Monday, January 17, 2011

Hello Cambodia!!

Our agenda started by dropping off our kids at my parents and headed to a friends house in Klang. Slept around 1am? and woke up at 4am to get ready. By 5am, our transport came and we headed out to pick the rest of our lil group in the same neighbourhood and headed to the airport.

Checked-in our baggage, grab a quick breakie at McDonald's and headed towards the boarding gate. Yep! aren't we all ready!!

Ooh did I mentioned this is the very first time we are going abroad as a group? It's very different when you have gatherings locally vs travelling abroad. Planning a gathering locally is already not easy, what more a trip abroad? The 7 of us will be ending the year and starting the New Year together! (ppsstt.... without kids!) LOL!!

AK280 at the back, 0750 hours local time (0850 MY time)


It was cool and sunny when we arrived. Beautiful clear blue sky....

Here we are at one of Cambodia's provience - Siem Reap, a World Heritage Site known for it's many beautiful temples.

Our group made it thru the cust*ms except for one friend of ours that was asked to pay "tip". What a start! Didnt know that Siem Reap cust*ms expected tips!!

We had made arrangements earlier for an airport pick-up service. Spotted the guy and we were transported to our hotel - Steung Siem Reap Hotel. This hotel is divided into 2 blocks right opposite each other across the street, one is the old wing the other the new wing. Location : it's smacked right in town, easy access to the famous Pub Streets, Old Market and Night Markets.

Surprisingly the hotel room is nice and the bed is comfy. A must since during the day we walked a lot, really a lot!!

Upon check-in, we spent sometime discussing and negotiating tour rates with our guide. Finally we settled upon 2.5 days tour for USD115 per pax. We only had time to visit the washroom to freshen up as our tour starts immediately!!

Left our luggages with the conceirge and away we go! The tour starts!!

First stop - Silk Farm

Top row: baby worms feasting on mulberry leaves, grown bigger (note the color change), raw silk wrapped around the worm cocoon

Bottom row : cocoons boiled and raw silk extracted (see the fine threads?), tie and knot method (where you get the beautiful designs), weaving method

Here, we were introduced to the tedious steps of silk making. We met mating moths, baby worm to adults worm and were even given the chance to take home dead worms in their silk cocoons!!

After about an hour or so at Silk Farm, we proceeded to the Killing Field.

Second stop - Killing Field

It used to be a monastery where during Polpot's reign, it became a massacre field. Young armies were brain washed to kill even their own parents! Now, a memorial stupa is built and in it are the skulls and bones of those killed in this field and surrounding areas.

Third stop - Artisans Angkor

House and training school of Angkor's craft. Here, you are introduced to the many types of craftmanship. Skilled artisan were seen working diligently on pieces of wood, stone etc.. They are also sent to helped in restoring Angkor's site.

Fourth stop - Tonle Sap

Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. This amazing and unique river system is quite unusual. One, its flow changes direction twice a year and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the season.

From November to May, Cambodia's dry season Tonle Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. During raining seasons in June, Tonle Sap transforms into an enormous lake! [wikipedia] The lake rises and progressively floods the surrounding forests and rice fields.

Another peculiar habit to note is that people who lives at Tonle Sap lives according to the rising and falling of water levels. They have simple shack that is movable and most of those spotted at the lake is basically built upon boats. Talk about durability and convenience!

Top row : the vast lake which is easily mistaken for sea, view of the houses, goverment building, etc.. on Tonle Sap
Bottom row : simple shacks along the causeways and stilts houses

Spotted naked kids, mostly boys :) I was flabbergastered when I saw how the kids travel from one spot to another. They basically sat inside one big basin and row their way here and there! We are talking about the normal basin you use at home for your laundry maybe?

Can you spot the boy with a slittery friend on his neck? (right pic)

Cambodian residence on Tonle Sap on their everyday tasks

Nicely decorated "water house". Can you see drums at the bottom? The house is floating and is readily movable. They even rear oink oink and quack quack on water!!!

We ended our tour of Tonle Sap by cooling and refreshing ourselves with fresh coconut at one of the floating shops.

Headed back to our hotel to check out our rooms. Rested a bit before heading out to the streets to check out Amok Restaurant recommended by our guide. Food not bad at all and we tried their specialty Amok Fish and Amok Pork.

Amok Restaurant, starter - cold pumpkin soup on the house, Amok Pork

green curry pork, Amok discovery set (fried spring rolls, Amok Fish, beef skewers, salad, seafood tomyam, cant remember what else..), seafood tomyam, fried rice

After fulfilling our tummies, we walk about Pub Street, Old Market and Night Markets taking in the sights and sounds of Siem Reap's night life before calling it a day!

Ooh, another note : Siem Reap people drives rather slow. I meant real slow at 40km!

Next up, another early start of the day ~ Sunrise at Angkor Wat!

2 comments: said...

what a lovely holiday! i think i stayed in the same hotel as you.. very near the pub street right? walking distance to the market to buy souvenirs & stuff... and the tour abt USD110 per pax is just abt the same as what we got 4 yrs ago. not bad... :-)i love siem reap!

life-muses said...

yeah, should be the same :) easy access!

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