Cambodia was one of our favorite countries in South East Asia. We loved our time there and it is one of the few countries that has ended up our our short list of places we would like to return. We connected with the people, got off the beaten track, and took lots of time exploring the temples of the Angkor Wat complex. During our 2.5 weeks we spent time in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Kampot. While in Siem Reap we attended Phare the Cambodian Circus, an amazing acrobatic act and took a day trip through the stilt and floating villages around Tonne Sap Lake. In Phnom Penh we were struck by the devastation of the Khmer Rouge Regime through our visits to The Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The positivity of the people of Cambodia is truly amazing. There is so much poverty and it was very hard dealing with the small children selling items at the temples, but it all added to the experience. You can find all our posts on Cambodia here
We had 19 days to explore Thailand and left with mixed feelings. We didn’t fall in love with it, but did fall in love with certain places. We really enjoyed our time in Ko Lanta, a small island off the southwest of Thailand. Jason did a few dives, we snorkeled and learned how to cook Thai food. Ko Lanta was the perfect place to explore using a motorbike, with quiet roads and never ending beauty. We also really enjoyed our time up North in Chiang Mai. We stayed in the walled city and loved all the great food, including street food and lots of vegetarian options. We took another cooking class in Chiang Mai and loved visiting the street fairs. Many places in Thailand were over run with tourists and just too busy for us. We weren’t able to connect with the locals and actually found that many people did not speak English. Bangkok was a whirlwind and way too busy for us, although we did find some great food. Read all about our time in Thailand here.
We spent 2 weeks in Malaysia after crossing the border by first class bus from Singapore, a great first land crossing. Our first 3 nights were spent in Kuala Lumpur, where we had 3 nights free at the Marriott with views of the Petronas Towers, a perk of using our Marriott Credit Card. From Kuala Lumpur we headed north by bus to the Cameron Highlands, a region known for their tea production. We learned all about the process of making tea on a great day tour and enjoyed some delicious Indian and Chinese foods. From Cameron Highlands we again took a bus to the Island of Penang. We stayed in Georgetown and enjoyed time with friends as well as searching for street art. The street art in Georgetown was the highlight of our time in Malaysia. We stayed at a great hotel called the Apollo Inn and really didn’t want to leave! Our last stop in Malaysia was the Island of Langkawi where we relaxed for a few nights before heading into Thailand by ferry. Check out our time in Malaysia here.
We only had a few days in Singapore, but really enjoyed our time there. It was a welcome break in our tour of South East Asia. It is by far the cleanest of all the South East Asian countries we visited, but also the most expensive. We packed in a lot during our short time there, visiting with fellow travelers, exploring Chinatown and the food markets, and taking in the Singapore Zoo and Night Zoo. We stayed in Chinatown and enjoyed walking down to the Marina Sands area a few times. We took in the light show at night as well as the Gardens by the Bay during the day. Check out more of what we did and saw here.
We originally went to Indonesia planning to visit several islands, but we fell in love with Bali and spent all three weeks there. We started with a couple of nights on the beach in Sanur and visited the temples of the south before heading to Ubud. After Ubud we went North and then across the top to the east coast where Jason did a few SCUBA dives. From there we spent a night at the Bali Safari Park, a present from Simone’s dad. Our last week was spent back in Ubud eating amazing food, visiting schools, and getting to know the locals. We had a great driver who showed us some lesser known temples as well as some of the big ones. We absolutely loved the people, the culture and the food of Bali. Its high on our list of places to return and although it gets mixed reviews, we say go! Just try to get off the beaten path and see some of the lesser known areas. You can find all of our posts on Bali HERE and be sure to check out our 10 Tips for Visiting Bali.