Tag Archives: Angkor Wat

Beyond Angkor Wat the Floating Village

Standard

After we visted the temples of Angkor Wat our Tuk Tuk driver Roeun asked us if we would like to visit a floating village whose name escapes me at the moment, so we thought it would be a nice way to spend our last afternoon in Siem Reap, but as it turned out it was not to be, I shall explain, after a fairly long journey, well it certainly felt that way in a Tuk Tuk, we arrived at the Tonle Sap lake. We were directed to the ticket desk to purchase our tickets there were no prices on display we were just told it would be $20 each, for our own boat, I said we did not really require our own boat, and would be happy to get in the larger boat, he then told us that these boats were for tour groups and as there were a lot of coaches in the car park we went along with it, we got on the boat which was a pretty beat up affair and proceed to the floating village along a river what can only be described as liquid mud, we were treated to an English commentary of sorts which we could not really understand, I must tell you about one part of the commentary that did make us laugh was our guides pronunciation of floating village “Ploating Willage” which brought a smile to our faces every time he said it. Now the village itself is spread over a large area and many of the inhabitants are born there and die there quite remarkable really. It transpires that most of the villages of this type we born by people escaping Pol Pot’s evil regime. They have a floating school, hospital, petrol station, shops in fact every thing you would expect on dry land, all very interesting, but for me this is where the trip went sour, we were taken to a what can only be described as a floating warehouse where we were given a talk about how the local children need support for there education and one of the ways you can help to do this is to supply them with food, we were then almost pressured into buying a bag of rice $65 for a large bag or $45 or 12 small bottles of water for $5, now bare in mind we were buying bottles of the same water for the english equivelent of 8 pence or 12 cents in the shops the mark up was extortionate. Anyway getting back to hard sell, the talk was about the importance of educating the children and how many were orphaned in a Tsunami and the play was to tug on your heart strings, and to feel sorry for the children, we then was told that if we purchased some items we will then be able to deliver it to the local school, so we bought a small bag of rice and some water and set of to the school. We got off our boat and was shown into the classroom, we were presented by a lovely classroom full of smiling faces and our rice a water was presented to the class, this part of the trip was very nice indeed, but quite how the children felt by the no doubt constant interruptions in there education I will never know. We the told our next stop would be a crocodile farm, which we declined, as quite why some countries think westerners like this sort of thing is beyond me, “I suppose each to their own” and we were probably only being taken there to buy some crocodile skinned goods anyway. So it was back to the dock and our faithful Tuk Tuk driver. On the journey back along the river to the dock we all had time to reflect on our visit and I think we all agreed that if every tour boat which visited the village over the course of the week which is possibly in there hundreds bought a bag of rice or water there would be enough food to supply the whole floating village itself not just the school, also we all agreed that what on relection was a interesting visit was marred by the fact that the tourists who come here are in affect ripped off. For me I would have happily have bought the water and rice to help the entire village not just the school but would have preffered it if paid what the locals would have paid for the goods, oh well you live and learn so they say.
I must now mention our brilliant Tuk Tuk driver that we had for the duration of our stay in Siem Reap, Roeun Chamreon, he was a wonderful man, very helpful, spoke very good english, and if you are ever in Siem Reap give him a call tel: 012 920659, a top top man, and if you are wondering what is the cost of his service, it was $20 per day.
One last thing, I must apologise for the lack of photo’s on my blog, you see being a very keen photographer most of the images of our trip I have been taken with my digital camera, but I will post no doubt 100’s on my return on my flickr page
Next stop Phnom Penh.

Angkor Wat and Siem Reap

Standard

We arrived in Siem Reap mid aftrnoon. It’s about a three hour taxi journey from the border town of Poipet. We were dropped off as promise at our hotel the la Tradition D’Angkor, and what a place it was. We were warmly greeted on arrival and shown to our room. After settling in it was unanimously decided thet we needed a cold beer (I know, yes another drink) so we settled down by the pool. After a few drinks, and as it turned out very expensive ones at that, we thought that as we were only here for three nights we should hit the town, so we arranged a Tuk Tuk and headed off. Now it must have been our luck which we always seems to get when travelling our Tuk Tuk driver was very nice chap indeed, so we seized the opportunity to ask him if he would pick us up in the morning and take us to the temples, not only did he agree he sorted out an itinerary for us as well, excellent so our trip to Angkor Wat was arranged. We were dropped of in the aptley named bar street which along with many bars also had lots of nice restaurants. We decided to eat at Khmer kitchen which was highly recommended in the guide books. So we settled down had a lovely meal and a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Angkor Wat. Our Tuk Tuk driver duly turned up as arranged and drove us to the temple complex. Our first stop was Angkor Thom, this particular complex covers an area of some 10 sq km. A truly magnificent site, the main temple in Angkor Thom was also the film location for the movie Tomb Raider. Next it was onto Banyon, this temple has a collection of 54 towers which represented the 54 former states of Cambodia, now their are only 24, and each tower has four faces 216 in total. The huge heads glare down on you from above exuding power and control. The remainder of the day was spent visiting the many other temples on the complex. One of these temples Ta Prohm which in fact turned out to be my favourite. Now althought most of the structure is in ruins the most impressive part is that their are many trees which have grown around, up, and through the temple itself, and there root structure has intertwined with a large part of the temple, some of the trees even look like they are wrapping there roots around the various parts to protect it, just an amazing sight. It was just like walking onto the set of an Indiana Jones movie.
Day 2
It was up at 4am, “I know your thinking I thought they were supposed to be on holiday” but after reading all the info and guide books on the temple complex, the must see was the sunrise over the temple of Angkor Wat. We arrived at the temple and made our way along the long road up to the temple gates, and waited along with many others for the sun to rise. At about 5:30am it arrived, but unfortunatly it was a very hazy morning so the sunrise was not as spectacular as we would have liked, but nevertheless I still managed to get some good photo’s, also its one for my travel cv “I have seen the sunrise over Angkor Wat”. Once the sun had risen it was off to explore the temple itself, it is quite remarkable how well preserved it is after standing for more than a 1000 years. A truly spectaular and exhausting way to spend 2 day’s. One last thing I urge anyone who is interested to take the time to read about the temples of Angkor Wat its facinating reading.
image

image

image

image

image