Demi liat keindahan Ha Long Bay kita rela spare waktu singkat dan cuma bisa ikutan tour sehari disana. Mostly they offering cruise trip for 3 days 2 nights or even shorter with variety range of price. If you have a lot of time, I think it’s better to take that cruise trip since my one day trip is too short.
So, that morning we’re ready to be picked up by the tour guide. Pas dijemput, tour guidenya nanya makanan apa aja yang kita boleh dan ga boleh makan. Ternyata itu untuk persiapan menu makan siang nantinya. Untungnya ditanya dulu, jadi kita ga akan kelaparan pas disana.
After 3 hours on the road, finally we arrived! I have no idea what kind of boat that we’re going to use. Lucky us we got a good one. Not a fancy one but not bad at all. It’s good enough for us. There’s only 4 tables for us having our lunch inside the boat and we could also sit on the deck, the best spot to enjoy the view. And here we go…start to sail the bay….
There’s around 15 persons in our group. Mostly Asian but came from different countries. Our food has been waiting for us. It was quite nice, good portion, good taste, not bad at all. We’re right away start our lunch. Unfortunately we don’t have much time to getting know all of them, we prefer stay at the deck because we don’t wanna to miss a thing. The view outside was sooooooo beautiful, made me goosebump over and over again. Can’t believe what my eyes could see at that moment. I feel so grateful. Thank you God for letting me witnessing this beautiful bay, one of Your best creation. Even though the sun was sooo bright, we still prefer to stay at the deck. Enjoying every second of it by taking pictures along the way. 🙂
Thirty minutes later, it’s time for our first activity. It’s kayaking time!! It’s our first time, so we really don’t know what to do, how to control the pad and moving towards the right direction. The tour guide gave some tips for us but it didn’t work well at first. We should be kayaking into the cave but my boat were moving to another direction by itself. Ha ha. Maybe the wind or maybe the way we paddling. Another funny moment. We’re so left behind. We need some time until we know how to paddling it right. After we’re going into the cave, there’s another beautiful scenery ahead of us. I don’t know what to call it, but I’m so excited. Ga salah kalau nyebut Ha Long Bay ini sebagai salah satu keajaiban dunia. It is magic. Entah gimana awal mulanya terbentuk bukit-bukit karst itu. Rasanya kaya lagi ada dimana gitu. It’s like a perfect place to hide. Teduh. Damai. Love it.
After kayaking, next stop is Dong Thien Cung. It’s a cave full of stalactite and stalagmit, with lots of lighting in different colours. No spooky at all. To get here, we have to climb lots of stairs, but it’s so worthed after we get in. I don’t really hear what the guide said about this cave, I am more attracted to see around and taking pictures :p This cave really complete our day.
Since we only have a really short time, after we visit this cave we’re going back to the port and the minibus took us back to the city. Meskipun cuma singkat, tapi bener-bener ga nyesel dateng kesini. Additional flight, additional expenses, semuanya bener-bener terbayar sama pemandangan hari ini. Puas banget! We really had so much fun!!!! Hopefully next time, bisa ngerasain trip pake cruise berhari-hari, snorkeling dan diving disini. Amin.
It’s time to go back to HCM by vietjet airlines. Berharap ga delay karena kita udah beli tiket bus menuju Pnom Penh yang agak mepet sama waktu arrival kita di HCM. Kalo delay berati tiket bus angus, dan mesti re-schedule semuanya. Alhamdulillahnya ON TIME, jadi kita bisa nyampe di pool bus keberangkatan tepat waktu. Nama busnya Mekong Express. Ga mewah tapi yang pasti jauh lebih bagus dari bus-bus lokal Indonesia 🙂 Pool nya di Pham Ngu Lao street. Ga jauh dari situ, ada restoran namanya Tri colore. Enak dan murah. Sambil nunggu bis, kita makan disitu. Jangan tanya yah halal apa engga nya, yang pasti kita ga pesen yang aneh-aneh. Bismillah aja 🙂
It took 6 hours to get to Pnom Penh from HCM. We have to stop at the border, stamp the passport then moving on. Since it’s not at their peak time, so the process only took less than half an hour for both borders. No hustle at all. Then we continue the journey to centre of Pnom Penh City.
Welcome to Pnom Penh city! It’s already dark when we getting off the bus. Many tuktuk already waiting for us, ready to drive us to the hotel with low cost. After we check in Royal Inn hotel which is quite nice, we decide to go to the night market using tuktuk. We met a really nice driver, his name is Sam Ol. His English is quite clear, so he told us alot about the city and things that we have to be aware of in Pnom Penh, such as many pickpocket at the night market, so we have to be extra careful. I also saw some of them. Jadi hati-hati ya kalau belanja di night market. Dompetnya bener-bener harus dipegang, jangan sampe lepas meski sedetik, dan jangan terlena sama barang-barang murah disana. The driver even waiting for us while we shop at the market than took us back to the hotel. At the end of the night we have a deal with him that the next day he will drive us to the place that we want to go. It’s very nice of him!
That morning we’re ready to go to Killing Fields as our first stop. It’s 30 minutes away from our hotel. Sam Ol, the tuktuk driver, already waited for us in front of the hotel. Due to dusty road, he stop by at the small shop then gave us the masks for free. How thoughtful he is! Then we continuing the journey with the mask on.
Quoting from tourismcambodia.com “Killing Fields of Cheung Ek is situated 15 kilometers south-west of Phnom Penh and made famous by the film of the same name “Killing Field”. It was a place where more than 17,000 civilians were killed and buried in mass graves; many of them transported here after detention and torture in Toul Sleng. This place is a chilling reminder of the brutalities of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. In the center of the area is a 17 story glass stupa which houses 8000 skulls exhumed from mass graves.”
When we bought the ticket at the entrance, they gave us an audio also the brochure to go with then we could explore the place by ourself, no need a tour guide. The brochure gave us clue which place that we have to go first, then we play the audio with the same number, then the information about it will be played. The audio is available in many different languages (but no Indonesian) so you don’t have to worry. My first impression when I got here is spooky. Even it’s in the morning. The place was so quiet because every tourist using their headset audio individually and moving around without noise. Auranya beda aja, Magis, apalagi pas kita denger cerita dibalik setiap kejadian, seperti apa tempat ini puluhan tahun yang lalu, bikin jadi merinding. Gimana ga horror, di tempat itu belasan ribu orang dibunuh, dibantai, diperlakukan tidak manusiawi, tanpa peduli seberapa banyak jiwa mereka yang meronta-ronta. Dengerin audionya aja udah merinding lho, apalagi ditambah dengan efek-efek suara yang terdengar kaya aslinya. Tapi lebih horror lagi kalau dengerinnya malem-malem sambil duduk di pinggir danau sendirian. Hiiiiiii….scary!! The scariest part is when you see more than 8.000 of skulls inside the memoriam tower. Not only adults, but you can also found the infants’ skulls. Gilaaaa…sadis banget yah rezim Khmer merah dulu 😦
Setelah berhoror-horor, we’re moving to the next stop. Royal Palace. It is one of Phnom Penh’s most splendid architectural achievements. It is home to His Majesty Preah Bat smdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and Her Majesty Preah Reach Akka-Mohesey Norodom Monineath. The palace was built in 1866 by His Majeaty Preah Bat Norodom, great grandfather to our current King. The Royal Palace is built on the site of the old town. This site was especially chosen by a Commission of Royal Ministers and Astrologers because it had great geographical significance in relation to the King, who was regarded as a direct descendant of the gods, whose role it was to live and govern on earth under the influence of heaven.
Kesan-kesan mengunjungi tempat ini: Seru, banyak spot bagus buat foto! hihihi…
Pagodanya mirip-mirip sama di Bangkok. Ukiran-ukirannya mirip sama kaya di Bali. My favorite one is miniature of Angkor Wat, candi paling spektakuler di Kamboja. Ada juga museumnya yang banyak bercerita sejarah Kamboja dan ada foto Presiden Soekarno juga!
I wish we had more time, we’d love to explore Pnom Penh much more. Unfortunately we have to catch a bus to go to Siem Reap. The driver still took us and before we go to the bus station, with his iniative he drove us to a Halal restaurant so we could have lunch before the long trip. He knew that we’re moslem and not easy to find a halal restaurant. Aaaahhh you’re so kind, Sam Ol! I will highly recommended his service for anyone who will visit Pnom Penh in the future. Here I attached the info about his tuktuk so you can contact him. No scam! He even recommended his friend in Siem Reap and arranged him to pick us up when we arrived in Siem Reap so we don’t have to worry. I love this guy! I wish every driver as kind and as sincere as him! Wish you the best in the future Sam Ol!
Here we go again, another 6 hours journey on the bus, heading to Siem Reap. Still using the Mekong Express bus and you can see how the bus look like. During the trip, there’s a steward who will give us any information about the trip, cambodian culture, and any other information that we need, served bilingual, English and Khmer. Pemandangan selama perjalanannya sih ga ada yang aneh menurut kita. Banyak ngelewatin sawah kanan kiri, tanah-tanah kosong dan rumah tradisional penduduk sekitar. Jalanannya udah lumayan bagus dan ga macet sama sekali. Jadi kita bisa tidur cause we know we won’t missed a good thing during the trip. Tapi buat tourist dari negara lain, yang di negaranya jarang liat sawah, mereka sangat excited tiap kita lewatin persawahan, foto-foto dengan berbagai gaya dari dalam bus dan terlihat sangat menikmati pemandangan macam itu. Untung di Indonesia udah banyak sawah, jadi kita ga norak kayak gitu. Ha ha ha.
Begitu kita sampe, tuktuk pesenan kita udah menunggu dan siap mengantarkan kita check in di Gloria Angkor Hotel. Dari 2 hotel sebelumnya, hotel ini paling the best. Kita dapet welcome drink, refresh towel dan pelayanannya oke. Kamarnya pun lebih luas dari hotel-hotel sebelumnya. Dengan harga yang sama murahnya kita dapet lebih banyak disini. Alhamdulillah ga salah pilih hotel 🙂 Untuk memaksimalkan waktu, setelah kita check in kita pun pergi ke night market setempat, siapa tau ada yang bisa dibeli, hihi.
Wah ternyata night marketnya lebih besar dari yang di Pnom Penh, indoor pula. Pilihan barang-barangnya lebih banyak dan harganya murah banget. Seperti halnya belanja di pasar lainnya, tawar menawar itu hukumnya wajib meski harga udah murah. Lucunya pas lagi nawar-nawar disini, banyak yang mengira kalau saya adalah orang Malaysia (karena berhijab). Rupanya image orang Malaysia diluar sana adalah banyak duit. Jadi para pedagang suka kasih harga yang lebih mahal, walaupun lebih mahal ketika mereka nawarin turis Amerika atau Eropa. Ketika saya bilang, ” I came from Indonesia”, ada salah satu pedagang jawabnya gini ” Oh, Indonesia, same poor like us.. I give you cheaper lah..”. Hahahaha..saya kaget dan ngakak seketika. Antara seneng dikasih harga murah tapi kesel karena dibilang negara miskin. Huft. Bright sidenya saya jadi bisa borong dengan harga murah. Saking banyak barang murah kita sempet kalap dan mendadak cari ATM, hehe. Yang penting hati senang 🙂
Setelah muter sana sini dan mulai ribet sama barang belanjaan, akhirnya kita memutuskan untuk kembali ke hotel (sebelum lebih bangkrut :p ). Have some rest and get ready for tomorrow. Nite..:)