I’ve been putting off writing about our visit to Kompong Luong, a large floating village on Tonlé Sap Lake in Cambodia. Maybe it’s because I was uncomfortable being there. Also, my knowledge about the community is poor, so I feel ill-equipped to write about it. And, my photos, taken in the bright glare of midday, look as washed-out as I felt. Nevertheless, as I think back at our short time at Kompong Luong it was one of our most unique travel experiences. Imagine, a community of over 1000 families largely dependent on fishing, where everything floats: temples, markets, clinics, restaurants, a police station, even a karaoke bar…Sadly, it and other communities on the Tonlé Sap face major problems. Continue reading
Better late than never as I finally continue writing about our travels in Cambodia. Today I’m reminiscing about Kampot, a quirky, unhurried town that sits on the banks of Praek Tuek Chhu River in southern Cambodia. Other than some interesting excursions in the surrounding countryside, there’s not much to do in Kampot itself. And that was just perfect. After the intensity of Phnom Penh, it felt good to just be, and not to do. In this post, I describe some of my favourite things about Kampot. They may not sound very exciting, but they hold sweet memories and remind me that slow, easy days of simply absorbing a new place can be just as rewarding as visiting big name attractions. Continue reading
One of our favourite days in Cambodia was spent on a bike tour run by local students through the villages and markets around Battambang. It felt good to stretch our legs, get a glimpse of rural Cambodia and be in the company of young folks. We pedalled through the peaceful countryside, stopping at small villages that retain traditional Cambodian livelihoods. It was a fun and hands-on day. I even learned to make rice paper wrappers (well…sort of).
Before visiting Cambodia, I had no idea that there was more to Angkor Wat than Angkor Wat! The largest religious monument in the world is just the big daddy of over a thousand temples spread across 400 sq. km in the Angkor complex (Angkor Archaeological Park). In my last post I wrote about our first day at Angkor, on a cycling tour that included visits to the most popular temples: the busy “big three”—Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm. Our next two days, now via tuk-tuk, took us to temples a little further afield. While they may lack the grandeur of Angkor Wat, our overall experience was perhaps even grander. Continue reading
I’m finally catching up on writing about our travels in Cambodia earlier this year. Things didn’t start well. I’d caught a nasty cold and my head felt like it was going to explode on our evening flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap. All I wanted to do was get to our guesthouse and sleep. Morning came early as we’d pre-booked an Angkor Temple bike tour. Drugged up on Tylenol Cold, with kleenex stuffed in every available pocket, I lacklusterly pedalled with our group to the visitor centre to buy tickets. It was mayhem. Chinese New Year holidays coupled with an imminent ticket price increase had the Angkor temple complex exploding with visitors. Continue reading
I am tempted to launch right into my favourite day of our month-long trip that included Bangkok and a sampling of Cambodia and Laos. But, I feel a stronger need to put chronological order and reflection into this first of a series of posts. I’ve tried to find one photo and write one paragraph that summarize my (and usually Mike’s) overriding, totally subjective takeaway on each of the places we visited. If you want to find out about my favourite day, you can scroll down to the end. If you can hang in there, please follow our journey. There’ll be lots more to come about the exotic attractions of these friendly, great value travel destinations. Continue reading