Thinking back, my most favourite holiday was the last “big family trip” I had with my parents and sister before I started travelling on my own, with friends and, later, my future husband. It was a round the world trip – The US and Europe – booked a year and a half in advance and with a travel agency, as you did in those days. It was the trip that helped me get through my high school exams and I remember excitedly creating a scrapbook of images of the cities I would be visiting…
I’ll never forget the friendly customs lady at the LAX airport and with her strong American drawl, or the time a kid came up to my dad at Disney World with an autograph book (which he signed!), thinking he was a Disney character. Americans are so friendly – when we got lost in Burwood a lady got out of her car and spent a good amount of time instructing us on how to get back to Hollywood. We hired an Aztec Pontiac and got a surprising large number of compliments from strangers through open car windows about how cute it was! Our holiday song was “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child and my sister and I would sing it throughout that leg our trip.
I’ll never forget Paris, eating fried rice at a Chinese restaurant elbow to elbow to the customers next to us (cuisine choice was my dad’s, of course), or buying pizza by the ounce in Italy. Or the time when the “Gladiator” outside the colosseum pretty much trapped us into taking a photo with my little sister and then when my dad gave him a tip he threw it down onto the floor with disgust (what did he expect? This is my dad we’re talking about!)
I have so many more memories of that trip, which I will forever cherish. Writing this post has made me realise how wonderful family trips are. Now that I have two little girls of my own, I hope that once we are ready to travel again, we will create our own family trip memories.
Our trip to Bali was our first family holiday with the little one. Bali is a convenient three and a half hour flight from Perth. We hadn’t been there before together, and since it is relatively tourist friendly and not too expensive to travel, we thought it would be a great choice for a short trip. We decided to stay in Ubud, a bustling town in the island’s central area, famed for its picturesque rice paddies, temples, culture, food and art.
Our accommodation was a lovely Balinese style villa set amongst the rice paddies – such luxury for us who are accustomed to hostels and backpacker joints. It even had its own private pool! The villa was in the village of Mas, a little out of the main city, and though it meant we needed to catch a shuttle to go into town, it was pleasant being away from the smells and sounds of the city. We took a few early morning walks around the rice paddies and it was quite enjoyable.
We brought some small trinkets with us and gave them out to children who we met along during our exploration of the Angkor Wat temples.
Below is a photo of some children we met around Prasat Banteay Kdei Temple.
We arrived in Phnom Penh after a two hour flight from Singapore. We caught a tuk-tuk from the airport to downtown where we would be staying. Upon our arrival at the hotel, the staff advised that while we had made a room reservation, they did not have a room available and sent us to a sister hotel a few blocks away, a bit further from the main tourist area. We were quite annoyed and frustrated, but as we were only staying for one night before heading to Siem Reap, we decided to accept their discount and stay at the other hotel.
It was still walking distance to the riverside road, Sisowath Quay, so we decided to wander there in the afternoon. We passed the Royal Palace, which looks extravagant from the outside. Due to the recent King’s death, the Palace is closed to visitors for three months.
There were many tourists around given it was peak visiting seasons. We were hungry and stopped at a local restaurant who claimed its proceeds were given to less fortunate Cambodian children. We ordered a delicious amok (Cambodian fish coconut curry) dish and La Lok (beef with rice).
After our meal we headed to the Phnom Penh Night Market for a stroll. It was a Saturday evening so there were many stalls selling all kinds of items from clothing, jewellery to souvenirs. We immediately went to the food stalls – a colourful display of Cambodian snacks – skewers of meat, fish, and all sorts of unidentifiable delicacies. Having just eaten we were very full but still decided to sample a few fresh rice rolls which were only one-thousand-five-hundred Riels (approximately twenty-five cents) each! In the centre of the food stalls were many bamboo mats which the locals used for eating their meals. We also tried a sweet dessert, similar to ais kacang (a Malaysian dessert), consistent of various sweet/savoury snacks and mixed with shaved ice, coconut milk and syrup.