A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: rpickett

Siem Reap and Cruising the Mekong

Siem Reap to Krong Kampong Cham

sunny 95 °F

The main order of business today was traveling the 300km from Siem Reap to Krong Kampong Cham to board the AMADara on the Mekong River. The trip took about 5 hours, and we made two potty stops along the way. AMA provided a snack box to tide us over until we had a light lunch upon boarding at about 2:00pm. We traveled through many small villages and dried rice paddies which will come to life when the rains start in the spring. large_DSC_1892.jpglarge_DSC_1886.jpglarge_DSC_1883.jpglarge_DSC_1897.jpglarge_DSC_1899.jpglarge_DSC_1901.jpglarge_DSC_1907.jpglarge_DSC_1903.jpglarge_DSC_1912.jpg

After lunch we had a short break and then headed off for our first Mekong excursion, a visit to Twin Mountains. Phnom Srei and Phnom Pros translate into Man Hill and Women Hill respectively. Long time ago, there was a Queen called “Srey Ayuthia”, who had reign Khmer Kingdom. There was no one asking her to get marriage, because she was as the King. But many years later, she decided to ask for a man in order to marry her. Then all the women in the Kingdom stated to follow their Queen. They started to ask man to marry them, which was contrast to traditional norm that men were the one who ask women to marry. However, it was unfortunate for the ugly women as they were rejected by all men. (This is from a Cambodian web site - hence the somewhat different English!)


Posted by rpickett 02:53 Archived in Cambodia Tagged to reap siem cham kampong krong Comments (0)

Siem Reap and Cruising the Mekong

Angkor Archaeological Park - Angkor Wat

sunny 85 °F

We saved the best for last, and made the visit to Angkor Wat this morning and an amazing complex it is. It is a Hindu temple complex and is the largest religious monument in the world, on a site measuring 162.6 hectares Originally constructed as a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu for the Khmer Empire, it was gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. It was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yaśodharapura (present-day Angkor), the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple and eventual mausoleum. Breaking from the Shaiva tradition of previous kings, Angkor Wat was instead dedicated to Vishnu. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.


Posted by rpickett 02:12 Archived in Cambodia Tagged angkor wat Comments (0)

Siem Reap and Cruising the Mekong

Angkor Archaeological Park

sunny 92 °F

After a quiet morning and lunch our group headed out to the Angkor Archaeological Park to start out temple visits. Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surroundings.

The first stop was the Beyon Temple. Bayon is in the heart of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, which was the symbolic center of the Khmer empire. Dedicated to Buddha by King Jayavarman VII, this state temple was originally called “Jayagiri” (which means “Victory Mountain”) but was renamed “Banyan Temple” sometime after the period of French occupancy. The Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment after a long period of meditation beneath a banyan tree. The religious significance of the banyan tree and the many banyan trees growing around the site made it an appropriate name. However, the local Khmer who worked on the restoration of the temple were responsible for its final name change. The workers mispronounced the name as “Bayon” instead of “Banyan” and the name stuck.

After this exploration we headed for Ta Prohm Temple. it was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm is in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors. UNESCO inscribed Ta Prohm on the World Heritage List in 1992. Today, it is one of the most visited complexes in Cambodia’s Angkor region. The conservation and restoration of Ta Prohm is a partnership project of the Archaeological Survey of India and the APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap).


Before dinner tonight we were treated to some traditional Cambodian music and dancing. The selections were the Peacock of Pailin Dance, The Fisher's Dance, The Mekala Dance and the Aspara Dance. The dancers were superb.


Posted by rpickett 01:37 Archived in Cambodia Tagged park angkor archaeological Comments (0)

Siem Reap and cruising the Mekong

Siem Reap

sunny 92 °F

After a much needed good night's sleep, I spent the morning catching up on email and wandering around the great Hôtel Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort taking some pictures of its wonderful surroundings.


Then after lunch and a quick meritorious nap, I headed out on an excursion that I had booked before I left. I was a quick tour of the countryside followed by a cruise on lake Tonle Sap to see its floating villages, and then a buffet dinner on a larger boat from which we watched the sun set. We made stops at a lotus farm along the way, and a crocodile farm in the lake.

As one of the world's most varied and productive ecosystems the region has always been of central importance for Cambodia's food supply. It proved capable of largely maintaining the Angkorean civilization, the largest pre-industrial settlement complex in world history.Directly and indirectly it affects the livelihood of large numbers of a predominantly rural population. Due to ineffective administration and widespread indifference towards environmental issues, the lake and its surrounding ecosystem are coming under increasing pressure from over-exploitation and habitat degradation, fragmentation, and loss. The level of the lake can vary up to 10 meters, which changes the size of the lake considerably. This time of year is the dry season and there can be as little as under 1 meter depth in much of the lake. The lake feeds the Mekong river.


Posted by rpickett 20:48 Archived in Cambodia Tagged reap siem Comments (0)

Siem Reap and Cruising the Mekong

Flying to Cambodia

sunny 90 °F

I left the house at 0830 Tuesday morning for my flight to Dulles and the literally half way around the world journey to Siem Reap Cambodia for the start of our visit to Angkor Wat and 7 night voyage down the Mekong to Ho Chi Min City.

After an hour and 7 minute flight from Charleston, I arrived at Dulles International Airport where I would fly with Qatar Airways and Bangkok Air to Siem Reap. At Dulles, business class folks can use the Turkish Airlines Lounge while waiting for the flight.

The next leg was an 11 hour 45 minute flight to Doha, Qatar. The Qatar business class experience is by far the best business class suite that I have ever traveled on with attentive service and excellent food. By many rating systems, Qatar is the best in the world and the flight attendants are very proud of that fact and go out of there way to keep that reputation. We flew on a pretty new Boeing triple 7. The flight attendant for my section was from the Philippines. The Qatar airport is modern and spacious, and the Business Lounge is something to behold - perhaps holding more than 1500 people.


The next leg was a 5 hour and 40 minute flight to Bangkok on an A350. Not as luxurious as the Triple 7 but again superb service. We arrived in Bangkok at 0330 in the morning and enjoy the Thai sunrise as we waited for the 0800 flight.


The last leg was short 35 minute flight to Siem Reap, arriving at about 0930 in the morning Thursday. My transfer arranged with AMA Waterways was waiting and I was in my room at the Hôtel Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort by about 1100...38 hours after I left my house. I had some lunch, dozed for a while, took a dip in the pool and had a wonderful dinner at the hotel's french restaurant, Mouhot's Dream.


Posted by rpickett 18:39 Archived in Cambodia Tagged to reap siem charleston Comments (0)

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