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Floating villages in the Tonle Sap Lake, northwestern Cambodia

CAMBODIA | Saturday, 7 June 2008 | Views [1333] | Comments [1]

7th June 2008

Laura, Sarah (whom we had met in Battambang), Stephen and I travelled across the Tonle Sap Lake/River from Battambang to Siem Reap. The journey was not as picturesque as I was led to believe it would be, but there were certainly a few good photo opportunities, and it was interesting to see briefly the lifestyle of Cambodians living in a floating village in the Tonle Sap lake.

After some searching, we managed to find some decent accommodation. I decided to hire out a bicycle for a couple of hours to explore the town. This was the first time I had hired a bicycle in SE Asia, and I was slightly nervous about navigating through the traffic. As far as I can tell, there are two rules that govern traffic in Cambodia - 1) you can drive anywhere in the road so long as you are fast enough to avoid being hit, 2) driving on the right-hand side is optional but desirable. Once I understood this, I had great fun cycling in town - it was like playing dodgems!

As I was cycling, my attention was drawn to a modern building set within landscaped grounds. I was surprised to see that this was a museum, since no museums had been marked in my guidebooks. I later found out that this museum opened very recently, only 7 months before, and therefore was not mentioned in any of the guidebooks yet. What luck!

I passed the steep $12 entry fee and spent the remaining 2 hours before the museum closed trying to absorb as much as I could. The museum had a remarkable collection of buddha statues dating back 1500 years. Although more could have been done in the way of explanation, I still learnt a great deal about the interrelationship between Hinduism, Brahmanism, and Buddhism; the history of the Angkor god-kings; and how the architecture of the Angkor temples related to the prevailing religion of the period. All of this, in addition to what I had read about Cambodian history & culture, provided some background knowledge to better appreciate the temples of Angkor.

When I returned the bicycle in the evening, I resolved to go cycling more often during my travels.

Stephen was no where to be seen when I returned back to the guesthouse. I around waited for an hour, and I was joined later by Laura and Sarah, who I convinced to wait with me so that we could all go find a restaurant together.

Eventually, we were consumed by hunger and left without Stephen. I managed to find him after dinner, with the assistance of the hotel management. It turned out that he had changed our room because the fan was noisy and was asleep in the new room. As he had not eaten, I joined him in a restaurant while he had dinner.

We made arrangements with our tuk-tuk driver to visit the temples of Angkor the next morning at 9am.

Tags: angkor, siem reap, temple, temples, tonle sap

Comments

1

Hi Jonathan,

Nice to read your discoverings. Some quiet challenging, I laughed about the dogs, but hey sometimes no point in saving on taxis, better safe and secure than feeling stressed.If you need anything call.
Keep the drive, enjoy as you can without regrets, be connected with the nature, dont forget to drink lots of water and eat plenty fruit to avoid dihydration.

We are all well on this side.

Take care

Sanduca

  sanduca Jun 22, 2008 7:26 PM

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