16 August 2017

Life in rural Cambodia


The Tonle Sap river runs through the province of Kampong Thom. During the monsoon season, the river actually changes direction and creates a floodplain, hence houses in the area are built on stilts.


Farm animals will find any piece of grass to chew on. Oftentimes they wander into the streets and cause traffic jams.


Though most commerce in the countryside centers around agriculture, there are a few service businesses. Apparently lost keys is a universal problem! For more signs, take a look at Signs, Signs. Photos taken in December 2016.

15 August 2017

To market!


A stroll through the local market at Kompong Thom is a must. It is so interesting to see all of the local specialties (though I'm not sure I want to try them all!).


This woman had dried fish on offer, which are used to flavor almost every Cambodian dish. 


Certainly the display techniques take some getting used to! At least you know everything is fresh. Photos taken in December 2016.


14 August 2017

Buddhas, Buddhas and more Buddhas!


The town of Kompong Thom is well-known for it's Buddha sculptures. People come here from all over Cambodia to purchase their very own Buddha. Temples also make commissions for statuary.


A trip through the village is definitely worthwhile as you'll see Buddhas of all shapes and sizes and in different stages of completion.


If you're lucky, you might even get to see a sculptor at work! Photos taken in December 2016.

11 August 2017

Blue skies above


Everything looks better under a blue sky. This lovely building atop Phnom Santuk is no exception! It's Friday and you'll find more skies at Skywatch. Photo taken in December 2016.

10 August 2017

Sacred Buddhas


Phnom Santuk is considered a holy site of pilgrimage for Cambodian Buddhists. There are several images of Buddha carved directly into the mountain stone. This one shows Buddha in a meditative pose.


Here's a walking Buddha - though he is on a much smaller scale. You can see the most important reclining Buddha here (I didn't get a photo of my own).


And just for fun, here are some monkeys looking for food on one of the offering stands. Photos taken in December 2016.

09 August 2017

Arches


There were lots of decorative arches and entryways at the new temple area atop Phnom Santuk


They were all painted with bright colors.


And they certainly made me feel welcome! More signs can be found at Signs, Signs. Photos taken in December 2016.

08 August 2017

Monkeying around


This is the newer section of Phnom Santuk. This temple was beautifully painted and decorated, both on the inside and out (this is where I found yesterday's murals). 


I caught one of the resident monkeys having a bit of fun atop the temple's guardian statues. Photos taken in December 2916.

07 August 2017

Buddist murals


Buddhist temples almost always have some kind of murals showing the different phases of the life of the Buddha. This room was in the new temple atop Phnom Santuk in Kompong Thom, Cambodia. It's a very colorful room, and I especially like the way the sculpted tree is integrated into the works. More murals can be found at Monday Mural. Photo taken in December 2016.

04 August 2017

Reflecting pool


Buddha likes to reflect. More reflections can be found at Weekend Reflections. Photo taken in December 2016.

03 August 2017

Man with horse


I'm sure there is some significance to this scene as people had left offerings in front of the statues. Perhaps they are protectors of those who travel? Photo taken in December 2016.

02 August 2017

Friendly face


There were lots of friendly faces at Phnom Santuk. Some were bare like the guys who lined the walkway, while others were painted like this warrior. Photo taken in December 2016.

01 August 2017

Colorful details


There was so much to see atop Phnom Santuk. Temples in different styles, statues old and new, Buddhas without end... Photo taken in December 2016.

31 July 2017

A visit to Phnom Santuk


Phnom Santuk is a holy site situated halfway between Phnom Penh and Angkor Wat. It's just outside the village of Kompong Thom where we spent one night before heading to Angkor Wat.


To reach the vista at Phnom Santuk, you must climb the 809 step stone stairway.


These friendly faces will keep you motivated. They line the stairway on each side, every step of the way. At the top of the mountain, you'll find several temples of varying styles and age. Check back this week for more. Photos taken in December 2016.

28 July 2017

Details


Elephants are a recurring motif throughout Southeast Asia. I really like this one on the fences of the royal palace in Phnom Pench. More fences can be found at Friday Fences. Photo taken in December 2016.

27 July 2017

Transport in the big city


Everywhere we went in Southeast Asia, people found creative ways to get around. I'm not sure about the safety of this setup, but it got the job done! Photo taken in December 2016.

26 July 2017

STOP





There's also something about the stop signs. The Cambodian script just looks fancier! More signs can be found at Signs, Signs. Photo taken in December 2016.

25 July 2017

The Mighty Mekong


The Mekong River was a companion through much of our travels in Southeast Asia. Here's a look at her Cambodian shores in Phnom Penh. This area had a nice riverwalk you could stroll along in the day. In the evening, vendors set up their stalls and it turns into a night market. You could buy everything there - from t-shirts and souvenirs to fried insects! Photos taken in December 2016.

24 July 2017

Phnom Penh by night

 

A city always looks different at night, Phnom Penh is no exception.  We drove around this traffic circle both night and day. It shows King Father Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia's last ruling king. 


We stayed in the popular Beung Keng Kang district, where the bars and restaurants strive to add some color to the night.


The many night markets also help to light up the night. Photos taken in December 2016.

22 July 2017

Sunset in Phnom Penh


The Panorama Bar has beautiful views over the mighty Mekong. So does the Foreign Correspondents Club, where this photo comes from. Photo taken in December 2016.

21 July 2017

Offerings in monochrome


Another scene from Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh. Photo taken in December 2016.

19 July 2017

Llama Mart


I'm not sure what they sell here, but I'm pretty sure it's not llamas! For more signs, take a look at Signs, Signs. Photo taken in December 2016.

18 July 2017

More offerings


Some people leave quite elaborate offerings at the temple, like this meal of suckling pig and sides. 


Other offerings are more basic, like a couple of eggs and a chunk of bacon. In any case, I hope the spirits are appeased! (I also hope someone gets to enjoy the food after it has been on offer for a sufficient time). Photos taken in December 2016.

17 July 2017

Buddha, old man and lotus flowers


Another of the beautiful paintings inside the Wat Phnom temple. For more murals, take a look at Monday Mural. Photo taken in December 2016.

14 July 2017

Royal blue skies


I believe this is a side view of the Throne Hall inside the Cambodian Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Unfortunately, I didn't get to tour the palace and grounds due to the lack of proper clothing (women must wear pants or skirts that cover their knees). Visitors can still get some pretty good views from outside as the palace sits along the bank of the Mekong River. For more skies, take a look at Skywatch. Photo taken in December 2016.

13 July 2017

Offerings on offer


A local floral shop near the Wat Phnom had some lovely lotus blossom bouquets on offer. They are perfectly designed for making a good impression at the temple. Photo taken in December 2016.

12 July 2017

More Buddhas


Spiritual life is very important to Cambodians. Buddhist temples abound in every large city and even in small villages. I find the practice fascinating and I want to learn more about it.

This Buddha and many others were found at the Wat Phnom. It is both the physical and spiritual center of Phnom Penh. There are more signs to be found at Signs, Signs. Photos taken in December 2016.

11 July 2017

On the streets of Phnom Penh

 

Buddhist monks abound in and around Cambodia. Most every family has at least one son who has joined the order.


Despite their vows of poverty, most of the monks we saw seemed pretty well off. Many even had cell phones or digital cameras and were taking selfies like the rest of the tourists. (I do wonder where they post them though...). Photos taken in December 2016.

10 July 2017

Buddha centric


A mural of Buddha surrounded by his followers in the Wat Phnom temple in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It's Monday again and you'll find more murals here. Photo taken in December 2016.

07 July 2017

Inside the Stupa



The top of the memorial Stupa at Choeung Ek is beautifully decorated with lots of intricate details. It doesn't prepare you for what you find inside.


The Stupa is filled with more than 5,000 skulls that were gathered from the mass graves here at Choeung Ek. They are sorted by sex and approximate age. There are also color-coded markers on the skulls to sort them by manner of death.

I debated whether I should post this photo, and although it's brutal and shocking, the Cambodian people want visitors to see exactly what happened here. There can be no denying the terrors the Khmer Rouge put the Cambodian people through once you have witnessed a scene like this. If you want to read more about the Cambodian Genocide, this is a good site. Photos taken in December 2016.

06 July 2017

Offerings


Many people leave offerings for the spirits that haunt the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Buddhists believe worldly offerings can appease unrestful spirits and help them find their way into the next world. Photo taken in December 2016.

05 July 2017

Serenity


Despite the horrors that have happened here, there is a certain sense of serenity that surrounds you at the Choeung Ek Memorial Site. There are walking paths and benches where visitors can sit and reflect.


Nature also continues its path, unheedful of the terrible deeds of mankind.


Photos taken in December 2016.
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