Escape into the Magical Nature of Sapa, Vietnam

The older I get, the more I truly take time to enjoy nature and all of its amazing benefits. While traveling across the world for long periods of time is an incredible and life changing experience, at times it gets quite exhausting, especially when traveling through large and over populated cities.

Two months into my long term trip through Southeast Asia I made my way to the city of Hanoi, Vietnam, a city that has a reputation as the “city that never sleeps.”

However, after months of traveling throughout large cities, my heart was crazing quietness and nature and that was simply impossible to find in Hanoi.

After only a couple of days in the city, I decided to take a trip to the north of Vietnam to the mountainous town of Sapa to get the break I was craving.

Sapa is a beautiful area that is located near the Chinese border, surrounded by mountains and stunning views.

There are many places to stay in the area, but I knew without a doubt that I wanted to be far away as I could from the town, with amazing landscapes and rice fields all around me.

Sapa Valley is an area with cute little villages, waterfalls, rice fields, rivers, hiking trails and a perfect place to explore by a motorcycle.

Just a short distance outside of the town is the charming Cat Cat Village. This was hands down one of my favorite parts of visiting Sapa. This old village not only has gorgeous views and waterfalls, but its a perfect place to see different ethnic groups and experience the different practices and traditions that are still being implemented today by many Vietnamese people.

While walking through the village one is able to see traditional activities, such as women weaving fabric, home made crafts being made and women dressed in fancy traditional clothing.

INFORMATION:

 

Transportation

There are many buses that travel to Sapa every day. I highly recommend the night bus that leaves from Hanoi at 2200 and arrives around 0500. This was the first time I had ever been in a VIP overnight bus with beds that fully recline and it was a very pleasant and comfortable ride.

Tickets can be bought online or at the bus station and cost anywhere from $10-20 one way. If you are located in Hanoi Old Quarter most will pick you up without an additional cost from your hotel.

I went completely alone at there was not concern at all about safety. In fact, I met many other solo travelers that I decided to continue traveling with during my whole trip to Sapa.

Once you are in Sapa I highly suggest renting a motorcycle. The roads are a bit rough, but this is the best way to see different parts of Sapa. Many people take a taxi, but I like the feeling of having my freedom and not having my driver wait on my every time I get out to do something.

The other option many people opt for is taking a 1-3 day hiking trip. Many people go to Sapa to hike the rice fields and do all of their travel by foot. This is a great option, but just make sure to know your directions because its super easy to get lost.

Homestay

There are many options for accommodation in Sapa, but after doing my research I decided to go with Zizi Home Stay. Prices are between $5-15 per night and the experience is very unique, especially if you are used to staying in hotels.

This homestay is only recommended for people that are in good physical condition. You will be required to walk from the main road up hill for around 5 minutes in order to reach the home. Its not exactly the easiest little hike, especially if you have a big bag or some kind of injury.

However, if you make it to the top and decide to stay, it will be worth the hike. Each morning you will wake up to some of the most amazing views you have ever seen, without a doubt!

In addition, during the night for a small price, the owners will prepare a very large home cooked meal. Everyone staying at the homestay will gather around a large table and share the meal together. This is a great option to meet other travelers, especially if you are traveling alone. I went there not knowing a single person and left with all kinds of new friends.

Sapa is a unique place where you can experience nature, culture and have an experience unlike any other place in Vietnam. This was hands down of my favorite places that I visited in Vietnam and I could not recommend it enough!

 

 

 

Don´t forget to also check out:

THE PERFECT DAY GONE WRONG: MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT IN KO SAMUI, THAILAND

MY SOLO TRAVEL NIGHTMARE: LOCKED UP AND DEPORTED FROM EUROPE

5 TIPS FOR A PERFECT TRIP TO ANGKOR COMPLEX IN SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

 

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How I Graduated with Honors in 1 Year While Traveling Full Time to 20 Countries

If I had to narrow it down to one word to identify the essence of me and my sanity, it’s the word balance.

We live in a world full of constant motion, opportunities, temptations and contradicting opinions and at times life seems to pull us in all different directions.

Maintaining a balanced life, in the area of health/wellness, spiritual, mental, work & play and relationships, is key to feeling a sense of accomplishment and happiness in our overall direction and purpose in life.

Traveling the world, while creating my own personal brand and establishing myself as a digital nomad, has taught me many lessons on the importance of balance and having clear goals and priorities.

It’s one thing to travel for fun and pleasure, like I did when I first started, and a whole different story when trying to combine travel and work together in order to create a life to where you have the freedom to live and work from any place around the world.

About 70 countries into my adventure, I decided to take my brand Nomadic Dreamer to a whole different level and create something lasting and profitable for myself.

When I started, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was pulled in many different directions, growing my social media, writing articles, translating everything from English to Spanish and I was completely lost.

However, I kept putting one foot in front of the other, learning something new each day, offering speeches, courses and making appearances on multiple television and radio shows in order to grow the reputation of my brand.

When I started public speaking in 2015, I was very eager to improve, learn new techniques and push myself past my own personal limits.

I realized that I had a very powerful story and that my calling in life was to share it with others and be the best speaker I could possibly be.

In order to push myself to the next level and accomplish another life long goal of mine, I decided that not only was I going to dedicate 2016 to traveling the world and growing Nomadic Dreamer, but I was going to do it all while finishing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas in the USA from distance.

They offer an intense program in communication and language that offers tools and trainings that I knew could help me to succeed as a better and more skilled speaker.

I spoke with the director of the program about my desire to start the program in the following semester and that I wanted to do it all in just one year from distance, while working and traveling full time.

Doubts filled her head as she knew how demanding the program is to do in one year for students that physically attend classes. Trying not to discourage me, she made sure I was aware that I would need to be active each and every day for class, engage in all activities, discussions, tests, projects and during multiple times in the year I would have a project where I would need to find my own audience of people in order to give a 15-20 minute speech, which obviously is difficult while on the road and while only interacting with strangers.

As a traveler, I know how from first hand experience how difficult it is to find balance while on the road. There are constant problems of finding strong wifi to upload projects, places to have pure silence in order to work and a constant challenge to find the the motivation to sit down and do projects while in a beautiful destination in a foreign country.

However, I decided that it was worth the risk and I made a firm commitment.

The beginning was much harder than I thought. I not only was trying to juggle six classes that I had to be present in each and every single day, but I had to do all of that while traveling completely alone through countries like India, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

Not only that, I had to make sure that I was taking good care of my health, always watching out for my safety, planning my next destination, confirming all my travel arrangements, maintaining my work as a digital nomad and growing the Nomadic Dreamer. As if that were not enough, a few months into the course I got a call to be an invited speaker at the largest TEDx conference in Spain in Spanish.It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I couldn’t say no.

So there I was, with more than I thought I possibly could handle on the table, and wondering how in the world I was going to make all of those dreams become a reality.

In my free time, I eagerly watch videos on YouTube on how to maintain balance, but still struggled to find that perfect balance. However, half way into the course I started a different practice that changed my life and helped me to find better balance and that is the practice of meditation.

During that year, I became very strict and disciplined in all of my practices. I woke up at 5 o’clock every single day, meditated, exercised and all of my classes that I had for the day.

Many times when people were just waking up I had finished with my whole entire day of activities, giving me the freedom to see all the beautiful countries that I was visiting during the day.

Meditation was the medicine that helped me to stay sane during that crazy year. I had absolutely no caffeine during that time and simply relied on my inner power to help me do the impossible.

Many times we have dreams and our heart that seem impossible, just like mine. Sometimes we start something new and we become discouraged because we see our dream as one big mountain, while forgetting the importance of just taking one little step at a time in order to climb up that giant mountain.

I took one baby step each and every day, focusing on my daily actions and making sure that I did not skip a day on any of my commitments.

In those moments that I thought I could not keep moving forward, I quieted my soul with meditation, which always left me feeling refreshed and focused.

It was mentally and physically one of the hardest things I have ever done, but in the end I made my dream a reality. Not only did I graduate in December 2016 with Magna Cum Laude Honors while traveling to 20 countries, I also received an award from the University as an outstanding student that is making a big difference in the world, as well as two newspaper articles about my experience.

In November 2016, I also made another lifelong dream become a reality. I stood before an audience of more than 1,000 people giving a TEDx talk at the largest event in Spain in a language that I could not speak fluently just two years before.

I say all of these accomplishments with a very humble heart. This has nothing to do with me bragging about what I have done, but rather emphasizing the point that if we have a love and passion in our hearts for something, combined with a strong determination to achieve it no matter what the cost, we can make our biggest dreams become a reality.

Does that mean that it’s going to be easy?

Absolutely not.

There were days that I locked myself up in my room crying and wondering how I was going to keep moving forward.

I passed horrible days in that year of traveling with sickness, food poisoning, exhaustion, homesickness and moments that I truly wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits.

However, life is it not about escaping the obstacles in our path, but rather, looking them straight in the eyes and saying,

“I am bigger than you and nothing can stop me!”

 

To read article, click on the photo: 

 

 

 

 

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My Solo Travel Nightmare: Locked Up and Deported from Europe

Traveling and exploring Europe has always been a big dream of mine. Since I was a child I had always learned in school interesting information about the continent and there was no place on Earth that I wanted to visit than there.

In 2013, I made a drastic change to my life, paid off all of my debt, quit my well paid job as a nurse and booked a one way ticket to Spain. It was an experience that completely changed my life and opened my closed and limited mind to a whole new world of opportunities and ways of thinking.

During the time I was living and working in Spain I was finally able to achieve one of my dreams and visit many of the European countries that I had always studied about in school. The experience was magical!

In 2015, after having traveled to many European countries, I decided that I really loved to travel and that I wanted to do it full-time and COMPLETELY alone.

I started my solo adventure in Morocco, then to the south of France to walk the Camino de Santiago for 31 days, followed by a long term epic adventure trip across Europe.

After visiting Europe, I then grew the courage as a young solo traveler to visit Asia, then South America, Central America, Middle East and before I knew it I had traveled to over 70 countries around the world!

When I finally returned back to Spain after all of my travels, I pulled out the map and began to plan my next big adventure.

In that moment I realized that I had almost finished the entire continent of Europe and if I planned well enough I could visit every country by the end of the 2017 year and accomplish another dream of mine.

The only countries that I was missing in that time were:

  • Malta
  • Czech Republic
  • Norway
  • Belarus
  • Monaco

Being the goal driven person that I am, I quickly found a good travel deal to Malta ($15) and within just a week I was packed and ready to go an another adventure!

MALTA

I was so pumped up about my plan and continued traveling to my remaining countries, with the goal of celebrating my accomplishment in Monaco at the end of the year.

It was the PERFECT plan!

After leaving Norway, I booked a flight to Belarus, which is a country that had just recently changed their visa policy, giving Americans a visa free visit for up to 5 days. Although the weather was below freezing, I decided to explore Belarus while I had the chance and then fly directly to Italy, via Kiev, Ukraine and arrive to Monaco by train.

Belarus

Capital of Belarus

Everything on my trip went with such ease. No missed flights, perfect accommodation and many new and exciting friendships with people in all of the countries that I had visited. I arrived to Italy at 11pm, after many hours of travel from Belarus, feeling rested and stoked by the fact that I was officially going to mark off my last European country off the list in just a matter of hours.

I had all my travel documents prepared, a return flight to Spain, accommodation and pick up from the airport organized and my train booked that would take me directly to Monaco.

Just like any other immigration border check, I arrived with all my information and passport ready and a big smile on my face.

Most immigration officers pay special attention to my passport, given the amount of stamps that I have, but this time the officer was studying my passport a bit more than the usual.

He flipped back and forth through the pages and looked up at me with a stern look and back at the passport again. In very broken English he began to ask me about what I do in Spain, how long I have been there, why I travel so much and anything he could think of to learn more about me.

With a serious face, he said “Ma’am, I need you to come with me.”

I was led a small waiting room. Three men surrounded the immigration officer and then began to whisper to each other. Around a small table they pulled out my passport and a piece of paper and pen and began to look at my passport with great detail, writing on a sheet of paper little notes.

I remained very calm, knowing with certainty that I did not do anything wrong and what was happening was just a simple mistake.

At least that’s what I thought.

The immigration officer returned and on a piece of paper pointed to the number 94.

“You can only stay 90 days. You need to go now and you cannot come back.”

Feelings of anxiety started to take over me as and I began to argue my case. The immigration officer had absolutely no sympathy and with a stern look on his face repeated the same statement, “you can only stay 90 days. You need to go now.”

Growing more anxious by the moment, I then showed him a letter from my lawyer indicating that I was obtaining residency in Spain, but he firmly said “here in Italy we do not recognize this. You must go!”

He then pulled out a stamp and my heart instantly dropped to the floor. Without any sort of hesitation he picked up my password, threw it down on the desk and stamped an “X” and told me that I was going to be locked up and deported out of the European Union to Kiev, Ukraine.

At that moment I could not hold the tears back. I began to sob like a baby uncontrollably. All I could think about was my life in Spain, my apartment, with all of my stuff and those awful words of “you must leave and cannot come back.”

A woman working in the immigration department came down to find me hysterically crying and said, “I know this is a completely innocent mistake on your part and that you are not out to break the law, but why would you EVER come through this airport if you have questionable visa problems?!”

She mentioned that in bigger airports that no one checks or cares about these kind of issues, but in a small airport like Bergamo, Italy, they don’t have as much traffic coming in and out and they have more time to take you in for questioning for minor problems.

In the end, the officers collected my materialistic possessions and led me to a freezing cold bare room where I was detained with others that were genuinely breaking the rules.

I was all alone, cold and more scared than I had ever been. I felt like a criminal and there was nothing I could do at that point.

The sound of the bear like snores echoed through the barren room and tears continued to roll down my face. I had not eaten or slept for a full day and all I could think about was my nice comfy bed in Spain and some delicious warm food. However, my reality in that moment was so far from that.

I reached in the pocked of my winter jacket and I to my luck I realized that I still had my full charged cell phone. I walked through my cell with the phone high in the air trying to reach some sort of service, but had absolutely no luck.

The room was bear, ice cold and the minutes seemed to never pass. I could hear the sound of my stomach growling as I sat there fantasizing about something delicious to eat, but the officers did not offer me food or even a glass of water.

I made my way to my hard bed and laid there profusely shaking and able to see the fog from breath out in front of me. Feelings of regret and anger filled my mind for not having recognized my visa error beforehand and for having gone through that small airport.

I swam in a pool of negative thoughts of “should of,” but I quickly realized that this way of thinking was completely useless and that I could not erase the past no matter how hard I wanted to.

Time seemed like it was frozen. I desired more than anything to escape that freezing cold room and run away and never look back. Freedom has always been a normal thing for me and losing it for one night brought me to my knees and allowed me to see how much I take that special gift for granted.

Laying on my hard bed waiting for time to pass

At 4 o’clock in the morning the police banged on the door and screamed, “Lets go!”

I collected my belongings and was escorted to a police car with with the lights and sirens on. The car rushed across the runway to where my the airplane was parked and we pulled up to see a big bus full of passengers crammed together with the doors closed waiting to get on the plane.

We stopped and the officers escorted me from both sides up the flight stairs and onto the plane with a closed envelope with my passport and written on the outside,

“This document should not enter the hands of the detainee.”

It was a shameful walk up the airplane stairs. I could feel the eyes of all of the passengers watching me. I begin to imagine what many of them were thinking as they watched me get escorted on the same plane that that they would be traveling on for our 6 hour flight.

I stepped on the plane and instead of receiving the warm welcome from the flight attendants, I was given shunning looks from each one of them, as if I had committed the worst crime on earth.

They assigned me a seat in the front and all of the passengers began to enter one by one. Every single person gave me a look up a down, some with disgust and others confusion and fear.

Being the friendly, smily, outgoing person that I am, I felt hurt and a deep sense of sadness from the rejection. All I wanted to do was stand up and scream “I am innocent! It was a simple mistake,” but I knew that was not an option.

Finally everyone entered on the plane and within 6 hours we arrived in Kiev, Ukraine, where I was escorted off the plane and released at last.

The sense of freedom that I felt in the moment of being released was something that I will never forget and from that day I made a promise to myself to NEVER, EVER take for granted my freedom.

 

 

Don’t forget to also check out: 

THE PERFECT DAY GONE WRONG: MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT IN KO SAMUI, THAILAND

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The Perfect Day Gone Wrong: Motorcycle Accident in Ko Samui, Thailand

Thailand has always been one of my dream destinations. It has always attracted for its beautiful beaches, hiking, waterfalls, temples and an endless list of exciting adventures for adrenaline junkies, like myself.

After a beautiful couple of weeks in the northern part of Thailand, I escaped the countryside to visit the islands and relax along the enticing blue sandy beaches.

I prepared my favorite bikinis, underwater camera with my new Spivo stick and was more than excited to explore the underwater life and do some scuba diving. I had the perfect plan to explore the island of Ko Samui by motorbike, stop and visit some beautiful beaches, followed by finding some waterfalls hidden away in the mountains and end by visiting the famous Full Moon Party.

It was going to be the perfect escape!

After a 12 hour boat ride to Ko Samui Island, I finally arrived to my destination. I happily grabbed my bags, marched off the ferry and found my hotel where I would be lodging for the the whole week.

For this adventure I decided to meet up with a friend that had hosted me on Couchsurfing 2 years back in Malaysia that was also in the south to visit the Full Moon Party.

 We woke up the day of the Full Moon Party to beautiful blue skies and decided to start early by renting a motorcycle to explore the island. In order to get good videos and photos, I decided to enjoy the ride and be a passenger, something that I usually never do.

Smiling I looked at my friend and said, “You BETTER not get us in a wreck,” but never really thinking that could be an actual possibility.

We quickly planned our path and made our way to Chaweng Beach. We arrived to see a beautiful, clean, sandy beach, with barely a single person in sight.

After a beautiful visit there, we continued on our path to another beach, through the mountains and then finally to the local market to get some delicious Thai food.

The day was still young so we decided to explore further inland to see some of the stunning waterfalls that many other travelers had been talking about.

The sensations of riding through the hills, completely immersed in nature and the wind blowing in my face was a complete feeling of freedom and peace.

However, that feeling was short lived when our perfect day went wrong and in a short second my helmet went flying through the air and I made a hard crash to the ground.

My ears began to ring at a high pitch and all I could see was darkness all around me. An unusual strong pain started to creep in on my right shoulder and I knew that something was really wrong.

After a few minutes, the blurriness and darkness started to fade and I saw my friend on the concrete, covered in blood and in sheer panic at what had just happened.

With terror in his face, he said “I have no idea what happened, I have no idea what happened! I am so sorry! Are you OK, are you OK??!”

Within a short time people discovered us on the road and without a second of hesitation they called for an ambulance. Being the stubborn person than I am, I insisted that I could try and get us back, but as soon as I tried to stand up, I was overwhelmed by intense pain. I quickly realized that I was not able to get back on our wrecked bike and I that I was very injured and had no other choice but to go in the ambulance.

Medical help came within 20 minutes and we were rushed 45 minute across the island to a public hospital, which we quickly realized was a bad choice as soon as we entered inside by the stretcher.

The hospital was unlike any I had ever seen before. Within the first 10 minutes I saw a stray dog walking across the floor and line of sick and injured people waiting patiently all around me. To my right was a 3 year old boy with severe burns up and down his body from a motorcycle accident and the sound of the mother crying behind the curtain filled the room as the doctor cleaned his wounds.

I maintained a sense of calmness, but my friend on the other side still maintained a serious look of distress. Every minute that passed his swelling got worse and the bleeding seemed like it would never stop.

The doctor then came and told us it was time to clean our wounds and we instantly felt a slight dose of the pain that the little child was feeling beside us.

After the dreadful wound cleaning and x-ray, we were both given the OK to leave, with the assurance that absolutely nothing was wrong with us. We limped our way out of the hospital, looking at each other and knowing that something was not right about leaving the hospital so quick with no assistance.

After leaving the hospital the pain only grew more intense for the both of us. We both tried to ignore it, but the next day we decided to listen to our body and visit a more established private hospital to get examined again.

After a short time in the hospital we both received news that the public hospital failed to see. My friend ended up having a skull line fracture and would need to get surgery and my intense pain was due to a broken collarbone.

The doctor told me that I would need to stop traveling for some time, take it easy and absolutely no swimming, lifting, hiking or any sort of physical exercise. The moment I received this news I was only 2 weeks into my 5 month trip across Asia and all I could feel was disappointment about all of the activities and adventures I would not be able to do.

In many moments in our travels things do not go exactly the way we want them to. I had never planned for this type of accident to happen and it placed a major obstacle in my path and my plans.

I had expectations about the way that I wanted things to go, but life had something else planned for me.

Sometimes in hard moments like this its hard to see exactly what life is trying to teach us. Maybe life was trying to teach me to not take a single moment for granted or to teach me to slow down a bit in my life and travels.

Whatever that lesson was, I tried to keep a positive attitude and receive openly what life was trying to teach me. What I learned through this is that every single negative situation that we face has a lesson behind it that we can learn from.

It’s not always easy to open our eyes and see that lesson, but its there to receive. And lastly, no matter how hard the obstacle and hardship we face may be, there is always good to be found.

 

Don’t forget to also check out: 

5 TIPS FOR A PERFECT TRIP TO ANGKOR COMPLEX IN SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

ETHICAL ELEPHANT PARK VISIT IN CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

A MINI PARADISE: MYKONOS ISLAND, GREECE

 

 

 

 

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5 Tips for a Perfect Trip to Angkor Complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor Complex is a 12th century natural wonder located in Cambodia in South East Asia. This magical place has its own special energy that you can feel from the moment you step foot there and when walking through the ancient temple ruins.

It would take months to explore and really come to know all of the greatness of the Angkor Complex, which is why its highly recommended to visit there without any sense of rush. Visiting slowly and with time allows one to really get a full unforgettable experience.

Upon visiting the temples, you will see three options available in order to visit the complex: one, three and seven day. Many tourists try to see it all in one day, which is difficult and quite exhausting. 3-7 day passes are even better options if time is not an issue.

I chose the 3 day pass and felt very satisfied with the amount of time that I had at each place.

Preparation

When you go to the ticket office to buy your ticket they will take a photo and print it off on a small ticket, which will be your gateway into the temples during the time frame that you choose.

This ticket is not able to be shared with other people and if you lose it you are out of luck. You will be asked to present this ticket multiple times and there is simply no way of sneaking around paying the price.

Take care of this ticket and make sure that it does not get wet. If that happens and they cannot recognize who you are, they will not let you inside. Many people carry their ticket in a plastic bag in order to avoid problems.

Updated Prices

 

One Day: $37

Three Day:  $62

Seven Day: $72

The price has increased over the years and many say that its more expensive than they would like. However, the positive part is that a small amount of the money of every ticket goes to helping a Cambodian children’s hospital.

Clothes

Just like any other temple around the world, a modest dress code is obligatory. This consists of long skirts, shirts that cover your shoulders and nothing see through. While that might be difficult during the scorching summer months, it’s necessary and you will be refused entrance if you are dressed any other way.

I had a sleeveless shirt with a scarf around me that completely covered me up, but I was asked to change into a complete t-shirt, regardless of the scarf around me.  If you have any doubts about whether your clothes are acceptable or not, its better to be safe than sorry.

If you run into a dress code problem there are many places to buy around the temples at a very low price.

Also, its very important to choose the type of shoes that you wear carefully. The complex is very large and it will require lots of walking. In addition, there will be some great opportunities to climb up the temples to get good views, so its much better to wear sport sandals or tennis shoes.

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1. Start Early and Watch the Sunrise

Many people are uncertain about whether they should get up or not to see the sunrise, especially given all of the mixed reviews that you will find online about the amount of tourists at that time of the morning.

While it is true that you will come across many tourists while visiting at sunrise, I still believe that its an experience that you must have while visiting there.

I went during the low season and I came across tons of tourists, so I couldn’t even imagine what its like in the high season. Its impossible to escape the tourists, but if you can focus your mind away from them and on the beauty of the temple, the beautiful sky and the peace of the sunrise, it can be a magical experience.

If you are really wanting to miss a lot of the crowds, avoid visiting sunrise at the main temple. There are other places that you can go that are less crowded and can give you very beautiful views.

2. Clearly Organize your Transportation & Price

There are many different ways to get around to the different temples. The most common ways are by tuk tuk or by bike. Many opt to bike around the complex, but keep in mind the time of the year if you plan on going about this way. Temperatures can spike to around 110 degrees in the middle of the day and biking under the burning hot sun could turn your peaceful day into an exhausting experience.

The best and cheapest way to get around, especially if you are with multiple people, is to hire a tuk tuk for a day. They will be at your disposal all day in order to take you exactly where you want to go, including to the temples that are around 40km away.

You can easily find drivers in the streets or through your hotel.

Given the language barrier, I would highly suggest to organize it through your hotel and make it very clear from the beginning where you want to go and a set price.

I met a few travelers that hired drivers that did not speak English and in the end they found themselves in an uncomfortable situation and getting charged way more than they though they were going to pay. In addition, the driver joined in for lunch and he ordered a big meal and left and expected the girls to pay.

Language barrier problems and conflicts about prices are very common, so make sure to go prepared so you don’t get ripped off.

Tuk tuks can be hired as low as $15/day to visit the nearby temples, but if you want to venture off to temples that are up to 45 minutes away, such as Banteay Srei or Beng Mealea, you can expect to pay up to $45 for a full day.

In additon, its very important to also establish the meeting point with your driver, given that the temples have many different exits, which can be long distances apart. Make sure to take your drivers phone number and if you get into any problems you can contact him easily.

3. Do your Own Research or Hire a Quality Guide

Walking around temples and exploring on your own can be a good experience, but I highly suggest if you get the chance, even if it’s just for a day, to hire a guide that can give you a good explanation of the places that you are visiting.

There are so many temples and if you don’t know where you are going, it can get a bit complicated.  I had a guide during my time and it was a positive experience. He was able to show me the best places to take pictures, history about the temples and give his own perspective as a local that was born and raised near the Angkor Complex.

Trip advisor has many reviews of the best guides that speak multiple languages, so do your homework before making any decision.

4. Don’t Attempt to See it All in One Day

In many online reviews and articles you will read about something called “temple fatigue.” When I first heard about that I thought it was a joke, but after my first day there I had a big dose of it.

I started in the hottest part of the day, at the most popular temples and had to fight large crowds of people, tour groups and lines up to 2 hours just to climb to the top of the main temple and experience the view.

After my first day I was not feeling so motivated about visiting again, but with a nice traditional spa treatment in the night, a good nights rest and a new agenda, I went back for the second and third day and enjoyed it to the fullest.

Getting up early really does make a difference, as well as packing adequate water and taking an umbrella, hat or sunblock to protect you from the sun.

5. Visit at Sunset Time

Maybe you decided that getting up at 4am is not your cup of tea. If that is the case, you can visit at sunset time instead and experience some beautiful views as well. There are many places to view the sunset, but again, it all depends on if you want to be surrounded by tourists or not.

One of my most precious views of all my time in Cambodia was at sunset time. There was not a single person around and the view was spectacular!

 

Don’t forget to also check out: 

10 UNIQUE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES IN SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA

TOP EXPERIENCES YOU MUST HAVE IN SPAIN

ETHICAL ELEPHANT PARK VISIT IN CHIANG MAI, THAILAND

 

 

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