February was a very busy month as we travelled to, and through, 4 countries – Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. The ancient Khmer Kingdom of Angkor Wat has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember so I was very excited that we were finally going to see this architectural wonder. Kuala Lumpur and the old Portuguese colony of Malacca were our Malaysian ports of call. Following this was a 5 day house sit in sparkling Singapore. The month would conclude with a return to home – Melbourne, Australia.
Cambodia – Siem Reap & Phnom Penh
A direct flight from Chiang Mai saw us arrive in Siem Reap, Northern Cambodia where we were booked for 5 nights. This would give us 4 full days to explore the temples of the Angkor Archaeological Park and the nearby Tonle Sap Lake.
We arranged a private 3-day tour with Happy Angkor Tour as we wanted to maximise our time and see and experience as much of the Park as possible. We weren’t disappointed as we visited all the major ‘tourist’ sites as well as other smaller, out of the way temples with very few tourists. One of the many highlights was watching the sun rise over the Angkor Wat temple complex – simply stunning.
On the third day of the tour we went to Tonle Sap Lake and visited the floating village at Kampong Pluk. However, as it was the dry season, the lake’s level had dropped leaving the village houses 10 metres in the air. It was quite surreal walking through the village on what is usually the bottom of the lake!
We took a very short flight from Siem Reap to the bustling Cambodian capital Phnom Penh – a riverside town situated at the confluence of the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac Rivers. Our time there included very disturbing and sombre visits to the Killing Fields and the S-21 Genocide Museum. We also had a drink at the famous Foreign Correspondents Club, enjoyed a sunset river cruise, did a bike tour through the nearby country side where we saw a flock of Ostriches (but that’s a whole other story) and toured the extravagant Royal Palace.
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur & Malacca
The Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur was our next destination following a short flight from Cambodia. We have visited KL previously, as it is a central hub for Air Asia flights, so just stayed for 2 nights at an Airbnb that we have used before. The highlight of our one day was taking sunset drinks on a helipad at the Heli Lounge Bar (at the Menara KH building). This gave us spectacular views of the KL skyline including the famous Petronas Towers. Such elevated views also come with elevated prices – Jacqueline’s orange juice cost a cool $20!!!
The following day we took a 2 hour bus ride South to the Unesco World Heritage City of Malacca. It has a varied history, having been colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British. It’s a very interesting place with influences from all of the former colonial powers in the food, architecture and even the language. There’s plenty to fill in your time here and we visited some interesting museums, wandered the famous Jonkers Night Market and took a relaxing cruise along the Malacca River.
We’ve transited through Singapore’s excellent Changi airport many times on trips to Europe from Australia and occasionally stayed overnight. We’ve always wanted to spend more time to explore this Asian dynamo but found accommodation costs very high. Fortunately, this time we had secured a 5 day house sit so we were able to spend a relaxed period of time seeing the sights and experiencing life living like a local. We had a very enjoyable week here and you can read more about our time in this blog post from our house sitting website.
Back home – Melbourne, Australia
Our Asian sojourn ended with our return to our hometown – Melbourne. Our return was to honour a commitment we’d made a few years earlier to a dear friend that had asked us to pet sit her two little doggies. Margaret and Peter were very gracious and generous hosts and we enjoyed a few days with them before they headed off on a well deserved South Pacific cruise. The house sit was in a suburb only 15 minutes drive from where we used to live. As it was so close to family and friends we utilised our time catching up and re-connecting with them as we’d been away for over 10 months.
We would spend all of March and some of April in Melbourne and will cover that in the next post.
Total costs – $5496 Australian dollars
February was one of our most expensive months due to the multiple flights (incl. one from Singapore to Melbourne) and the costs in Cambodia being in US dollars (with a weak Australian dollar exchange rate).
NOTE: Cash expenditure includes groceries, eating out, tourist attractions, entertainment, public transport, parking fees, fuel, local SIM, etc. It does include alcohol (though Jacqueline doesn’t drink) and we eat out perhaps once or twice a week.
We did an article back in August that covered our first full year of travelling for the period April 2017 to April 2018. If you’re interested in reading that then click here – Travel the World full time for less than $100 per day
If you’re retired (or not) there is a way to have an exciting life with the world as your oyster. We’re proof that it can be done.
If you want to learn more about how we achieve this feel free to contact us or take a look at our Introduction to House Sitting page.
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