Amazing Cambodia: “Angelina Jolie Temple” of Angkor

This is a continuation of my entries on the “Amazing Cambodia” series. Click on the respective links to read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Shortly after I came back from my trip, about 80% of the photos I took in Cambodia – which you’re going to see in this post and the next – were accidentally deleted off Rainbow’s memory card.

There was no backup.

And the photos deleted were the GIST of my Cambodia trip.

I was really upset about it and about to give up, until one fine afternoon when I was told by Rainbow that she had not taken any new photos with the memory card consisting of the deleted photos.

I was elated, as I was suddenly reminded that photo recovery is possible if no new photos are taken with the memory card where photos are deleted.

On the same night, I worked extremely hard searching for and cracking photo-recovery softwares with Rainbow on the other end of MSN.

In the end, a total of 834 photos were successfully recovered, although 40 or so were corrupted.

The reason why I said this post is the gist, is because it consists of a shitload of photos I took in Angkor Watt – one of the wonders of the world! Mai siao siao!

It was only our third day in Cambodia when my 2GB memory card already ran out of memory at the Tonle Sap lake. I totally forgot to bring along my other 2GB memory card and had to borrow Rainbow’s extra memory card in the end.

So on the fourth day we finally got to visit the legendary Angkor Wat, where we entered through Angkor Thom (they call it the “big Angkor”) via its South gate. Photos below depict scenes at the South entrance.



If we hadn’t been told which gate it was that we were entering, we wouldn’t have any idea anyway. The whole site was just gigantic and the monuments looked so much similar from one another.

Apparently Angkor Wat (“City Temple”) refers to the monuments as a whole, which consists of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphuon, and more.


We spent half a day exploring Angkor Thom, after which we went out for a lunch and took a shower break before coming back in the evening to visit Bayon and Baphuon.


Faces of King Suryavarman II were carved on the stones of the monuments. Of the many faces of the King, the following is said to be the one and only smiling face of him:


Damn arrogant lah this King Suryavarman II!

From this point onwards I shall let the photos do the talking since I can’t remember so many details. Hence I’m also unable to give each and every photo an accurate description.

These photos consist of scenes from Angkor Thom, Bayon, and Baphuon.












At the “Tomb Raider Temple”, where Angelina Jolie shot certain scenes for her hit movie Tomb Raider, you can see century-old big trees that look exceptionally phenomenal.



Some of the trees seemed to be slowly eating up the temple buildings. It is sometimes bewildering how time can do wonders.







Rainbow standing alongside a tree that looks like a human backside!

In the picture below, the tree is given a name – called the “couple’s tree”. The tour guide, who was so very patient in helping us take a bazillion of photos, asked us to pose under the couple’s tree thinking we were a couple.


We didn’t bother explaining and just pretended to be a couple anyway.

Whenever Rainbow and I thought of our tour guide, we would feel a sense of guilt. This guy was super helpful and all, so we decided to give him some tips before we left. But during the day when he was supposed to send us off, he arrived at our hotel a minute late. By the time we saw him turning into our hotel on his motorcycle, we were already on the bus and taking off.

Tour guides in Cambodia generally earn much less than one can imagine and their main stream of income does not come from their allowance but from the tips offered by tourists. Furthermore their allowance is based on the number of tour days they have in a month and not on a per-month basis.

Anyway, we were quite lucky to be able to have visited Cambodia in April because it was actually during the off-peak season and there hadn’t been many tourists. Less tourists certainly means better photo opportunities!

Besides, tour package was so much cheaper compared to if you bought it during the peak season. And most important of all, there were just the two of us during the whole tour – we had been very well fed and well taken care of!

In fact I had gained some weight during our six-day trip in Cambodia, haha!

Anyway during the second half of the day, it was drizzling. But I thought it was okay because the scenery at Bayon was still pretty!




Within the vicinity of Bayon they were selling amazing paintings of Angkor Wat. Very nice lor but they were very costly okay!



The photo below was taken at the highest point of the Bayon temple if I’m not wrong. It was supposed to be closed either due to rain or safety reasons but some dude went ahead and removed the “no entry” sign and visitors who saw it started rushing up.


Of course, Rainbow and I were among them. Hahah!

Last but not least, let me show you an unexpected “winter sonata” scene at Bayon:


Part 5, also the last entry from the “Amazing Cambodia” series, can be read here.

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!


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!


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.


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.


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.





After that we headed for the Tonle Sap lake – the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia!
Tonle Sap lake from a microscopic view. Image credit to

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:


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.


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.


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.


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!




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.



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!


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.







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.

I’m Ken, a passionate traveller from Sarawak on the exotic island of Borneo. Currently a teacher in a rural town in Southern Thailand, from time to time I share on this blog my experiences teaching the kids and living a laid-back lifestyle here. With its focus on all things Thailand, also features a handful of stories about my travel adventures in other Asian countries.