Tag Archives: siem reap

In Search of: An Ultra-Light Flight in Cambodia

Remember when I traveled through Cambodia? It seems like a lifetime ago, but really it’s only been two years. So much has changed since then (like my entire life). One thing that hasn’t changed is the absolute sense of wonder I get from even thinking about that country. Seriously. I want to go back. I want to find someone that’s willing to rent a scooter and drive through the countryside of Cambodia with me for a few weeks (seeing as how scootering through the countryside has the potential for all sorts of “adventure,” I figure it’s safest to have a partner on such a trip). I get giddy just thinking about the possibilities. The people. The food. The jungles. The serenity. AMAZING. Really and truly — one of my favorite places in the world.

Anyhow, I’m getting sidetracked. Because what I really want to share is how I faced one of my (many) fears when I visited that country all by myself: flying! As much as I love to travel, if you know me at all, you know I’m a scaredy-cat when it comes to getting on a plane. I pretty much always think I’m going to die. So when I saw a brochure at my guesthouse for an ultra-light flight company, I thought the obvious thing — I’ve GOT to do that! Who wouldn’t want to fly over the temples of Angkor Wat!?! So I booked a flight and got ready for yet another adventure.

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The company was owned by a British man. He’d moved to Cambodia after the place captured his heart too. His son happened to be on break from university and visiting Cambodia while I was there. As I waited for the pilot to return from an earlier flight, I chatted the son up about his summer adventures doing just what I hope to do one day — scootering through the countryside. Bliss. (His stories managed to further convince me of my need to take on this adventure one day.)

And then the moment came when it was my turn to take flight over the temples of Angkor Wat. I was nervous. I was wondering what the hell convinced me this was a good idea. I was a bit shaky. I talked with the pilot quite a bit before hopping on that tiny thing he called a plane. He convinced me it was safe — he’d been flying these particular planes for 9 years or so. He’d never had an issue. People have flown them around the world. I must say, chatting with a pilot is a lovely way to reduce the fear. I was good to go. As the plane went up, my heart tumbled a bit. Butterflies were hopping around in there. But then the calm of the open air and the peacefulness of the day overtook my worries. And I was totally at ease. It was a miracle.

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All-in-all, I spent about 45 minutes in the air, flying over the temples. It was fantastic. When the flight was over and we returned to land, I was actually disappointed it was over! I attempted to take pictures, which was somewhat difficult due to my less than stellar point and shoot camera. But, whatevs. I captured the adventure, and each time I see one of those photos, so many memories flood my mind.

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If ever one day you find yourself in Siem Reap, wandering the temples of Angkor Wat, I highly recommend staying a few extra days. SkyVenture, the company I did my flight with, is a great company — they’re all about safety and won’t take you up if there’s even a hint of bad weather. And although the temples are simply spectacular and a must see, there is so much more to the area. If you do an ultralight flight, chat it up with the people at SkyVenture — they can suggest all kinds of awesome stuff to see. Win-win, I tell you.

Posted in Cambodia, Southeast Asia Also tagged , |

In Search of: Quad Bikes in Cambodia

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While in Cambodia, I had a few “firsts.”  Make that about 10,000 firsts.  But there were a couple that really stood out to me.  One of those was learning to ride a quad bike.  When you’re traveling alone for the first time and you decide to try something brand new and you’re pretty nervous and wondering if you might make a fool of yourself — well, you can understand why this was a big deal to me.  That, and riding through villages outside Siem Reap was phenomenal.  It was a side of Cambodia I’d seen little of.  Quiet.  Fairly untouched by tourism.  Life went on as it always had.  People fed their livestock and worked in their fields.  Women chatted while wandering down dirt paths.  Smiling kids heard us drive by and ran outside to wave and say hello.  It was a bit magical.

There was a group of people scheduled to ride at the same time as me, but they were experienced riders.  And for some reason, they simply wanted to race through the countryside, seeing how fast they could go.  The owner of the company thus decided to pair me with my own guide, and I received a private tour.  My guide was incredibly sweet and patient.  It took a few minutes to really get comfortable on the bike (those things have some power).  But then I was simply mesmerized by the landscape and felt the need to stop every few feet to soak it in and take pictures.  My guide didn’t mind at all.  In fact, I think he preferred it — I could tell he loved his hometown.

If you’re ever in Siem Reap to see the great temples of Angkor, I highly recommend getting out to see the countryside.  You can rent a bicycle if you don’t mind the scorching heat and meander down dirt paths of the villages at your own pace.  Or you could choose something with a bit of an edge and hop on a quad.  Quad Adventure Cambodia is a great company (as evidenced by the many top reviews on TripAdvisor), and I highly recommend it.

Posted in Cambodia, Southeast Asia Also tagged , |