Cambodia 1


I'd seen and experienced a lot in this trip to Cambodia. As I prepared so the goal of this trip is not to see glamour but instead to explore magnificent architectures, to understand history and to understand poverty. Later on I realized that I was not as prepared as I should be, especially when witnessing the recent Cambodian history. It was so horrible that I even carried negativities with me for few days after I left Cambodia (really have to thank my friends bringing me back to my life). My overall impression for this trip is "Wow, it was a lot for my heart to handle!" and I feel really blissful for everything I have. Thanks you my guardian angles.

The Entree of my trip to Cambodia, Angkor Wat, one of the world's seven wonders. Built in the twelfth century, it represents the height of the Khmer Empire.
Bayon, Angkor Thom - erected a total of 54 4-face towers, representing the King Jayavarman VII of that time or Bodhisattva overlooking from all direction of the 54 provinces of the Khmer Empire.

Ta Prom - 'tis where Angelina Jolie filmed the Tomb Raider. This the monument for King Jayavarman VII's mom. After hundreds of years, it has become a stunning display of the embrace between the nature and human hand work.
Bayon - it is the temple for King Jayavarman VII himself. He ruled the Khmer Empire for 30 years only, but through the delicate temples and the written inscriptions, we understand that he was a good King.

Taking picture of the main tower of the Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century by King Suryavarman II. The balance, the composition, and the design have made it one of the finest and beautiful monuments in the world.

Pre-Rup is a funeral temple.

Pre-Rup - Where I took this picture is what they called heaven, or upper ground to the God.
The Angkor Wat tower taken during the 5 minute sunset.

Banteay Srev - the delicacy of the carvings in this temple is highly acclaimed. In deed, this temple is for the God of Destruction.
The popular stone carving of Khmer women. What you see is the effect of chemical bleaching of the stone. It does damage the artifact.
Walls and walls of deep stone carving depicting every aspect of lives during the Khmer Empire period. There  are animals and oxcarts, hunters, cook, traders, Chinese merchants, naval, footsoldiers, and everything.
Terrance of the Elephants, inside the Angkor Thom.

the Khmer ancestor gifted for its people. =)
I didn't take all these pictures. Some of which are from this prof photographer Martin behind me who happens to be my roommate for the trip. We were on a local Sunday market outside of Phnom Phen.

Me and a monk at the Royal Palace. Like some citizens have to join the military for some countries, Cambodians have to go to monastery twice in their life, namely as appreciation to mom and appreciation to dad.   
My first expedition after arriving Phnom Phen. Despite being the capital, most of the streets in the city are like this. And more, majority of major roads don't install traffic lights, so cross street is kind of like an OMG. Although Phnom Phen has a poor living standard, Cambodians are quite satisfied as if you lived 30 years in war, you will understand the distinction between need and want.

This kid would be among the middle or upper class families in Cambodia. However, my first thought seeing kid was why were you born in this country at this time. I was compassionate at that moment but at the same time recognized that comparison has made people struggle. All I wished then was that I hope the country and its people can advance at the own pace and pursue what they really feel happy.
Street food vendor. All I did try was the variety of naturally (organically) grown fruits.

Local market. Without stable electricity to power fridge, Cambodians likely go out shopping for every single meal.
I wish her good...

Caterpillar at daily work for street cleaning.
Tuolsleng Genocide Museum 

Choeung Ek Genocide Center
Temple storing 8500 skulls as evident for international court case against humanity of the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders in the brutal genocide.
These genocide centers store records of the darkest side of human nature and represent a brutal chapter of the Cambodian history. The Khmer Rouge political party killed 2.7 million out of 7 million Cambodians during 1975-1978. This mass murdering was not emerged from economic hardship but simply to satisfy the leader's wish and ideology to establish an equal harmonious society. Ironically, instead of opening the heart to treat everyone equal, Pol Pot, the leader of Khmer Rouge, chose to eliminate difference... The success of his killing regime was accomplished by a perfect system in controlling people's time, mobility, collective power and mind. See what only 80K military with a rotten system can do on 7 million people. It was horrible...
Somehow this reminds me of Lincoln's saying: "if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

Sky, Cloud, Reflection

Mekong River ride

Fried Turtles 

Banana & Leaves
Wat Phnom -Built in 1373. It is the origin of the name of the city of Phnom Penh.

Wall painting inside the Wat Phnom.
Royal Palace.

Royal Palace.
Royal Palace with an Angkor Wat model.

A ride visiting the fishermen's lives along the Mekong River.