Cambodia

In June 2006 we spent a week in Cambodia. Our first stop was Siem Reap to visit the temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and several others. Siem Reap is a small town in the middle of the jungle and the temples are breathtaking.

   
We arrived at Siem Reap airport in style....
 
 
   
 
  The first night we ate at a small restaurant that had "family entertainment". The cambodian children were the performers. They delighted us with their music and put on a show with shadow puppets.
 


 
Samantha, Kevin and Bruce contemplating Angkor Wat  at sunrise.

   
 

 Angkor Wat is probably the most famous of the temple complexes. Angkor Wat was built in the early 12th century by Suryavarman II to honor the Hindu god Vishnu.

All around the perimeter of this complex is a wall covered with stone bas-reliefs. It is a continuous bas-relief telling stories about wars between peoples, wars between gods and demons, and between people and demons. The total length is about 800m. It is a fabulous sight. Kim our guide was quite knowledgable in this history, which sometimes left the kids yawning.

One interesting aspect of Angkor Wat is the fact that the stairs at the top are incredibly steep. They go up at an angle of about 60 degrees. Going up was not too difficult, but going down was another story.

Banteay Srei


   
The most amazing carvings are in Banteay Srei. Here our local guide, Kim, tells us the history of the temple. He was extremely knowledgeable about the entire history but his determination to tell the whole story (all 300 years) left the kids sometimes yawning.
This temple was built in the late 10th century. Its intricate and detailed carvings, many of them three dimensional, are very well preserved.

The Floating Villages

     
 
The floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake, which is about 100 km long, were very unique. Most of the inhabitants are actually Vietnamese. There were floating pig farms, restaurants, alligator pens and their homes, "houseboats", and even a school. Everything you need ...all the necessities of life.
 
       
   
 
This colorful boat was their school.  They have quite a different school bus.
 
 

Easton Mebon

  

 
    
 
 

 Angkor Thom

 
   
 
       
   
 
 

      
     
During the whole trip I tried to get a photo of the monks. It was like they had eyes in the back of their heads, they seem to run from me.

  
Remember Lara Croft, Tomb Raider? Bruce is standing at the South Gate of Angkor Thom where Lara lands.
 
 

Ta Phrom 

 
   
 
 
This temple was our personal favorite.It was completely overgrown with its stone pillars and carvings intertwined with massive tree roots.
The jungle just took over.
   
 
 
 
 

There was a group of local musicians at the enterance to the temple. All their instruments are handmade.

Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville is a little know beach town on the southwest coast of Cambodia. 

    
 
 
In Sihanoukville, we stayed at the Sohka Beach. We had trouble deciding whether we should hang out at the swim-up bar or the private (and deserted) beach. Brian decided to start a new vacation tradition. The bar made great fresh fruit smoothies and Brian tried to have as many as he could each day. Not to be outdone, Samantha  had countless fresh coconuts. She has become a coconut connoisseur, able to tell the difference between an old or new coconut and whether it will have any  "meat".
 
   
The white sand beach was great, however the surf was a little rough.  
 
 
************************** 

  Brian is sampling a baby squid! He wanted this photo to shock all his friends. 
 
Cambodian cusine is not for the faint of heart. We passed on the grilled rat and the fried beetles, but the sauteed crickets.............. 
 
*********************************************** 

The Chings.com 2006 All rights reserved