Cuti-cuti asean

9 06 2006

What? International Service trip to Siam Reap, Cambodia, When? 3-6 June 2006, Where? Cambodia lah, duh…
Story by International Service Director Premila

Cuti -Cuti Asean! Come join me to visit the Angkor Wat in Cambodia! These were my words during the last club AGM in January 2006! Promoting my last IS project with striking colour pamphlets. And here I am writing to you all about the trip. Gosh, how time flies!

Yes, we are back from the short and sweet trip in Siam Reap. The 4 days and 3 nights in Siam Reap was truly an enriching experience.

The “we” are Mei Han, Sri Ganesh, Chin Jern Yoon (Eric), Kim, Carrie and Carolyn (Mei Han’s friends and our once in a while guest). There is so much to share with you guys about our trip so I will tell you more when we meet. As for now, I have few highlights of the trip below. Since a picture says 1000 words, I have carefully selected 60 pictures out of hundreds for your viewing.

Please click here to view it. Click the Angkor Wat folder in my website.
http://community.webshots.com/user/premila1912
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/meihanyap/my_photos

Few highlights of our trip:

1st day – 3 June 2006 : Adventure on Tonle Sap Lake
Arrived at Siam Reap International Airport at 12.00 p.m. Our hotel guy was waiting for us with the big sign board of my name: PRAMILA! Then we checked into our hotel in Golden Villa Temple- very cosy and nice place and cheap too. Later we met the Cambodian Rotaractor, Raty who took us for lunch in her friends’ restaurant. We tried local Khmer cuisine like spring chicken with ikan bilis, amok (fish in lemak curry)

Then we head off to Tonle Sap Lake to see the of life Cambodians life water. This lake is the biggest lake in S.E.A. Never had we thought that our first day will be filled with dangerous experiences. It was like joining the AXN Fear Factor show. After 10 minutes on the boat, heavy rain said “hi” to us and the thunder storm laughed at us happily. Our boat was swaying according to the mood of the wind and it almost turned up side down. Though our guest Raj has arranged travel insurance for us, we prayed that we don’t have to use it.

Despite all that, we managed to catch a glimpse of the village on the lake. It rained the whole night so we slept early as we had to wake up at 4.30 am the next day… The adventure begins…

2nd day – 4 June 2006: Exploration of the temples
We left our hotel at 5.00 am just to catch the sunrise view at Angkor Wat (AW). The sun said “hi” to us at 5.45 am. It was so bright as compared to mornings in KL. And the view was breathtaking. It was worth the early up.

We dedicated this whole day for temple exploring. So we left AW as we promised to return in the evening after exploring other famous temples. We started our day in Banteay Srei, the jewel of all the temples. The first temple built in the 10th century with laves and pinkish hue stone. Everything was pink here!

Then we moved to Ta Phrom, the most atmospheric ruined temple. Here, we were puzzled whether the tree came first or the temple. The trees branches were swallowing the temples slowly. Next, it was the Bayon – temple of faces. Here we saw the faces of King Suryavarman VII everywhere. He was not handsome but he had a good smile. Check out our artistic pictures at this temple especially the magic kiss for Mei Han. Also don’t forget to judge who is nose sharper in the pictures. Picture no 29 and 30.

Then it was break for lunch. This time, we tried Thai food with sitting down dining style. Then we continued our journey of exploration despite the hot weather. The finale of the day was the visit to Angkor Wat! The entrance was grand yet very old but the inside views was amazing. It is truly a wonder of the world. The building was built with such perfections. Apparently it took 37 years to build it. Just imagine that there were no computers, auto cad programme, cranes and all the high tech building material. Everything was done with HANDS! Check out the picture no 32 to see the nature’s mirror.

The sculptures and the bas reliefs of 1.2 km tell us the story that we can never find in the books. Here we had another AXN – Fear Factor adventure – climbing the 3rd floor in the Angkor Wat. The steps were really steep and each step was only 5 cm wide. So imaging how small their feets must be!

Our last plan for the day was to climb the Phnom Bakheng hill to see the Ariel view of the AW and Siam Reap. But the sun went to sleep and the rain said “hi” to us again. The rest of the gang didn’t want to climb up the hill but Mei Han, Ganesh and I climbed the hill in the rain though it was very slippery. Go Rotaractors! And it paid off with another breathtaking helicopter view of Siam Reap.

The day ended with good BBQ dinner in Temple bar and some us relaxed with the blind massage. Of course the guys continued their night by playing pool and dancing with the mat salleh chicks. Not sure what they did after that 😉

3rd day – 5 June 2006: Visit to the orphan home
In the late morning, we went shopping and had lunch in La Noria, a French restaurant in the French colony. It was then the serious part of the trip. After lunch, the Rotaractors visited the orphan home known as HOPE CENTER, which is 30 minutes from the Siam Reap city. Here we spend some time playing with the kids and visiting their homes, library and vocational centre. Fortunately, the home was well maintained as it was sponsored by an Italian NGO. Then we handed over the cash of USD130 to the centre manager. The USD 130 includes the USD100, raised by the IS avenue during the Alice Smith Chritsmas Bazar last December) and the balance was donation from Mei Han’s friends.

The day ended with buffet dinner with Cambodia cultural performance in Tonle Mekong. Some of us went to Bar Street for clubbing till 4.00 am the next morning.

4th day – 6 June 2006: Sayonara Siam Reap
We packed and took the 11.00 a.m. flight back home. It was truly a short yet relaxing holiday and it cost us around RM800 for everything.

So that’s my short story of my last IS project. Million thanks to Mei Han for motivated me to organise this trip, Sri Ganesh and Eric, who were our body-guards and to Kim, Carry and Carolyn for being so supportive during this trip. Not forgetting to Raty, our Cambodian friends who helped a lot for this trip.

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