River of Life ~Sming's

Me and just me.

Monday, August 21, 2006
Revisiting the glory of Khmer Empire in Siem Reap ~14-17 Aug 2006~
I am back. Yay !!!
We made a trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. This is where to famous Angkor Wat is. Angkor Wat has been my target next Wonder of the World after Eiffel Tower. Yay !!!
However, it is not until I planned my trip, I learnt that Angkor Wat is not the only jewel in Siem Reap. There are many more temples that is really beautiful that we seldom heard of.
Angkor Wat is the most famous one because it is the biggest and grandest temple. Also it signifies the peak of glory of the Khmer empire back in those good old days. ( I cannot remember when or who built it. Coz I was only interested in taking photos. Hehehe !! )
Anyway, there are plenty of temples around Siem Reap. May be dozens of them. Don't need to visit all of them and I will just highlight a few.
The Temples
The temples are built as early as in the 8th century. And the later ones are like early 13th century. And each was either built by different kings during their reign. So each king had built their own temples or rebuilt the existing ones. Generally, the temples are mostly made of sandstones of the Apsara dancers and with the influence of the Hindu religion. Apsara dancers are something like heavenly nymphs.... I didn't really listen - short concentration span. Anyway, this is an example of a carving of an Apsara dancer.
Also there are temples that have the influence of Buddhism, mostly after the 10th Century. However, many statues have been defaced or looted. Some are defaced during the war and some because the Hindus rejected the influence of Buddhism.
It's kinda sad to see the ruins of some temples.
But, the Cambodians are very proud and protective of their temples. Most temples are also now labeled as World Heritage by UNESCO. So I believe the temples would be really well preserved and that the next generations would definitely be able to go back to enjoy the splendour of the temples.
This series 'photo frame' design and hall way structure can be found in almost all the architecture. Very interesting...

The colours of the temples can be quite dull. So do wear bright coloured clothing if you all do go there. You would definitely stand out !! ( but avoid orange- else you would be like a monk ).. Hehehe !!

The temples are beautiful places to take photos. May be because I like ruins and old buildings. If I have the $$, I would go there and take my wedding photos. :P

Anyway, I will just share some photos of the temples that I really like and would recommend as MUST-GO.

Angkor Wat

Ini tak payah cakap banyak


Very interesting temple. A 'forest' of 4 faced statues representing the Buddha and also their current king which is really kind and loved by the people of Khmer. My favourite temple!!!

Banteay Srey

Loosely translate as the Citadel of Women. Also said as the most beautiful temple due to it's detailed carvings. Also one of the few temples made of pink sandstone.

Banteay Samre

A quiet temple that is really peaceful and interesting design.

Ta Prohm

Ahh.. This one is made popular by one of the paint advertisement. Was it Nippon or Dulux ? :)

I like it here too. Can take alot of nice photos. We took one with six of us posing witih splash of different bright colours. I should send it to the paint company and thus, we can be the next models in their advertisment. :P

Neak Pean

This is also one special one. This tower has four ponds surrounding it. So from the air, it looks like a red cross design. Ironically, it used to be a hospital too.

This is a spectacular view. I would call it a rainbow cloud. One of the rare masterpiece of Mother Nature. Interesting !! Taken by our guide. We were lucky that we have him. So we took alot of really nice photos. :) Would definitely recommend him to those who want to go to Siem Reap. I can give you his contact. Email me!

The people

The Cambodians are generally sweet, soft spoken and very honest people. They are also very polite and helpful people. I like them. :) Still very pure and untainted.

While I was changing money, at the money exchange, they leave stacks of money on the table top. :O

My first thought was "Hey, isn't that just attracting robbers ??" The guide said, "Nothing to worry about! It is really safe here."

Poor they might be, but they are contented with their simple life.

Another scenario is that when we were walking to pub street, this bunch of tuk-tuk drivers were asking if we need their service. We said no but we asked for directions. And they happily helped us. If it was in Hong Kong, I think they would just huffed a 'I-don't-know' answer and walked away.

Also when we were shopping at Central Market. Soo was bargaining for a bag. I was looking around and the man next stall invited me in to see more designs. Naturally I called out to Soo coz she is interested not me. That man instead of eagerly welcome the potential buyers, he chided me softly not to call out to my friend as it will interrupt the possible 'transaction'. Man ! They have intergrity !!!

This is a photo of a boy in a bucket. Paddling in the great lake of Tonle Sap. Waves can be quite strong so it is kinda scary to us (even that we are swimmers). But they will paddle to the tourists' boats, do some funny antics and thus, beg for money. These boys are very young at age. But they look very old and also with yellowish hair. Too much sun I guess. And with their hard work paddling and carrying things, the young men here have really toned bodies !! Six packs ? No problemo !!!

And this is typical house on the floating village of Tonle Sap. All in one room studio. And it is consider big d..They even have floating schools and churches too

The people drink, bathe and wash clothes from the same water of this lake. So, people, let's count our blessings. We are so much more well-provided here in Malaysia.

I went to Cambodia to see the great Angkor Wat, I came back respecting the simple people of Khmer.

posted by sming @ 3:17 PM  
  • At 11:24 PM, Blogger nyonyapenang said…

    What a wonderful holiday.

  • At 9:07 AM, Blogger AlvinTheSaw said…

    Si beh uh lui.... go holiday again :P

  • At 11:16 AM, Blogger Las montañas said…

    wow, very nice photos! was it very hot and humid there? love to visit indochina soon.

  • At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    nice photos..
    Wanna join the
    National Geographic Channel?
    good documentary write out :)


  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger sming said…

    nyonyapenang, yes it was. :)
    alvinthesaw, free ticker from AA maaa
    Las montanas, thank you. I have more :P. yes, you should go !! it is slightly more humid than malaysia. So not so bad. Now it is wet season. So it did rained but did not stop the show !
    8enji, errr.. thank you...but I think NG is far far away le.. Hehehe...

  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger Patrick said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 4:59 PM, Blogger Patrick said…

    Wow! sming, welcome back and sharing your holiday aventure at Siem Reap :)

  • At 12:21 AM, Blogger mirror said…

    wahhhhh floating village...omg..i wouldn't want to live there. i can't swim. if i ever 'jatuh dalam' aiyoyo...

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