For our last day in Siem Reap we planned to do a 4 hour sunrise horseback riding adventure with Happy Valley Ranch.
Picked up at 5AM by a tuktuk, we got saddled up by around 5:40AM and on the road thereafter. My horse was Mexico, a brown horse, and Jia had Ablue, a white horse. Both of our horses seemed to be extremely concerned about the flies that were on them. At one point mine even fully wanted to lie down and so I had to bail last minute. Otherwise my horse was pretty well behaved as I was pretty much on cruise control for most of the way. When our guide Yeng went for a trot, our horses would automatically trot and when changing directions our horses would also change as well.
Overall the experience was amazing. We got a glimpse of the Cambodian countryside and their farmlands. Sunrise wise we barely got a chance to watch it as it was already kind of up by the time we got saddled up and there weren’t exactly any spots during the sunrise where we could stop to watch it. Our guide was pretty good though I had a hard time understanding him sometimes…plus I was in the rear for most of it so I couldn’t hear him. He couldn’t have been more than 25 years old. Wow did I feel sore after. Trotting is pretty painful when you don’t know the technique. My ass just kept on slamming against the saddle repeatedly for maximum abuse. Eventually I learned to somewhat brace myself by using my thighs. Regardless I was definitely feeling it after. I think 4 hours was a bit much. Because of the early morning I was almost passing out at certain points because of the repetitious motions of riding the horse and soothing and quiet ride. I think I was done at about the 2 hour mark.
I did get some amazing photographs of the countryside so I’m quite pleased.
After a quick nap back at the hotel we went into the city for some local foods @ Khmer Kitchen on Pub Street.
Jia found Frangiani Spa which was highly rated on TripAdvisor so we decided to give them a shot. All I have to say is that we felt extremely relaxed afterwards and didn’t want to move.
Tomb Raider Cocktail
We couldn’t leave Siem Reap without trying the Tomb Raider Cocktail at the Red Piano which Mr. Song had mentioned. Apparently Angelina Jolie had visited the bar when she was filming and so the restaurant put together a special concoction just for her. It was a bit meh.
Headed to Bangkok
At 6:30PM of course Eng Lee was back to pick us up and to our surprise when we arrived at the airport we found out that our 8:30PM flight to Bangkok was cancelled. In a mad scramble we found the Bangkok Airways desk and LUCKILY the 7:20PM flight counter literally just closed but we made it in time for them to check our bags in and print our boarding passes. Imagine if that didn’t work out. We’d need another day in Siem Reap. A close call that was. This actually worked out better because we were able to get into Bangkok earlier.
Upon arrival in Bangkok, we took a 35 minute cab ride to our next hotel, the Royal Orchid Sheraton. There I was somehow able to use my platinum status with SPG to get us an upgrade + free breakfast. Woot!
- Yeng showed us that you can actually eat parts of the lotus as a fruit. Tasted like corn!
- If you have some extra time in Siem Reap, the Happy Valley Ranch option is pretty unique and another way to see the locals in their element.
- Not a bad idea to show up early to the airport. Arriving 2 hours before even for a domestic flight might be a good idea in case shit happens.
About the Bangkok Airways Discovery Pass
I have written about this in detail so don’t miss the article all about the Bangkok Airways Discovery Pass.
- If you’re going to need to get around Thailand/Cambodia cheaply seriously consider the Bangkok Airways Discovery Pass. Google it. It isn’t exactly well advertised and it’s a bit of a mission to purchase them but they’re well worth it. The gist is this. This tourist-specific pass allows you to purchase a minimum of 3 to maximum of 6 one-way flights within their network for a standardized discounted fare. Basic domestic flights within Thailand are all $88 with the exception of some routes which are $113. International routes are also available out of Thailand for $120 except some that are $200. I would say definitely do your research to find the best combination of Discovery Pass and single one-ways (as we did with Bangkok to Chiang Mai on Nokair) to get the cheapest flight package. Also keep in mind that not all flights you want with Bangkok Airways are available on Discovery Pass since there do seem to be some restrictions on the number of seats available for this.
- Now the harder part is actually trying to sort this out because you can’t exactly do it online. Since this seemed to be US focused I contacted the NYC office and spoke with a lady that basically sorted everything else for us via e-mail. Once it was all done I filled out an info form, CC form and faxed everything over. I later discovered that there’s also a Canadian office so I would try them first to see if they can.
- The site to start off with is: http://www2.bangkokair.com/en/plan-your-trip/discovery-airpass/discovery-airpass.php
- NYC office e-mail address is: email@example.com. Maggie Liu is pretty responsive so i’m sure she’ll take care of you. One thing to note is that you need to do your research on the exact flight you’re interested in (flight # and time/date) if you want to get a quick quote right away.
- 5AM pickup
- 4 hour with Happy Valley Ranch
- Nap until 1PM
- Lunch @ Khmer Kitchen
- Massage @ Frangiani Spa
- Drinks and food at Red Piano – Tomb Raider cocktail
- Back to Le Meridien Angkor
- 6:30PM pick up by Eng Lee
- 7:20PM flight to Bangkok
- Arrived at 8:30PM
- Check into Royal Orchid Sheraton
Head to the Next Day
To read about the next day as we explore the temples of Bangkok head over to Day 18 – Bangkok Wat!
Curious what else I did on my trip to Asia? See the full itinerary and all 89 days.