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Revisiting Choam Khsan

Travel Tale & Photos - to follow

As soon as I decided to stay in Choam Khsan I began kicking myself for not doing my homework. The area surrounding what is little more than a large village, close to the Thai border, is awash with ruined Angkorean temples and as soon as we got there I changed my plan of a cross-country moto-trip to Stung Treng, in favour of two nights in this sleepy backwater. However, without the aid of my historical data that I'd left at home in England, our temple exploration the next day was a bit hit and miss, though we did locate five temple sites, trekked through a lot of forest and as usual, I enjoyed my time in the company of my pal Sokhom. Finding someone with knowledge of the temples around Choam Khsan is difficult in the extreme. Some of the locals are aware of one or two temples, but with potentially twenty separate sites nearby, their lack of knowledge can be very frustrating. I'd visited the town before when I'd blazed the trail to Prasat Preah Neak Buos but I knew there were others to be found and next time, I'll be better prepared. I can report that the tikaloks are pretty good in front of my guesthouse and that the locals are very friendly, though the stares I received from the busy market traders and their customers the next morning, suggested I was from another planet. We took the old road south to Tbeng Meanchey with hopes of finding some more temples enroute - we were not to be disappointed.

Before we reached Choam Khsan, Sokhom and I stopped off to visit the brick and sandstone temple of Prasat Lean, an hour south of Tbeng Meanchey. The temple sites that we encountered on our exploration around the village of Choam Khsan were the three sandstone towers of Prasat Sneng Krabei North and the three brick towers of Prasat Sneng Krabei South, the scattered bricks, doorframes and lintel of Prasat Sema and the much-ruined Prasat Trapeang Prasat. In the afternoon we headed north to visit the temple complex of Prasat Thnal Svay North, with two brick towers and a large walled sandstone sanctuary, where I slipped and fell over, narrowly avoiding a bang on the head. It was a reminder to me of how remote we were from medical facilities. The moto ride from the village was forty minutes and then another twenty minute hike through waist-high undergrowth. No-one ever said temple-hunting in Cambodia was easy.

The full Choam Khsan story will appear here soon.

The 3 towers of Prasat Sneng Krabei North await us once we navigate the undergrowth {click to enlarge}.

{Above} The undergrowth presents us with a hurdle to overcome whilst visiting Prasat Sneng Krabei North, near Choam Khsan. Click to enlarge.

Here's links to the rest of my Cambodia Tales

Cambodia Tales

Cambodia Tales 2

January 2006 marked my twelfth trip to Cambodia since my first-ever visit in 1994. It's a country that has a special magic all of its own and which draws me back every year to venture out into the Cambodian countryside in search of new adventures, ancient temples and to catch up with the friends I've made from previous visits. Each trip is full of laughter, smiles and a host of fresh experiences and my latest expedition was no exception.

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