Bangkok as usual…

6 Feb
Sunset at the pool on the 10th floor

Sunset at the pool on the 10th floor

Oh my Buddha – all this travelling has quite some effect on me – when Bangkok starts becoming ‘usual’ or even a ‘homey feeling’. I speak the basic tourist survival Thai – know the best dishes to comfort my palate – have found the corners of the concrete jungle that are soothing – able to use the public transport eyes closed – no more need to visit the tourist traps, because been there, done that – a few good places to stay, from nice to luxury – and most of all: indulge in shopping: Thai and cheap. (pics below)

So our regular routine goes as follows: Continue reading

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New Year – Viet or Chinese Style

3 Feb
Happy year of the Cat - 2011

Happy year of the Cat - 2011

Don’t get in a fight now – it doesn’t really matter. Some call it Chinese New Year, some call it Vietnamese ‘Tet’.  Fact is that 3 February is new year on ‘this side’ of the globe. The Vietnamese celebrate the year of the cat, which for strange reasons, in the Chinese world it is the year of the rabbit. (something got lost in translation?) – pics below.

However, both of the new years involve lots of kitchy decorations, sporting either rabbits or kitties for 2011. Red envelopes are present everywhere, in the New Year trees (who said only christians decorated pagan trees ;-), in your pocket (if all goes well) and you should make sure red envelopes make it to the pockets of your relatives and friends. In a tourist city, like Siem Reap, where life never stops to vibrate, all of a sudden shops close (tough luck for the tourists) and bus prices double. Continue reading

Temple forgotten and found back

29 Jan

Jungle likes temple ;-) Me too

How much temples can one digest? I had seen a fair bit of Angkor Wat temples on my previous trip, so now it was time to see the more ‘special ones’ (like the Million bottle Temple). I went to see the Bang Malea jungle temple some 75 km from Siem Reap (pics below).

    Think twice before venturing out too far too pee: mines!

  • PS careful when you take a p-p-break along the road – some areas still haven’t been cleared of mines (see sign ;-)

Bang Mealea is a temple that was long lost and forgotten and it had completely fallen to ruins. The jungle nevertheless adopted the ruins and trees grew upon the ancient buildings. As it is far away from Siem Reap (1,5 hours by tuk tuk), it is relatively peaceful and quiet, set amidst de shady greenery. Visiting the temple actually involves climbing over the rubble and ducking under the doorways – I assume, completely in line with health and safety regulations (yeah, right). Continue reading

What to do if the neighbours have a wedding?

28 Jan

The Wedding Tent (I want one like that!)

Hm, what is the ‘interculturally sensitive’ action when the neighbour of your Cambodian guesthouse gets married: meaning 120 decibel (very) Khmer music starting at 5am during 2 days, to attract the good spirits…?

  • tell them spirits don’t exist
  • put in ear plugs (to reduce the 120 Db to 80)
  • write down (as they wouldn’t hear you with the noise) that maybe 50 decibel would also be enough to attract the good luck?
  • act out (as they wouldn’t hear you with the noise) that 100 Db damages your ears
  • give them a few of your favourite mp3 to add to the mix
  • go join the party
  • any other suggestions?

Pictures of the wedding below Continue reading

Preah Vihaer border temple

25 Jan

The traditional 'I was there' pic ;-)

One of the must-sees on my trip and the reason for hopping over the not so common Thai-Khmer border crossing, was the Preah Vihaer temple. It is not only declared UNESCO world heritage (since 2008) but it is also the subject of vigorous quibbles between two oh-so peaceful countries. So if even two zen countries fight a war over it, it must be amazing (pics below).

So I asked well around before setting off to this well hidden temple at the Thai border. The holy guidebook told me that the trip involved having dollars ready to ‘support’ the Cambodian soldiers (so that they let you through). My guesthouse girl (who looked very much like a boy though) told me that there were shared taxis from the one and only Anlong Veng roundabout going to the road crossing at the foot of the hill/mountain. From there I would need to take a motorbike up the steep slopes (because no common vehicles would manage). Continue reading

Border crossing from Thailand into Cambodia

24 Jan

Chong Sa Ngam TH-KH border crossing

The guidebook said it was possible, the Internet that knows it all too. So I decided to try the most remote border crossing from Si Saket (TH) into Anlong Veng (KH). A little adventure, especially as I started off in the wrong direction. Actually, I didn’t have a clue which direction but still pointed the motorbike taxi in the wrong direction. Wrong wrong wrong…

How to get sunburn for double the price?

  1. Get a (completely undetailed) map of the area in Thai language (the only map I could find in Si Saket) Continue reading

A temple made of a million bottles!

23 Jan

Made out of a million bottles

This is the most impressive temple ever. Even though I’ve seen Angkor Wat near Siem Reap or Bangkok’s Grand Palace, this well-hidden temple in the North-East of Thailand is surely the most original. A temple completely made out of glass bottles! (pics below). Continue reading

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