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Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor February 2nd 2019

Welcome to Yvonne this week...a new volunteer who works as a tour guide in Belgium and has traveled all over Europe and made a living sharing the history of places. If you sense some envy in my text, you are CORRECT! We asked Yvonne to join us to our day out at West Baray and spent the 30 minute Tuk Tuk ride hearing her incredible stories of volunteering with the Mercy Ships (boat hospitals) which have brought her to the Congo, Madagascar and also her volunteer time in India (again yes a little envy...but only a little maybe). West Baray is a reservoir outside of Angkor Thom and was built around the 11th century and is the world’s largest handcut reservoir measuring 2.1 km by 7.8 km. There is a small island which you can boat ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor January 20th 2019

Our first round of extended volunteers left this week. I was only given the opportunity to get to know them for a week, but like college or a job enviroment, people tend to get closer faster when they live together or share extreme/challenging circumstances (watch Speed if you don’t believe me). It has been interesting to watch people process through going home (back the the US and Great Britain) after volunteering or exposing themselves to a new culture and poverty for the first time. Alden was the first to leave. He finished college and is unsure of his next step. So much of his processing is around excess back home and enjoying small things that get thrown to the side when you get in the rush of life. He is convinced he wants to go home, ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor January 7th 2019

Despite my earplugs our room last night was rather noisy with the terrible karaoke from next door. Hearing the same songs for the 3rd night in a row is driving me slightly crazy and I struggled to sleep. This was a particular problem as our alarm went off around 5am and we were at Angkor Wat, in position for the sunrise by 550am. In order to get a prime spot to get good photos (by the pond on the left) you need to be there as the gates open at 5am. Since neither of us have particularly good cameras or photographic ability we decided we only needed to be able to see it. We expected it to be busy. What I had forgotten was that if you’re not on the front row your beautiful, romantic view, ... read more
Angkor Wat - sunrise
Angkor Wat - hall of 1000 Buddhas
Angkor Wat - view from the top

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor January 6th 2019

Today we decided to cycle to Angkor Thom and do the Lonely Planets ‘off the beaten track’ trek around the old city. This is slightly crazy given it’s a 12km cycle to the start of the walk and the bikes provided by our hotel are somewhat dubious & extremely uncomfortable fixed wheel bikes. I’d love to be able to say we were trying to save the environment or improve our fitness but mostly they were appealing as they’re free with our hotel room. We started out as early as we could (the bikes seem to be kept at someone’s house and they wouldn’t agree to bring the bikes to the hotel before 730am). At this time it’s hot but not too hot. There was plenty of shade along the route into Angkor and a cooling breeze. ... read more
Missing bit of city wall
West Gate
Baphuon

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor January 5th 2019

Angkor was the capital of Khmer and a huge city which thrived from the 9th to 15th centuries. What remains are the religious buildings as other structures were made of wood. The earlier temples are Hindu and later ones Buddhist. The temples were designed to look like Mt Meru, the Hindu Mt Olympus, and successive kings used them to consolidate their power. Angkor Wat is the worlds largest religious building. The city was thought to have been abandoned as the water supplies were silting up and due to successive wars. Trying to escape the heat today we woke up early and headed out after a quick breakfast. Our hotel is supposed to provide free bikes, but apparently they’re taken today (our room is ‘deluxe with balcony & bicycles’ - only there’s no balcony or bikes). This ... read more
Prasat Leak Neang
East Mebon temple
East Mebon

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor October 24th 2018

Fun Fact: At 1,626,000 square meters, Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument ever constructed. The entire ancient city was built with 5 to 10 million stone blocks, more than all the pyramids of Egypt combined. And I consider it the most impressive place, along with the Amazon rainforest, I have ever been. Those of you who read my emails know that the Angkor complexes are one of my two favorite places in the world. This is my third visit here, having been here twice before with Sheri. And on our first visit, Mike and his son Matt, who are on this trip with me, were also here. This visit is about renewing friendships, meeting the husband and children of our friend Roath, and less about sightseeing. From their website: Angkor Wat is the most famous ... read more
A strangler fig on Ta Prohm
Me at Ta Prohm
A classic Angkor Wat photo

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor February 5th 2018

Leisurely day today, no deadlines. We wake early but linger in our room, going down to breakfast at 0900 for our eagerly anticipated Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florantine. Never happened. After around 20 minutes and a whole pot of tea later, the waitress eventually came to our table to explain, "Sorry they are finished" presuming it must be due to a lack of ingredients, we say OK, just Poached eggs. 20 minutes go by, other guests arrive, order and are served. We have kept our patience splendidly and are rewarded with honesty. The waitress explains, "Sorry Sir and Madam, nbr 2 Chef try, cannot poach Eggs" suggests we try something else. Hiding our mirth, we say scrambled with bacon would be fine. Finally it arrives and it is very nice ,supplemented with the Buffet additions that ... read more
Any fishing nearby?
Hard work, but beautiful landscape
Watermill

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor February 4th 2018

Wake up this morning quite excited. Breakfasted around 8am, the best we have experienced during our Cambodia travels so far. Eggs Benedict, delicious. By 9amwe are Tuk Tukking along and looking forward to our Big temple tour, today's driver having very passable English. Battling through the hectic Sunday Morning Market and all of it's madness, we soon find ourselves on quiet rural roads and sit back and enjoy observing local village life, complete with happy children, lazy dogs, even lazier cattle, roadside stalls selling silk scarves, coconut juice, palm sugar in jars and exquisite basket ware. First stop this morning is after roughly 40 km drive, taking one hour, through very flat but rural landscape to Banteay Srei. This temple is famous for its pink sandstone engrav... read more
Srah Srang Lake en route
Carvings in pink sandstone
Leo forgets to breathe in for this photo 😁

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor February 3rd 2018

Today is the first of our two dedicated Temple Days - otherwise why come to Siem Reap? We booked the short trip to Angkor Wat with our hotel by Tuk Tuk, half day USD20 excluding the passes at USD37 for one day, Or USD63pp for three days. As the temple possibilities are huge, we agree to get a three day pass. The media universally recommended the Sunrise tour, involving an 04.45am departure by Tuk-Tuk. We reluctantly agree, although Leo has deep reservations. We set the alarm and present ourselves at the front desk at 04.35am. There is a young desk clerk who asks our room no which we give , he supplies us with our pre-ordered stirofoam packed breakfast. All the other guests leave by their designated Tuk Tuk's, but not a driver for Room 101. ... read more
Camera twitchy, awaiting Sunrise
Leo's here!
Paula is here too!

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor February 2nd 2018

Paula is a little under the weather this morning, and our room safe conspires to frustrate us by running out of power. By the time this is resolved we are too late for our planned trip and decide to defer things until tomorrow and as the Sun is still shining that's not too bad an option. We claim prime positions around the pool and enjoy a leisurely morning . A guest from Ireland gets permission from the hotel to strum a guitar and entertain us, he has a lilting melodious voice and good guitar skills. It is 2 pm before we realise the day is moving on. After a snack brunch and a swim in the gorgeous pool, we change, refresh and take a leisurely walk along the river and arrive at the center of the ... read more
Leo's Sefie
Paula enjoying sunshine




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