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Phespirit goes to Cambodia
Siem Reap     April 2007

AROUND CAMBODIA

Map of Cambodia

1 Siem Reap

Central to Siem Reap is the Old Market Area, where a melange of stalls sells tourist souvenirs, clothes, books and ornaments. They are surrounded by restaurants, bars, food hawkers, Internet cafés, massage parlours, handicraft shops, and more besides.

Tuk-tuks and motorcycles ply the streets that give a framework to what might otherwise be a heaving chaos. Motorcycle proliferation in Siem Reap is not too bad, somewhere between the madness of Vietnam and the peacefulness of Laos.

Elsewhere there is a modest scattering of Buddhist temples, plus a very expensive Raffles hotel. Phespirit had to feed his rucksack through an x-ray machine on his way into the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor. He cut short his look around inside when he noticed he was leaving dirty footprints on their polished wooden floor.

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2 Angkor Archaeological Park

There is a whole lot more to the Angkor Archaeological Park than 'just' Angkor Wat. For example, Phespirit .....

  • climbed up Baksei Chamkrong;
  • entered Angkor Thom via the South Gate to look at .....
    • the Bayon temple;
    • the Prasat Sour Prat towers;
    • the Terrace of the Elephants;
    • the ponds of the Royal Palace;
    • the Terrace of the Leper King;
    ..... before exiting through the east Victory Gate;
  • visited Angkor Wat temple;
  • visited Ta Keo temple;
  • visited Ta Prohm temple (Phespirit's favourite);
  • visited Sras Srang reservoir;
  • visited the exquisite peachy-orange Banteay Srey temple;
  • climbed up to Phnom Bakheng temple.

All magnificent.

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3 Chong Khneas

An afternoon excursion out to the floating village of Chong Khneas was Phespirit's only detour from Siem Reap and Angkor.

The trip entailed a fifteen kilometre coach journey from Siem Reap to a canalside boat docks, and then a short cruise along a muddy canal, out onto Tonle Sap lake.

The living/working conditions along the road to the docks were as wretched as Phespirit has seen anywhere. All filthy squalor, noise and chaos. Harsh reality after the escapism of Angkor.

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4 Phnom Penh

Cambodia's capital city is home to the golden Royal Palace, with its magnificent Silver Pagoda.

Phespirit dearly would have loved to see such a sight, but alas his visit was confined to the airport. Instead, he consoled himself with a small tub of New Zealand Natural Premium Ice Cream.

Cookies & Cream flavour, of course.

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  1. Siem Reap
  2. Angkor Archaeological Park
  3. Chong Khneas
  4. Phnom Penh
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Siem Reap Angkor Archaeological Park Chong Khneas Phnom Penh