Tom: Uni work after National Day

The first few months in Shenzhen were quiet, and I was surprised at the lack of schoolwork we had been assigned. But since returning to university from the Chinese National Day break, my desk has been piled with assignments and mid-terms.

The Chinese National Day break allowed us to travel for ten days to two countries which I had never thought I’d visit in 2019 – Myanmar and Cambodia (with a day stop in Bangkok)!

A group of other international students and I started the trip in Yangon, Myanmar, with an overnight bus ride to Bagan which I’m sure none of us will forget. I had just fallen asleep but woke up a few minutes later in the middle of the night to gasps and the bus driving on two wheels. I saw my life flash before my eyes as it turned out that our driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel!

Bagan was a city that I didn’t know existed a month before we arrived, but it ended up being one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had. On arrival, we hired e-bikes for an entire day for a few dollars and drove around the ancient city on our own accord. During the ride, we met a bunch of friendly locals and stumbled across plenty of cool spots among the 3000 ancient pagodas placed throughout the city. For the next two days, we had a tour guide take us around Bagan and do a bunch of unforgettable activities:

  • Visiting pagodas and getting to climb on top of one
  • Playing the traditional Myanmar sport of chinlone with locals
  • Cruising down the river on a private boat for a sunset
  • Hiking up Mount Popa which is famous for pilgrimage

Next up, we have Cambodia!

We made our way from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, waking up at 6 am to a thunderstorm and the beginning of our day tour of Angkor Wat. The complex is genuinely spectacular and interesting to see bullet holes in the walls and hearing from locals that there are still land mines planted around Angkor Wat by the Cambodian government. I had my first ever interaction with monkeys outside the complex and even had my chips stolen by one as I tried to take photos of them.

Now, we’re back in Shenzhen and it is time to get our heads in the books. It’s very new to see massive lines of people waiting for buses from the library back to the dorms just before they stop running at midnight!

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