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Tat Prom: the lost temple

11 Oct

Second day in Angkor, Cambodia. More early wake-up, more temples, more heat. Well, that didn’t sound so exciting to me at first…

But could I know that we would become like two adventurers discovering treasures from the past in the middle of the jungle?

Tat Prom may have been “discovered” a long time ago, but today’s visitor still gets a feeling of how it must have been to suddenly face a forgotten temple, half eaten by the trees. Isn’t it what we are all looking for when visiting far away destinations? A little bit of adventure… A touch of wilderness…

So here we were, walking around the ruins, with four big amazed eyes…

I think the only reason why we were not jumping around like little kids imitating Indiana Jones, was because of the terrible heat.

Temple of Tat Prom, Angkor, Cambodia.

PS: we have left Cambodia, its beautiful temples and its friendly people for another beautiful Asian destination… Bye bye Cambodia!


Travel in style…

9 Oct

When living in Can Tho, Vietnam, the Sunday afternoon coffees at the Victoria Hotel were one of the few weekly highlights. Victoria Hotels are modern four star hotels that are build in colonial French style. He enjoyed sitting at the outside coffee in wooden furniture surrounded by plants, drinking café latte and watching the pool. Feeling a bit like in a time machine. Travelling back to 1930, when Asia was still quiet and mysterious, to the eyes of a foreigner.

After the bubbling hectic city of Bangkok they decided to give themselves a treat and to check into the Victoria in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Being picked up by the hotel car and a driver in a white colonial suit they arrived at the hotel. They were greeted by friendly smiling Cambodian staff in silk dresses.

As it was raining, they decided to start the next morning with the temple visit and to spend the rest of their arrival day at the pool and on the terrace relaxing, reading and drinking café latte.

The next days, they ventured out in the mornings to discover the temples and enjoyed the late afternoons at the hotel. The atmosphere of the hotel felt just right when discovering a historic place like Angkor.

For the airport transfer, one last nice treat: they decided to take the hotel’s Citroen from 1927, getting a bit of the French colonial feeling and a curious smile from the Cambodians on their motorbikes. He had been waiting to drive in this car for the whole time, like a small kid.

It was a nice treat. After all they decided to spend a nice sabbatical and not to write a new book about Asia on a shoe string ;).

In the realm of the Cambodian god-kings

5 Oct

They had decided to get up early. Very early. They wanted to be there before sunrise.

They had told the TukTuk driver to pick them up at 5 o’clock. It was still very dark and nothing of the Cambodian landscape could be seen, except for some shy lights far away across the rice fields.

Too early for breakfast, no time for coffee. But their eyes were more hungry about what was to come and to be seen. When finally they reached the place, many others were already here. Ready to share the experience. They sat down and waited.

And then it happened. The sky changed and the light of a new day shaped the dramatic landscape and, in its center, the great temple.

Oh, it was vast. As vast as the Khmer territory had been at that time, reaching from Laos, to Thailand, to Vietnam. And back in the Xth Century, the Khmer kings had erected monuments of unseen grace and size to the glory of their gods and of their power.

What else to do than getting lost in the temple? There was something intoxicating about the intricacy of the detailed stone sculptures and the hugeness of the whole construction.

There was something dazzling about the remainings of a civilization surrounded by lush vegetation.

And after Angkor Wat, they moved on, passing Cambodian day-to-day life.

They arrived at Bayon, the Temple of the Faces. Enormous beings made of stone, watching the visitors insistently.

In between the temples were the dancers. Some of their ancestors had been the models for this temple.

It had been a good, intensive, stunning first day at Angkor.

Temples of Angkor Wat and Bayon, Angkor, Cambodia.