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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap August 6th 2019

I had arranged to meet the tuk tuk driver at 4.45am and he was there waiting despite the fact that I was a few minutes early. We headed to Angkor Wat and it soon became apparent that so was half of Siem Reap. Loads of mopeds, tuk tuks and even some coaches were all converging and by the time I got there, a crowd had already gathered waiting for it to open at 5.00am. My tuk tuk was frustratingly slow as we were being overtaken by quite a few others. It had also started to rain, so I was not optimistic about the sunrise. The tuk tuk driver kindly lent me an umbrella. When it did open we all had to funnel through to get our passes checked. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, ... read more
Sunrise Crowds
Preah Promreath Pagoda
Baphuon Temple

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap August 5th 2019

Today, we’re going to Ta Prohm, which is another Bayon temple dating from the 12th century. This one has been extensively damaged to the extent that plants and trees are growing all over it. This actually makes it really atmospheric and very different from the others that we have seen. It was apparently used for the filming of the Tomb Raider movie. We left quite early before it got too busy, but even then there were still a lot of people. It helps if you get there before the Chinese (or “Chinies” as it seems to be pronounced by the Cambodians). Apparently, it was built by the king in honour of his mother. There is one honouring his father, but that was a lot smaller and there is nothing to see there now. Well, we know ... read more
Pre Rup
Banteay Srei
Monkeys

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap August 4th 2019

The guide and driver who picked us up from the airport yesterday, picked us up again today for our tour of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom. First stop was Angkor Wat and that certainly didn’t disappoint. Mind you, we went in the ‘back’ (east) entrance and my wife was a lot more interested in all the monkeys than in what is the largest religious building in the world. One of the monkeys was carrying a little baby though. Angkor Wat is about 800 years old and took 40 years to build from a mix of volcanic rock and sandstone. It was originally a Hindu temple, but later became Buddhist. The size is impressive, but what is more impressive is the detail. There are carvings all the way around it with three layers, giving various depictions of ... read more
Baby Monkey
Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom Carvings

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap May 28th 2019

After the whirlwind of temple visits, I had a couple days to enjoy life in Cambodia before heading home. We took a ride out on Tonle Sap Lake - which is apparently a big draw for tourists, but it is the dry season and it's a bit low and muddy. It was a nice trip out to visit a floating restaurant and see the gators. We saw the floating villages - houses on stilts, water buffalo and fisherman netting fish in the wake of other boats. Additionally, we stopped at a site where those who were killed by the Khmer Rouge are memorialized (you'll see the building with the skulls, and the buddha). The genocidal devastation brought about by the Khmer Rouge in the late 70s is truly horrific and should not be forgotten. Neither should ... read more
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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap May 26th 2019

I'm in Cambodia and it is much different than Vietnam - they might share a border, but they are very different as far as I can tell. The language is one of the first major things you notice - in Vietnam they use the Latin alphabet and apparently words are phonetic once you learn the different tones and symbols, but the Cambodia alphabet is a series of letters that I cannot even begin to understand. My first stop (after a whoops at the customs desk) was to Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples of Angkor Thom (tomb-raider!), Bayon and Ta Prohm. The sites were fairly close to each other and the construction was fascinating. The heat was oppressive though, so we paced ourselves, and were able to see all of them in a very good day. ... read more
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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap April 11th 2019

We arrived at Siem Reap in the evening. I went to my host (Dee and his girlfriend Thida) and they were waiting for me with dinner. That was a nice way to arrive. After a while I found out that Dee is a chiropractor and that he helped many people with problems that others couldn't. Just by looking at your movements or at body parts like the face or feet he can tell you about the problems you have inside your body. I told him about my scoliosis and that it's so bad that I don't think anyone can help me with it. He told me he could give it a try. We would have to do 3 treatments a day for a week. Anyway I would have to wait for my card to come and ... read more
Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat
Lotus farm

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap March 24th 2019

The wait is over. Here is my very delayed blog post on an amazing time that I had in Siem Reap, December 2018. After two short flights from Vientiane to Paske, with a landing that made me wonder if I would live to see another day, and then from Paske to Siem Reap, I finally arrived in Cambodia for the first time. There is always that fear of how the devil am I going to get to my hostel by myself from the airport in a country I have never been to but as per usual, it all went swell. After living in Vientiane with tuk tuks that have broken down or almost on fire due to pushing too hard, getting a tuk tuk in Siem Reap from the airport was a delightful treat. It looked ... read more
Wat a Sunrise
Meditating in Angkor Wat
The moment it became "just another temple".

Asia » Cambodia » North February 5th 2019

It is a weird thing to say something is the last. So final and clean cut. Today was the last day of volunteering in Siem Reap at Trailblazer, but the experience was exactly what I wanted it to be. Last time I volunteered, I left feeling very burnt by the NGO world, a little hopeless and very doubtful of the continuation of anything. Trailblazer has been the exact opposite. It existed before me and will continue to move forward. We replaced the old man filter of #25 from over 10 years ago with filter number 4226 during my time here. The filters we constructed the first week we got here are now just being delivered. I am but a blip in the progression of its mission. I am very glad that volunteering found its way into ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap February 4th 2019

There are a lot of things I have enjoyed about being in a place for so long where it starts to feel comfortable. One of the most pleasurable things is the drive to volunteering. I have gotten used to the randomness of the driving and people yielding as vehicles venture across at all moments, cars driving the wrong way down traffic, and the wild and crazy of the city and I have just started to notice small things. Every day I see a different shop, the group of men always on the corner smoking and waving their arms as they talk to each other and these traveling green houses (See picture). I wish I was a drawer and then I would carry a sketch book instead of a journal and have no need for a camera. ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap February 3rd 2019

In case you were wondering, I have a certain fondness for animals, particularly dogs. It seems whenever traveling, they tend to gravitate towards me...my friends may say it is the other way around. Regardless there is usually one or two stories about a pack of dogs following us home because I snuck hotdog pieces I couldn’t finish from an unwanted birthday appetizer or getting scolded for going too near the dogs on the street. The reminder that just because I am friendly doesn‘t mean they are friendly. Anywho, Cambodia has not been any different. There are 3 kinds of dogs here: the true stray, the truly owned, and the your mine dog because you hang out here but every day you go on your merry way and may or may not come back or make it ... read more




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