Archive for the ‘Cambodia’ Category

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2013 Travels: #8 Kampot Collision

In 2013 Travels,Asia,Cambodia,Photography,Travel on October 1, 2013 by eongxien Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Sunset at Kampot

Sunset at Kampot

“Do you want to take a boat trip to see the sunset tonight?” asked the guide who introduced himself as Shrek. Yup, it’s that Shrek from Dreamworks studios. I don’t know why but it seemed that he enjoyed the movie much.

A couple hours earlier, arrived at Kampot, a coastal town to the South of Phnom Penh not too far away from the Vietnamese border. I was there to book a tour to the Bokor National Park when he offerered me the boat trip. I hesitated a little while.

“Come on, we are leaving now, you are going to miss the fun!” he pestered until I went with him eventually.

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2013 Travels: #7 Khmer Rouge

In 2013 Travels,Asia,Cambodia,Photography,Travel on September 28, 2013 by eongxien Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Victims of the Khmer Rouge. Choeung Ek Killing Fields

Victims of the Khmer Rouge, Choeung Ek Killing Fields

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

The year was 1975. Cambodia (Then known as the Khmer Republic) has already seen years of unrest and civil war. The Communist Party of Kampuchea, led by Paris-educated leader Pol Pot, won the war and subsequently took over the country. Being a Marxist believer himself, as soon as he got into power, he imposed a form of strict agrarian socialism onto the country. He envisioned a utopian country where its people would work under a planned economy as peasants to generate the needed production for the country. Free from class struggle and pitfalls of capitalism, it was to usher in a new golden era for the country.

Pol Pot labelled the year as “year zero”. Threat of capitalism needed to be curbed and society cleansing was to be carried out. Cities were seen as antithesis to socialism and thus citizens were evacuated to the countryside, often under extreme conditions. The rich, the educated, doctors, artists, musicians were deemed as surplus and could potentialy threaten the regime. Many were sent to prison camps, only to be tortured and subsequently murdered with inhumane methods. Religion was considered a distraction and therefore, many religious sites were razed to the ground. Opposition parties, traitors and ethic minorities wern’t spared either.

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2013 Travels: #6 Surfing Phnom Penh

In 2013 Travels,Asia,Cambodia,Photography,Travel on September 26, 2013 by eongxien Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

A good friend of mine introduced me to Couchsurfing a couple of years ago. For those not in the know, it’s a hospitality exchange website where locals open up their homes to travellers. The origin of the name came from people who had spare couches (I’ve slept on comfy beds, couches and even on the carpet once) at home and would let travellers to sleep on. For hosts, it’s a great way to meet people all over the world without leaving their doorstep. For travellers, it’s a great way to get in touch with the locals and understand the local culture better while saving money on accommodation. CS is not the only exchange website around, others include BeWelcome and Hospitality Club. It’s just CS happens to be the most popular.

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2013 Travels: #5 Floating on Tonlé Sap

In 2013 Travels,Asia,Cambodia,Photography,Travel on September 24, 2013 by eongxien Tagged: , , , , , , ,

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Endless Horizon. It Feels Like Being On The Sea.

I came across a recommendation on Kompong Luong while researching on the Internet. It was a picturesque floating village on the Tonlé Sap lake. Unlike some other floating villages near Siem Reap, this place is apparently relatively untouched and see very few visitors.

The recommendation certainly piqued my interest but being an obscure place, there wasn’t much information I could find. Moreover, little is said on the Lonely Planet other than how to get there. Nevertheless, since it’s on the way from Battambang to the capital Phnom Penh, I thought why not make a stop?

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2013 Travels: #4 Battambang

In 2013 Travels,Asia,Cambodia,Photography,Travel on September 20, 2013 by eongxien Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Riding with the Wind. Bamboo Train at Battambang.

Riding with the Wind. Bamboo Train at Battambang

After settling down in Siem Reap for almost a week, I was ready to move. I headed Southwest by bus to the former colonial town of Battambang. Battambang used to be a trading town and a trading hub between Thailand and Phnom Penh. When it was absorbed into the Indochina, the French initiated urbanization projects in the town. Roads were built, buildings were erected. Like most of the country though, Battambang has suffered during the turbulent times of Khmer Rouge. Even though it was liberated in the 70s, Battambang wasn’t too far away from the remainers of the Khmer Rouge. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that peace has finally settled into the region.

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2013 Travels: #3 Humbled

In 2013 Travels,Asia,Cambodia,Photography,Travel on September 17, 2013 by eongxien Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Monks at Wat Bo, Siem Reap

Monks at Wat Bo, Siem Reap

“Hello, where are you from?” said a cheerful boy while I was examining one of the Rolous Temples.

Perhaps it’s due to my upbringing that I’m surprised how people here open up to strangers. I remember my parents and teachers used to tell us to be careful of strangers and not to talk to them. As a result, we always approach strangers with caution.

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2013 Travels: #2 Magnificent Angkor

In 2013 Travels,Asia,Cambodia,Photography,Travel on September 12, 2013 by eongxien Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat

As you step through the entrance of Angkor Wat, immerse yourself in the grandiose Khmer architectual of the 12th century. Give yourself time to take it all in. For a moment, mentally block out the tourist groups that are slowly crowding out the place. Then ponder. The building you’re stepping on was built in a time when computers and calculators didn’t exist. A time before cranes, lifts and tractors were invented. Look at the huge brick stones beneath you, they must weigh a tonne. How they managed to ferry those without modern equipment is one question, how they managed to erect a complete structure in symmetrical harmony is another.

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