Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas in Cambodia

We have Christmas holiday from Dec 22 to January 7.  Taking advantage of this long break, I decided to travel to Cambodia and Thailand.  I flew into Siem Reap from Dumagute (via Manila) to meet up with a friend from Seattle.  There, I toured a fishing village on stilts among mangrove forests, rode tuk tuks around pub street, and explored one of the 7 worldly wonders in Angkor Wat.

Eating a Cambodian mango pancake for breakfast before touring the fishing village.

Along the walk you can find fried snakes, crickets, cockroaches, and dried snails.  There weren't too many buyers, but I did see a guy pop a sun-dried snail in his mouth while passing by.

Our tuk tuk driver taking us to the river boat tour.  It is common to hire a driver for the day, negotiating a price before hand and then paying when you reach your final destination.  You just have know how to negotiate a good price, otherwise the drivers bet on your ignorance and charge 3 times more than its value.  It was a long ride from our hotel to the tour, took about an hour each way.  At least there was a nice breeze and shade from the tuk tuk.  Here we are passing by rice fields.  

Bird-eye view from the elevated walkway overlooking the river.

Boat-eye view of the fishing village.

 A resident of the village hitching a ride home.

Tuk tuks at night, Siem Reap.

Angkor Wat, East Gate - there were less tourists at this gate, thanks to our guide we were able to avoid most crowded areas and get some of the best photo ops.

This monk actually wanted to take a picture with me first, so then I snagged a second photo for myself.

The moon lingers over the main West gate of Angkor Wat.  We were able to catch a sunset on Christmas Eve.
At one of the temples, trees have rooted themselves atop the old ruins.  It is quite impressive really how nature can reclaim their territory.

A very large, stone Hindu god greets us at one of the main entrances to Angkor Wat.  It is suggested practice for visitors to make a donation so they can light incense and a candle to pray and honor spiritual rituals.

Brightly orange draped monks can be spotted all around Angkor Wat.  Two are climbing the steep steps into the temple.
One of hundreds of the smiling Buddha sculptures seen at Angkor Wat.

The traveling trio - Jef, Anna, and Andre.  I met up with Jef and Andre (two Americans, Jef I know from Seattle and Andre I just met on the trip) in Siem Reap to tour around for a few days.  Then we all crossed the border together into Thailand where I separated from them for a few days while visiting relatives in Bangkok.  I met up with Jef and Andre at the end of my trip in Chiang Mai, Thailand to ring in the New Year properly.  

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