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Old 26th August 2011, 23:39   #46
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Default Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !

Day 4 (Contd.)

Where : Banteay Srei Temple

Our first temple lit our sight and mind & really turned to be a appetizer to look forward for what's in store in out trip.

You too would agree.

I am not planning to write about history of these temples etc.. anyway 'Google' is always handy. Let me focus on bringing forth what we got to experience in the trip rather.

Few more shots from the temple

This is the guardian to the God's door

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-14-guard.jpg

Lady in Angkor style

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170210.jpg

One more intricately intricate bas relief

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170218.jpg

Ravan - A different form compared to the ususal 10 headed ravan (like the Sharukh in Pepsodent ad)

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-99-rav-c.jpg

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Old 27th August 2011, 01:27   #47
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Arrow Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !

Day 4 (Contd)

Where : Landmines Museum & Relief Centre

Banteay Srei temple is bit far off from the Angkor temple cluster. 36 Kms from Siem Reap (You can refer the map I had posted earlier for the directions). There is one more temple ahead of Banteay Srei which is Kbal Spean. We skipped it; as we wanted do other key temples more elaborately.

We spotted this museum of Landmines in our way, then thought of stepping in on our way back - as we have to return on the same route.

We Did Stop.


Entry Fee : USD 3 per person ( recently revised from USD 2)

This museum showcases the personal collection of Mr Aki Ra who is involved in clearing the land mines. (Please PM if you wish to read the entire write up.)

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170255.jpg

Missiles welcoming you !

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170273.jpg

During the chronic war period, lmillions of bombs were dropped by US / Vietnam forces. And many of them didn't blast. Also many land mines were planted across the country to injure the civilians.
Land mines are those low intensity bomb which explode on pressure - release principle. If someone stands on it and steps out then the landmine explodes causing injuries. They are not designed to kill but to make people lose arms / legs etc. If at all a person dies that will be because of loss of blood. Its a cruel weapon as it targets the innocent civilians.

Many would remember Princess Diana's strong campaign against landmines- The Ottawa Treaty.


Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170257.jpg


Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170260.jpg


Room filled with varieties of land mines and explosives. There are many such rooms with different weaponry - short, long, sharp, stout, long range, mass destruction, underground ops etc. We were astonished by the sheer variety of disarmed ammunitions picked from across Cambodia.


Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170256.jpg

There are few landmines which have exploded even after 30 years of being idle.
It is advisable to stick to known routes & places for safety. Never step into any uncharted land.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170258.jpg

There is a relief centre attached to the museum, where landmine victims & children are taken care of. We were heart filled to have made a contribution by visiting this place.

Last edited by vigneshnr : 27th August 2011 at 01:30.
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Old 27th August 2011, 07:30   #48
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Default Re: Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !

@vignesh - Unique destination for a vacation and a very informative TL. The initial posts on the genocide museum and killing fields were disturbing. Magic Tree

By the what is the local language and any issues in communicating with the locals?
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Old 27th August 2011, 08:32   #49
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Wow ! great travelogue Vignesh well captured pictures, please do post some video clippings in case you have. I believe Angor Wat has been inspired by Hoysala dynasty ruler Vishnuvardhan, did you find any trace of Hindu archictecture on the temple facade. Looking forward for the balance travelogue pictures.
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Old 27th August 2011, 10:28   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
@vignesh - Unique destination for a vacation and a very informative TL. The initial posts on the genocide museum and killing fields were disturbing. Magic Tree

By the what is the local language and any issues in communicating with the locals?
Hi Amitwlele, the local language is Khmer (pronounced as 'खेमेर '). The locals proudly say that the language is influenced by sanskrit.
Due tourists inflow, the hoteliers, tuk tuk drivers, shop keepers have picked up English.

I was surprised to see kids who sell scarves near the temples speaking in English to us. They even handle nego - they are pretty cute.

I never faced much issue in both the cities. Not a problem.

Even guide services are available in English & many other popular European languages. I was thrilled to see a coconut vendor speaking Spanish

Hey - Thanks for your comments. Hope you would follow forward.

Last edited by vigneshnr : 27th August 2011 at 10:31.
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Old 27th August 2011, 11:10   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ukderebail View Post
Wow ! great travelogue Vignesh well captured pictures, please do post some video clippings in case you have. I believe Angor Wat has been inspired by Hoysala dynasty ruler Vishnuvardhan, did you find any trace of Hindu archictecture on the temple facade. Looking forward for the balance travelogue pictures.
Hi ukderebail

thanks thanks ! My trip is covered in images. Let me check whether I got any videos of the temples.
I have been to Belur, Halebid in Karnataka (I suppose, they are of Hoysala dynasty).
Though I've travelled to all these places - Let me say ki I'm not an expert in any of these subjects .

Though overall outline of the structures may resemble Hindu temples in Tamil nadu & Karnataka but in my view there are many differences.

- The sculptures and the style of carving are unique and different from India

- In India, the sculptures are mostly carved out of monolith stones. But here, the sculptures are not necessarily made out of single stones, rather they build the structure of the temple with multiple stones and carve out the sculptures.
This we can notice from various bas relief.

- Depiction of Gods, devas, mythological instances and animals are very different. Eg: Ravan

-----

Hopefully my pictures which are coming up will talk more and excite you as it is your interest.

But, how much ever you see them in pictures - nothing matches being there
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Old 27th August 2011, 14:42   #52
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Arrow Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !

Day 4 (Contd)

Where : Banteay Samre

3 km Detour from the road connecting to the Angkor Thom, we reached this temple - Banteay samre.

Interesting elements of this temple are the colors of the stone walls, wide inner gallery and sculptures, of course. And it is very peaceful to sit around.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1295.jpg

Key features of this temple include wide moats surrounding the gallery.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1301.jpg

Here is a tip for all the photo conscious : Pl wear brighter colors to contrast against the earthern colored temples . Like the one below.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1337.jpg

Bas relief with Rishis

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1329.jpg

Interesting Inner Gallery provides loads of scope to take pictures.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1341.jpg

Carvings on the pillar stone

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170276.jpg

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-p1170279.jpg

Wide body temple entrance

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1310.jpg
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Old 27th August 2011, 22:54   #53
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Default Re: Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !

The more I read this, the more I'm falling in love with the thread. Carry on, can't wait for Angkor Wat
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Old 27th August 2011, 23:27   #54
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Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
The more I read this, the more I'm falling in love with the thread. Carry on, can't wait for Angkor Wat

By writing this travelogue, I am actually reliving those days. Though our journey was centric to Angkor Wat, every other temple was unique in its own way.
Hope you too are relishing them. Very delighted to see you following since the start.
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Old 28th August 2011, 00:28   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vigneshnr View Post

During the chronic war period, lmillions of bombs were dropped by US / Vietnam forces. And many of them didn't blast.

...

Room filled with varieties of land mines and explosives. There are many such rooms with different weaponry - short, long, sharp, stout, long range, mass destruction, underground ops etc. We were astonished by the sheer variety of disarmed ammunitions picked from across Cambodia.
Yes. It is important to understand what the the so called civilised western world that Anglicised Indian youngsters look up to with so much enthusiasm and positivity bordering on a fanatical zeal - repeatedly does in the shadows, to people of other civilizations.

www.yale.edu/cgp/Walrus_CambodiaBombing_OCT06.pdf

More tonnage of Bombs were dropped over the vast farmlands of Cambodia, over paddy fields, cattle - livestock, sheep, goats and human settlements - than were in all the 5 years of WW II.

Quote:
To put 2,756,941 tons into perspective, the Allies dropped just over 2 million tons of bombs in all of World War II. Cambodia may be the most heavily bombed country in history.
This is not OT if you appreciate the meaning of unravelling a countries history as you enjoy a travelouge.

Of course the Nazis and SS staff who claimed they were merely following orders are mocked, while the Americans who participated keep a straight face, and the "enthusiastic" Indian youth look the other way pointing at all the great stuff America does.

--Ragul

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Old 28th August 2011, 00:33   #56
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Arrow Re: Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigneshnr View Post
By writing this travelogue, I am actually reliving those days. Though our journey was centric to Angkor Wat, every other temple was unique in its own way.
Hope you too are relishing them. Very delighted to see you following since the start.
Vignesh,

Man.....you're the man!!! Thanks for sharing photos and story, lovely photos and so many details.

Been trawling Trip Adviser and Lonely Planet Books for information on this sector, thinking of going if I get some leaves. Some questions:

1. The Bus from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap: Was it the Meakong express, reportedly it's the most reliable.

2. Tanei Guest House has quoted 25 USD per day for double room with B'kfast, Trip Adviser reports are good. They have quoted a tuk tuk @ 50USD for 4 days, pick up from Busstation, all sight seeings for 4 days, drop to airport. They have also quoted the following.

- English Speaking guide 25 per day.
- Angakor WAt ticket 3 days - 40 per pax
- Boat ticket - Tonel Sap lake 15 per pax
- Cambodia culture village 11$ per pax
- Dinner with Buffet Food - Khmer dancing show , 12 per pax.

Which of the above are value for money?

Which flights did you use and what were the costs.

Would appreciate inputs on what you know.

--Ramky
======


Last edited by ramkya1 : 28th August 2011 at 00:37.
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Old 28th August 2011, 01:20   #57
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Default Re: Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !

Great choice of destination, great tour itinerary, great writeup and great photos to follow them up!

Glued to this thread. Keep it flowing, Vignesh. Looking forward to the rest.

Rated the thread 5 stars.

Question - you left out Battambang and Sihanoukville-Kampot. Any reasons (apart from paucity of time) for leaving these out?
Or let me put it this way - is there enough justification to visit these two places in case one plans an itinerary?

Last edited by aryasanyal : 28th August 2011 at 01:32.
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Old 28th August 2011, 08:07   #58
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Arrow Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !

Day 4 : (Contd)

We were bit exhausted after the long long walks inside the temples.
Took a lunch break in a bamboo built restaurant.

And there was a long list to cover for the day - Excitement overruled the Exhaustion .

Bon'Am (tuk tuk driver) started his vehicle.

Where : Prerup

Prerup temple belongs to 'mountain' style, where the temple stands tall like a 'meru' mountain. For those who know hindu mythology can recall - there is a story about. The imposing towers are made of bricks.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1356.jpg


'Lion' is the symbol of great power. This temple used to be the state temple of King Rajendravarman.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1370.jpg

'Airavat' is the three-headed elephant of Indra. In Indian mythology, I was aware of only a white elephant- not sure whether it has three heads. But this elephant sculptures are really interesting.


Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1373.jpg

The view from the terrace pronounces that you are the king standing amidst those lions.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1372.jpg

There are multiple terraces and on the edge of each there is an elephant signifying the might and wealth.

Kingdom of Wonder - Cambodia; Enthralling Hidden Charms !-dsc_1395.jpg
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Old 28th August 2011, 09:00   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ragul View Post
Yes. It is important to understand what the the so called civilised western world that...
More tonnage of Bombs were dropped over the vast farmlands of Cambodia, over paddy fields, cattle - livestock, sheep, goats and human settlements - than were in all the 5 years of WW II.

This is not OT if you appreciate the meaning of unravelling a countries history as you enjoy a travelouge.


--Ragul
.

The biggest war criminal would be the USA in all accounts counting the early history to the recent past of Iran, Afgan.

'The Shame of Cruelty' should be felt by these powerful nations if they can visit Cambodia & see any of these victims of land mines who have lost their limbs, sight & abilities. And there are countless orphaned kids. Huge deficit of medical facilities. Tourists lining up to give blood.
Would any of the developed nation allow this to happen to their kids?

Some section of history is not fascinating !
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Old 28th August 2011, 09:36   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
Vignesh,

Man.....you're the man!!! Thanks for sharing photos and story, lovely photos and so many details.

1. The Bus from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap: Was it the Meakong express, reportedly it's the most reliable.

2. Tanei Guest House has quoted 25 USD per day for double room with B'kfast, Trip Adviser reports are good. They have quoted a tuk tuk @ 50USD for 4 days, pick up from Busstation, all sight seeings for 4 days, drop to airport. They have also quoted the following.

- English Speaking guide 25 per day.
- Angakor WAt ticket 3 days - 40 per pax
- Boat ticket - Tonel Sap lake 15 per pax
- Cambodia culture village 11$ per pax
- Dinner with Buffet Food - Khmer dancing show , 12 per pax.

Which of the above are value for money?

Which flights did you use and what were the costs.

Would appreciate inputs on what you know.

--Ramky
======
1. I took 'Sokha Komar Tep Co.' bus. Even Mekong is good. Depending on the amenities they charge ($6 to $10)

All the buses anyway look similar

2.

a. Hotel - Tanei - Location is the best thing as it is closer to night market.
b. Tuk tuk rates sounds like a deal for 4 days. But what's the 4th day for ??
c. Guide rate is perfect.
In our case we had guide only for the important section - Angkor Wat + Ta Phrom + Angkor Thom circle i.e 1 day. Rest we covered with the help of guide book. There are fantastic guide books available - I would suggest "Ancient Angkor" by Michael Freeman & Claude Jacques (US$4 & upwards purely based on nego skills)

As we are Indians, we know most of the Hindu stories - who is shiva etc.
SO, This was just a cost saver idea.

d. Tonle sap - Does it cover the floating villages ? If so there are major two - Chong Khneas (bit touristy) and Kampong Phluk (more real). If it covers any of the villages then its a deal else just a boat ride will be not so exciting IMO.

e. We didn't visit 'culture village' rather we visited villages to see the culture. But completely depends on your interest sir. If you day 4 to spare you can lots of them.

f. Apsara Dance is a must see. We really enjoyed. But there are many restaurants who conduct free shows while you dine. Once you land there, you'll come across many. I recommend a restaurant in pub street - 'The temple'. There is no per pax. Just order food - show starts @ 7:30 every night .

There is a special theatre which showcases Apsara dance & other cultural stuff with Ancient Angkor history in 3D + Newage tech - "The Smile of Angkor". Check if you like that way.

g. Flights - we took Malaysian airlines (INR31k per pax booked just 12+ days before travel). Other option was Air Asia - pretty cheap. This being our precious holiday time we stuck to the most reliable.

Will add more - if you wanna know more sir.

Thanks for your generous comments on our travelogue !!

Happy Holidays. Team-bhp needs more travelogues on Cambodia now.

Last edited by vigneshnr : 28th August 2011 at 10:05. Reason: Update
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