Magic of Cambodia

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hello everyone! Happy Sunday to all :)
Sorry for the lack of updates this week. Unfortunately I've been pretty sick and its terrible trying to stay awake despite feeling giddy + drowsy. Gone to see the doctor again this morning (after dim sum, no less haha) so hopefully I'll get much better!
Tomorrow is Lady Gaga concert oh my! Cant wait.
Here's the rest of my magical Cambodia trip - 
you can still catch Part 1 here and Part 2 here
-Day 3 Siem Reap- *LONG POST*
On the 3rd day, all of us woke up really bright and early to go Ang Kor Wat for SUNRISE!
4.30am to be exact ... 
Angkor Wat is a Hindu temple complex in the world, situated at Angkor, Cambodia, built by King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. 
As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation – first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. 
The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.
Had to buy special temple tickets and then our van dropped us off and we walked in all the way with our experienced tour guide, Lee.
Waited for sunrise.
This is the unobstructed view of Ang Kor Wat!
Check out our friend Al's timelapse on Ang Kor Wat
After that we explored the temple
It was breathtaking!
If you know the history of the temple, you will find it so amazing - how do they even build this whole place up back in those days? And with no cement at all!
The stones, as smooth as polished marble, were laid without mortar with very tight joints that were sometimes hard to find. The blocks were held together by mortise and tenon joints in some cases, while in others they used dovetails and gravity. The blocks were presumably put in place by a combination of elephants, coir ropes, pulleys and bamboo scaffolding. 
Taking pics along the way
Our good friend Z, you can check out her blog here :)
The skies was as blue as blue can be 
Such intricate craving can be seen on the walls of the temple and every dancer sculpture is different. 
Another good friend of ours, Willy.
His Facebook page here or follow him in Twitter here
Using fisheye lens
Portable tripod ahahaha!
We left Ang Kor Wat for Ta Prohm - where Laura Croft was shot!
Plenty of monkeys 
(made me hide all my stuff!)
Ta Prohm is the modern name of a temple at Angkor, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia, built in the Bayon style largely in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and originally called Rajavihara.
Located approximately one kilometre east of Angkor Thom and on the southern edge of the East Baray, it was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII as a Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university. 
Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most popular temples with visitors.
The trees here were soooo tall and huge!
This is one of the most photographed trees here in Ta Prohm. 
If you look closely - you can see the branches grow in a way that it totally avoids blocking the face of a Buddha sculpture!
Act of nature or act of the Gods? :)
You decide.
Saw little children sitting down at the corners of the temple becoz their parents work there selling incense, flowers trinkets etc. 
Beautiful haunting faces
A local toy hung on a tree branch.
Leaving for yet another temple!
This is Bayon! 
Another famous landmark temple in Siem Reap.
Amazing face of Buddha build out of blocks!
Took my breath away
We organised local Aspara Dancers to pose at Bayon
The Bayon is a well-known and richly decorated Khmer temple at Angkor in Cambodia. Built in the late 12th century or early 13th century as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII, the Bayon stands at the centre of Jayavarman's capital, Angkor Thom. 
Following Jayavarman's death, it was modified and augmented by later Hindu and Theravada Buddhist kings in accordance with their own religious preferences.
The Bayon's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and massive stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace and cluster around its central peak.
The temple is known also for two impressive sets of bas-reliefs, which present an unusual combination of mythological, historical, and mundane scenes.
I love the look of the ruins behind
Went back to the hotel and JUMPED IN THE POOL!
Super relax!!! 
Perfect way to cool down after all the walking under the hot sun!
This picture EPIC.
Had our late lunch and slackkkkk
Almost .. almost couldnt make ourselves get out of the pool and head to Phnom Bakheng for sunset.
Phnom Bakheng at Angkor, Cambodia, is a Hindu temple in the form of a temple mountain. 
Dedicated to Shiva, it was built at the end of the 9th century, during the reign of King Yasovarman (889-910). Located atop a hill, it is nowadays a popular tourist spot for sunset views of the much bigger temple Angkor Wat, which lies amid the jungle about 1.5 km to the southeast. 
The large number of visitors makes Phnom Bakheng one of the most threatened monuments of Angkor. 
Its a rather small structure on the hill so we had to go early to get a good view! 
The temple also limits daily visitors to about 250 people total.
We went down the hill and to DINNER!
Ahhhh cocktails ........
An Angkor Sunset cocktail AFTER an Angkor Sunset :p
Then our favorite part of the day : MASSAGE!
And more after-drinks at a local pub
They had an entertaining band!
Hahahaha look at the dejected ang moh
We walked back to our hotel and there was street dancing! By a 4 year old boy!
We laughed and cheered for him!
-Day 4 Siem Reap-
On Day 4, we visited the dumpsite to get to know more about the Baray Krochab Project.
This project aims to get families out of the dump. building houses for them and teaching them to learn a trade or two to survive.
What you are going to see might break your heart.
There are many families here living below poverty line and all they can do is to pick up waste from the dumpsites and try to sell/recycle to make a living for their families.
Not surprisingly, the children here dun go to school and there are practically no clean water here for the families. Most babies and kids get very bad bacterial infections every year from drinking unclean water. 
Yes. They live here.
In the midst of rubbish everywhere. 
The families catch frogs from the site to eat.
(Just look at the amount of flies)
Here's a typical family living in the dumpsite.
I dunno if you have ever walked by a rubbish chute?
The smell here is just as bad and perhaps magnified by the sheer amount of decaying food laying around. 
I dun think you would complain about how small your nice and clean HDB is after taking a stroll here.
My heart goes out to them.
If you have seen the pictures of the villages in my previous Siem Reap posts - those village houses are practically heaven as compared to the houses here in the dumpsite.
The ones here dun have proper toilets - you just do your business in the trees/bushes/grass.
Little girl preening out of the door after hearing noises from strangers (us)
Their living room
The boys from other houses came over to check us out
Giving them something small
They were so shy but looked so grateful
A Cambodian mother with her child
The children here usually dun have wear any shoes or slippers to protect their delicate skin from the harsh environment
If you look closely - the rubbish truck is here so the villagers are already prepared by the dumpsite, waiting to savage anything remotely usable from the load of dump.
Off to visit a rescued family by the Baray Krochab Project
This is the Chhum family of seven.
They now live in a single bedroom house, but at least there is a working toilet and proper kitchen to do cooking! The local guide and project representative also told us that in the beginning - the children was still doing business in the bushes becoz they have never seen a toilet in their lives!
The guide had to teach them to use the toilet and operate a flush.
They had originally lived in the dumpsite but is one of the first families to be rescued by the project.
Mr Chhum is a hardworking breadwinner of the family and even when they were living in the dump - he actually managed to send 2 of their 5 children to school.
In Cambodia, it is not uncommon to only send 1 or 2 brighter children to school while the rest of the children sacrifice help out to earn a living. Or marry out at 16 to lesser the family burden.
Poor families here usually buy groceries eg rice/salt/oil when they need it becoz they dun have the money to buy it all at one shot. Thankfully the Baray Krochab project helps out the families by donating full sized food essentials and necessary basic items for the families to use.
A side note to thank all my wonderful friends and readers who kindly took time to donate items for me to bring over to Cambodia. We took suitable ones to donate to the school (earlier post) and some of it we used it to donate to the Chhum family.
They had originally moved here with one plastic bag of belongings so we were glad to be able to give them new clothes and shoes. They changed into the clothes immediately!
Look how happy they are!
I realised they were most excited about the slippers/shoes that we bought over becoz I hardly see the children there wear any! 
Mr Chhum also immediately put on a t-shirt we gave him! I was so happy to see him grin happily as he checked out the men's pants we bought over too. I think he didnt expect us to bring  anything for himself. I stop to wonder how simple the people there can be. 
Clothes, pants, shoes that we dun even blink an eyelid to throw away only to be so preciously treasured by them.
Gave the children sweets too!
Before we left, they thanked us profusely and I could see the tears of joy in the parents' eyes.
On the way back we saw children climbing up trees!
Can u guess why?
Yes! To jump off the trees and into the water!
Having a ball of time!
We headed for a nice Cambodian local lunch!
Lunch in an attap house!
With hammock! Shiok!
Willy u very relac hor!
Humble local food.
Yummy beef with a side of salad!
This is as local as local can get .......... FRIED ANTS!
It was actually very nice!!!!!
Look of hesitation hahaha
Great meal! 
Friends, food and Angkor beer!
Forcing Z some ants
She wears braces so we all shudder to think if there will be stuck ants in her mouth! :p
Huge fish!
Vendor came ... and sold us some local delicacy - CRICKETS!!!!
It goes perfect with beer!!!!!!!!
I look like a girly girl ....... but Im a real tomboy at heart!
I try anything!
After lunch we headed back to the hotel ... and the hubs surprised me with something!
Taking a tuk tuk ~
Road sights
We are going .............
To the airport!!!!!!
My first time on a helicopter!
Getting ready ......
Up and away we go!

Look! Ang kor wat from a distance!
The view was STUNNING.
It really looks as though its floating on water hence the name, floating temple!
Our captain gave us a guide of Siem Reap in the air!
The city
Rice fields 
Water village
Can u see the water village???
Look like tiny toy houses!
Its a 40 min ride and soon we are back on ground!
It was so nice .. !! Thank you thank you Jungle Boy for the surprise!
My first helicopter ride!
Back to the hotel

We checked into another hotel for the last night of our stay
The room was lovely but the location isnt as ideal as our previous hotel in Pub street
Had an Italian dinner in the hotel
Cheers to a wonderful trip!
It was a great intimate meal :)
But we miss the rest of the gang so we head back to Pub Street to look for them LOL!
Wore my White Summer Sundress by Amelie-Anne and you can view previous advert here!
Its such an easy to wear piece and I love it :D
Drinking session beckons before we head home the next day!
Went back to the live band again! The singer was singing 'Nobody' and this few Korean aunties was hilarious! Dancing and singing along to the song - it was great fun!
Cocktails for the night
Cheers everyone!!!! 
Lets enjoy our last night here in Siem Reap before going back home tomorrow :)
The next day .......
Going back Singapore!
Siem Reap was such a magical magical trip and we really cant wait to go back there!
I really fell in love with the place and the people. 
We hope to help the Baray Krochab Project so do show your support by 'Liking' our Changing Lives A Family at a time FaceBook Page to keep updated on projects and events .. Thank you!
Have a great and blessed week ahead everyone!


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