Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Phnom Penh, A Pocket of Cambodia - TeerSheet

(For Travel& Fotografi Mag, July'13)

Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap, what was once considered the 'Gem' of Indochina, Phnom Penh or the capital city of Cambodia, like other Asian-City tourist destinations, is in the midst of rapid change. Over the past few years the number of restaurants and hotels have grown considerably and in the last year there had been a huge increase in the number of visitors. Whereas Siem Reap might lay claim to being the "cultural capital" of Cambodia, Phnom Penh still has plenty to offer those wanting to enjoy the city during their stay.

You can't truly say you have been to Phnom Penh until you have checked these " must - see " to do list.

1. The Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda, this royal complex is reminiscent of Bangkok's grand palace on a smaller scale.
2. Wat Phnom, the first Pagoda which the city named after this Wat, set on apprroximately 30m high hill.
3. Killing Fields, known in Khmer as Choeung Ek, one of the places where Pol Pot's folowers slaughtered thousands people and burrying them in shallow mass graves.
4. River Cruises
5. Phsar Thmei ( Central Market), the city's most famous local market with an art deco building.

6. The Russian Market, another shopping must-do with plenty of branded goods on sale. Bargaining skill is required :)
7. Amok Fish, or steamed curried fish, is a traditional dish of Cambodian cuisine. It is fish coated in a thick coconut milk with kroeung, either steamed or baked in a cup made from banana leaves
8. Blue Pumpkin, A very famous restaurant in Cambodia which offer offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, pastries, cakes as well as a wide selection of ice cream.
9. Beer, the best beer in the world are made in here. Angkor Beer,
Anchor Beer, Tiger, Carlsberg, Cambodia Beer, Kingdom Beer, Phnom Penh Beer and many other brands. All made fresh in Cambodia, Everyday.

On my first trip to Phnom Penh last August 2012 , I took a bus from Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam with  the main destination is  Siem Reap.. I change my mind on the way back to HCMC and spend one night at Phnom Penh and  promise my self to comeback again someday.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Lost City of Angkor Wat

I arrived Siem Reap  after dark , on last August 2012. I immediately negotiated with the 'tuk tuk " driver for the following day, and quickly made plans for an early morning to pick me up since i only have 8 hours to explore before continued my short - but we may say long- trip, to Phnom Penh and back to Ho Chi Min City on the next day.

Spend the night at spotlessy clean hotel, Siem Reap Garden Inn with friendly, helpfull staff and owner. For $18 a day i hired a tuk tuk also from this hotel, the driver's name is Mr. Chea is a very kind person. I thought that i was the earliest person when he took me out with his tuk tuk at 04.30am but soon I entered the gate i felt that I am a late person since people already gathered here as early for watching the sunrise comes up. We bought one-day pass worth USD20 at the entrance. They took our picture and printed it in the ticket. ok, what do you expected with the picture since you only slept for 2 hours last night?..

Angkor Wat has become a symbol of Cambodia. in Khmer, The Angkor Wat means City of Temples. Angkor Wat was built as a royal temple dedicated to a Hindu deity but after fell to invader, it continued as Buddhist temple. Located over 192 miles to the North-West of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh.

For many years, Angkor Wat was totally isolated from the Western World. Large, thick jungles covers the area, and it is located in the center of Cambodia. The "lost city" of Angkor first attracted the interest of Europeans in the 1800s after Cambodia was colonized by the French.The French colonialists were the first westerners to get exposed to Angkor. They heard rumors from the local population about "temples built by gods or by giants.".

Angkor Wat is actually just one of more than a dozen magnificent temples in the vast metropolis of Angkor, the capital of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th centuries. The 500-acre site is one of the largest religious monuments in the world and represents the architectural pinnacle of the Khmer Empire. Ta Prohm is one of the most photographed temples, deliberately left mostly unrestored, and tangled and strangled by undergrowth. The perennial favourite, at Angkor Thom, is the Bayon temple, the towers of which are etched with enlightened bodhisattva faces and where enchanting bas-reliefs depict ordinary Khmer life rather than Hindu gods.

No words can describe how i feel after i visit Angkor Wat. On the way back to Phnom Penh, i remembered when i was on Junior High School , read about Angkor Wat on the National Geographic Magazine amazingly and I couldn't believe that i just visit there. I'm not sure how these "lost cities" could ever really be lost. This is really the Secret of  World , either for me and the places as well.

(Published at Sriwijaya InFlight Magazine)