2017 was my very busy year in working. I loved my work so much that I didn’t even take any holiday until the end of the year. Therefore, in Decemeber, I realized I had 15 days of annual leave left to clear, and my mind needed to be refreshed. I decided to take a solo trip and off to wherever that I can just relax. I spent a few days in Pailin and continued to Siem Reap.
It was the last minutes that I was searching on the internet while I was traveling on a van from Pailin to Siem Reap. I found The Green Home. The name attracted my mind because I needed a stay which was different from a hotel. Something that has nature and people living together like a family. The room was good enough for me since I’m not a luxury person. But I was more into the environment and the people and of course, the food.
My first day was so relaxing and it fully met my expectation. I had a great lunch with khmer cushion soup cooked by the wife of the owner. Surrounded by green field, and clean air! I loved it! I stayed there for 5 days and every morning I’d like to go get fresh air from the green rice field before I started to hang out. I was not alone, I still remembered the white dog always there joining me, listening to the sound of the air and sometimes bird singing. The dogs were lovely and friendly and it felt like they’re my friends. My every day schedule in Siem Reap was always something new and excited. I didn’t plan so much at all, I just go with the flow and see what I felt like to do. I thought that Green Home was just for my stay, but it was more than I expected.
The owner and his friend, Vuthy was very kind and understanding. They even gave me their motorbike to go around, and they kindly let me join their trip to Pearaing Community Conservation site, where I enjoyed so much seeing birds and beautiful sunset over there. Along the way we stopped to visit the vegetable garden of the villagers. As a person who is interested to see and observe different lives and how they live, it was a great exposure. Each house, I loved the people and their smile, the kindness, the warm welcome. They showed us their vegetable garden and explained to us a bit of how they grow them. See I like to travel and learn something new, something like this. Really, I didn’t have any plan at all for my holiday, and it turned out to be very amazing holiday ever when I met good people.
Vuthy asked me if I was interested to join their trip to Rattanakiri and Steung Treng provinces. I have never been to both places and they are always on my wish lists. Hence together with two other Green Home guests we were excitedly on our way to new adventures.
From Siem Reap to Steung Treng, I could not stop looking at the view. I gave up sleeping, and enjoy the moment I had in the van trying to capture the beauty my eyes could see. Green trees, different style of houses, mountains, green grasses and different types of fruit trees dotted the terrain. These kind of views were common, but I enjoyed letting my eyes, my feeling the freedom to wander with the flow and to go wherever they want to. At Steung Treng we visited places that are near the border of Khmer and Loas. It was very interesting for me to cross the border by water. On the Khmer side, we went to see Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River. We crossed over to Loas to visit a popular tourist area called 5, 000 islands. I didn’t see clearly the dolphin, but others saw. However, my feeling was already good just to be on the board and on the water with fresh air and nice view of small mountains. It happened to be Christmas day, so in the 5, 000 island, there were so many tourists, and shops were decorated nicely.
We can hear music, cheerful laughter and see happy smiles of everyone along the way. I normally do not enjoy going to crowded places, but I enjoy observing peoples’ lives and their surroundings. Although the area is small the decorative drawings and paintings on the walls of the shops were diverse. The village is self-contained; a school, shops, bars, restaurants, hostels, hotels, and they commuted by boat, motorbike and van. Most tourist enjoy cycling.
Welcome to Ratanakiri, the place where I’ve been dreaming to see! From Steung Treng to Ratanakiri, the view was greener. Since it was my first time, I enjoyed almost every activity we did there. The walking to see the elephants through the golden grass color, the elephant ride and washing and the fun dress-up with ethnic clothing and take pictures with Indigenous kids were thrilling. At night, we tried local food cooked in traditional way of the ethnic group. Food was put in the bamboo and then put on the fire. I thought that the taste would be difficult to eat, but really it was sooo good! Yummy !!!
My unplanned holiday was meaningful, unforgettable and memorable! Thanks to the good people I met from the Green Home! In my memory, it is not just a place to stay, but another home to visit when my heart feel the need for good energy.