Monday
Nov172014

Adventures in Siem Reap

This week, we are in Siem Reap, Cambodia.  The first days were used to settle into the Frontier flat and meet the city, helping us relax and recover from the long bus ride here.  Also, we welcomed another volunteer this week, who joined in on the trail activities.

The days later on were filled with sightseeing and wandering around.  We watched a beautiful sunset at the temples, and the next day woke up at 5am to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat.  It was really beautiful, and these temple are completely different from what we were used to seeing in Thailand, as they are all stone structures.  This day was spent wandering around Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and a couple of smaller temples around the complex.


We also had the luck of being able to take part in the first national party to happen in Cambodia in five years since the King died.  It was the Water Festival, and the celebrations included boat races on the river, live music, games and a lot of food!

Two of us also visited a nearby city, called Battambang, a 3-hour bus ride away.  There, we took a ride on the Bamboo Trains,  and visited a small village and were able to talk to som Khmer children.  The next day, we woke up really early to catch a boat back to Siem Reap.  The boat ride was great, because you pass through a bunch of river villages, and get to see how most Cambodians actually live.  While we did that, others visited the War Museum.

Cambodia has been treating us really well.  By the end of the week, Island volunteering starts and half of the trail participants will be off.

By Sofia Antoniazzi, Trail Volunteer

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Monday
Nov172014

Teaching grade 5 classes in Siem Reap

During my time with Frontier I spent one week (it should have been two however there was a weeks national holiday in Cambodia) teaching English to underprivileged children in Siem Reap. The school is a free school to give the children better opportunities in life, the children even at such a young age all seemed to understand how important it is to speak english as they are all very enthusiastic to learn. They are always happy and excited.

I was assigned two grade five classes to teach of which had to be outside as the school is not finished its construction. But this was never a problem, the students from both classes still showed great enthusiasm and their English was very good. When I taught them they listened and asked questions if they didn't understand making it easy to teach them. I used the grade 5 workbook to teach them which had questions asking them to answer in correct English. Some of the questions for example were 'how long have you been taught English' and 'how long have you known your best friend'. Once they had wrote the answers and I had marked them they asked me to answer them which was nice as they were interested in me.

At the start of every class they say good morning/afternoon and ask you how you are. When they leave they thank you for the lesson. One of the children even made a paper boat for me. The children's general enthusiasm and kindness made them a pleasure to teach and I think their time at the school will really give them better opportunities in life!

By Cole Newton, Trail Volunteer

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Thursday
Oct302014

Volunteer blog: South East Asia carbonara diary

Hello. My name is Emily and I'm a carbonara addict. This is my South East Asia carbonara diary! We've almost been travelling for a month now and have visited so many different cities, which has given me many opportunities to try out all the varieties of carbonara that Asia has to offer. If you're a fanatic of this creamy bacon spaghetti like I am, then I suggest you take my professional opinion and visit the beautiful island of Koh Tao! It maybe known for great diving and snorkelling but it will forever be known in my heart as the carbonara capital of Asia! It had the perfect ratio of creaminess to bacon to spaghetti, and as all you carbonara lovers know, there's always the risk of getting a dish too creamy! What a tragedy when that happens!! It was the perfect meal to eat while sitting beach side watching an amazing sunset over the sea!

Out next island that we visited was called Koh Phangan which somehow has even bluer waters than the last! It's a good thing too because it makes up for the islands lack of good carbonara! This carbonara was just way too creamy and lacked a serious amount of bacon! However, there could be worse ways to spend an evening than having a bad bowl of carbonara while sitting on the beach in Thailand! Our final island was called Koh Samui which is the biggest island we've visited, and which also means many more restaurants to try carbonara!

What's fantastic about this island is that they offer you the option to not only order your carbonara with spaghetti, but penne as well! What is a girl supposed to decide! After much deliberation, I ended up on the decision to try the penne which was great aside from the overload of mushrooms. So there you have it ladies and gentleman, your full guide to carbonara in Thailand! I hope that I've been able to shed some helpful light on the state of carbonara here, for all those considering coming to South East Asia! **NOTICE** This blog does in fact represent the genuine and true opinions of Emily, however, the blog was written by Kristina :)

By Kristina, Trail Volunteer

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Thursday
Oct302014

Volunteer blog: Sally

On Friday we arrived in Chiang Mai, having spent the night on a sleeper train from Bangkok. We spent the day exploring the city's many temples and wandering around the city's old walls. In the evening we went to the city's world famous night market and tried our hand at haggling.

The next morning we got up bright and early to drive to a zip lining course in the jungle. We spent a few hours zip lining between trees, abseiling down 40 metre drops, and climbing up rope ladders. Saturday afternoon was spent driving up to a temple on a hill overlooking Chiang Mai and learning about Buddhist practices.

Sunday morning was spent driving along the infamous road from Chiang Mai to Pai with its 768 bends (according to the t-shirts for sale in Pai!) We stayed in idyllic bamboo bunhalows overlooking a river on the outskirts of Pai, only accessible by bamboo bridge.

On Monday morning we travelled to a local Chinese village and also spent time swimming in a nearby waterfall. The town's many street food stalls meant we were spoilt for choice when choosing what to eat for dinner that evening.

After a morning relaxing, a few of us spent Tuesday afternoon at a cookery school learning how to cook five different traditional Thai dishes, as well as visiting the local market and seeing food for sale such as frog and deep fried chicken head! It was really interesting to learn about the different cooking techniques and ingredients used here.

On Wednesdays morning we all set off on a two day trek in the local hills through a bamboo forest, led by a local guide. We saw our shelter for Thursday night constructed before our eyes using just bamboo, banana leaves and a machete! We also used bamboo add a cooking pot, plate, spoon, knife, kettle and teapot, showing us what an amazingly versatile plant it is.

We returned from the trek on Thursday morning and the rest of the day was spent relaxing and reading, rounding off a very enjoyable week!

By Sally Graham, Trail Volunteer

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Thursday
Oct092014

The trail has begun! 

After much anticipation and long flights, we all finally arrived to Bangkok Thailand to start our journey; five amazing girls touring around South East Asia together! We  spent the first night relaxing, getting to know each other and trying to get over our jet lag! The next day we went to our first temple called Wat Pho where we got to see the largest Buddha in Asia! The temples were gorgeous and we even got to see a few monks walking around.

The next day we went to the Grand Palace which is where the king used to live. We got a lot of rain that day but luckily it didn't stop us from exploring around! In our final day in Bangkok, we spent the morning at James Thompson House. He was an American architect who fell in love with Thailand when he came to Asia for the 2nd world war. He built an amazing traditional Thai house before he mysteriously disappeared in the Malaysian mountains. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing some final shopping (as girls do best) before catching a night train headed to Chaing Mai for our next destination!

By Kristina Galipeau, Trail Volunteer 

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