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Old 14th September 2010, 21:33   #1
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Default Land of Khmer's - Mystic Cambodia

I was always fascinated to visit this mystic country, Land of Khmer's. I wanted to do a solo backpack trip to "Siem Reap". The planning started a month back.

Me : I want to do a backpack trip to cambodia
WIfey : ok, we shall go !!!
Me : Slightly reluctant to say this, but I want to do a backpack trip and go solo.
Wifey : "Do whatever you want" (I did not understand the meaning)

Happy I started my planning. For the next three days every sentence ended with a "Do whatever you want, Why are you asking me" . Then it struck me, I had made the biggest mistake. For a while I waited and asked

Me : Why dont you also come, It will be fun to do a backpack together and leave the kids at home
Wifey : I can't take off. Busy with work.

After 1 hr of cajoling she agreed to come and accept my "terms and conditions"

1. The group is small and agile, Which means Just us.
2. No kids on the trip, I know its a difficult call still we need this time alone.
3. Its a backpack and a budget trip. So no exotic resorts/hotels. If possible we will do a homestay aswell.

She Clicked the "I Agree" button. Picked up the mobile and started dialing all her friends to ask if they would like to join. I grabbed her mobile and pointed her violation fromt he terms. Finally we narrowed down to adding one of her cousin, who at that time would be in Singapore.

I'm not writing a travelouge but would like to stick to a photolouge. Just adding some key information on travel, Stay and food.

Travel : Planning started, booked in Silkair to Siem Reap. Because of the erratic timings for return flights, booked in JetStar for return flights. Siem Reap has an International Airport. You can also reach Siem Reap from Pnom Peh by bus of flights.

Stay : Finally had to budge on the stay to a medium expensive place.Stayed at the "The Siem Reap Villa". Read the reviews on lonely planet and had a good rating. In fact the stay was very comfortable. It cost around 55USD per night with three beds. Food was expensive so we always went out for food.

Food: Being Vegeterians,We always have problems travelling in SEAsia. Getting local Combodian veg Cuisine was easy. Stick to basic veg curry, Ang mot and rice. Infact we did find about four five Indian restaurants. Always clearly mention No meat, Fish, ... Eggs also, though we eat eggs, Its mostly half boiled kinds.
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Weather: This time of the year, It rains quite a bit and in between sun comes out. Use this window for great pictures.

Local : Local Khmer people at ANgkor are warm, Friendly and Hardworking. I mean really hardworking. I did not see a single beggar, but heard there are quite a few. Still in a tourist town, It was surprising. When you look in to their eyes, you can see their poverty, you will also see the determination to work hard and earn their living. Also they are very clean with their surroundings. Most of them speak very good english esp the kids.

Local Transport: Local transport is using Tuk tuk's. Pay about 15USD per day and you can use the vehicle for the whole day.

Passes: You have to buy passes to visit the temples. One day pass USD 20, Three day pass USD 40. We took the three day pass because, I wanted to revist the temples to get better pictures.

Also be aware that there is a 70% corruption, though this does not affect tourists, Just a note of caution. The emigration officer asked for a tip or breakfast money, while leaving.

Finally the D-day arrived, These were the thoughts in my mind "Angkor here I come baby, Give me good light and Sights". One thing I forgot, The primary motive for this trip was photography. The following picture gives an idea on how I got some great pictures.

Thanks to my wife and her cousin for helping me with my gear and putting up patiently so that I could get some great pictures, which includes staying the same place for hours.
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Journey begins
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Last edited by navin : 15th September 2010 at 16:29.
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Old 14th September 2010, 21:36   #2
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Zuper.... Fantastic write-up. Would love to see some more pictures, and descriptions of places..... Waiting!
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Old 14th September 2010, 21:42   #3
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Nice beginning! A different travelogue.

How much time did you spend there? Would you mind giving the full itinerary?
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Old 14th September 2010, 21:43   #4
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Hooked on to this. Different place and different culture!
A different country.
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Old 14th September 2010, 21:57   #5
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Quote:
How much time did you spend there? Would you mind giving the full itinerary?
We spent 3 full days. Reached on Fri evening and left in tuesday morning.I will try to give the places I covered. It was erratic and depended on the whether and I visited the same places more than once.

The highlights are

Angkor Wat (Very touristy, Supposed to be the signature. I did not like it much)
Bayon (One of my favorites)
Ta Phrom (This is where Tomb raider was shot)
Preah Khan
Pre Rup
Bantrey sei
In fact the temple list s quite huge
Tonle Sap Lake (This is a mini water world. One exciting and lively place to visit)
Landmine Museum (This musuem was quite a eye opener in to what peiple went through because of landmines. They also have a shelter for people displaced and disabled by landmines)
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Old 14th September 2010, 22:06   #6
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I would like to break the photolouge as albums. The first one being "faces of Angkor". I should say unknown faces of Angkor. These are portraits of normal Khmer people.

Album - Faces of Angkor

Mystic Face



Feeding : There is nothing like a mother feeding a child. Even if she does not have food, she will make sure the kid gets food. No love and affection is as pure as this.



Future Models : These girls were very good with Poses. They were posing for some tourists while I captured this. The small one was unpertrubed with what was happening around her. Once in a while she did get up and pose and went back to play.



Partial Bie(i)ss



Father and Son : This kid was so comfortable with his dad. Shot at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap.



Forced Smile and still enjoying : This kid was forced to smile at the camera. This women used her kids to beg for money @ Tonle Sap Lake. Still the kid did not show any reluctance. This place was a mini waterworld.


Last edited by navin : 15th September 2010 at 16:28.
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Old 14th September 2010, 22:13   #7
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Album - Faces of Angkor 'cont

Under watchful eyes : This kid was looking at tourists walk past.



The Kid



Sitting Idle : This kid was sitting idle at the entrance of Preah khan watching tourists go by. He was toally relaxed while I was shooting this.



Old Lady @ Preah Khan : This lady was selling sacred threads and incense sticks to tourists at Preah Khan.



Monks at Angkor wat : These monks were ready to start their day, after their bath at the Angkor wat moat.



Preist

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Old 14th September 2010, 22:14   #8
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Great start and good tips on the food and stay part.

Some good shots you got there! Waiting for the rest to unfold.
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Old 14th September 2010, 22:17   #9
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Default Album - Faces of Angkor 'cont

Album - Faces of Angkor 'cont

Artist at work, Ta Phrom



Artist at work, Preah Khan



Cambodian Lady : This lady was shuttling between fields to re plant the saplings in her fields. She seemed to be happy to pose for this picture.



Hard Labour



End of first Album - Faces of Angkor
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Old 15th September 2010, 09:45   #10
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What camera do you use, by the way? These look like very professional images. Eagerly waiting for more.
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Old 15th September 2010, 10:46   #11
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finally Angkor Wat. I've been waiting to see a log on this for a while now. my wife and I almost made it to cambodia and had to call off the trip in the last moment. love to see more photos of the largest temple in the world.
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Old 15th September 2010, 10:56   #12
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Nice pics!!!!

I thought that this travelogue is extension of your earlier uncompleted travel story of unknown destination.
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Old 15th September 2010, 11:38   #13
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Nice. One question though, why are you using such a large DoF for protraits?
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Old 15th September 2010, 11:59   #14
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Excellent photos- clearly you specialize in portraitures.
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Old 15th September 2010, 14:21   #15
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evo my cousin who lives in Singapore had paid a visit to Cambodia this year and recommended we visit this place. What caught my eye was the pics from the ruins of the kingdom of Angkor.

Definitely would love to see some more faces from the ruins there. Good start with your travelogue and am glued.
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