Go Off The Beaten Track

In the boat ride to Angkor Wat complex, I was expecting to see the riverine communities with shanty houses on stilts and people fishing outside their homes. All of a sudden, this beautiful white mosque came into view, not long after we left Phnom Penh.

I think it a was at a Khmer Muslim village by the Cham people.

Further up river, I got to see the beautiful biodiversity of rare birds, fishes, amphibious animals and plants. To boot, I was traveling to the world’s greatest temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world, the Angkor Wat.

You will miss all these when you fly direct to Siem Reap as many weekend visitors do. Plan well. The unhealthy obsession with bucket lists is resulting in many people missing many significant and esoteric things, off the beaten path.

Find one of many good hotels in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh at MyCen Hotels http://www.mycen.my/

#mosque #cham #village #khmer #muslim #river #phnomppenh #tonlelesp #siemraap #rtiver #nature #travel #adventure

Journey To The Centre Of Tonlé Sap

Slow boat on Tonle Sap was one very amazing journey, Never would I know that one day I’ll be sailing on the Tone Sap, a lake described as the largest lake in South East Asia in our schools’ geography books. I used to look at the giant lake in Collins, Oxford or was it Macmillan World Atlas with much fascination, Bucket lists weren’t invented then but I hoped one day I’ll get to see it from the shore, To be able to sail on it, was beyond my wildest dreams.

Also shocked to find out later that villagers along the riverbank used to take pot shots at the tourist boat going upriver. It is safe now as many Cambodians surrendered their rifles for money in a gun exchange campaign. Many gave up their hobby to become freelance snipers.

Glad I found out the horrible history later or it would have been a very nervous ride. I did asked the skipper about what looked like old bullet holes in the wooden cabin of his boat, Communication was tough.as there was a French female backpacker sunbathing topless on the front deck.

I cannot remember the name of the hotel I stayed in Siem Reap to go to Angkor Wat. In an amazing development, I spoke to a Malaysian friend and expatriate in Phnom Penh a few day ago.

He was the one who introduced me to his friend and mysterious travel agent in a dark backstreet where I purchased the boat ticket and hotel voucher. I told him the hotel had a helpful Malaysian Indian manager I called Macha.

My friend told me every Malaysian Indian, in Cambodia, especially club DJs is named Macha. I remember there are like million of them there as they were disc jockeys in every club, lounge or disco I visited there. Malaysia’s top export to Cambodia was machas.

Amazingly. my usually inebriated friend recalled meeting the Siem Reap manager at Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnm Penh city. What a small world and I doubt my friend can locate him again as hoteliers dont stay long, The hunt for macha goes on.

Find one of many good hotels in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh at MyCen Hotels http://www.mycen.my/

Journey To The Centre Of Tonlé Sap

Because it is so vast, at 250 km in length and 100 km in width, we obviously weren’t able to see any shore in any direction, for quite a while. Is was easy to forget we weren’t out at sea but on a shallow lake. That was what makes it so awesome.

Couldn’t really achieve or tell if it was dead centre as the lake changes shape and size, depending on the state of flow or reversal of the Tonlé Sap.River. We were still some 60 km (about 2 hours) from the touristy water areas of Siem Reap.

With the engines switched off, it was eerily silent, peaceful and the boat was rocking wildly. The odd bunch of water hyacinth plant drifted by like tumbleweed in a cowboy ghost town.

Olympus E-3, ISO 100, f10, 1/640 sec.

#travelphotography #travelogue #travel #landscape #asean #cambodia #tonlesap #adventure