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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Voluntary Mission at Siem Reap, Cambodia DAY 2 (Part 1)

This post is a continuation from HERE.


It's another day, need to make full use of it.  Rest and relax in overseas is a waste of time and money to me.  I like to chiong my way, heehee...

In case you are wondering how Steung Siem Reap Hotel looks like, this was it in the morning sun.

Took a quick breakfast in the hotel and set off to Phnom Kulen National Park around 8,30am.

My friend Chhay brought his wife, Kanha and baby along.  Did I mentioned that he is a licence local tour guide?  Anyway, he drove and I had somebody with supreme cuteness to play with through the journey.
*pinch those cheeks*

The car ride was about 2 hours from Siem Reap city area to the foot of Phnom Kulen/Kulen Mountain.
  It's free for the locals however another slit throat of USD20 for tourists -___-  You are looking at the ticket sales counter though it doesn't look the least bit like one.

What I had read about Phnom Kulen, it means Mountain of Lychee.  It's consider a sacred mountain where it was believe to be the birth place of their ancient king, King Javavarman II.
This pic was taken from the mid mountain.

Another 1 hour drive on a not too bumpy mud path.

There were fruit vendors along the way.

I forgotten to take a pic of the "carpark".  Basically was a sandy lot where you park wherever there's space.  It must be a rejoice for drivers who sucks at parking.  Nobody cares if you park straight or crook seriously lolxx..
This was the first sight when we were out of the car.

Two rows of stalls meant for tourists along the sandy path as we walked towards the attraction.

Food stalls that didn't look appealing, but I found something interesting...

This was familiar stuff - fried bananas.

Little pillows of banana leaves on the grill.

I found out it's banana wrapped in glutinous rice.  Apparently this is a common street food in Cambodia.  Kanha bought some for me and I forgotten how much was paid, but it's relatively cheap.

The glutinous rice was infused with fragrance from the banana leaf, sticky and soft with banana inside.  Really yummy!  I was told besides grilling, this can cooked by steaming or boiling too.  Some also add in red bean paste, and there are many varieties to combine with glutinous rice and banana leaf.

As we walked nearer to the temple, there were a few stalls selling joss sticks, lotus flowers and other items for offering prayers.

Almost wanted to buy myself one stalk of lotus flower cos' they were soooooooo pretty!!   But I was afraid my friends would laugh at me >.<

I saw stacks and stacks of notes like these at many stalls.  I asked Kanha were these fake notes to be burn as offerings.  She laughed and said these are REAL MONEY!!!
These brand new stack of notes are Cambodian dollars that can be change with USD, ie. the stalls doubles as money changers.  CULTURE SHOCK.  As in, nobody steals?  Nobody robs?  Not big amount but it's still money!

This stack that I was holding was equivalent to USD10 - 15.  My friend "bought" a stack.  Still in disbelieve and shock, I had no idea what she was doing until later on....

This was the entrance of the temple which looked like a mini version of Angkor Wat.

There were beggers sitting around the corners.  Kanha started to distribute the Cambodian dollars which she had "bought" earlier on to the beggers.  So I finally understood her intention....
Most of them just sat quietly at a corner, they didn't have the habit of approaching temple visitors which was a relieve.

One of the small temple and there were numerous around Kulen Mountain.  I read that there were 56 in total.

Around were 走地牛 mobile food vendors.  This little girl was selling grated coconut.

Sweeten sweet potato.

Some coconut drink with syrup.

No shoes allowed for temples with floor tiles.

Climbing up to view a Must-See.

Basins of money on the floor without anybody watching over.  The amazing part was, nobody took them.  The beggars could had just taken them, but nope.  I could feel and sense how much they respect the temples and Buddha, despite of poverty.

The Reclining Buddha.  Not sure how many meters it was but a full picture of it wasn't possible.

You see, there's only a walk way of 1 meter in width around the Buddha.  So there wasn't enough space for me to move back for a full pic of the Buddha.
This above pic was the back of the Buddha.  The amazing part wasn't the Buddha itself, but the fact that it's build on a big rock.

Big rock means this big:
It's about 5 storeys high I gauged.  The staircase and covered walkway was build for visitors.

The local children would stay a distance away from these gooses while one chinese boy tried to touch one of them.  Then kena pecked by a few of them a one go lolxx....

This little girl was our little tour guide who make sure we didn't lost our shoes and brought us into the forest to visit a few temples.

The trek wasn't totally smooth, but she was able to walk very very fast with her slippers >.<
She was like a little rabbit hopping around in the forest while we were making strenuous efforts to catch up with her.

I hoped I lost weight. (But I doubt so >.<)

Chhay carried baby all the way.  I really don't know how he managed it without breaking his arms......

Buddha in a cave.  Most of these Buddha statues were a few hundred years old, some may be even a thousand.

Old old Buddha statues and old old trees too.

I had no idea what they were selling, bones and animal's head?!?  Gross...

These were cambodian traditional herbs, some for minor illness like flu, diarrhea etc.  They looked like wood chips lolxx...

Another temple, looked new.

2 ancient Buddhas right at the back and the rest were recent.

View from the top.

That fear of tumbling and rolling down the stairs, I held onto the red rails for dear life.  My guts just left me >.<

Trekking down hill.

A tree had fallen and blocked the way.  Not able to bash through as we didn't have any barang.  Luckily we managed to find another route.

Back to the foot of the hill, we continued eating.

Thick waffle, yummy.

We made a short drive to another side of the mountain, for waterfalls.

But before that we needed lunch time to replenish energy.  This was a local restaurant at the foot of the hill that leads to waterfalls.

 All thanks to my Cambodian friends, I got to eat like a local, it's precious experience that money couldn't buy.

Cambodia style tom yum fish.

Curry Pork.

Stir fried mix veg.

Beef skewers.
The above dishes plus 3 serves of rice was USD25.50.

Freaking yummy grilled long beans wrapped with fish paste.  My friend "smuggled" this into the restaurant lolxx..

This was where she bought it, it's just besides the restaurant.

After our fills, we walked again.  First, mini waterfall.

More staircases to conquer.


The waterfall backdrop wasn't as good looking as I would expected, I looked damn cui anyway.

Baby looked better, cute <3

Kanha, baby and me found a corner to sit, watching endless water pouring down while Chhay took a dip in the cold natural water.

   Life jackets and buoys were available for renting and there's a shelter with a door as changing room.   So for those who swims, do bring your swim wears and enjoy!
As for myself, the fear was constantly in me ever since I nearly drowned to death in Thailand.  It's a pity I didn't get to soak in.  If only hubby was around.... I would then able to splash around in shallow areas without fear.

Anyway, here's a fearless butterfly.

That ends our tour at Phnom Kulen National Park.
3 hours car ride back to Siem Reap City.

Next would be a short post on Hard Rock Cafe where I settled for dinner.

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