Arriving in Cambodia

at the airport

A quick repack before boarding at LAX. Our 1 a.m. Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong was completely full.

I’d always wanted to visit Vietnam and Cambodia (and Thailand and China), but it was my sister Melanie’s idea to go to Laos – she told me it was relatively unspoiled by tourism and known for its laid-back attitude. It would be a much different experience, she said, than hitting all the big destination spots in Southeast Asia. She can be very persuasive.

We ended up compromising – three days in Siem Reap to see the temples of Angkor, and two-and-a-half weeks in Laos. We’d be gone May 26 – June 14, 2009.

Our route:

L.A. to Hong Kong  /  Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City  /  Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap
(total travel time: 20 hours)

1st day 3rd airport

far fewer people and a lot more swine-flu paranoia at Ho Chi Minh City airport

airport motos

more motorcycles than cars at Siem Reap International Airport

sweet ride

our sweet ride to the hotel

tuk tuk


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sweet hotel

In Siem Reap, the city you stay in when you visit the temples of Angkor, the price of a hotel room can range from a thrifty $3 to a ridiculous $600/night. We went mid-range at the Golden Banana Resort with its private balconies, outdoor stone tubs and saltwater swimming pool, all for $50/night or what you might pay for a room at Motel 6 in a small U.S. city. We liked that the Golden Banana was gay-friendly and featured a staff of sweet, sweet boys, although the guests were a mix of gay and straight, and the vibe was very relaxed.

Plus, they served a great breakfast.

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(not pictured: croissants and delicious Cambodian yogurt)

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