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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 » South » Phnom Penh August 3rd 2019

We had our do-it-yourself tour of Phnom Penh yesterday, but today is the official, organised tour. We had expected it to be a group of us, however, again, it was just the two of us, along with the guide and driver who took us to Oudong yesterday. First stop was the Royal Palace. After another security barrier that bleeped for everyone and was ignored, we were shown around the main areas. It was stunning and very similar to the temple at Oudong that we visited yesterday, just a lot, lot busier. Unlike other palaces, it’s not a single building, but a site consisting of several, some of which we could go into, some of which we could not. The king lives in a completely separate building, which tourists obviously go no where near. The king was ... read more
Murals
Moped Passengers
Siem Reap

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh August 2nd 2019

In Hanoi it was the bicycle taxis that you needed to keep saying “no” to. In Phenom Penh it’s the tuk tuks. “You want tuk tuk?” “You want one hour city tour?” When I eventually felt up to it, we set-off on our own two hour walking city tour. We walked along the river front, which is clearly the backpackers area, with all the little hostels, travel shops, mini markets and the like. Then past the stunning and huge Royal Palace (which we will be visiting tomorrow as part of our tour) and then back to that area I walked to yesterday near the Independence Monument. Just as we got back to the hotel, down came the rain. A bit of a tangent, but Cambodia seems to use the UK plug sockets. Great - no need ... read more
Oudong View
Guard Monkey
Hill Pagodas

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh August 1st 2019

We were up early as we had a flight to catch, but breakfast opened just in time so we were able to get something to eat before we left. The same guide who took us to the port and back was waiting for us in reception and then we had to face the rush hour Hanoi traffic, not that it was much different to any other time. It had clearly been raining heavily overnight, although we had not heard any thunder. Mind you, the hotel windows are probably well sound-proofed to cut out all the moped horns. The guide told us that no boats were leaving today because of the impending typhoon, so we were very, very lucky. On the way to the airport, we drove along a a substantial part of the Hanoi Ceramic Murals. ... read more
Ceramic Mural
The Long Route
Hotel View

Asia » Cambodia » West » Pailin June 9th 2019

After having spent over a week in Bangkok, Chantaburi and Koh Chang, I decided to leap on the Cambodian side from Pailin. I took a bus to Chantaburi and then asked several times from the bus station staff how to get to Ban Paggard/Pailin border without a tuk-tuk taxi. They all said there are no buses..but I explained I could change the bus...ok then one guy told me where I could jump off and change the bus. Meanwhile I went to eat rice vermicelli soup..but after taking the first mouthful it tasted like spearmint bubblegum..wonder if it was done by mischievous kids or just someone accidentally dropped the gum to the soup. Guess if I ate it or not? Well, my bus started promptly... I arrived to a gas ststion middle of nowhere..I asked where and ... read more

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




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