吴哥窟古文明再现 - ANGKOR WAT

Carrier - Air Asia operates from the new airport in Siem Reap.

Tonle Sap

Swift paddling at Tonle Sap lake in a basin as this little child poses for money from tourists.

A mother paddles the sampan with a child on one hand. Note the floating pigs’ sty.

A bumboat laden with grocery stuff for sale.

Can you imagine a floating chapel.

A common sight on the streets of Siem Reap.

Local transport like the motorised ‘tut-tut’, with a row of seats down each side are the usual mean of getting around.

The Market

Ikan haruan/snakehead fish alongside small fishes embedded with roe.

Ticket to visit the sites.


Six to a group is the ideal number for travelling along this stretch of the country.

This is the south gate, the wall that encloses Angkor Thom.

South Gate of Angkor City

The Bayon built 800 years ago has many famous carvings on the outer wall.

Vivid scenes of life in the 12th century of Cambodia are carved on the wall of The Bayon.

Smiling face of Avalokitesvara, identified as a god in Hindu cosmology.

Rebuilding the damaged structures and trying to restore them to their former grandeur.

Angkor Wat

Crossing a moat to reach the spectacular monument of Angkor Wat.

Biggest gallery of carved reliefs ever inspired and conceived by the human mind.

Ascend the steps to the central sanctuary.

Standing on the top level of the central sanctuary, you see interlinked galleries.

Scenes of country life

Banteay Srei (967A.D.)

A ‘lucky’ child who gets to stretch after lazing around.

A club formed by these amputees,all victims of landmines.

Pre Rup (961A.D.)

Ta Prohm

Main entrance to the temple.

Nature and manmade fabled temple have joined as one. Roots strengthen the facade.

Termites play a serious role in the invasion of the structures.

Tree roots enclosing a deity’s image.

Tomb Raider has filmed certain scenes here.

100 feet length roots of this huge tree has interwoven with the temple.

Window On Angkor Wat
26-07-2006 (Wednesday)
My travelling companions besides Richard were Jenny Liew and her relatives. Together, the six of us took a 10a.m. flight on budget carrier - Air Asia to reach the new airport of Siem Reap, meaning "Siamese Defeated" in Cambodia. It took only two hours of flying time. Local time showed 11a.m. which makes Cambodia time one hour behind Malaysia. Foreign currency of choice is the US dollars. I made a small change of US$20.00 (RM74) at the airport money exchange counter. In turn, I received only 72,000 Riel. Needless to say, you get a better rate in the local town as US$1(RM3.70) should fetch 4,000 Riel. Never mind, this is only for small expenses.

Cambodia was once closed to the outside world for two decades and only open contact after the civil war ended. The story of this country cannot be complete without mentioning the wonders of Angkor Wat, a most charming place to visit. UNESCO has listed it as a heritage site, which now assures the future of this temple of the lost city. This listing has drawn in many tourists and further helps to bring in tourism money.

During the months of December to April, it is a tourists season as temperature hovers around 20°C rather pleasant. From May to November, the monsoon brings heavy rains and high humidity. Koreans form the main hub of tourists arrival, followed by the Japanese. But Europeans and Americans come here the whole year round. Apparently, Malaysians rank twelfth in tourists' volume.

Jenny had pre-arranged on the internet with the local tour agency to show us around on a 4 days 3 nights trip at a cost of US$45 (RM166.50) per person excluding flight, hotel and meals.We were lucky to have an English speaking guide - Ang Rong Oum to meet us at the airport. He took us for lunch at Borey Savaan Restaurant in town. The menu is set in US dollars. A beer costs US$1.50 (RM5.50), a soft drink at US$1-$2. This is quite costly as a glass of carbonated drink come to RM4-RM8 as I revert to the calculator. Plain fried rice costs US$2.50(RM9.25) and Lap Lok - Black Peppercorn Beef With Sunny Side -up Egg And White Rice costs US$3.9 (RM14.50). All in all, the long division bill came to US$11.40(RM42.00) per couple for something very plain and fairly simple.

Tonle Sap Lake
Siem Reap is a pit -stop town as it is not far from Angkor city and Tonle Sap Lake, both linked to the Siem Reap River which has the richest source of freshwater fish. Our hotel was located in the city and after a quick set in, we left the hotel, to be introduced to the "Floating Village"at Tonle Sap Lake. The journey took 30 minutes along laid-back red earth tracks. What greeted us was a colourful sight of a floating village with a huge population of 4,000 families living on spartan houseboats, big and small. These boats packed the lake and waters are rather stagnant.

The lake houses all activities associated with daily living. It suprises me to see a floating chapel, school, a junkyard to repair boats, floating basketball court, fish -farms and even floating pigs' stys. Only drinking water is being sourced from the exterior market, all dishwashing chores, laundry washing and bathing rituals are conducted with the same water from this lake. This gave us an insight of a very glaring side of poverty here. They do not even have the basic rights against ill-health as it is extreme ugliness in areas of hygiene. The stagnant waters can tell a moving story.

It rained very heavily around 4.30p.m. but did little to drive away the hot spell. Most of the roads turned muddy as we travelled back to the hotel for a short rest. Dinner at 6.30p.m. was served at Tonle Sap Restaurant. An impressive buffet was laid-out at US$10(RM37)per person. Gracious to the end, a traditional dance performance was staged by some dancing artists.

27-07-2006 (Thursday) The Market
The sun shone ever so brightly at six in the morning. After a simple breakfast at the hotel, we rode a ‘tut -tut’ to view the market. Well, this place has nothing very interesting to offer. I saw an abundance of freshwater fish here. There are tons of ikan toman, ikan haruan(snakehead), eels and small fishes with lots of roe. Some food stalls scattered around sold ready -cooked food. The sugary stuff I bought tasted horrible as it was awfully sweet. Colourful silk scarves were on display in the morning market. It is rather weird that fresh pork stalls faces dry foodstuff stalls. Jars and jars of preserved fish roe were available but all of us were trifle cowards to try any.

27-07-2006 (Thursday) Angkor Thom/ Bayon
After the market visit, it was only 9.30a.m. We were to visit Angkor Thom - a city built 800 years ago. It houses the former royal palace and the temple of Bayon. A lot of restoration work has been done by the UNESCO team as they try to rebuild and restore damaged structures. Each visitor is charged a fee of US$20(RM74) per day as the money, if any, officially goes to help preserve and upkeep the monuments. There are four gates, namely East, South, West and North. We entered from the South gate through a moat and was greeted by bas-reliefs on both sides of the wall.

At the entrance to the inner court is an exquisitely carved four-faced deity sculpture. The ‘lost city’ has become such an attraction, popular with tourists worldwide as the famous carvings depicit vivid scenes of life in the 12th century and all have been well-preserved. In the centre of the city of Angkor Thom lies the temple of the Bayon. It has 49 towers projecting 100 over carved smiling face of Avalokitesvara, a god in Hindu cosmology. It is an extraodinary construction as the past Khmer king had utilised such great labour force to carry out these huge projects in order to glorify themselves and their kingdom. It is worth a visit as the charm has retained considerably well.

27-07-2006(Thursday) Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is the only temple that faces westward and at its finest in the late afternoon. About 2 Km away from Angkor city, it is encircled by a 190 metres wide moat with a stone pavement of 475 metres for crossing over. The central temple complex consists of five towers with two beautiful lotus ponds on both sides in front of the stupas. To reach the central sanctuary , you have to ascend 30 over steep terraces of stony steps. As reaching the top reviewing stand, you feel stunned by the fabled temples of Angkor, one of humanity’s most beautiful architectural achievements. This depicts how great the past monarchy and Khmer civilization had been during the 12th century.

28-07-2006(Friday)-Banteay Srei
About 40 Km from Siem Reap lies a beautiful former queen’s resident knows as Banteay Sreil. It was built much earlier in 967AD and the project is a scaled –down version of Angkor Wat. It is noteworthy that the majestic sculptures are still very fresh looking. The setting is a mystical experience as we hear music being played by a group of landmines victims. These buskers play under the trees hoping for some donation from tourists. You see many limbless people all over Cambodia as they are victims of landmines planted in rice fields and roads by the former Khmer Rouge guerrillas.

28-07-2006Friday--Ta Prohm
The three most magnificent temples of Angkor are the Bayon, Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. We have visited the first two and today with a scorching sun on our backs, we shall see Ta Prohm, which used to be overgrown by the jungle. Part of the film , ‘Tomb Raider’ was set here and people became fascinated with what they saw on the movie screen. The trail leading to the temple site was cool unlike the soaring temperature outside. There was no buzz of a single mosquito and the dampness had caused all the solid rocks to be covered with green moss.

Many huge trees approximately 100 feet tall have roots sprawling all over the temple. Probably it helps the façade from falling apart as the roots weaved themselves all around the structure. It is impossible to take in the details of this site in a short visit but obviously conspicuous are structures invaded by termites. For the travellers with sufficient time to explore properly, Cambodia captivates the spirit as the visit has done good for my soul, education and pleasure. I felt re-energized after a short break as I prepare to leave for home tomorrow.

General Facts To Know :
1. Travel agencies in Siem Reap are all in their infant stage. Do not expect too much as they have not passed their teething problems, unlikely to bring tourists on good trips. There is still a long way to go before all complications can be sorted out as the industry is young.
2. Do not change too much local currency. US$1= 4,000 Riel. Just change US$20 for small transactions.
3. Tickets to visit all sites costs US$20 (RM74) per day. For a three days ticket, it is at US$40 (RM148) and a seven days ticket come to US$60 (RM222). Daily buffet starts from US$6-12 (RM22-44).
4. Keep aside US$25 for departure tax to be paid at the airport.
5. Bring along personal medication and panadol, anti-diarrhoea tablets, plasters, tiger balm medicated oil etc...
6. An umbrella comes in handy during the rainy spell.
7. You need good walking shoes and a pair of strong legs as all the sites are vast.
8. A local tour van can ferry only six persons together with guide and driver. Do not go in an assorted number where you cannot fit into one vehicle. Six in a group is the best number.




Jenny通过电邮预先与当地旅行社安排好,四天三夜的导游加司机费用为每人US$45。一个懂得英语的导游『荣』Ang Rong Oum到机场接了我们之后,带我们到一间专为游客而设的『金京城大餐厅』(Borey Sovann Restaurant)用午餐。这里的环境比想象中干净,餐单价格一律以美金计算。啤酒US$1.50,汽水价格介于US$1-2之间,折合马币RM4-8,好贵!简单的炒饭US$2.50(RM10),黑椒炒牛肉配荷包蛋及白饭US$3.90(RM16)。一顿简单午餐两人花费US$11.40(RM45)。

办妥入住酒店手续之后,我们开始在暹粒的首个行程,到东南亚最大的湖--『洞里萨湖』Tonle Sap参观水上人家的生活。客货车离开市区后越走越偏僻,车后扬起一阵阵红尘,路旁尽是简陋的茅屋。大约半小时车程到达目的地。四千户水上人家将屋子建在大大小小简陋的船上,湖水污浊却生机勃勃。除了住家之外,还有教堂、学校、修船厂、篮球场、养鱼场、鳄鱼场、甚至是养猪场。除了饮用水在外购买之外,洗碗、洗澡、洗衣服等所用的水竟然从这污浊不堪的湖水汲取,卫生程度令人担心。

下午四点半下了一场大雨却无法驱闷热的天气,路上充满泥泞,我们回酒店休息。傍晚六点半到达洞里萨河餐厅(Tonlesap Restaurant)享用丰富的自助式晚餐,每人花费US$10(RM40)。一面用餐,一面观赏穿着传统盛装的舞蹈员表演阿普莎拉戏剧(Apsara Dancing),让我们对这里的传统文化有初步认识。


九点半往吴哥城/大吴哥(Angkor Thom)出发,一天的入场券US$20。八百年前是吴哥王朝的宫殿及以大石建成的神庙,目前虽然已成废墟,联合国组织正为这些废墟展开整修。吴哥城分为东、南西、北门四个进口,我们由南门(South Gate)进入吴哥城,步行经过两旁尽是石雕的护城河,再穿过一座四面佛头的城门,我们进入这昔日的王城范围。不远处是吸引全世界游客到此的巴扬寺(Bayon)。栩栩如生的石壁雕刻依然保留得相当完整,将当时的热闹繁华情景一一呈现给现代人。最令人惊叹的是看到这里的四十九座尖塔上共一百多面佛陀的微笑与沉思,在佩服古人的伟大建筑精确之余,不觉被这些慈爱的笑容感染,心里有一丝丝的感动。

27-07-2006(星期四)--吴哥窟(Angkor Wat)


28-07-2006(星期五)--班蒂丝蕾(Banteay Srei)

28-07-2006(星期五)--塔普伦寺(Ta Prohm)
塔普伦寺因一套《盗墓者》"Thomb Raider"而闻名。上午的阳光非常猛烈,走在通往塔普伦寺的小径,周围被参天古木围绕却没有蚊子的踪迹,空气异常清新。散落满地的大石被厚厚的青苔包裹着,百尺高大树的气根与寺庙纠缠一起,已经分不清是大树支撑着寺庙使它不至于倒塌,或是寺庙顶着大树使它得以向上伸展。一些寺庙的地基被白蚁堆挖空倒塌,一些则被纵横交错的树根撑开。我们在这里又一次被这大自然与古代伟大建筑所形成的奇景给震慑着。


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