Blogs from Cambodia, Asia - page 5

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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 12th 2019

This week I had the privilege of seeing the Phare show. They call it a circus (which I could not attend due to animal love and standards), but what it is is the most incredible acrobatically, musically entertaining displays EVER! The show they did was called Same Same But Differentwhich "explores the different habits and ways of living between Cambodians and foreign visitors." I laughed so hard and had my jaw drop at the strength, athleticism and poise of these individuals. This company is actually pretty amazing outside of their stunts and music compositions. They tell Cambodian stories and all artists (musicians, circus artists, and dancers) all graduated from Phare Ponleu Selpak which is an NGO school and professional arts training center located in Cambodia. The school was founded in 1994 by nine Cambodian men returning ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 11th 2019

Tonight one of the local cafes did a showing of the documentary of Don't Think I've Forgotten. I knew nothing about Cambodia prior to arriving. In fact, the volunteer coordinators got a good chuckle from Shelby and I recounting how 1 week before wanting to start we contacted them to set it up. Typically, they set things up 6 - 10 weeks in advance for people. They asked if we wanted to do anything besides the temples. We asked "What temples?" and their jaw dropped..."You really don't know ANYTHING and really fly by the seat of your pants!!!" So seeing this movie was a must because how can I remember something I don't know. The highlight of the cafe was two full walls of book exchange potential. The documentary was a flashback to high school American ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 10th 2019

The best analogy I have is Siem Reap is like Disneyland. Millions flock into Disneyland every year and leave California without seeing much beyond their hotel, the streets to the park and Disneyland. If they said, "I know California because I went to Disneyland," I would laugh. Siem Reap is a tourist bubble within Cambodia. Every year about 2 million people visit Siem Reap because it is the closest city to Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is the world's largest religious monument and since it was built over 800 years ago, it is kind of a big deal. The large flux of people, has resulted in the creation of hundreds of resorts, hotels and guesthouses which are largely owned by foreign investors. There is also not a lot to do in the surrounding area outside of the ... read more

Asia » Cambodia January 9th 2019

Now that I have seen what is done with the filters once they are completed, today was learning how to prepare them. Trailblazers has 4 concrete filter molds. Everyday they remove the 4 filters set from the previous day, clean, oil and reassemble the mold and pour new concrete into them. Our job today was first sifting the small pebbles (the middle layer of the bio-sand filter). This layer is responsible for preventing the sand from getting to the gravel layer and plugging the copper tube which brings the water out the spiket. When the wheelbarrow is filled of small pebbles, we take it to the washing station where it is washed and cycled in the wheelbarrow until the water is no longer murky. After I fill a washbin and grab another strainer (this time it ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap January 8th 2019

Our bags were left behind in Bangkok, but do to a tremendous speed walking effort we managed to catch our plane. The lack of clothes and hygiene items made getting ready this morning even easier. When we arrived at Trailblazers, they were loading up the truck to make filter deliveries and told us that we should get in. Childhood memories of driving back from the lake in the back of my dad’s truck hit periodically throughout the day as my spot was on a filter in the truck bed. As we left the edge of Siem Reap, we stopped for coffee. $1 for 20 ounces of iced coffee served in a plastic bag was a solid investment. Today was a different type of city tour as we entered the villages. When we entered the delivery village, ... 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 » Central » Kampong Thom January 3rd 2019

The reason for staying in Kampong Thom was to see the nearby temple complexes of Sambor Prei Kuk. These temples were built between the 6th and 10th century AD and are all tributes to the Hindu God Shiva or his consorts. They pre-date Angkor Wat and were recommended by the Lonely Planet as being more jungly and thus more like Angkor Wat used to be like before it was cleared. It recently became a World Heritage Site (2017). The temples are around 25km from town. You can get tuk tuks or a moto there but this works out quite expensive ($30 return for tuk tuk). We chose to rent a scooter for the day. Our hotel rents them out for $10 a day, and there’s somewhere else in town. These bikes are less well looked after ... read more
Temple outside the 3 main groups
Group N - view through forest to central temple
Wall around group S

Asia » Cambodia » Central » Kampong Thom January 2nd 2019

Today we headed to Kampong Thom, a small town which is used as a base to visit the nearby Sambor Prei Kuk temples (recently made a world heritage site). Our bus wasn’t until 1230 so we got to enjoy another leisurely morning first. After breakfast we packed, I went for a swim in the rain, we read a bit and then checked out. For some strange reason you cannot buy a bus ticket to Kampong Thom. Instead you buy it to Siem Reap and ask to be dropped off early. We struggled to find out where the drop off point is but it’s opposite the Arunus Hotel in the centre of the town for all the bus companies. We travelled with Giant Ibis again, finding them professional, safe and comfortable, albeit more expensive than the alternatives. ... read more
Interesting fellow road users




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