Arrival and check-in

Trip Start Nov 18, 2009
Trip End Nov 27, 2009

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Flag of Cambodia  , KH.16,
Monday, November 23, 2009

I arrived at my gate in TPE internation airport by 4:30AM, and the airport was almost completely deserted.  The only people checking in at that hour were people like myself, in a tour.  The tour leader, Big Zhang, collected everyone's passports to arrange our visas and handed out booklets highlighting the sites we will be visiting.  Our flight was a mere three hours (just like from JFK to Miami) on TransAsia Airways.  At 8AM I landed in Siem Reap International Airport with my tour group, and we cleared customs in a cinch.  Apparently we can "buy" our way through customs check without having to wait on line, and the travel agency has already arranged all that.  The customs officials kept our passports while we are ushered to our hotel so they can complete the paperwork necessary for our entries into their country.  They will send our passports to the local office of the travel agency once we have been "cleared" to enter. I was also told that anyone can do this... you just walk up to a customs agent standing by the "restricted personnel" or "employee only" line (usually empty) with $10 in your passport, and he'll let you walk right past.

A short drive later, we arrive at the Angkor Place Resort and Spa.  Our hotel was a five star hotel that could have rivaled many in Hawaii.  I had a room to myself since I was traveling alone, and the room was as expected: beautiful, spacious, clean, and tastefully decorated.  The bellboy delivered my luggage while I went to the gym to work out.  There was a sparkling pool, a spa, and a beautiful garden in the back.  The gym was small, but had what I needed: treadmills, various equipments and some free weights.  I had a chance to get in a quick five miler in before I had to get ready to leave (the tour leader allowed us two hours to unwind, freshen up, and charge our cameras).  We didn't linger long in our rooms before we boarded the bus and met our local tour guide, Small Chen (nickname), then headed off to our first adventure.

I had no idea what I was expecting.
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