Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 6, 2012


This morning we left Ho Chi Minh City by a Vietnam Airlines flight from the Noi Bai International Airport to Cambodia. Siem Reap, the gateway to the Angkor Wat.

Like the rest of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is on the geographic and cultural crossroads of India and China. And like the neighboring Thailand and Laos, traditions and practices in Cambodia are derived from Hinduism and Thera Buddhism.

Mon-Khmer people of Cambodia are believed to have descended from members of a North
Indian tribe, which came here around 1000 BC. Its culture, language and script reflect their Indian origin.

About half the size of Germany or Vietnam, Cambodia’s history is marked by invasions,
incursions, wars, rebellions, military coups, and genocide. Conflicts have devastated the country’s infrastructure and its development has been retarded. Basic medical services are nonexistent, while education and vocational training are out of reach of the many.

Only recently legitimate tourists have started visiting Cambodia. Most of them come here to see its world-famous Hindu-Buddhist monuments of Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, the nation’s eighth Wonder of the World, which dates back to the zenith of Khmer civilization in the 11th

One-hour flight brought us to the Siem Reap International Airport. At the Airport no one was there to collect customs cards, but the immigration officer asked me for a tip! Of course, I refused to comply.

We were received by Mr. Muy, our local guide. He took us directly to our hotel, the Khemara Angkor.
Back at the hotel, we enjoyed talking to Soneant, the young receptionist, who works at the hotel for 13 hours a day. It appeared that people here worked long hours.

After check in, we headed to Les Ecolas Vocational Center. There we witnessed art and craft apprentices working on stone, wood and polychrome products, which are sold at the on-site showroom.

Walking around in the hot afternoon sun was stressful.

Our guide gave us an orientation tour of the town center, before returning us to our hotel.

After some rest, we hired a Tuk-Tuk, a two-seat covered trailer pulled by a rider on a motorbike, to go to town for dinner.

We had a North Indian dinner at the Curry Walla. It is run by a young man from Nawa Shehar, a town near Jalandhar in Indian Punjab. He told us that he was single, had lived there for six years,
and that his restaurant had been doing well.

After dinner, we walked to the Angkor Night Market, a sprawling lively place, with a large number of shops, restaurants and massage parlors. After some shopping, we returned to our hotel by a TukTuk.

Like Vietnam, most tourist business here is conducted in US Dollars.

Many people travel between Bangkok and Siem Reap prefer to travel by road. Even though
it takes longer, it is definitely much cheaper than flying.

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