This photo-blog is designed to work either as a standard blog with images or - by clicking any image - a photo-album. To see an image in full resolution in the 2006 journey, click to the left or right of an image in blog mode.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Across Cambodia to Siem Reap

The first scenes on the road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap were of endless flood plains

We have arrived in Siem Reap just 4 kms south of Angkor Wat. The bus trip was smooth, and straightforward. It is also possible to travel by boat up the Mekong and across Tonle Sap but people say that this is expensive and now slower than the bus trip and there is little to see on the lake because it's large, particularly in flood season, and you are too far from the shore.

People coming from the Thai border have had atrocious journeys in open trucks having to be pulled through waste-deep water with early head-deep potholes by tractor. The road to is reputed to be bad even outside the flood season because a certain airline is paying officials to make the road from Siem Reap to Poipet the very last to be upgraded to secure their flights into and out of Angkor keep having a monopoly.

It has been suggested that we take a boat across Tonle Sap to Battambang to get around the flood area. We will take this stunning journey two posts from now!

Small towns on the road and more flooded land

The bus station. Notice the plate of fried tarantulas below!

Strange and massive loads and old ox-carts

A series of images of country housing styles on the route

Nearing Siem Reap

The touts formed a human serpent before besieging the bus

On arrival the bus first stopped at the bus station on the outskirts and we were besieged by touts who formed a hideous twisting human serpent as the bus drew in, but we had been told it would continue to the town centre so held our ground.

The rough side road with the sign in the distance for the guest house

We dragged our bags in the trolley down the main street until we found a sign for a guest house "The Garden Village" on the outskirts of town, down a very rough side road, which was pleasant and much nicer than the dingy up-market hotels in the noisy main street and had good views of the sunset over the paddies from the upper veranda and a little bar and restaurant where you could get breakfast.

'Garden Village' guest house off the main street

The side road to the guest house hits town

The central 'triangle'

The Koala Cafe where we ate and the heroes of Siem Reap

In the morning we took a full day trip out to Angkor which will be the subject of the next blog. Next day we took the same motor rickshaw out to the floating village of Chong Kneas were we did a photo essay on the floating homes and gardens within reach of the shore.

A photo essay of the floating village of Chong Kneas

The harbour front with a floating school house (right)

Here is a causeway out to a little island on stilts complete with vegetable gardens and a small compound

Bridge out to the little stilt island

Kids playing in the island compound

Looking back from the island

A series of images on the main street along the foreshore

Looking out across the swamp behind the foreshore

Looking out from the hillside to the arm of the floating village
extending right out into the lake proper

Panorama of the whole village

Aerial view of Chong Kneas in the dry season

The nearby village of Kampong Phulk built on stilts in wet and dry seasons (internet)

A heritage set of views we took of a stilt village on extendable poles on the shores of
Tonle Sap in 1969 which may be the original Chong Kneas, or could be Kampong Phulk

A heritage 1969 view of a dwelling and water wheel on the road out of Siem Reap

A series of views along the same stream in 2006

Evening scenes of French style colonial buildings in Siem Reap

Views of and around the markets

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