Monday, December 29, 2008

CAMBODIA | Siem Reap Town

Siem Reap is not the capital of Cambodia, as what many people have thought. The capital is actually, Phnom Penh.

Nevertheless, Siem Reap is the 2nd largest after Phnom Penh, but out of the two, I think it is more worthed to visit Siem Reap due to its historical sites.

Siem Reap town centre itself is not that huge, one can easily cover the whole town within one day, unless you hop in and out at each shop, then it could take you days, but for me, I did manage to cover it in half a day.

The town is easily explored on foot, as it is still developing, it is quite an interesting walk. Walking around the town is an adventure of its own.

If you are expecting those huge luxurious shopping mall, then you have come to the wrong place. If your main intention is to go for those type of shopping, then coming here will only make you frustrated, perhaps maybe the next 5 - 10 years, but not now.

As you can see, it is still developing, and hence the infrastructure is obviously as what you can see from the photos, even the road is quite dusty, expecially during the dry season, for those having asthmatic problem, you better be prepared.

Bicycles, motocycles, tricycles or any two-wheeled vehicles are the most popular mode of transport in Cambodia, as one can carry almost any type of goods on the vehicle, table set, huge TV, livestocks, fruits and even lots of passenger! One need not go to the reknown Cirque de soleil just to watch a circus balancing act, just sitting along the road would gives you the same kind of amusement.

And this is called the "tuk-tuk", the most convenient way to chauffeur you around the town, easy, convenient and you can smell the fresh air! But make sure you confirm your fare before making any journey, and if it suits you, you can hire one with driver throughout your stay in Cambodia.

Well, this is another fascinating scene.

No, they are not selling fake Jack Daniels or cheap booze along the street, but these are in fact petrol to fuel their motorcycles, as filling station is not that common within the town.

As mentioned earlier, the town area is still developing heavily, so such scene is quite common within the town centre, so one of my many tips, wear your most comfortable footwear, those which can easily be cleaned later but not those prize ones, and enjoy your trip.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Actually, the number of photos taken during the trip to Cambodia is more or less the same with the number of photos taken during the recent trip to Seoul & Tokyo combined!

It was very interesting to know that, within such a "small" community in Cambodia, they are tens of thousand of photo opportunities, well from my perspective that is.

Despite about 80% usability rate of the photos taken, thou I would love to share them all, but I might not be able to post each and every one of the photos here, some might be printed and some might just be kept in my archive for future references.

An overview of the Bayon, no, not the one withthe maroon sarong, its the rocky structure on the left.

Constructed in the late 12th century during the reign of King Jayavarman II, this has been one of the recognisable images connected to classic Khmer art and architecture.

Thou to some degree, this was considered to be an architectural muddle, in part, it was constructed in a somewhat piecemeal fashion for over a century.

The surrounding tall jungle makes Bayon a bit dark and flat for photographer near sunset and sunrise.

There are about 37 standing towers.

But who the faces represented is still a matter of debate.

What I found also amazing is how they manage to carve the huge stone so tastefully, with their antique piece of equipments and mechanism!

Just look at those architectures and wonderful workmanship, without any help from any modern tools, like computers, AutoCAD and such.

A glassless window.

Just can't help shooting at this contrasting image, where those soft moss covering the hard rock wall.

Friday, December 26, 2008

SIEM REAP | Bayon in Monotone

Just a quick upload, of some photos within Bayon area.

Bayon is also greatly known as the temple with the many faces, and this photo seems so surreal.

It is also kinda ruined, well, which sites are not? Considering they are hundred of years old.

A sculptured head on the wall.

A more detail view of one of the many carvings on the wall.

Each carving or wall bass portrays some sort of a story during their era, and this photo just trying to compare the sizes of the carving.

A "real-life hidden face" within the historic wall.

Sneak peek behind the column.

A wider view of the site.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Siem Reap | Entering the Angkor Thom

As mentioned in the previous post, it is quite hard to capture photos without any people in it, unless you barricade the area then it is a different story, thou it is not advisable nor plausible.

Tourist trying to capture the site, capturing the same thing, the same view, so I just captured this moment.

The weather was quite hot, despite wearing a cool hat, visitors still prefer to stand under the shade, and looking this as a good opportunity, with the flare of the sun, I captured the moment in photo.

Yeap, flares, most photography magazines or tutorials will advise you use lens hood to avoid capturing those flares, and you will also encounters some tips to lower your ISO to reduce noises, but hei, so what about flares and noises?

What is so bad about them? Bend the rules, incorporate them into your photos, if flares and noises are problems why do they add them for filters in Photoshop and other photo editting softwares???

As it was hot and dry, and looking at the dusty area, changing one lens is a "nightmare", you can either have a less superior all in one zoom lens, or good prime lens or zoom lens, and risk of trapping dust in your sensors, or otherwise miss a good photo angle by reluctantly not to change lens, despite all those money spent and thousand of miles traveled to come here! It is your call!!

The many heads "guarding" the gate.

"Look at that interesting head! Seems so real! And Smiling even!"

Well it is interesting indeed, if this is what they meant. Not so solid rock head. A beautiful head amongst the hard rock heads.

More details of the hard rock head.

A photo opps not to be missed.

After the photoshoot, taking a rest amongst the ubiquitous tuk-tuk

Friday, December 19, 2008

Siem Reap | South Gate

Siem Reap, Cambodia is now one of the sought after places for those adventure seeking traveller, as well as one of those must visit places for photographers.

This is where the world known historical and archaeological site is located.

Angkor Wat, part of AngkorArchaeological Park, and listed as one of the sites in UNESCO world heritage is one of the reasons why million of visitors are coming to Siem Reap nowadays.

The South Gate, is one of the major entrances to Angkor Thom.

It is quite huge, as compared to the already huge elephant.

Trying to get a decent photo without any people surrounding the gate is a very tough challenge, as visitors are frequenting the place every minute.

The gate is identified for its many sculptured faces.

A different view of the gate.

A close-up detail of one of the many sculptures.

A different perspective of South Gate.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Singapore is now trying a different approach in luring "tourist" to the country. By organising international seminars, forums, meeting and expo, thus indirectly can attract many organisations to take part hence attracting quite a wide range of tourist.

SITEX, is an exposition which showcases different arrays of electronic gadgetry, ranging from small TV to the huge LCD, computers and its accessories, car electronic gadgets, mobile phones, camera, home theatre to personal entertainment, just to name a few.

Situated at one of the largest exhibition centres, which have its own MRT terminal, attracted nearly a million visitors last year during its 4 days expo, and this year are no difference.

Products on displays are often those of newly launched, with mostly hugely discounted prices, and even they are of the same price as those outside retail stores, usually, they are bundled with numerous additional gifts.

And to top up the cream of cake, non-ICT related expo will also runs concurrently, just to get some shares of the number of people coming to the area.

What I found interesting is the amount of additional "free" gifts that are thrown away as part of the bundled price. It could be anything, from a simple gadget, complimenting the actual item to some ridiculous stuff.

For example, buying a mega huge LCD TV, one can get an additional smaller LCD TV + DVD + laundry token + free cola, or buying a new PC, one will get additional standing fan + raincoat + pillow + cat food!?!

Yeah I know, I might exaggerate a bit, but you get my drift.

People are everywhere, in front of you, behind of you, left, right, down (sitting down exhausted), and even people when you looked up!

Yeap, you got that clear, up!, The sales promoter will do anything, just to grab the visitors attention, they scream, they sing, they dance, they will do anything just to get a second of your attention, thus buying their products.

There are almost no place to rest, because soon as you try to stop walking, and try to browse the product in more details, you will be shoved off, it is literally one huge massive jam of people.

Some just go there to browse new products, some have done their homework and spend the right amount, some just walk-in, thinking of nothing to buy, but ended buying thousand of dollars of worthless items, thou I have been longing for the LCD TV like the awesome huge Sony Bravia LCD X/ ZX-Series, but hei, I just keep on thinking that, I just want it, but I don't need it, unless I have extra dosh, or I won it from some sort of lucky draw or the likes, then woohooo!

But then again, even if you got your desired items during the fair, the queue to pay for the goods can be more than 100 metres long with about more than 200 people waiting in-line!

Well, if in the end, nothing have induced you in buying any of the stuffs, then go back to the train terminal and look up the ceiling and admire their beautiful modern abstract motifs.