Archive | Cambodia

Phnom Penh

29 Feb

We explored villages and landscapes near The Choeund Ek Killing Fields on quad bikes.

It was an amazing experience as children would run up to the roads and wave, giving the biggest smiles.

Most of the roads we drove on were dirt roads throughout the villages. I found it a bit scary at one point as we had to drive on the main road, the traffic over here is crazy. Furthermore, it was the first time I have ever driven on a road with big lorries and million of scooters.

Afterwards we went to the Tuol Svay Museum, the S-21 prison; which was a high school that was taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces in 1975, making the class rooms into torture rooms. The Khmer Rouge leaders kept records of their barbarism, by photographing each prisoner, which were displayed there.  It was just awful to see. We also went to the Killing Fields, where most of the 17,000 detainees held at S-21 were executed. There were also many children killed there. We could see bones, teeth and clothing left from the victims. It was just horrifying!

Siem Reap

27 Feb

We arrived in Siem Reap in Cambodia after many hours of travelling. The main reason for us to travel to Siem Reap was because we wanted to see the amazing Temples of Angkor, where there are 72 major temples and remains of several hundred additional minor temple sites that are scattered throughout the landscape and beyond. We did not have time to see all of them, that would have taken days. Instead we rented a tuk tuk for the day which took us around 3 of the main temples. We got up at 5am so that we could see the sunrise over the famous Angkor Wot (picture above), which is the largest religious structure in the world. Seeing the sun-rise over the beautiful temple and the mirror image in the ponds was just incredible.

We jumped into our vintage tuk tuk and headed for another temple; The Bayon, which must be one of the weirdest temples that I have ever seen. There are 54 gothic towers decorated with 216 enormous smiling faces of Avalokiteshvara, who bore a resemblance to the King Jayavarman VII, who stood behind the building of the temple. The freakish huge faces staring down at us as we walked around have been described as a image of power and control from the King himself.

The next temple we visited was Angkor Thom (picture above), which is some 10sq km in size and had a population of perhaps 1 million at the time when London only had a population of 50,000! There are families living in areas around the temples, we saw a man trying to catch some fish in the pond, while his son was watching him. It was an heart-feeling image.

There were giant trees growing on top of temple buildings, and the roots had fully taken over some areas, this really emphasised how old the temples were. I enjoyed seeing the Temples of Angkor and loved Siam Reap.