CAMBODIA TALES 2001
Window on Cambodia
(Above) Two photos from my adventures in Kompong Chhnang. On the left, Chhoun, a policeman who offered his services as my guide, enjoys the early morning sun on our boat trip across the Tonle Sap river. On the right, is the brick temple of Prasat Srei, complete with 'flying palaces' and lintels from around the 8th or 9th century. This was one of three ancient brick temple sites I found across the river.
(Above) The chief of Koh Ker village (Preah Vihear province), Yuon, is holding his young son as his family pose for an early morning photograph alongside my friend and motodriver Sokhom (left, wearing cap). We had stayed the night in our hammocks at his home in the village next to the temple complex of the same name.
This line-up was taken in the middle of a forest near the village of Svay Chek (north of Angkor). We'd just reached the ancient temple of Prasat Kpok after a 30-minute walk cutting our way through the bush. In the centre is my pal Rieng, who doubles as my guide and moto-driver. On his left is Ith Raksmei (the local police chief) and an old gentleman who appeared out of the forest and claimed he was the temple's guardian. On Rieng's right is Veng, armed with his AK-47 for our protection and Houng, an off-duty policeman who did all the hard work with his scythe.
(Above) Searching for temples can be a messy business. I'm pictured left, complaining as usual, that the policeman behind me didn't offer to give me a 'piggy-back' lift through this flooded part of the forest! The broken branches and debris underfoot made this paddle a painful trek in the forest surrounding the village of Svay Chek, some 25 kms north of Angkor, as we searched for remote temples. Great fun nonetheless. Pictured right is the massive pyramid centrepiece of the Koh Ker complex of temples in northern Cambodia. Its called Prasat Thom and is the seven-tiered state temple of this former Khmer capital city. Its about 40 metres high and the top is reached by a series of unsteady ladders (not for the faint-hearted, especially after sunset!).
(Above) Two photos from my visit to the remote Banteay Chhmar, in northwest Cambodia. Because of its seclusion, this large temple site has been the victim of a number of thefts in the last few years and the photograph on the left is an illustration of this. The head of the Rishi (a Hindu sage or ascetic) has been removed and numerous examples of this destruction can be found at the temple. On the right is one of the remaining large smiling faces, identical to those found at the Bayon at Angkor, of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, that can be found at Banteay Chhmar.
Click on any photograph to enlarge it.
Here's links to the rest of my Cambodia Tales.
Cambodia Tales 2
November 2001 marked my 7th 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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