‘Suah se dai’! to Cambodia!!!
(That’s the Cambodian language which means hello!)
It’s been a long time since I had updated my blog, because I had a pretty hard and limited time surfing internet in Cambodia. They charged people for doing that. Now, I’m back and of course, blogging time for this memorable trip with all my classmates and design lecturers!
Day 1 (2nd September 2010)
I had everything ready on my hand early morning before leaving my house for departure to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Not the same case for Daniel, he always left something behind, or I should say, many things…lol, we met our classmates and after checking in, quick breakfast at McD before off for Cambodia by a small plane. It is a less-than-two-hours flight from KL to Siem Reap. Me, Sam and Jin Fong are like went crazy in the plane with all the humourous chats and games.
It’s plain and poor condition down there as seen from the flight. We reached Siem Reap International Airport, an airport designed based on traditional Khmer roof with addition of modernism in it. A very small airport. We checked in a hotel called Lotus Resort and Spa, three to four stars probably. Quite a nice hotel with spacious rooms enhanced with superb housekeeping quality.
The first place we are visiting is Cambodia Cultural Village. We did not actually learnt much things about culture in the village. The cultural village is like a place where everything related to Cambodia is simply placed inside, even including Superman, Tom and Jerry figures (which I don’t see any relation to culture of Cambodian people, don’t tell me they like to see these three the most! Lol) We saw clay-made figurines depicting lifestyle and famous Cambodian people, floating village, houses of different religions, animals (wolf, etc), and the most interesting one, Judgement Tunnel. We in group of 5 went into dark space in a cave passing through horrific path. I can’t really see much, and we are all frightened up by the man acting as the ghost catching us from the back, which freaked us out and we ran like there is no tomorrow. We quickly leaved the tunnel with tremendously-increasing heartbeats…hahaha
Then, it’s the first time we walked around Siem Reap Town, as the night is approaching. Everything in front of our eyes are tuk tuk (famous cab-like vehicle in Cambodia) and electrical wires hanging everywhere in complicated flow. The place is where many tourists came to enjoy meals, shopping and the lovely atmosphere especially at the narrow alley with cafes side by side, designed in different colours and styles. We had our dinner there too, trying on local delicacies like amok, lok lak, curry, etc as well as cocktails! Delicious and not expensive at all!
Day 2 (3rd September 2010)
The whole day dedicated for our assignment, site analysis. The task I’m allocated is on site measurement. Measuring all the visible details that can be seen on the site plan, and that is a lot, benches, pathways, alleys, lamp posts, electrical posts, sculptures, trees, etc. We basically spent the whole day on it. Anyway, there is still some time for visiting at Royal Residence area and a half-hour long tuk-tuk (famous means of transportation in Cambodia) around Siem Reap Town before back to hotel. The tuk tuk driver is so kind, introducing some places for us, and asking directions from others to bring us back safely to the hotel…It’s a long but humourous preliminary presentation of site analysis that night at the hotel lobby…
Day 3 (4th September 2010)
My most anticipated day, because we will be heading to one of the Seven Wonders of Asia, Angkor Wat, which is also the world largest temple complex. It is hot and sunny out there and luckily i had a cap, since the owner abandoned it already, so I took it…haha…It is a long passage to go before entering the area of the temple, passing through the man-made river surrounding the mysthical temple. Too bad the temple is under repair in some areas, which affected our photography.
Everything is of stonework, massive, gigantic, mysterious, sacredness…I can feel that I have been back to the ancient times when the temple is functional. Eventhough the temple is facing the test of time and nature with many ruins on the ground, it still stands out as an astonishing monumental masterpiece of architecture. The climax of the structure is the five towers, representing the five peaks of Mount Meru which was believed to be the center of the world based on Hinduism and Buddhism.
Next, we visited the Ta Pronh, the temple complex where Angelina Jolie filmed her movie ‘ Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’. The temple shows the blend of nature with man-made structures. The spund trees spread out the roots and branches all across the temple, which add uniqueness to the temple located in the forest. It’s the same, stoneworks with ruins…it is the tree trunks here that make it differs from the others.
Next, it’s time to visit the central administrative capital of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple. It is a temple of stonework again, but with many figures of different expressions. This is what makes the large temple interesting. Angkor Thom consists of over 1400 temples, and this is the main one that we are going to visit. It is very interesting to see fragmented stoneworks stacked together to form such monumental and amazing structures.
Day 4 (5th September 2010)
Today is the day for us to head to Tonle Sap, the largest lake in South East Asia. The lake is also the focal point during agrarian-empires period few hundred years back. Muddy and dirty lake, but the most interesting part is the floating villages. Many structures like houses, chapels, schools, shops are located along the river leading up to the lake, floating! Their life are there, no more entertainment than playing with water. We, in two boats, cruising along the river, discovering their daily lifestyles, which can be described as poor, simple, and bored!
The most pitiful part is the children, performing with snake for us so that we can donate them money…’one dollar, one dollar’, it’s the phrase we heard frequently there and actually, we were sick of it! We should not give them money straight, because if this is the case, the poor children will just depends on it to survive without the need of schooling. Instead, we bought books and pencils to be distributed to them for education which is very essential for them. A floating school took up to over 200 orphanages who eat, study, play and sleep at there. Pity…
There is a whole free afternoon for us. Since we have nothing more to do for site analysis, it’s time for a walk around the town to famous temples like Wat Bo which has many great stupas and another large temple nearby the town area. We also able to see a beautiful hotel, La Residence with lovely atmosphere, traditional architecture and the modern spa! Rain almost halted our designated programmes, so we stayed quite long in Kids Plaza to wait for the rain to stop. I can’t find my site yet, since I have no idea yet of what to do for my eco-lodge assignment.
At night, I had my dinner with my Indonesian friends at Red Piano, a famous restaurant for it’s Lara Croft Cocktail, favourited by Angelina Jolie. So I tried it, small quantity, but very tasty! Love it very much! It’s the pleasure of loving a drink favourited by a Hollywood superstar. Having a dinner there is really expensive, targeted on tourists like us! However, it’s really a comfortable atmosphere there! Then, we had quick walk around Pub Street and shopping at night market there before going back to hotel.
Day 5 (6th September 2010)
The last day in Siem Reap. It is a long four to five hours bus ride from Siem Reap to the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. The most annoying part of the ride is the driver who kept horning anything that blocks his way, people, vehicles, and even animals! Very noisy and uncomfortable to the ears! However, the most interesting part of the ride would be the few stops in the middle when we saw edible tortoises, frogs, grasshoppers, small birds, tarantulas, crickets, etc. Disgusting, but I do tried the cricket…yeaackk, not nice….seriously need to have water after that…
Phnom Penh, is somewhat a large capital city, many buildings of shophouses, and with little or almost no highrises. There are many people and many cars, typical in every cities around the world. However, the condition there would be much poorer. The hotel we checked in, called as Holiday Villa which is by Malaysian company is not nice at all. My room has a kind of smell, but not as worst as others, which has patches of dry blood too…yyehh…luckily we only spent one night there before leaving…
KFC for lunch again, haiz…somehow, the taste is little bit different with KFC in Malaysia…but the chilli and tomato sauces are the same…now, it’s time to go to Killing Field, the most horrible place around 30 years ago, when thousand of people who are educated were killed there by Pol Pot, under Khmer Rouge. Almost 9000 skulls were placed in a tower, surrounded by mass graves. Bodies buried in small area, some buried alive, people killed by farming tools like axes, babies killed with heads smashed onto trees, etc…I don’t wish to say anything more…it’s horrible and terrifying…
Time to get back to my normal emotion, we are now heading to Limkokwing University campus at Cambodia, two blocks of apartment-like buildings connected by a skybridge. Very much smaller, but with new facilities and neat environment. It’s not a very good dinner there offered by the management there, but we had fun and exciting time playing there…haha…
At night, we went for walk at the boulevard near the riverside. We entered the beautiful Nagaworld Hotel and Casino, with fountain and lighting shows in front. The interior architecture is awesome! Almost made me cried, because it moved me as I stepped into the building, especially into a section of a casino, designed in Chinese-style with blue sky as the ceiling. Fantastic, the most interesting part is on how they camouflaged the CCTV into the design!
Day 6 (7th September 2010)
Ohh, time flies. It’s the last day of the trip. We still had a chance for shopping time at Russian Market before leaving. It’s almost a two-hours long shopping in the indoor market, which is like a maze of stalls. Anyone might get lost in it. We were enjoying the bargaining moments, cutting off prices as much as possible, and saying out all necessary stuff so that the sellers will reduce prices further! Our brilliant tactics helped us a lot! But it’s really hot and sometimes crowded inside! I bought some souvenirs there! Last purchase of the trip!
Finally, we were at Phnom Penh International Airport, very different with Siem Reap International Airport, since this one is designed based on modernism. No traditional elements are seen. This flight took shorter time, since Phnom Penh is much closer to Kuala Lumpur compared to Siem Reap which is at north of Kingdom of Cambodia.
‘Chum riep leah!’ to Cambodia!!!
(That’s the Cambodian language which means ‘goodbye’)
I had actually taken almost 600 photographs which I have uploaded on my Facebook profile. If you wish to see more interesting pictures of mine, kindly go to: (separated into three albums)
Thank you for reading my long post here! I had spent few hours of writing this!