Egil’s Travel Log

Travelling Asia, one country at a time

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PhotoStory 0005: Royal Garden in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

A little view in the Royal Garden in front of the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh
Photo taken 2006-10-23, (oct 23rd) at the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

On my second morning in Phonom Penh and Cambodia, the group I had joined for my first week in Cambodia had plans to visit the Royal Palace. And after visiting the S-21, the Killing Fields and the Market already on the day before, - I thought I might as well join them. Not my top choice for sightseeing in general, - but still a nice way to get into the feeling of beeing a tourist :-)

The King of Cambodia still lives in the Royal Palace, - or actually in Khemarin Palace whitch is situated a little bit away from the rest of the buildings. We paid 3 usd to get in, and we mostly had to follow a 'more or less' english speaking guide around the royal aria. The guide was apointed to us then we came, and was included in the entrance fee.

Then there was an additional fee of 2 usd for each photocamera, and 5 usd for each videocamera! - And with knowlege of that many of the places inside where "No Photo Inside" we decided to just buy one "camera fee", and I ended up walking around with 3 cameras, switching among them so all 3 owners would get some nice photoes of their choices :-) and I promiced to send my photoes to the others after finally comming back to my city Stavanger (Norway) the next year.
(hmmm Thinking of this is giving me a bit of bad conscience now, - maybe it's time to mail Tore in "Bike for Peace" to get the adresses of group members - so I can send them all the photoes I promiced ;-) )

It was really a hot morning and day in Phnom Penh, and it was always good to get under roof from the burning sun everytime we went in a new building. First impressive one was the Throne Hall, where we only was allowed to entrance a couple of meters, - as they was preparing a big ceremony for the next day, - and in this, as the other buildings there was "No Photo Inside" signs everywhere. The Throne Hall was a nice open building mostly in gold, yellow and white colours. In the middle of the hall we could see servants starting to build up a pile of nicely wrapped presants. We were told that the presants was the Kings gifts to the guests on the next days ceremony.

We also were admitted to a building presenting the Kings, and his familys uniforms and old royal items, and then the famous Silver Pagoda. The Silver Pagoda itself was not so impressive, but the floor was covered by many tousands pure silver tiles, and the inner part of the pagoda was containing a marvelous collection of valuable buddhas, all in different positions, sizes and materials. For me - some of the buddhas made of exclusive bright green Jade was an amazing sight!

Outside the Silver Pagoda was the Royal Garden, and its placement inside the high walls and the various Royal buildings, the many small manicured tropical gardens were standing out like ornate islands rising from the concrete tiles that make the ground around the Silver Pagoda. It was nice and quiet to walk around there, - looking at this strange and still beautiful mix of manmade dead concrete ground, and rich tropical and fertile vegetation within its stright limitation.

Absoulutely a nice place to relax and meditate, - and I can easy see myself getting more peace of mind here, then out in the traffic of Phnom Penh... ;-)





ps please comment the photo if you like, and grade it from 0 to 10(best) after your liking

egil viking . . . www.meihack.org
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PhotoStory 0003: Khmer Traditional Dancing in Siem Reap

Khmer Traditional Dancing in Siem ReapPhoto taken 2006-10-29, (oct 29th) at at a hotel in Siem Reap, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia


While in Cambodia, there is several things I belive is "Must Do/See's", and one of this was traditional Khmer Dancing. With fantastic costumes and gentle movements it is truely something to include in your trip to Cambodia.

I went to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, and decided to stay in Earthwalkers GueastHouse while in Siem Reap. Earthwalkers GueastHouse is an excellent Guesthouse started be norwegian enthusiasts, and gives it profits to help out children without family and other local projects helping unfortunate cambodians in this vey poor province of Cambodia. Earthwalkers is mentioned in the Lonely Planet Guides, and is located about 1-2 km outside the centre of Siem Reap.

I was hoping to be as lucky to see a Khmer Dance Group concisting of children from the childrens centres run by Earthwalkers, but the actual night these was been hied by a very exclusive hotel , and it would cost me 100 usd to see the show, - and since this money would only go to the hotelowners profit, I decided to see other dancers to get this Khmer Dancing experience. The Earthwalkers personell was vey helpful, and found me another place/hotel to se a show with adult dancers.

And the dancing and costumes/outfits were truely amazing, and the gentle movements and dancing showing the stories was really captivating. It was hard to keep the eyes away from the girls doing the show at the stage, so I almost missed totally out on the buffee beeing served. I guess different dances from this part of the world looks a lot similar for us in the western, - I mean Thai dancing, minority dancing in China, Laos dancing and others has many of the similar feachers. But I must say the beautiful girls on this stage doing this fantastic Khmer Dancing in their amazing outfits, - was the most memorable danceshow on my trip in Asia...

So if you ever have the chance of experiencing the traditional Khmer Dancing, - do it :-) its a magic sight for sore eyes... both the dance itself, and the girls performing it...



Some links of Khmer Dancing: Khmer classical dance, Dance of Cambodia , Cambodian Classical Dance


ps please comment the photo if you like, and grad it from 0 to 10(best) after your liking

egil viking . . . www.meihack.org
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A little report from Siem Reap...

A little report from Siem Reap...


Donating blood in Phnom Penh
Well because of a little trouble getting back my passport from the Burmeese(Myanmar) embassy in Phnom Peh, I was stuck a day to long in PP, so what to do....... Well I ended up in the hostpital, giving blood :)

Finally I came meself to Siem Reap, mainly to see one of the biggest "must see" places in the world....

and... Well, what can I say.... the Ankor temples and old structures are really magnificent and kind of mindblowing... :)

If you wonder if the Ankor Temples are wurth a visit... stop wondering, and start planning....

Ankor Wat just before sunrise
Angkor Wat is large and classical, this awesome site is the world's largest temple, with the world's longest bas-relief panels.

Angkor Thom is a cluster of sites is an another must-see, and the spectacular South Gate is the best-preserved entry to Angkor Thom. The central temple, the Bayon, is small in scale, but bizarre, mysterious, and imaginative -- the favorite of many visitors.

Ta Prohm-roots 2
Finally the jungle-locked ruins of Ta Prohm are romantic and spooky sites, covered by centuries of vegetation. The French left Ta Prohm untouched to give an impression of how Angkor looked in the 19th century, with tree roots and foliage winding through the stonework.

First I took the trip out in the evening to see the sunset, and then next morning I took a Tuk Tuk out to be there before 05 am to see the sunrise again... and then walking around amazed untill 14:00 (pm) and home again... Really felt like I was at a spesial place.

I the first evening I also enjoyed some Apsara (Khmer) Dancing at a hotel in the Siem Riep... Very nice I must say, and not only the girls :)

Children playing at the orthenage
I also visited an orphanage a little outside Siem Riep, and was shown around by Christian, a swedish helper there. At this o rphanage there were 48 cildren in total, from the ages 2 til 17... at the age of 16 they are been prepared to leaving the safeity of the orphanage and asked about what they would like to do to support them selves, and the wish is for them to be selfsupported as soon as possible afrer turning 17+. It was very interesting, and the o rphanage had a strong focus of keeping as much as possible of the Khmer way of living (and not push the western traditions on the cambodians). I also got to play soem football with the kids here untill the dark made it difficult to see the ball....

There is a lot of good and worthy prodjects that has good need for support here in Cambodia, later (then I get home?) I will write some more about this, and give those of you interested information on how to support the needy...

Take Care everyone.

Egil Viking
Chau Duc

(vietnam)

(PS: See more pictures from Cambodia in the gallery.)
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Hell and Heaven in Cambodia...

Hell and Heaven in Cambodia...


Smiles is the shortest distance toi the heart
Cambodia is truely a country that should give you mixed emotions. From the beauty of history long past, and the horror of history all to close to date... From the shineing and truely genuine smiles that meets you along the way, to the more desperate and handicapped beggars along the same way, wishing for a dollar, or at least a few riel from the "rich" tourists.."

So, how do you as a tourist deal with this situation...? Its not easy, and totally impossible to help everybody, so you go and help some, and hope this will easy your own mind enougth to not notice all the rest to much, so you still can enjoy all the beauty and goodness in this truely wonderful country.

Still I have not gotten to see Ankor Wat, the amazing temple site outside Siem Reap. I will go tomorrow...

AVIP ! cell in S21,  for the best treated victoums, (they all died, but some had a bed the last days)
I got to see the Horroble S21, Security21, a former school transformed for torturing all not suspected to agree 100% with the Khmer Roudge...

And then to the killing fields where they kill and dump the people they saw now use in let existing.
sculls - remains from the Killings Fieldsonly the holes in the ground left after some of the massgraves


Truely one of the darkes chapter in mankind history.

Also I see the beautiful smiles, and laughts of people, just happy for some attention, small girls smiling - overshining the sun, and the genuine happyness of meeting us.

And the beautiful beaches of Sihanoukville, and the nationalpark near by, where you feel it all has been contructed to please everyone, even you may find yourself all alone for a mile or two...

The most impressive is the genuine smiles everywhere, if you go a little outside the worst beggars and sellers places... they all feels interested in where you are from, and what you think, and maybe a little chance to speak some englich, and pick up some new words, or friends along the way... I truely would like to return to Cambodia, and hopefully with a little chance to help some of the wonderful people along the way... there are certainly need for it here... I tell more about that in next letter from Cambodia, then I get back from Siem Reap sometime....

If you concider going to Cambodia, there is nothing to concider anymore, just go, and bring your heart with you...

Tell you more next time :)
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