Archive for Cambodia

Takeo / Cambodia

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Places with tags , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2015 by Thim Kwai

Takeo (also: Ta Kaeo) is a capital town as well as a province in southeast Cambodia. Takeo town, a small place, is not extending 50.000 inhabitants. When visiting Takeo town one will see that there is not much to do except a town stroll. It’s a small place without any significant attractions. Though, it can be a pretty nice place to spend a time just because it represents Cambodian town life without much tourism, it’s relatively quiet for there is not too much traffic and the climate is fine in the rainy season, because there is almost always a refreshing breeze coming from the neighbouring lake.

Pay a visit to the whole article on ‘Takeo‘…

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Takeo’. Read here the whole article on Takeo.

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Udong, Cambodia’s Old Capital

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2015 by Thim Kwai

Udong (also: Oudung) was in former centuries repeatedly the capital of Cambodia, before the royal court moved to Phnom Penh. Little is left of the old place, except a mountain with a number of mostly old stupas who served as burial places for the Cambodian kings.

Chet Dey Mak Prohm, Phnom Udong

Chet Dey Mak Prohm, one of the stupas on top of Phnom Udong.

Pay a visit to the whole article on ‘Udong‘…

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Udong’. Read here the whole article on Udong.

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Phnom Penh / Cambodia

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2014 by Thim Kwai

Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, was once considered as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, a small Paris in Southeast Asia, due to the efforts of the French colonialists to make the place a representative center for it’s administration. Before it was merely a wooden village at the swampy banks of the Tonle Sap River. Sadly, the former elegance of the city has faded away with it’s cruelsome history in the 20th century and the reconstruction since the 1980s in a cheap, ugly, postmodern manner. Nevertheless, when visiting Phnom Penh one can experience some reminiscences of the old times. For many visitors the megacity is nowadays attractive also as the business center of Cambodia and alluring for it’s notorious nightlife.

Pay a visit to the whole article on ‘Phnom Penh‘…

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Phnom Penh’. Read here the whole article on Phnom Penh.

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Interactive Map of Cambodia

Posted in Countries, Latest of Asienreisender with tags , , , on July 9, 2014 by Thim Kwai

A new, interactive map of Cambodia.

Pay a visit to the map on ‘Interactive Map of Cambodia‘…

Interactive Map of Cambodia

For an Interactive Map of Cambodia click the link.

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This is only a small copy of the ‘Interactive Map of Cambodia’. Have a look for the whole, functional map here: Interactive Map of Cambodia.

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Sihanoukville / Cambodia

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Places with tags , , , on April 28, 2014 by Thim Kwai

As a booming industrial and touristic center with a deep-sea port, Sihanoukville (also: Kampong Som, Kompong Som, Kampong Soum, nickname: Snook) is the only Cambodian coastal city of significance. With a population between 200,00 and 250,000 inhabitants it’s also one of the biggest cities of Cambodia.

The place is situated at the southeast of Cambodia on the shores of the Gulf of Thailand. The touristic attraction lies mostly in a number of fine sand beaches close to the city and the developed touristic infrastructure and facilities of many kinds.

Sihanoukville is as well a city as a province. The surroundings are coined by the sea and a larger number of smaller and bigger islands, and by a forested, hilly landscape, the foothills of the damrei (elephant) mountains. It reminds to the French mediterranean coast at the Côte d’Azur.

(…)Sihanoukville’s history reaches back only to the mid 1950s. After the independence, Cambodia’s access to the open sea depended on the free passage along the Mekong River between Phnom Penh to the South China Sea. But that meant to cross over Vietnamese territory and included Vietnamese restrictions. To get an own seaport, in 1955 the construction of a deep sea port at Kampong Som begun.

The foundation of the small province and the new town happened then in 1960. The name was given after the then prime minister and prince Norodom Sihanouk.

The port was also in the focus in the American Vietnam War.(…)

Pay a visit to the article on ‘Sihanoukville‘…

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Angkor Borei and Phnom Da

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2014 by Thim Kwai

Ankor Borei is one of the oldest settlements in Southeast Asia. It’s by some archeologists considered the capital of the civilization of Funan. Situated in the Mekong Delta, it’s an extraordinary drive to the site. In rainy season there is only one road usable, in the dry season one can cross through the thousands of years old cultural landscapes of the Mekong Delta in Takeo Province of Cambodia.

Angkor Borei has an archeological museum and close to the place is Phnom Da situated. Phnom Da is a mountain with two ancient temple sites who date back to the beginning of civilization.

Pay a visit to the article on ‘Angkor Borei and Phnom Da’…

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Angkor Borei and Phnom Da’. Read here the whole article on Angkor Borei and Phnom Da.

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People: Henri Mouhot

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, People with tags , , , , , on January 4, 2014 by Thim Kwai

Travelling in the 19th century was by no means comparable to nowadays. There was for example almost no roadnet in the Siam/Thailand of the time. Even the capital Bangkok didn’t have a single decent road in 1858, only some dirt tracks along the many canals (klongs), who served as the main transport network.

Mouhot’s first trip then, after being introduced into the Western society in Bangkok and an invitation from king Mongkut of Siam, was a boattrip the Chao Phraya River upwards to visit the ruins of Siam’s former and legendary capital Ayutthaya. The worst thing he describes were the mosquitoes who were around in great amounts at day and night.

Ayutthaya was an easy starter for travelling inner Indochina, because it is close to Bangkok and was already known by Westerners. After coming back to Bangkok he prepared for a second journey along the coasts east of Bangkok, travelling via Chantaburi passing by Koh Kong on boat and entering the port of Kampot. I placed three quotations on the Kampot page where he described the place and met the king of Cambodia in an audience.

After visiting Kampot Mouhot travelled the land road to Phnom Penh and Udong, where he met the second king of Cambodia in another audience. Next he visited some mountain tribes somewhat riverupwards the Mekong River. In one of his letters to the Royal Geographical Society he describes the area as close to Laos and Vietnam. That sounds much for the area what is now Ratanakiri. He spent two month among the Stieng people, apparently one of the hill tribes, before he turned to Angkor. Mouhot spent only three weeks in Angkor and went on then via Battambang back to Bangkok.

Mouhot, Henri:
Travels in the central parts of Indochina,
London 1864
Volume I and II

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Henri Mouhot’. Read here the whole article on Henri Mouhot.

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Phnom Chisor

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , , on November 28, 2013 by Thim Kwai

Between Takeo (26km) and Phnom Penh another remarkable Angkorean temple site is situated. It’s Phnom Chisor Temple. The temple was errected in the reign of king Suryavarman I (1002 – 1049 CE) and later extended. Originally called ‘Sri Suriyaparvata’ (the mountain of the Hindu sun god Surya) it was dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu.

The site consists of a central shrine, surrounded by five more shrines and two libraries. They all are inside a walled gallery with two entrance gates. As typical for the ancient Khmer buildings the construction material is laterite, bricks and sandstone for the carvings.

There is a number of lintels with carvings, inscriptions and ornaments to see. The whole site is not in a really well state, but some restorations have been done. In the times of ancient Angkor the site must have been of some significance for the empire.

The original approach to the site was on an east-west axis road. Some hundred meters east of the main site, on the plain, there is Son Reveang, the outermost gatehouse of the site, placed. Here is also a baray, an artificial lake, called Tonle Om. Following the old road, which is barely in use anymore and rather a jungle treck, one comes to a second ruined and inner gatehouse made of laterite stones. It’s name is Sen Thmol, mostly overgrown now and not restorated. Directly west of it starts a wider laterite stairway which leads up to the top of the mountain and narrows later. It’s less than 500 steps up to the main site, which is located on the easter part of the hilltop.

Keep in mind that this is not the main entrance and very few people approach from here. The main approach to the site is from the roadside, south of the site. Between the road, which leads to national road nr. 2 and the hillfoot are some food vendors. It’s also kind of a parking when one is coming with an own vehicel. No doubt there will be someone coming and try to sell a ticket for the parking. Though, they have no legitimation to do that; it’s just a self-made invention to cash from unknowing foreigners.

The stairway upwards from there is said amounts of 412 steps. At the top there is a cashpoint. A kind of a guard is demanding two dollars from foreigners.

At the northwest of the hilltop is a modern Buddhist temple placed.

The view over the surrounding Cambodian landscapes, mostly rice paddies, is praised by many visitors.

The site fell victim to an American air raid in 1973 and suffered destruction.

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Phnom Chisor’. Read here the whole article on Phnom Chisor.

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Takeo / Cambodia

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Places with tags , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2013 by Thim Kwai

Takeo (also: Ta Kaeo) is a capital town as well as a province in southeast Cambodia. Takeo town, a small place, is not extending 50.000 inhabitants.

When visiting Takeo town one will see that there is not much to do except a town stroll. It’s a small place without any significant attractions. Though, it can be a pretty nice place to spend a time just because it represents Cambodian town life without much tourism, it’s relatively quiet for there is not too much traffic and the climate is fine in the rainy season, because there is almost always a refreshing breeze coming from the neighbouring lake. There is plenty of accomodation of good quality in all price categories in town.
An old, colonial-style house in Takeo by Asienreisender

Takeo is remarkable for at least two things. First it’s bordering the lower Mekong River system; it’s in fact part of the Mekong delta. In the rainy season the lower Mekong River can not drain the amount of water what is coming down from the middle and upper Mekong and it’s tributaries. The water overfloods wide areas of plains who are passable in the dry season. It’s even ‘pushing’ the water streamupwards into the Tonle Sap River and filling Southeast Asia’s great lake, the Tonle Sap Lake, with a great amount of water. Takeo is bordering a seasonal lake which extends the Bassac River and has therefore a lakeside with a small pier. After the rainy season the lake shrinks and is changing into a cultural landscape coined by rice paddies and hundreds of canals. The canal net has a tradition which dates back up to almost 2.000 years.

Takeo town itself is a quiet place without much activities. As I heared, there are many by the authorities so called ‘illegal people’, factually migrants, from Vietnam living here. Not all of them are Vietnamese people; until the 18th century nowadays south Vietnam was part of Cambodia. Saigon had the Khmer name ‘Prei Nokor’ in former times. Still many Khmer people are living in the Mekong delta area of south Vietnam, and ‘border hopping’ without papers is common. Due to the proximity to Vietnam, what is bordering Takeo, the old tensions between the Khmer and the Vietnamese are more intense here than elsewhere.

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This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Taeko’. Read here the whole article on Takeo.

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Angkor Thom and Bayon by Asienreisender

Posted in Latest of Asienreisender, Sights with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by Thim Kwai

The first half of the 13th century might mark the zenith of the Angkorean empire. The capital of Angkor with the new centerpiece Angkor Thom reached a size bigger than all the European cities of the time, including London, Paris and even Rome. One has to mention here (again) that Angkor was still much bigger than the inner core, Angkor Thom, which was reserved for the king, the high priests, the new state temple (the Bayon) and for great representative events on the ‘Victory Road’ near the Terrace of the Elephants. Around this centerpiece the mass of Angkor’s population lived, the peasants, the craftsmen, more priests and the majority of the men who formed the army. Most of these people lived in the typical Southeast Asian shacks and stilt huts of the simple people, built of wood and bamboo, with grass or leaves forming the roofs. These buildings weren’t sustainable and therefore disappeared traceless over the time, eaten up by the tropical nature.

Representative Angkor Thom therefore was (and is) an area of three kilometers in both length and width. It’s four sides are aligned to the points of the compass. It was surrounded by an eight meters high wall made of laterite stone, of which was outside a 100 meters wide water trench digged out. At the inner side of the wall soil was accumulated to enforce the walls and enable soldiers from inside to reach the top of the walls. It’s still possible to climb up to the top of the wall and walk along on it.

Inside there is a road net, which is connected to the outer area by five city gates. Basically there are two roads crossing the area and meeting in the center point, at the Bayon’s position. From the Bayon these roads lead into the four compass directions to four of the gates. A fifth gate is placed north of the east gate. It’s called the ‘Victory Gate’ and it’s road, the ‘Victory Road’, is leading straight to the royal palace. Best known is Angkor Thom’s south gate, the one which leads to the road to nearby Angkor Wat (just 1,700m away).

The gates of the city wall are all very representative and show a giant head with four faces showing in all directions on the top of a towerlike construction (called ‘gopuram’). Their height is 22m, the gate opening is 7m high and 3.50m wide, and therefore high enough to move through it on the back of an elephant. The city gates are made of sandstone and can cope in their quality with the ancient buildings of the old greek. In their original state they have been probably equipped with two heavy wooden doors and a massive bar to close the doors from inside.

When approaching one of the gates from outside, one has to cross a wide naga bridge, which leads over the outer moat. On the right and left sides of the bridges are 54 gods and daemons placed, who carry two nagas.

The most important state buildings were concentrated inside the city walls of Angkor Thom. In the northwestern part was the king’s palace, together with a temple pyramide called Phimeanakas. This construction was then extended by the Terrace of the Elephants, the Terrace of the Leprosy King and the great (victory) square, alltogether a great areal for military parades or presenting great representative games and shows.

Also remarkable are the mountainlike temple Baphuon and the two buildigs called northern and southern Khleang, who were kind of halls. Opposite to the Terrace of the Elephants are two ponds and twelve towers called Prasat Suor Prat. In the geometical center of the whole square-shaped arrangement of Angkor Thom is the famous and most outstanding Bayon placed.

Besides, ancient Angkor was famous for it’s sophisticated canal system. A number of canals led through Angkor Thom. They partially served as a transport system, partially they were used as a freshwater source, as well as a bathroom and, not to forget, for wastewater disposal. The water flowed from the northeast to the southwest, drained eventually to the western baray (a rectangle-shaped, artificial lake) outside Angkor Thom. Probably the water was taken out of the Siem Reap River, using the natural gradient of the land towards the Tonle Sap Lake.

Know…

This is only a part of the richly illustrated article ‘Angkor Thom’. Read here the whole article on Angkor Thom.

Keep yourself up-to-date

Check the list of recently published articles on a great variety of Southeast Asian themes. All of them are richly illustrated: Asienreisender