Southeast Asia

I spent this New Year at home — a low key one. But to start the new year for this blog, I thought I would begin with a series of posts based on my trip last year around the New Year’s Day to several Southeast Asian countries.

This trip started initially with an idea to go to Australia to visit my cousin who was studying in Melbourne. I was planning on going home to Indonesia, and I thought it would be nice to piggy back on that trip with ‘a trip within the trip’ to go somewhere near Indonesia. Well, the Australia trip ended up not working out, so I had to look for an alternative. The timing was at the end of December and beginning of January, as that was the time that would work best for my cousin Kristi who would be my traveling partner. We looked at several ideas: New Zealand (too expensive), China (too cold), and Japan (both too expensive and cold). Then we started thinking about where we would like to celebrate the New Year’s Day to make it memorable (with the original Australia trip, we were thinking about being in Sydney for the end of the year). One place came up to mind: Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Neither of us had been to Cambodia, it’s close to Indonesia, it’s relatively cheaper to travel there, and the weather should be pretty good at the end of December.

So that was the ‘anchor’ for the plan — New Year’s Day at Angkor Wat. Then we started building an itinerary around it. We thought of going for two weeks, so we started thinking about places in Cambodia and nearby countries that we would like to visit and the one that Kristi had not been before. I had never been to any of these countries, so any place we pick would be new to me.

Finally we settled on the following itinerary: starting with a couple of days in Bangkok, Thailand, then continued to Cambodia with visits to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap (timed to be in Siem Reap for the New Year’s Day), then continued to Northern Vietnam with visits to the capital city of Hanoi, the mountain region of Sapa, and the famous Ha Long Bay, and finally ending with short stop in Singapore. So this series of posts will follow this trip and I will highlight places we visited and some unique travel experience from this trip.

The photo below was taken on the New Year’s Day at Angkor Wat near Siem Reap, Cambodia. We decided to skip the New Year’s Eve celebration and went to bed early so we could get up early in the morning and experience the first sunrise of 2011 at Angkor Wat. So there it was… the most memorable New Year’s Day morning in my life to date.

First sunrise of the year

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