1Kampuchea Ride 2022

1Kampuchea Ride 2022

In a few hours #redbarondiaries will embark on the 1KampucheaRide2022.  With only less than 10 hours turnaround from our homecoming for our family roadtrip...we are out again.

This time we have to catch up with the first group that has left on Friday afternoon. We shall be meeting up with them before entering Cambodia together.

SOS from first group in BKK

Off we go on the start of our 1KampucheaRide 2022.

Some modifications to the plan as we head to Bangkok instead of the schedule Pattaya to deliver some spare for a broken down bike from Group 1.

A broken set of potentiometer i guess...both left a right on the BMW GS

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 1

Back to the Land of Smile

Its like we never left...

After riding overnight (7 hours) we are back in the land of smile, Thailand. Rode from Simpang Pulai to Hatyai with a leaking tyre on Syukri's bike. Wr had to make extra stops to keep inflating the tyre. He had converted the wheels to ho tubeless but now there is a leak around the valve and spokes (wear and tear over the years) so the wheels can no longer remain tubeless. We had to insert back a tube into the tyres. Found a shop in Hatyai that does Big bike to help us with it. Only managed to settle everything by noon.  Decided that riding may not be the best choice for now.

From there we decided to check out the train station to see any available cargo space that can take our bikes from Hatyai to Bangkok. We were in luck as the moment we arrived, they ushered us in and immediately we can get a slot for cargo for the same day. We purchased our own tickets (almost sold out as it was holiday season), 2nd class sleeper. From there we have about 5 hours before departure. Had enough time to wash up and went out to lunch. We took a room in the Train hotel to place our stuff and washed up.

6pm and we were ready to depart....onwards to Bangkok. We should be in Bangkok by tomorrow 1pm.

And we shoyod be able to deliver the replacement part in time to Rasdeen for him to get his bike repaired to continue our trip.  I have always wanted to avoid Bangkok but it seemed for this trip it is anavoidable and by taking the train we will land smack in the heart if BKK ciry. All the best for the traffic...haaizzz

Getting the train service

Overlanding is getting to your destination in whichever way you choose. Each decision made will give you a different experience. There are no right or wrong ways of going about it. The mistake is not to have attempted at all.

I had taken the train a couple if times before years back up to the time when they stopped taking bikes completely. Now with the new management for cargo services, they have reopened the cargo services for big bikes.  So we will be transporting our bikes to Bangkok via train.

It does cost more than riding up if you are asking...but we get to save on the mileage and get to have some rest from riding up Route 4 Songkhla to Bangkok highway. Timewise...it is actually faster if I were to ride the distance as the train has lots of waiting time (effectively losing 2 days of daylight riding time) but for some people who cannot ride longer distances at one go, this can save time and be more restful for them.

Cost wise (rounded off)

- 900 baht (2md class sleeper)

- 2500 baht (bike cargo)

- 100 baht (total potterage charges)

Awake at 3 a.m.

Good early morning from Thailand Railway.

First up a Happy Birthday to my son Mohamed Ammar.

We are now on a train enroute to Bangkok. Took the decision to train up due to the series of events that took place and the fact that we have to deliver the replacement part to Rasdeen in Bangkok...so why not just train up...while we get some rest and be able to cover the distance....remember we are playing catch up with the first group.

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 2

The Icon of Krungthep

Safely landed in Hua Lampong Train Station.

This will be a short stopover as we await the bikes to arrive before we ride out of the capital.

Rasdeen and Jefri  were already waiting for us to do our "gift exchange" - his spare parts and some food for us. We are famished from the overnight train journey.

From here Rasdeen will bring the parts to fix up his bike while we wait for our vikes to arrive. Hopefully we can rendezvous somewhere out of Bangkok to continue the journey...

Rendezvous with the Geng

Glad to have arrived in Bangkok on time with the required goods.  We are making good time to make up for loss time.  Tonight we are heading to Pattaya Hotel to join up with Kevin and Feroze.

To the final rendezvous point before we embark on 1 Kampuchea Ride 2022

Getting Out of the Capital

Got our bikes at 4pm and we load up our stuff again. From here we had to ride tgrough Bangkok traffic for about 30km to get out of the city centre. We rendezvous with Jeff and Rasdeen (who had his bike fixed with the parts arrived) at Bang Pu. From here we rode all the way to Pattaya City to meet the whole group at Pattaya Blue Sky.  Pattaya was our rendezvous point for this trip during our planning.

A day rest for all.


Geng Myanmar 2018 reunited for this year installment 1KampucheaRide 2022.

Everyone arrived at rendezvous venue.

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 3

Washy washy

Settling the laundry early in the morning. For this trip working on 4 sets of attire (considering that i had forgotten to pack my underwear haaaizzz). Had to look around and purchase some underwear last night from the tourist walking shops along the beach.

So new fresh set of laundry for the next few days

Next Item of the day... Problem solving

Gear sensor started to have a problem on one of the BMW GSA1200....went to the dealer here in Pattaya but could not wait for part to arrive(3 days time) so we had to improvise different methods to solve this. We had to engage different sources from buying, to courier to towing of bike and a 3rd party workshop to fix it up. Good thing that this was a planned lull day here in Pattaya. 

Once we have came upbwith the different possible solutions and scenarios for the bike and made the best choice. We left the mottorad and back to the city.

Final plan:

- purchase 2nd hand part frim bangkok bike shop

- ship in part by exoress courier from bangkok (4hr)

- arrange with 3rd party workshop to fix it up

- tow bike to the workshop in Rayong (50km away)

- leace the bike to be fixed by evening

- pick up bike by evening once completed

Hopefully the plan will pan out well at least the fixing up part.

In actual plan, this was suppose to be the day that I arrive in Pattaya to meet the group. Well everything happen for a reason and we are lucky that things somehow can be solve amid the loss of time spent to find solution.

Gonna spend the afternoon in the malls to avoid the scorching heat here in Pattaya.

Later at night gonna pick up the bike in the next town in Rayong.

Well... hopefully we will head into Cambodia tomorrow.

Laid back afternoon

Alright so here we are back in the city, hud from the scorching sun by staying in the mall. Went to addidas and nike factory outlet store and hang around for lunch. Then headed out near our laundry shop to get a massage since collectiin of laundry is about 2 hours away from the time.

After that went to the beach to just sit and enjoy the sun set before returning back to the hotel. Jefri will then be heading out tovpickbup his bike at night. Thats the plan.

Staying Positive

Half a good news is still better than a bad news. Alright so at night when we were about to collect Jefri bike from Rayong, some 50km away, we received a message from the owner of the bike shop that they are not able to complete the bike by tonight. They will need up to tomorrow noon to get it fixed,  checked and tested. Anyway half a good news is always better than a bad news. Being positive we were happy that we could still move on (if all goes well) to Cambodia.

We called for a meeting to discuss on the option that we have and the changes to the itinerary plans that I have adjusted. Everyone was in unison and agreed to the plan. We still have not and decided not to activate our buffer day just for this little hiccup.

After sitting by the pool for our meeting. We went out for dinner by the roadside stall and then. Continued to proceed to a night food market near our lane. It was the same aeroplane  that we saw in June (last time we were in Pattaya tgis year) albeit at that time the area was cordoned off and we had to sneak in to take photos of it. Now it has been turned into a food night market with seats near the plane.  Bought some snacks and sat down to enjoy the peace and quiet...enjoying our food.

Travelling is all about being flexible and being resourceful and quick thinking to make changes to your plans. If you worry too much about all the things that could happen in your travel...then you will never start the journey. So far we have made a few changes to our plan depending on the scenarios.

If all goes well tomorrow we will cross into Cambodia that is our main goal for tomorrow...get the bike anx cross into Cambodia first. Lets hope border  crossing will be fine. Any country border can always be tricky.

The Longest Snake

Sukhumvit Road is a major road in Thailand, and a major surface road of Bangkok and other cities. It follows a coastal route from Bangkok to Khlong Yai District, Trat border to Koh Kong, Cambodia.

Fun fact:

Sukhumvit Road or Route 3 is the Longest Road in Thailand. It also serves as the  Asian Highway 1(AH1),  Highway 2 (AH2) and Highway 3 (AH3)

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 4

Picking up the horse

First up is to pick up Jefris bike in Rayong. When we arrived the bike was just ready so we did not waste anytime and took off. Next we had to pick up a spare tube for Syukri's Triumph. We had usedbone in Hatyai when we did the rear tyre so we did not have a spare. It was not easy to get a suitable size.  In luck, We found that the shop, Rayong Big Bike, had tyres for the Triumph...so Syukri had them changed as well. The previous tyres had taken a brunt after suffering a flat from Simpang Pulai in Malaysia and Hatyai (before we insertes the tube)

Syukri happily swiped his card.

Last Light on the narrowest of Thailand

We passed through Trat province housing the narrowest of Thailand and headed down to Khlong Yai the border with Cambodia.

Riding with the sunset at the side on the beachfront, it was a beautifull sight as we rode through the curves.

Arrived at the border at the last light, clearing Thai immigration was quick especially if you know the procedures

A dark and long entry

Playing on the word long...it took us 2 houra to clear a border with no one ahead of us. The runners and officer were just serving the 5 of us. They had a new online system in place for their custom importation of vehicle and cargo clearance and we were to do it all by ourselves with our "helpful" runner by our side. In the side note the custom officers were nice and patient. Immigration on the other hand was very fast and we cleared it in no time.

Below are some of the steps that we had to do and the "fee" that they took from us.

- sim card (200 baht)...need to register QR code for cuatoms .

- health check (20baht)

- immigration (100baht)

- customs clearance (surprising nothing when they took the longest time with us)

- photo ID (100 baht - 200 baht)

We were shuttled between the different booth by the runner who offered to help us ckear the custom. We arr8ved in Cambodia Cheam Yeam border just after dark and it took us all about 2 hours to clear with no one ahead of us.

At time we got a little irritated with the instructions that goes back and forth and language lost in translation.but we are thankful that the immigration and custom officer also had our interest in mind to ensure that we are able to exit via Poipet border in a weeks time. Poipet border is the trickiest and most "leceh" border to cross.

Finally got into Cambodia and find a hotel in Koh Kong to rest the night.

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 5

Peaceful morning to start the day

Good morning from Koh Kong Cambodia.

Dusty shower

An hour into the ride... slight improvement to the roads here.  The roads are still horrendous...hahaha.  Despite getting funding over the years from other countries, yet the money is not channeled into building proper infrastructure for the people of Cambodia.  The roads are still full of potholes and gravel.  Still had not find any good road in today's ride.

An hour into the ride, my jacket pants and helmet are all covered in red dust (from the road).

Amazon in Kampuchea

While having trouble searching for halal meal here in the eastern part of Cambodia.  We were lucky to run into Cafe Amazon break and PTT petrol station.  We stopped by to fill up the bikes and continued with a short break halfway through our journey today with halal food in 7-11 PTT Station.

Refuel and Refresh

Riding on Cambodia roads in between villages and natiinal parks, we are always wary of the lack of petrol therefore we will tend to look for a petrol stop after about 100km of riding. Today we went to three different petrol station (of course we did not fill at all tbose station). Take note that they charge petrol by US dollars and any change will be given back in Cambodian Riels....this is something common here in Cambodia where the preference to keep US dollars is very much in demand. Cambodia works on a dual currency both the Cambodian Riels and the US dollars.

Guess what we also stopped by our favourite PTT gas station and had Cafe Amazin and bought stuff from 7-11. Their setup is very aimilar to that of thailand

In Sihanoukville now...heading up to Bokor National Park.  The roads were not much difference from Sihanoukville towards kampot.  Ther is a toll-highway but we were not allowed on the highway.  In Cambodia, you need. to have a permit/pass to drive or ride on the highway.

Bokor National Park

Rode right up into Kampot in the afternoon and went straight to the "planned" ASEAN heritage park in Bokor Hill Station.

Preah Monivong Bokor National Park is a national park in southern Cambodia's Kampot Province that was established in 1993 and covers 1,423.17 km². It is designated as an ASEAN Heritage Park. It is located in the Dâmrei Mountains, forming the southeastern parts of the Cardamom Mountains.

The Bokor Hill is 1,075 meters high, and promises good weather and magnificent views. Big trees casting shadows over the water and rocks shaped as animal figures hold particular interest for tourists. The mountain overlooks Kampot Town, Kep Beach, Preah Sihanouk Province and blue sea water.

The settlement was abandoned by the French in the 1940s during a local rebellion, and it was not until 1962 that Bokor Hill was resettled.  There were plans to redevelop the area as a tourist attractions with casinos and holiday homes and entertainment however such big projects were left abandoned by the government uo to today.

Chasing Waterfall

High up on Bokor Hill lies Popokvile waterfall... a small waterfall that is beautiful especially during the wet season. In a dry season less water flows therefore it do not look as majestic as it would. You can walk the stream, hike up and down the ricks of the waterfall or simple sit for a picnic.

Well it did take us some time to search for this waterfall even as the road ends...more dirt and rocks awaits. Getting off the beaten track.

Jewel of the South

Kampot is the jewel in the southern region of Cambodia. A quiet and laid back town uswd ro be famous with european for its hippies culture. Now its a vibrant town known for its pepper faem and Bokor Mountain.

Checked into a hotel nearby to Wau halal restaurant. The owner speaks Malay as well...hahaha. went out to the night market to take a look around befire heading to the supermarket to stock up on the World Cup televised match.

Journey Day 5

Koh Kong - Sihanoukville - Kampot

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 6

Good morning from the South

Its Day, we shall be leaving Kampot this morning. Early cool windy morning. Almost lost the drone fighting the wind...hahha.  We had a light breakfast before we left Kampot.

Visiting the neighbours

Took a detour to the Cambodia - Vietnam border in Prekchak district bordering with Ha Tien in Vietnam. What used to be a small border is now a big border boundary post. They have built up the infrastructure and the gate at the front.

We did try to ask permission to go into the no man's land but was denied.

Some other Cambodia - Vietnam crossing to consider.

Crossings with Vietnam

1. Bavet Checkpoint: Moc Bai, Vietnam/Bavet, Svay Rieng, Cambodia (To/from Phnom Penh)

2. Ving Xuong, Vietnam/Kaam Samnor, Kandal, Cambodia ("The Chau Doc Crossing") (To/from Phnom Penh)

3. Tinh Bien, Vietnam/Phnom Den, Takeo, Cambodia (To/from Phnom Penh or Kampot/Kep)

4. Trapeang Phlong Border Pass: Xa Mat, Vietnam/Trapeang Phlong, Kampong Cham, Cambodia

5. Xa Xia, Vietnam/Prek Chak, Cambodia ('Ha Tien crossing') - (To/from Kampot/Kep) Newly opened international border crossing.

6. Le Tanh,Gia Lai Province, Vietnam/O’Yadaw, Ratanakiri, Cambodia -  Newly opened international border crossing. Travelers report Cambodian visas available at the border. Vietnamese visas NOT available at the border. Visa status is unconfirmed by official sources.

7. Trapeang Srer International Border Checkpoint, Kratie Province

8. Banteay Chakrey International Border Checkpoint, Prey Veng Province

A dark history

Cheoung Ek Genocide Centre (Killing Fields)

Mass graves containing 8,895 bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. Many of the dead were former political prisoners who were kept by the Khmer Rouge in their Tuol Sleng detention center and in other Cambodian detention centers.

Today, Choeung Ek is a memorial, marked by a Buddhist stupa. The stupa has acrylic glass sides and is filled with more than 5,000 human skulls. Some of the lower levels are opened during the day so that the skulls can be seen directly. Many have been shattered or smashed in.

Tourists are encouraged by the Cambodian government to visit Choeung Ek. Apart from the stupa, there are pits from which the bodies were exhumed. Human bones still litter the site.

On May 3, 2005, the Municipality of Phnom Penh announced that they had entered into a 30-year agreement with JC Royal Co. to develop the memorial at Choeung Ek.[3] As part of the agreement, they are not to disturb the remains still present in the field.

Capital P

Arrived in the Capital of Phnom Penh and hosted by Rasdeen's foster family, Ishak, a Cambodian biker. Also glad to meet up with Sedarah MC, Phnom Penh, the biggest harley group here in Cambodia. We were warmly welcomed by the President and Vice President and other members of the club. The President has also assigned a bike to Ishak, who will be following us from Phnom Penh onwards.

Grill in the chilly capital

Had our dinner hosted by our Cambodian counterparts.

They brought us across the river to have halal steamboat and grill. It was nice to see the streets and riverside lighted up. Enjoyed the dinner and went back to the room to catch the world cup finals. We also had sent our laundry for washing.

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 7

Phnom Penh                (Capital City Cambodia)

Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s busy capital, sits at the junction of the Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. It was a hub for both the Khmer Empire and French colonialists. On its walkable riverfront, lined with parks, restaurants and bars, are the ornate Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, displaying artifacts from around the country. At the city’s heart is the massive, art deco Central Market.

Walk among the locals

Good morningggggg Phnom Penh!!

As we walked along we arrived at the Old market, this is the market that the locals go to as compared to the popular Russian market that are aimed towards tourist. You can see the locals go8ng about their daily routine purchasing food  stuff for the day. There are also frsh fish, meat and vegetables.

Hilltop in middle of City

The Wat Phnom Temple is the most significant of all the temples in Phnom Penh. The temple has a close-knitted relationship with the capital city. This in effect is a sanctuary founded by Daun Penh (Grandma Penh), a wealthy widow who in 1372, retrieved from a river a log with five Buddha statues in it and ordered to elevate a piece of her property on which to build a temple to house the statues. The 27 meters high man-made hill became known as Wat Phnom. The Chedey and temples of Wat Phnom were renovated several times, in 1434, 1806, 1894, and 1926, and each year of renovation made the sanctuary looks better.

The wealthy widow was called Penh or Daun Penh where her house was located on a hill near the bank of rivers. One day, there was heavy rain, Grandma Penh found the Koki trees floating in the river. Then, she hurried to call her neighbor to help pull the tree out of the river. After clearing the mud, inside the tree she found four bronze statues of the Buddha and one standing stone statue of a goddess where one of his arms was a baton and another side was a snail. Grandma Penh and her neighbors were very happy to have found the sacred statues. Then, Grandma Penh constructed a small shrine on an artificial hill made by the people living in the village to protect the sacred statues. Later on, Grandma Penh and the villagers converted to build a temple on the top of the mountain and brought the four Buddha statues to the temple. While a standing statue of the goddess was placed in a shrine located on the eastern of the hill. Eventually, this became a sacred site and sanctuary where people would make blessings and pray.

Over the years, Wat Phnom Daun Penh has had numerous add-ons to the initial shrine that dwelt within the compound of this wonderful sanctuary. The most significant of which is the massive stupa that enshrines the ashes of King Ponhea Yat who in 1434, arrived and built the city of Phnom Penh.

Wat Phnom has a legacy of legend and historical tags that dates back to the establishment of Phnom Penh in the 14th century. The statue of King Sisowath which is located at the southern downhill of Wat Phnom. It is also one of the most significant historical legacies doing the era Cambodia was under the French protectorate. Because this statue was a symbol of deliverance the territorial integrity of Siem Reap, Battambang, and Serei Sophorn was under the rule of King Khmer. King Sisowath was selected by a special member council for the royal palace to hold the royal crown in 1906 AD, after King Norodom's death.

Fun fact: This is also one of the pitstop in the Amazing Race Season 15.  Situated here is also the Giant Clock of Phnom Penh and it is a working clock.

Central Market

Finally arrived at the Central Market Phnom Penh after walkinv around the streets.

The dark-yellow Art Deco Phsa Thmei (New Market) is also referred to as the Central Market, a reference to its location and size. It was constructed in 1935 37. The Art deco building is shaped in the form of a cross with a nice central dome. And has four wings filled with shops selling gold and silver jewelry, antique coins, fake name-brand watches and other such items.

Around the main buildings are stalls offering Krama (checked scarves), stationery, household items, cloth for sarongs, flowers and second hand clothes, usually from Europe and the US. For photographers, the fresh food section affords a lot of opportunities. There are a host of good value food stalls on the structure's western side, which faces Monivong Blvd. Central Market is undoubtedly the best of Phnom Penh's markets for browsing. It is the cleanest and has the widest range of products for sale. Opening hours are from early morning until early evening.

Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh is one of those busy bazaars that are always filled with effervescent crowd from one end to the other. The Central Market (Phsar Thmei) of Phnom Penh stocks everything right from food items to clothes, silverworks and jewelries. Where the Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh is now located was previously a swamp that was used to accumulate runoff rainwaters. The market building is a beautiful one, a spectacular instance of Cambodian architecture.Central Market (Phsar Thmei) of Phnom Penh in Cambodia also sells electronic items and there is also plenty of secondhand stuff that you can buy here at an affordable rate. The gateway to the market is lined with hawkers who sell different kinds of tidbits.

The jewelries are found in the interior of the market and some of the gold ornament that you will find here are really unsurpassable in design and style. Central Market (Phsar Thmei) at Phnom Penh should have been actually called the New Market for that is what "Phsar Thmei" means in English. However, today it is popular to the tourists by its present English name. Coming to Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh and then going back to your respective hotel is easy as there are plenty of transportation facilities near the marketplace. A taxi stand can be found at the northwest corner of the market and the southwest exit will take you to a bus stand.

Among the royalties.

Walking aling the promenade, with the breezy chilly wind blowing in your face, we were greet with the meeting points of two of Cambodia's great river. This is the point where the mighty Mekong meets and joins together with Cambodia's own Tonle Sap river. The river then flows on for many more kilometers in Cambodia before entering into Vietnam and then finally the sea.

On the other side facing the promenade, we have the Royal Palace. At this point of time, the royal palace is closed (until further notice) due to Covid restrictions and have mot opened up for tourist visit every since. We were able to enjoy the beautiful garden and take photos on the exterior facade of the palace.

A bridge of two sides

Walked in the evening setting sun along the other side of the river uaing the Chroy Changvar Bridge. This is a very iconic bridge for Cambodian especially people of Kampong Cham. The bridge links Phnom Penh to highway 6 enroute to Siem Reap. This bridge is a symbol of success where people wouod cross over to live in the city and out of the village, a symbol of success for some.  But this bridge is also known for the numerous suicides that has taken place (no survivors to date) due to the pressure of the city life, depression and other causes.

This bridge crosses over the Tonle Sap river where water flows from one of Asia great lake the Tonle Sap and joins up with the mighty Mekong.  We also walked through the lanes to check out the goods on sale by the hawkers.  Walking during the evening peak hour we could see the traffuc hustle and bustle as people  make their way out of the city. The bridge has specific lanes for motorbikes and pedestrian as well.

Marketing for snacks

Walked over to the Phnom Penh Night Market. It was not a big night market that you would expect. Went around looking for some snacks and desert. Had our dinner at Malaysia Mamak Restaurant near the night market.

Lastly collected our laundry before back to the hotel.

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 8

Phnom Penh from the sky

Good morning from Phnom Penh.

Leaving the city of Phnom Penh tbis mor ing before the traffic build up. Left the hotel at around 7am. Before we left, managed to take a aerial shot of our area in the vicinity of St 90 Phnom Penh.

We stopped by for breakfast and coffee about 80km from Phnom Penh at one of the hangout of Sedarah M.C. (Phnom Penh Chapter). We were introduced to one of the owners who had also built up the area for a local sports centre in his piece of land that he bought.

A bridge of memories

Prey Pros Bridge, the last time i passed by here, I had just went through a thunderstorm all the way from Phmom Penh to Kampung Thom.... the moment the storm cleared up, I took a break at this bridge for breather.

Took some aerial view of the bridge as we stop here for a coconut break by the lake. 

Last photo is circa 2013...same place before it was developed, different bike, same person, same personality

Arriving in the Ancient City

We arrives in Siem Reap around 2pm safely and headed for our lunch stop. Dropped by Muslim Family Kitchen for a hearty meal. It was one of the best meal we have had so far in Cambodia.

Walking street

Walking around at night looking for night market. Night market here seems different as compared to those in Thailand. Walked around the streets and got some snacks from the supermarket to bring back to the room. Early night today.

1KampucheaRide 2022

Day 9

Morning among the local

Our Day 9 today here in Siem Reap. Spent the morning walking along the muslim street.  Here in the morning, you are able to see seller in small stalls along the street selliong breakfast food.  Took a walk along the street catching the selers and their food on sale. Visited a nearby mosque before heading down to breakfast.

Angkor Panorama

Started the morning with packing ourlunch for the day. We had planned to have a picnic by the waterfall at mid day. Walked around the mualim street for a while voaiting the mosque and the shops around the area. People are just going about their daily life.

Next we had to go to the Angkor Ticket Office to purchase our Angkor Temple Passes. The price had increased to 37USD from the previous 20USD. However now they include  Buy 1 day free 1 day" so technically it was the old 2 day pass pricing. From there we started our ride into the Angkor complex to visit the different ruins.  Another thing to take note is that Angkor Temple Complex has better and stricter syatems in place. There are also more rangers, guards and ticket checks within the complex.

A brief of the Angkor Complex, a world UNESCO heritage site.  Angkor, also known as Yasodharapura, was the capital city of the Khmer Empire. The city and empire flourished from approximately the 9th to the 15th centuries. The city houses the Angkor Wat, one of Cambodia's most popular tourist attractions

Patrimono Mundial

The World Heritage emblem represents the interdependence of the world’s natural and cultural diversity. It is used to identify properties protected by the World Heritage Convention and inscribed on the official World Heritage List, and represents the universal values for which the Convention stands.

Designed by Belgian artist Michel Olyff, it was adopted as the official emblem of the World Heritage Convention in 1978. While the central square symbolizes the results of human skill and inspiration, the circle celebrates the gifts of nature. The emblem is round, like the world, a symbol of global protection for the heritage of all humankind.

Rise of an empire

The Empire encompassed much of south-east Asia, and it has had a lot of political and cultural influence on the whole region until its downfall in the 14th century. Because of this influence of the Khmer Empire and because a number of artistic masterpieces are still left, the site was placed on the World Heritage List.

The first Khmer capital erected here was Roluos. Over the next centuries, the various Khmer rulers built other capital cities for themselves in this area. It was Suryavarman II who built Angkor Wat in the early 12th century, the greatest of all Khmer monuments. Jayavarman VII was responsible for building Angkor Thom, including the Bayon (dedicated to Buddha).

Among the ruins

The ruins of Angkor are included in the Angkor Archaeological Park, which extends for about 400 km square kilometres (although the urban area of Angkor might have been over 1000 square kilometres), and it’s one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. The ruins include over a thousand temples, among which the most important are the incredible Angkor Wat, the Ta Prohm, the ancient city of Angkor Thom and its centrepiece, the Bayon, the less popular but still breathtaking Banteay Srei, Preah Khan, Prasat Bakong and a multitude of smaller temples of which many are now just a pile of bricks.

So our next temple that we dropped by was the famous Ta Phrom temple. This temple was made famous by the Tomb Raider : Lara Croft movie starring A. Jolie. Up till now it is still nicknamed Tomb Raider temple. A temple full of overgrown trees wirh huge roots that slithers along the wall gripping and growing in between the cracks.

Waterfall in the sky

Phnom Kulen

A playground for locals, Phnom Kulen (literally Mountain of the Lychees) is a gorgeous day out. The main attraction is the waterfalls at the top of Kulen Mountain and it’s also a great picnic spot; well set up in Cambodian style with hammocks and shelters to keep you shaded from the sun. It’s around 1.5-2 hours drive from Siem Reap and if you go all the way to the top by van or car, you need to get there early, as the road is one-way traffic only.

The top section of the waterfall is quite flat and good for families or young children that want to dip into the refreshingly cool water. It’s also close to the picnic area, which makes it a really great spot to spend the afternoon ducking in and out of the water. Further down is also a small waterfall; great for timid swimmers and children.

Follow the stairs to get to the lower part of the waterfall which is the main attraction. In wet season, when the waterfall is at its strongest, the sound of the water crashing down is quite something. But it doesn’t stop people from going and experiencing the full force up close! The water isn’t terribly deep and in most sections of the basin of water under the waterfall, you can almost touch the ground. However, best if you can swim and feel confident in the water.

Fun Fact:

Whilst most people know the connection of Ta Prohm temple and the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider movie, it’s less known that Phnom Kulen waterfall makes a very brief appearance in the film. After escaping living statues in the nether regions of Ta Prohm, Lara runs out to the top of the waterfall (not bad given they are 42kms apart!), where she jumps to the basin below. We wouldn’t recommend it though, it’s unlikely you’d survive a jump like that into relatively shallow water. But they can make all of the magic they like in movies!