People often ask me what my favorite country was to visit outside Canada and I am very biased because I’ve spent three years in Siem Reap and had the time to discover all the places tourists never have time to see, develop lifelong friendships with the wonderful people here and always discovering new hidden gems. I’m not sure what my answer would be if I had lived a few years in Bali, Laos or Chiang Mai.
The benefit of living in a new place for a long time is there is always something new to discover, especially if you mainly have local friends and every day can be a surprise if you have an open mind and heart during your stay.
After I finished a 5-hour bike ride in the Angkor complex, which seems to have an endless number of routes, my best friend Konnitha asked me if I wanted to drive with her and her 2-year-old daughter Hannah around the Angkor area and hang out by the airport to watch the planes.
“You can hang out by the airport?” I asked Konnitha.
“Yes, you can buy snacks to eat and watch the planes. More and more food sellers are setting up their business by the airport because people come to watch the planes every day,” Konnitha said.
So we went on a beautiful drive during sunset around the Angkor complex, bought some snacks to munch on and sat on a mat just outside the airport with Hannah. We saw two planes fly by and it was just a beautiful and unique way to pass the evening.
There is no way I would ever find out you can do this if I didn’t have local friends.