A Cambodian Trip – Visit to the Temples of Angkor and others

A group of nine made a debut trip to Cambodia from 22nd to 26th June visited the famed Angkor archaeological park and other ancillary places of interest.

The group comprised of Chin Kee Thou, Goh Swee Pheng, Hing Sing Huat, Jessica Lim, Raymond Yow, Regina Chua and Violet Chin with our guests Bhante Ti Lakkana and Bhante Cakkapala who graciously accepted the invitation.

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Standing (L to R) Regina Chua, Hing Sing Huat, Goh Swee Pheng, Raymond Yow, Jessica Lim, Violet Chin and Chin Kee Thou. Sitting ( L to R) Bhante Ti Lakkana and Bhante Cakkapala.

Entrance fees in US Dollars

Like any other archaeological sites or parks in many countries and as in Cambodia entrance fees are payable by tourists is in US dollars and also to places of interest, boat ride, hotel, dinning at restaurant and shopping malls; other than purchases at the old markets.

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Boat ride for USD20, a three-day pass to Angkor site for USD62 and a visit to the War Museum for USD5.

The Angkor Archaeological Park

The site of the temples of Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South East Asia. Stretching over some 400 square kilometres, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.  They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide ranging programme to safeguard this symbolic site and its surrounding. (Source: UNESCO).

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Tourist map of archaeological site of the Angkor temples.

Pictorial tour of the Temples of Angkor

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South Gate to Angkor Thom.

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The fame face-image of the ruined temples at the Angkor Thom complex.

You may go on a pictorial tour of the sites when you visit The Photo Gallery to view a vast collection of photos.

Sunrise at Angkor

A visit to the site is incomplete without the sunrise or sunset scene. We visited the site on the second day of the tour in the morning at 6 am to catch the sunrise at Angkor.

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Patiently waiting for the sun to rise . . .

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. . . and watch the sun rises at Angkor Archaeological Park.

Boat ride on the Great Lake Tonle Sap – Siem Reap

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Boat ride along the Great Tonle Sap Lake.

The Tonle Sap Lake is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia with more than three million inhabitants living around the bank, and 90% of them earn a living by catching fish and making agricultures. The size of the lake depends on the monsoon and dry seasons. During raining season the lake is filled by water flowing from the Mekong with 14 meters in depth and expands the surface of 10,000 square kilo meters. In dry season its size 3,000 square kilo meters with two meters in depth and water flows out from the Lake to the Mekong, in and out flowing is the natural phenomenon occurrences. This lake also provides over 300 species of fresh water fishes, as well as snakes, crocodiles, tortoises, turtles and otters.

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The Great Tonle Sap Lake is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia.

The Lake is also an important commercial resource, providing more than half of the fish consumed in Cambodia. In harmony with the specialized ecosystems, the human occupations at the edges of the lake is similarly distinctive – floating villages, towering stilted houses, huge fish traps, and an economy and way of life deeply intertwined with the lake, the fish, the wildlife and the cycles of rising and falling waters. (Tourism of Cambodia).

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Half of the fish consumed in Cambodia comes from huge fish traps …

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. . . and individual traps.

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The lake is dotted with floating villages on its bank and . . .

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. . . towering stilted houses.

 

Wat Thmey, otherwise known as Siem Reap’s Killing Fields

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Wat Thmey at Siem Reap is otherwise known as . . .

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. . .the “Killing Fields” of Siem Reap.

On the last day of our tour we went for temple visits. There are many temples and pagodas in Siem Reap nearby the hotel and visited a few of them. The one that struck me most confronting is the Wat Thmey, otherwise known as Siem Reap Killing Fields, is site of loss and hope.

You may read more of the war atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge during the Pol Pot regime in the book “Killings Fields” by Christopher Hudson, and later made into a biographical drama film of the same name.

The bodies of the deceased were often dumped together in fields, pagodas and schools. There are many ‘Killing Fields’ all over the country. One significant Killing Field in Siem Reap is at Wat Thmey.

This pagoda was used as a Khmer Rouge prison to house thousands of prisoners. (Note: prisoners were mostly innocents who were ‘tried’ on crimes they did not commit, and later were Khmer Rouge soldiers who were accused of treason). These prisoners were killed and buried inside two pits and six water wells located about 250 meters south of the prison. It is estimated that around 8,000 people were murdered at this pagoda during the Khmer Rouge regime.

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It is estimated that about 8,000 people were murdered in this pagoda.

In 1995, when Wat Thmey was renovated, a substantial amount of bones and skulls of the victims were enshrined in a memorial stupa. These are on display for visitors to remember the tragic history of Cambodia committed by the Khmer Rogue during the Pol Pot regime and we need to pay respect to those who pointlessly lost their lives.

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The memorial stupa (background) was erected in 1995 that enshrined skeletal remains of the victims of the “Killing Fields”.

Epilogue

Visiting archaeological sites remind me of the ancient civilisations and achievements of the distant past that only revive the obscured memories. However, as I stood on the ground of a genocide committed in the late 1970’s, has a profound impact as I viewed the skeletal remains of the many innocent victims with empathy.

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

Date: July 3rd 2018

Contents by contributor who takes responsibility for any inadvertence, factual or otherwise.

About Chin Kee Thou

Reading Buddhist scriptures and writing articles for the blog and newsletters.
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