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Sunday, 11 November 2007

Siam Reap Xplored !!!!


With Air Asia around, it has brought many Malaysians the opportunity to explore and visit many new places. Never in mylife, I ever thought that one day I would visit 3rd world countries like Cambodia . Having been to many countries before , this trip really has been an eye opener for me, realizing that how lucky we are being Malaysian with access to clean water , sanitation and electricity any time. Basically it looks like outskirts of Haadyai, dusty, dry but luckily the weather is nice, hovering at about 28c.

Thanks to my buddy Mike , for letting me to tag along for this trip together with his 2 travelling companions Angela and Angeline . Hey you guys/gals really have been great travelling mates. Many more trips to come together !!!! Laos next ? or Africa ????



The 4 crazy travellers !!!


Me, Mike , Angela and Angeline ( in grey )

Touches down at Siam Reap airport at 8am local time and was greeted by a nice cool weather.However out great start was spoilt by the hotel representatives never shown up to pick us from the airport. We resort to taking a taxi to our hotel which cost us USD5. The worst has yet to come....... What worst than being in a foreign land and find that you don't have a place to stay for the night ???

We booked into Earthwalker hotel, which happily accepted our booking and collected out money ( paid by credit card ) , knowing that its under renovation and cant do business , which means that we dont have a place to stay !!! Finally our local tour guide , Mr Panya Ou from Amazing Angkor , managed to sort it out for us and moved us to a more expensive hotel , on Earthwalkers account. We paid USD17/night only to get to stay in a USD30/night hotel !!! Our new place, Mekong Angkor Palace is highly recommended with clean air-conditioned rooms, hot shower, swimming pool and best of all its just minutes away from Central Market and pub-street !!

Mekong Angkor Palace , highly recommended.


First day was spend exploring the ruins of the great temples around Angkor area. In order to enter the temples you have to buy a Temple Entry Pass . It cost USD20 for a day , USD40 for 3 days USD60 for a week. Visitors need to carry their pass with them at all times, at you need to show them the pass , each time you enter any temples.

Me and my USD40 mug shot.

What is a trip to Cambodia without visiting the famous Angkor Wat ??? Its like err..eating Nasi Lemak without sambal.... or going to Paris without visiting Eiffel Tower . At last I managed to see one of the seven wonders of the world. Its regarded as the supreme masterpiece of Khmer architecture, it is a huge pyramid temple built by Suryavarman II between 1113 and 1150. It is surrounded by a moat 570 feet wide and about four miles long. The mass of bas-relief carving is of the highest quality and the most beautifully executed in Angkor. Few questions keep on popping up my head when I am there...How did they build it ??? How they carved all the beautiful carvings on the wall ?? How they lift all the heavy blocks of stones up ???



Stairway to heaven. I dare you to climb it.


Trademark Angkor wat reflection on water. Beautiful isnt it ???




Bayon Temple of Angkor Thom

Beautiful sunset at Angkor-Thom. To enjoy this you need to climb this.......





On the 3rd day we covered Bantaei Srei . A delicate and small temple around 15 miles from the village of Siem Reap. It was built by Jayavarman V and finished in AD968. It is an example of the idea of making a temple complex comprised of several buildings, and features some very fine carvings in pink sandstone.



A victim of landmine,begging on the street.

We also covered the Landmine museum on our way to the famous Temple in the forest, Ta Phrom , made famous by Tomb Raider. Its kinda sad, to see the aftermath of the landmines.

Ta Phrom is a very large temple complex enclosed by a moat. It is one of the most beautiful of the Khmer temples as it has not been restored, but has been left surrounded by jungle. It was built by Jayavarman VII in the later 12th century.





Wats up there ???? Mike busy taking photo's.



Our 4th day was spend visiting Tonle-sap, Tonlé Sap (meaning Large Fresh Water River but more commonly translated as Great Lake) is a combined lake and river system of huge importance to Cambodia. It is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is an ecological hotspot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.

Life is really harsh here. You need to visit them to really see the hardship the people faced. Majority of the ones staying here are of Vietnamese descendants . Their life really envelope around this great lake with poor sanitations, poor hygine and hardship, really sinks even the strongest mens heart. After seing this for myself, I really feels that we are lucky to be here in Boleh-land, at least we dont have to worry about safe drinking water, hygine, food etc.


Everything from washing, drinking, cooking, bathing and ahem....toilet is done here.

A family astride their sampan, rowing to our boat selling waters and bananas, trying to earn some tourist green backs.

A group of Taiwanese tourist giving out some old clothes to the children. Seing them rushing for the old shirts really sinks my heart. Here we talk about DKNY's, Armani's, Adidas etc..... the childrens there hardly has anything to wear. My hats off to the Taiwanese for being so thoughtful for doing such a nobel act. Old clothes might not means much to us, but for this poor childrens it really means alot.

Please readers if you are reading this , please spare a thought for this poor kids. Please bring some old toys and clothes for them. All I can do at that time is offer my candies to them.


Hong Kong ha floating restaurant. Tonle sap has its floating church..... and floating hospital .

Volunteers at the floating hospital.

Overview on Siam Reap

Siam reap really reminds me of Thailand, remote Thailand to be exact. Dusty and narrow roads, cars, lorries honking now and then , bicycles and bikers all over ... only difference being that the drivers here are really slow !! Travelling at an average speed of 40kmh..with 30m/h being the speed limit in the city. Reasons being that there are many bicyles, motorcyclists and pedestrians !!! If you ask me to drive here, I sure would fall asleep.

Most of the shops assistants here, speaks decent English and Chinese. USD is the most common currency used here and small change is often in Riels ( 1USD = 4000 Riels ) . Price haggling and nego's are the norm here. Always start with 20% of the quoted price and 30%-35% being a fair deal. From our experience always walk away if the price doesnt reach your expectations as remember that they are after our greenbacks after all...all the shops practically the same things.

The kids at the temples always offer a better deal than in shops, and the deeper you go the cheaper it is. For even better price..always carry some of your earlier buys in your hand, as when they saw you bought something they will offer even better deals. I bought 5 of those beads chains for 1USD, and some kids saw me bought that and they immidietly offer us at 8 for 1USD. This applies if you plan to buy few things.

Dont ever give to the street beggars. Once you give, you would be greeted by swarm of beggars child running towards you. It is understood that child begging are relatively uncommon before tourist arrived in droves , as Khmers will give to the elderly's before giving a child, unfortunately the tourist do the opposite. Results of this, poor parents often send their child to beg while they stay at home getting drunk or gambling away. Why would you work hard for USD30 a month yet struggle to feed and send your son to school, when a child beggar can earn as much as ten times more ???


Also there are instances babies are often used to beg as well, many are pinched and slapped so they cry often on cue and starved, to make them look as pathetic as possible.

Food wise, Khmer dishes is often taste like Thai cooking with Chinese influence. Often you would find stalls selling the same stuff ranging from fried instant noodles to fried rice and simple vegetable dishes. If you want some true Khmer dishes you need to head to some local restaurants. What ever you call, dont miss out Amok . Its really delicious.

We might find it cheap at some fried noodles dishes going for USD 1, but remember we are paying tourist price. Imagine how much the locals are paying ????? Tats really dirt cheap eating here !!




More updates later........

10 comments:

SlowCatchUpKuan said...

the great thing in siem reap is the excellent accomodation and food!

the 2 star hotel that i stayed in the last time when i was there was like 4 star compared to Malaysia's hotel haha

Michael Song said...

more to come baby...

d3v|LaNg3L said...

The culture is slightly alike Vietnam. Really makes me sigh~

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