According to legend the city was founded around this temple. A woman named Penh founded it, inside a tree to preserve relics, and it rose at the top of a hill. Hence the name "Temple Hill" and from this its meaning,Wat Phnom. The city that grew was named by combining the words hill and women, was Phnom Penh. The construction of this Buddhist temple dates from the fourteenth century and since this time it has undergone numerous renovations. It is very important during the Khmer New Year celebrations which are held in April. Located in a roundabout and at the top of a hill itis a special place among the things to visit in the city. Unlike other temples with golden spires that can be found throughout Southeast Asia, spires of this temple are white, not very usual, not in Cambodia.
The city is huge and one never ceases to imagine what it was like when it stood at its peak, proud and dominating the forest roads. Gigantic doors lead us to the next wonderful place. This time the surprise was Ta Keo. According to the guide, once finished, the temple became the most elegant and impressive of the entire complex. It has height of 22 meters which gives it a feeling of power and strength. It has 5 towers, all semi-destroyed and with ample room for the pilgrims ve came to worship the Brahma. The feeling of peace is noticeable among the structure.
Battambang is a good place to visit while you are in Cambodia, it is a place far from the tourist trail, which can be reached by bus or as in my case by boat from Siem Reap, Batambang has the style and flavor of a pleasant provincial town, moving between French colonial architecture, the river, and the surrounding rice fields. Several miles from the city, by bike you can go to the mountain of Phnom Banan, it has beautiful sculptures and temples, you can cross the mountains and visit incredible villages which stimulate any traveller. In Battambang you can visit, if you fancy, the Catholic mission where for decades Fgaredo Kike, a Jesuit priest, has been helping people with problems caused by antiperson mines, lack of opportunities, and problems with poverty. Another tourist attraction is the bamboo train, a kind of wagon that will take you to enjoy the speed, the scenery and the adventure
Battambang is the temple complex Sampeu Phnon which stands on top of a rock outcrop, offering a spectacular view over the rice fields. You can visit the pagoda and the caves of Phnom Sampeu extermination camps that are now a place of pilgrimage. Going beneath the temple, you will find yourself in a cave where you can see a reclining Buddha and also the resting place of bones and skulls of Cambodians ve were tortured, killed and thrown through the skylight roof by the Khmer Rouge. This is another example of the horror of the Khmer Rouge regime and the suffering of the Cambodian people during the dictatorship.
There were quite a few things that attracted me to this temple. First, its atmosphere is very peaceful, further away from the tourist circuit than the other temples. Secondly, its structure is unique, surrounded by a moat filled with water. This moat enhances the feeling of isolation, and works aesthetically to produce a stunning mirror effect. Once inside, we found the main sanctuary, with four wings surrounded by libraries. The access bridges were made of stone, flanked by nagas and lions, and covered by wooden roofs.
This beach, Serendipity, is one of the beautiful beaches of Sihanoukville in the Gulf of Thailand. An endless beach, with white sand and waters, had it not been for the storm it would have been turquoise. There are bars along the shore, people selling fruit and lobsters, and children fishing with nets. After a stroll along the beach, nothing beats a good massage at any of the premises that are scattered around the village.
This was situated opposite the temple of Banteay Kdey. There lies a wonderful lake of 700 by 300 meters wide. Several terraces around invite you to sit and enjoy the surroundings. It is curious that the lake has never been dry, so it is estimated to have an underground tributary or its bottom is waterproof. The terraces are adorned by frequent sacred snakes, lions and other mythical animals of the Jemer religion.
In Cambodia there some of these trains, which are doomed to disappear, can still be found. A bamboo train (norry or lorry in Khmer) is nothing more than a wooden platform about 3 meters long with bamboo slats that sits on a kind of barbell that is moving on the rails. The rear bar is connected to a belt and a 6 horsepower motor. That's it! On this platform 10 to 15 passengers or any type of merchandise can fit. Since there is only one rail, one (usually the one with the least passengers) are removed when two trains meet head to head. It is worth taking a trip on this type of train in the evening and enjoy the spectacular scenery of rice fields and bridges through which the track runs. A 3,7 kilometer trip from the city of Battambang to O Dambong (about 3.7 km) is a most enjoyable experience.
Phnom Pros (Man Hill) and Phnom Srei (Woman Hill) are two opposing hills. There is a legend about them. A man and a woman wanted to get married and, according to Khmer custom, the man must go to her parents to ask their permission and blessing. As this man did not agree with these rules, he decided to organize a contest to see who could build a hill before dawn, the men or the women, to challenge tradition and bring about change. The women lit a bonfire to make the men think that the day had already dawned and the women continued to build. This is why Phnom Srei is higher than Phnom Pros and the men must keep asking permission to marry from the parents of the women.
This Hindu temple was built on top of the mountain during the reign of Yasorvarman (889-910), at the end of the ninth century. It stands directly opposite the entrance to Angkor Wat, and is a famous place to go to watch the sunset. To get there, you can either walk or take an elephant; the road isn't too long, but the heat can be a bit of a problem. It's worth the walk and the heat of the climb, though, to see the spectacular sunset and the stunning views of Angkor Wat. We were lucky with the weather and it was really lovely.
Built in 1958 to commemorate the end of the colonial area and the departure of the French, the Independence Monument marked the beginning of a new stage in the life of the country, although today it is a symbol of the wreckage wrought during the Cambodian civil war. The monument stands on the city's largest and most congested roundabout on Preah Sihanouk Samdach Blvd. and Preah Norodom Blvd. It made of garnet and covered with "nagas" (a mythical species of snake). There is not much to do there, but when you're on your way to the Royal Palace, for instance, you can take a detour to snap a souvenir photo or take a walk in the park that runs from the roundabout down to the river.
Beng Mealea is a temple which is 60km from Siem Reap. It belongs to the larger temple complex of Angkor, but it's far less popular with tourists, making it perfect for those who dream of adventure. Until recently, it was dangerous to visit, with landmines found a few hundred metres from its perimeter. However, as elsewhere in Cambodia, a Germany company has cleared the area to a 1km radius. However, nothing has been done about the snakes that infest the site, so walking among the stones is a risk. We were lucky enough not to see any of them, but apparently there are are plenty living here.
To enter the temple, you are advised to stay on the wooden walkways, and the local boys (who will work for you as a guide in exchange for a couple of dollars) are very careful in that regard. Nearby, you'll find the floating forest, with floating villages that will show you a fascinating glimpse into the traditional Cambodian way of life. The people here are friendly but very poor, and with a hint of sadness in their eyes, which is not strange if you know something about the past and present of this country.
Greetings, travelers. The East Mebon was built by Rajendravarman II in the tenth century. He built several temples in the same style as Preah Rup, but this temple has something unique: it sits in the East Baray. In its glory days this Baray (an artificial lake or reservoir) was full of water. It was about 7km x 2km, but nowadays there's no water in it. It's a large area with little vegetation and then the temple, which still stands on some water. As you can imagine, it can only be accessed by boats.
It is just south of the small temple of Ta Som and Neak Pean, and just north of Preah Rup and Srah Sang (Lake of Dawn). In this temple we can find several prangs (towers) and 5 Prasats (small palaces) some with doors decorated in honor of Shiva. The temple guardians, on the steps and in the courtyard, are the lions and elephants so revered by this culture. Despite being a temple of Hindu origin, you'll find a figure of Buddha within. On the terrace is an open space, that gives you a unique point of view; normally, these temples are surrounded by vegetation. Definitely worth a visit for its unique features.
One of the views that can be seen from Battamban, is Wat Ek Phnom, Phnom Sampeau and Phnom Banan and sine you can buy a ticket for all three sites for just $2. We rented a scooter to be able to move around the three sites on our own. The temple of Wat Ek Phnom is actually a ruined temple, beside which there is a pagoda and a really tall Buddha. All this just 20 km from Battambang. Compared with other Cambodian temples (especially after seeing Angkor) this is an interesting temple, but, at least for me, the most interesting thing is that on the way to the temple you can see how they make rice paper in the villages, dried to leave on bamboo panels. Locals also let it dry on thin slices of banana.
Shoka Beach is located in the city of Sihanoukville which comes from the name of a Cambodian king in the 1960s. It is the only Maritime port in the whole of the kingdom of Cambodia. Sihanoukville is located 230km from the capital Phnom Penh. The climate is tropical with average temperatures of 28-30 degrees in the daytime, but at night it can drop to 21 degrees.
As the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh offers a glimpse into the Khmer lifestyle, a wide range of activities, a good night life and the reminders of the horrors that the genocide left almost 50 years ago.
The name comes from the Sanskrit word apsarah, meaning celestial maiden. It is believed that this dance started in the ninth century in the temples of Angkor, and nearly disappeared in the 1970's under the violent Khmer Rouge regime. Today it has been revived, in part due to tourism, and there are Apsara schools in all the major cities. According to mythology, the apsarars were supernatural beings who appeared as beautiful maidens, who danced to entertain the gods and to honour heroes who had fallen in war. Today you can often see apsara shows in hotels and restaurants. The dancers wear silk clothes with elaborate headdresses.
The statue of Sandech Chuon Nath is located in Independence Park, about 250 metres from the famous monument, and close to attractions like the Royal Palace, and the Silver Pagoda. Samdech Chuon Nath was one of the most important figures in the history of the country, a Theravada Buddhist monk who devoted much of his efforts to the conservation of the Khmer language, its culture, and traditions. His contributions to the Cambodian people can be seen in his work for the Khmer language dictionary, and the Cambodian National Anthem. Besides being the promoter of national culture in the 19th and 20th centuries, he was a poet, writer, and teacher of the teachings of Buddha. They say that he was one of the most significant figures in keeping Cambodian culture alive during the years of the French colony.