of the Black Forest and Romantic Road.

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Oberammergau is a town in the Bavarian Alps, Germany. It’s known for its once-a-decade performance of the Passion Play in the Passion Play Theater. The House of Pilate has frescoes by Franz Seraph Zwinck and live demonstrations by woodcarvers and artists.

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It was such a fun day out, we got to slide down the snow without any sleds, took the cablecar up to the mountains for a meal and visited Pilatus Haus.

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This quaint little town is a charming must-visit!

 

Xx,

Nic

Munich Travel Guide

When in Munich, you’ve gotta visit Marienplatz and Neues Rathans, which translates to New City Hall.

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I wanted to visit the Munchen Jurictisches Bibliothek but we needed to go with a guided tour. However, they do not have the tours everyday.

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One place you must have a meal at is Rathskeller München, which is also located at Marienplatz. Their meals are quite pricey but worth it! I fell in love with the steak!

If you’re craving for some Asian food, the go-to place is Rabiang Thai restaurant. It was a weekday when I visited, however it was so packed that I had to wait two hours! The queue was so long that it went all the way out to the main road. Yup, not kidding. According to many food websites, Rabiang Thai is one of the best Thai restaurants in town.

Lastly, we have the Vitualienmarkt. You must try gulaschsuppe which is a Hungarian soup. It is filled with beef and potatoes. One of the best soups I’ve ever tasted. In fact, it was so good that I ordered two bowls!

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Xx,

Nic