A Travellerspoint blog

Day 2 ....more temples!

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February 25
I met Kol Chhen in the lobby at 9 am to continue the temple tour.

Preah Khan was built in the 12th Century and was dedicated to the King's father. Preah Khan means "holy sword".
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Ta Som temple
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The tree growing out form the West gate is called "Sponk". It's the same tree that grows out of Ta Prom (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
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East Mebon
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We drove through the country side, stopped at the Banteay Sprey.

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Saw how they made Sugar Palm

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Some things made out of Palm tree wood

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Banteay Sprey Butterfly Centre
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Stick bug

I went back to the hotel for a break. Kol Chhen picked me up at 5 pm to go see the sunset at Pre Rub temple where I found myself sitting with about 400 of my closest friends watching the Cambodian sun go down.

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I have been in awe of this beautiful country, it amazes me how much history and knowledge they have on their ancestors. Tomorrow I leave Siem Reap for Luang Prabang, Laos.

Posted by Samchow58 16:00 Archived in Cambodia Comments (0)

Raiders of the Lost Ark! - Angkor Wat in Siem Reap

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February 24
Heres a disclaimer.....I saw so many temples and walked many many kilometres. I will label the temples I can remember.
I met Mr. Kol, my guide, in the lobby at 5 am. With my hotel packed breakfast in my backpack, we headed out to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise.
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Mr. Kol explained that Angkor means "city". In order to reach the temple, we walked nearly a quarter of a mile along a causeway. it is believed that as you walk towards the temple you are walking towards heaven. The moat along the causeway was dug by hand and took 40 years to complete. Mr. Kol and I did not enter from the main entrance, we used the "teacher" entrance because the main entrance is used for royality.
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Ta Prom - where Raiders of the Lost Ark was filmed
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Angkor Thom/Bayon)
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Ta Keo and Ta Nei are the other two I visited...
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Today I faced my fear of heights again and again and again....wobbly legs, knocking knees, thumping heart.....but it was worth it!
That's it for today. I'm off to see more temples and a sunset tomorrow. Check back tomorrow!

Posted by Samchow58 04:04 Archived in Cambodia Comments (2)

Walking tour around Phnom Penh

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Cambodian sunset.... from the roof of the hotel tonight.

February 22
I ventured out around 8:30 am on foot to Central Market. It was a long, long walk....an hour in the heat! There were many offers from passing tuk tuks and motorbikes, but I declined them all.
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The Central Market is a large building constructed in 1937 in the shape of a dome with four arms branching out into long hallways with countless stalls of goods. Initial design and layouts are from French architects. When it first opened in 1937, it was said to be the biggest market in Asia and still is. The entrance to the market is lined with souvenir merchants selling everything from T-shirts and groceries to a great place for a meal. The inside (dome) houses a dazzling display of jewels and gold. Electronic goods, stationery, secondhand clothes and flowers are also sold.
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I watched a jeweller make a mold out of wax. He explained that the mold is dipped in silver/gold to make the ring.
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From there I walked to Tonle Sap Lake. Five provinces circles the area of Tonle Sap Lake, 90% of the people earn their living by catching fish and farming. More than three million people live around the bank of the lake.

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From there I passed the The Independence Monument. It was built in 1958 for Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. It is in the form of a lotus-shaped stupa, of the style seen at the great Khmer temple at Angkor Wat and other Khmer historical sites.

During national celebrations, The Independence Monument is the center of activity. A ceremonial flame on the interior pedestal is often lit by a royal or high official on these occasions, and floral tributes line the stairs.
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A few things I saw along the way....
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Graduation day

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The wires attached to the power lines.... yikes!

I made it back to my hotel very tired, sweaty and hot. Found 2Hands Professional Blimd Massage for only $6. It was amazing and I felt like Gumby by the time I left.

Showered and feeling like a million bucks, I went to dinner. Walking back to the hotel, I meet a man who had a 3 week old Fish Owl as a pet.
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February 23
Today, I fly to Siem Reap. So I spent the morning relaxing and getting packed. Headed to the airport in the world's slowest tuk tuk. Everyone and everything was passing us! The flight was only 45 minutes and uneventful. Checked in to the hotel and headed out for dinner.

I walked to an area called Pub Street. The area is very similar to Koa San Road in Bangkok. Flashing lights and colourful people are all over as night fell.
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Mango passion fruit ice cream Siem Reap's version of Stonecold

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Khmer Red Curry....spicy

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Burger King?? Yes, even in Cambodia
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2 kg mangos for only $2! I'm in heaven!!!

The next two days are going to be very busy as I have booked a private tour to Angkor Wat. Stay tuned!

Posted by Samchow58 23:54 Archived in Cambodia Comments (3)

....and I'm off!

sunny 36 °C
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Your text to link here...http://<div id='travellerspoint-map726731_992615'><InvalidTag (< ERROR: the link title is too long!)February 17
Trying very hard to pack light! I was able to pack my clothes into on medium packing cube....pretty proud of that! My clothes weighed only 4 kilograms. 8E1D90A89699FC7F536950579BFECD99.jpg.

Total weight of my backpack is 12 kilograms.

February 18 - 20
I was lucky to have a friend offer me a ride to the airport. However, I had to go via Victoria to see the Victoria Boat Show. The Vancouver to Hong Kong leg of the trip was 50 minutes late but went smoothly. Cathay Pacific airlines is awesome...lots of leg room, great food, and the movies are awesome.

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Sunrise

Leaving late meant that it was a mad dash for my connecting flight to Phnom Phen. We had to take a train and a bus to another terminal. Thank God they held the plane for three of us!

Arrived in Phnom Phen to 35 celsius. Stood in line to get my visa, it was a realitively painless ordeal. Met my hotel transfer and we braved the traffic. Like Vietnam, traffic here is hurendous! Scooter pushing their way in, vehicles driving making their own lane.

After 20 plus hours of travelling, I finally got to my hotel. Headed off to explore after I showered. The Russian market is a popular covered market that earned its nickname in the 1980's, when wives and daughters of Russian diplomats would shop there. This market has everything....from underwear to motorbike engines and parts. I had an early dinner. It was delish and only cost me $1.50 US.

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After dinner, I headed back to my room and slid into bed. For those who don't know me well, this is unusual because I am night owl! I was exhausted!!!

February 21
After a great rest, I headed down to breakfast. Found a tuk tuk that would give me a tour of the city for $25.

First stop was Wat Phnom. The legend states a wealthy woman named Penh found four statues of the Buddha hidden in a tree floating down the river. She built the hill and commissioned the sanctuary to house them Phnom Penh means "Hill of Penh".
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I then headed over to the National Museum. It houses relics that have survived war and genocide. IMG_6528.jpg

A Palm-shaped central courtyard with lotus ponds houses the museum's showpiece: a sandstone statue of the Hindu god Yama, the Leper King, housed in a pavilion.
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Look closely, the body of the elephant is the tree.

Next stop was the Royal Palace. It's a walled complex and it covers several blocks.

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Within the Royal Palace grounds, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha is located. The temple is referred as the Silver Pagoda because of the 5,329 silver tiles that makes up the floor in the may the main temple hall.

From there I stopped at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, also known as S-21. The Museum is a horrific reminder of the what humans are capable of. It was once a neighbourhood school until the building was seized by the Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge and turned into a prison and interrogation centre.
The prison has been left as they were when the Khmer Rouge left it in January 1979.

The last stop was the Killing Fields. In the mid to late 1970s thousands of Khmer Rouge prisoner who had been tortured at the Tuol Sleng prison were taken to the Choeung Ek extermination camp (Killing Fields) for execution. A monumental glass stupa was built in 1989 and is filled with 8,000 skulls which were exhumed from mass graves nearby.

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A mass grave
Bones, clothes, and teeth still occasionally appear in the mass graves. It is an extremely disturbing sight and I walked away from the last two places with a very heavy heart.

Posted by Samchow58 01:39 Archived in Cambodia Comments (8)

Keep calm and travel on......

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The snow has been falling all week......and I'm ready to leave!

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Flights are booked and so are the hotels! I have lots to do with less than 2 weeks before I fly out. As usual, I'm nervous and apprehensive about travelling alone, but I know that once I get going I'll be fine!

My 6 week adventure is going to take me to Cambodia, Laos, back to Thailand (exploring the south end), and Indonesia.

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world" – Gustave Flaubert

Posted by Samchow58 14:21 Archived in Canada Comments (3)

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