Category Archives: Cambodia

Shortly after I came back from my trip, about 80% of the photos I took in Cambodia were accidentally deleted. Find out what happened next.


Amazing Cambodia: Boat Ride on Largest Lake, Tonle Sap

If you have missed Part 1 and Part 2 of my “Amazing Cambodian” series, click on the respective links to read.

In Siem Reap, we visited Les Artisan D’angko, where you get to purchase locally-made traditional arts and crafts items and witness the amazing craftsmanship of fellow young Cambodians!

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At the semi-public company that was started in 1992, there are talents as young as maybe 10 years of age who are already learning the art of stone carving, wood ornamental sculpture, lacquer, and polychromy. WASEH!

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And our brats here? Probably don’t even have a quarter their talents and yet dare to complain a damn lot! They really deserve some slaps.

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At Les Artisan D’angko, the lady in blue shirt and painting away in the photo below is actually their art teacher. Rainbow and I chatted with her a bit and realised she was very down-to-earth, on top of her being so talented.

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Les Artisan D’angko is a prominent producer of many beautiful Buddha statues made of various materials. As we were not too much into stuffs like these, we left the center empty handed.

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After that we headed for the Tonle Sap lake – the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia!

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Tonle Sap lake from a microscopic view. Image credit to lakeclinic.org.

I think we paid USD30 per pax for this trip since it wasn’t included in our tour package. Price was a little rip-off and the overall experience was definitely not worth what we had paid.

At the jetty before going onto the boat (it was about to rain never did rain after all) we were greeted by its not-so-satisfactory scene:

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Our boat was navigated by two brothers, and the passengers were just Rainbow, our tour guide, and I. No one else. Maybe that explains the expensive price we paid for the trip.

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Since we went there during the middle of the year, which is usually characterised by dry weather with minimal raindrop, the lake had shrunk by five times.

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The river (Tonle Sap lake is a combined lake and river system) at the beginning of our ride was rather shallow, thereby resulting in our boat getting stuck halfway. The brothers had to work hard to get the boat through the shallow area.

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On the Tonle Sap lake, we got to witness a lot of floating dwellings, comprised of schools, churches, temples, restaurants, private houses, and others. They were such an eye-opener for city folks like Rainbow and I!

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We were actually heading to the Chong Kneas floating village, situated at the northern end of the Tonle Sap lake. If I didn’t remember wrongly, a lot of the inhabitants there were Vietnamese.

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Halfway through our boat journey, I asked the brothers if I could sit on the bow of the boat and one of them said “yes!” To feel the wind breeze through myself at the front of the boat was one of the most relaxing experiences ever!

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Chong Kneas was a disappointment. It was actually a huge, two-storey dwelling unit featuring some kids playing with huge water snakes and a so-called crocodiles farm which is in actual fact a small pond with a few crocodiles.

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Well, my final verdict is that the Tongle Sap lake definitely didn’t live up to my expectations.

For one it was rather expensive. Secondly, there was nothing much it could offer. We spent an hour getting to Chong Kneas just to be disappointed by what it had there, and then spent another hour heading back to the jetty.

Part 4 coming up next.


Amazing Cambodia: The Dirt Cheap Beer

This is a follow-up entry of Part 1 of my “Amazing Cambodia” series.

Rainbow and I were a bit crazy lah because normally people fly to Siem Reap as their first destination before taking off to and departing from Phnom Penh. Or the other way round.

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But in our case, we went to Phnom Penh first, then to Siem Reap, and then back to Phnom Penh again. And these two places are seven hours apart okay!

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Anyway… on the second day we had buffet lunch at a rather atas restaurant called “Tonle Bassac Restaurant”.

The lunch wasn’t up to par with what I had expected but at least it was more Cambodian and less Chinese compared to other meals we had taken before. Nevertheless I still put up some photos because of how delicious they seem. Pictures can be misleading indeed!

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After lunch we visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which used to be a high school but was used as the Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge communist regime to house prisoners.

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Almost two million Cambodians were killed by the Khmer Rouge and the victims included monks, soldiers, government officials, academics, teachers, students, factory workers, engineers, and doctors!

I shall not provide too many photos and delve too much into the history because they kinda give me eeriness. If you look closely at the photo below, you may be able to notice blood stains on the walls.

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Many innocent prisoners, including pregnant women and children, were tortured in the rooms of the high school. The photo below depicts some containers used by the prisoners to, err, shit.

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Well, let’s talk about something more positive. One of the places in Phnom Penh that I really enjoyed going was the Central Market.

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I went there for a total of three times during my stay in Phnom Penh. Bought an earphone for my iPod, a wallet, and plenty of T’s from there!

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Traffic was a little scary in the city of Phnom Penh because people didn’t seem to rely on traffic lights. In fact there were noticeably only few traffic lights in Cambodia.

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Later that night, we were brought to dine in a mansion-cum-restaurant for dinner. I never bothered to take down the name of this restaurant as their rude waitresses and bad food really turned me off.

Nice environment and all, what was with the lousiest attitude their waitresses put on? They definitely need some lecturing on customer service.

Instead of attending to customers, most of the times these waitresses just leaned against the wall watching some Cambodian MV’s. And when we requested our water to be refilled, they seemed super reluctant and acted like we had killed their boyfriends.

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EH XIAOJIE, WANT TO WATCH MV’S GO BACK HOME AND WATCH WITH YOUR UNCLE OKAY! Don’t cincai-cincai show face to your customers who pay.

The chicken they served was super disgusting (although, I must say, it looks really nice in the picture).

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It was actually only half-cooked and the feathers were not cleaned properly off the skin.

We requested it to be replaced with another dish and although they did replace it, they gave us this reluctant expression. If we were unlucky I guess our replacement dish might come with some extra “stuff” lor!

Anyway, done with ranting so let’s more on.

Beer in Cambodia is cheap, cheap, cheap!

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Its local beer, popularly known as Angkor beer, was sold only at USD0.60 per can (only around RM2). Bottled Heineken and Tiger were sold at USD1.45 and USD1.20 respectively, which means around RM4. In Malaysia they easily cost over RM13!

Being utmostly kiasu I bought like three cans and two bottles of beer.

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Rainbow bought some too but was unable to finish them so I had to finish them for her. It’s my pleasure, Rainbow!

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The next day we took a long, long bus ride to Siem Reap.

Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are seven hours apart by bus. Not that they’re actually that far a distance, but the small and bumpy road really made travelling and driving such a headache! At the time of visit there wasn’t even any highway in Cambodia.

Every other second, the driver kept hitting the horn in order to alert other drivers to the bus’ presence. To the Cambodians,  honking does not mean one is angry at other driver. Cambodian is known for its high fatality rate and drivers generally honk for safety reasons.

The road condition along the way to Siem Reap:

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The bus driver made a stop along the way for a 30-minute lunch break. We didn’t have much appetite given the less than satisfactory environment so we decided to explore the place instead.

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We bought ourselves a hat each because Cambodia can be as hot as Kampar!

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Some views along the way to Siem Reap:

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I love how simple some of the Cambodians live their lives.

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And you know what…

Laozi had to prepare for the International Advertising even during my vacation! But then again there was beer and music so I guess that kinda compensated my lack of life.

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We reached Siem Reap at about 1pm and were checked into a restaurant for lunch. It was okay, nothing amazing though. After that we headed for our hotel called Angkorway to have a quick shower break.

Among the hotels we had stayed in Cambodia, Angkorway proved itself to be the best because it was spacious and comfortable; it also had free Wifi and a pool behind it (though, we didn’t have the time to swim)!

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After our shower break we were off to visit the Wat Bo temple where a lot of monks resided.

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If I could work on my Master’s thesis in such an environment, guarantee can complete it within six months!

In Siem Reap, you get to see a lot of tombs like these pictures:

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The size and colour of the tombs will define who the dead is. Big tombs are for adults and little tombs for children. If one is rich, he or she probably would get a golden one.

The Amazing Cambodia Trip Part 3 will be continued in the next entry.