Posts Tagged ‘Siem Reap’
Skoun (or Skun), Cambodia is at the crossroads between Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Kratie (Irawaddy dolphins). As a result, it’s a busy transportation hub for Cambodia. It is known as “Spiderville” by some as the town is known for its delicious selection of deep fried tarantulas, as well as crickets and grasshoppers. Before you roll you eyes at the thought, let me tell you that the spiders don’t taste half bad. Although they don’t taste “just like chicken”, they do resemble softshell crab in texture although the taste is a bit stronger. You can buy a bag of these spiders and munch them as you would any snacks. There is a bit of bitterness before you swallow the spider but otherwise not bad. Really. If the thought of spiders turn you off, try the crickets or grasshoppers, both of which are tasty with no aftertaste. Bon appetit!
Photos taken with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens and Nikon D300s and 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens.
In May, my friends and I made a trip from Siem Reap, the location of Angkor Wat, to the village of Kampong Kleang on the Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The Tonle Sap with its reversing water flow, depending on the season, is one of the great wonders of the world. Any visit to Angkor Wat should include travel to this lake. On the way there we passed this hamlet that this time of year was high and dry. By mid-June the situation changed as the lake waters rose to a level just below the top rung of the stairs. The 18 foot rise in the water level signaled the beginning of the wet season.
We stopped at this village to take a quick walk through town and found that it was difficult to leave as the people were very friendly, walking with us. Mainly it was the children who shadowed our every move, yelling “good-bye” nonstop. On those days when you are tired of visiting temples, you might consider a trip to the Tonle Sap. With a stop or two in a village like this one.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.
One of the highlights of my latest trip to Angkor Wat is the opportunity to capture people going about their daily routines. This could include dancers working at night at Angkor Wat or monks in a tourist mode visiting during the day. Irrespective of their activities, they were all at ease before a camera, making it much easier to slip into a photographer and start shooting.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens and Leica C-Lux 2.
In this particular town, near Kampong Kleang, on the Tonle Sap, several of us decided to walk thru this single road village that was comprised of 80-100 houses on both sides of the road. Normally, groups of foreigners drive straight through, heading for Kampong Kleang.
Altogether there must have been 300-400 people living here. The children came running out of their houses, shouting only one phrase “bye-bye” which was their equivalent of hello, “how are you”, and good-bye. Although their living conditions was rough by western standards, you couldn’t tell by the looks on their faces. And the looks on the faces of their parents.
One got the impression that they hardly saw foreigners. They were very ecstatic in tagging along with us. And vice versa.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.
One early morning we traveled to Kampong Kleang, a small fishing village on the Tonle Sap. From Kampong Kleang, we took a small boat to a floating village about 30 minutes away in the Tonle Sap.
The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and is the life blood of the Cambodian (Khmer) people. It is known for reverse flow of its water from wet to dry season and the rich biodiversity surrounding the lake.
When we visited, it was still the dry season, however, in another month, the rains will fall and the water may rise up nine meters.
The land surrounding Kampong Kleang will be underwater with the only high ground being the temple grounds. As the houses are built on stilts, there is little risk from rising high water. And the people have been living here for thousands of years. They are well aware of how to survive in this environment.
They go about their daily lives no different than people around the world.
To visit this village travel south by motor vehicle about 1 hour south of Siem Reap. There are other villages closed to Siem Reap, however, they have become heavily visited by tourists.
Photos were taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.
After a few days in Siem Reap, it’s time to take a break from the dozens of Angkor-era temples that are available to see. One of the best alternate trips is to travel to one of the floating villages on the Tonle Sap.
The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and is the life blood of the Cambodian (Khmer) people. It is known for the reverse flow of its water from wet to dry season and the rich biodiversity surrounding the lake.
When I last visited Siem Reap seven years ago, I visited another village closer to town. Since then, that village has become a tourist magnet with dozens of larger tour groups with the result that it sometimes feels like there are more tourists than villagers.
This floating village is about one hour south of Siem Reap with the last 15 kilometers over a dusty and narrow road, passing several small villages before stopping at land’s end at Kampong Kleang. From Kampong Kleang, you boat down a narrow waterway for open water. Ten minutes later you arrive at this village. By June, the village will be gone, as it is rainy season and the lake will rise about 9 meters. The village will then be moved closer to land. In fact, the waterway will also disappear as its channel will submerge under the rising water level.
The residents of this floating village are ethnic Vietnamese whose principal livelihood is fishing (as you can probably guess). Check out the last photo below with the large pig in a floating cage. Also the small boat in the next to last photo is a local version of a grocery store.
This was not the best morning for photographs due to diffuse hazy light. And when you’re captive to a boat, it’s a bit difficult to plan your photos, both in terms of lighting (the location of the sun) and the distance between your camera and your subject. Sometimes you have to improvise.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and a Summicron 35mm f/2 lens.
Ta Prohm was built sometime in the late 12th or early 13th century. It is also known as the “jungle temple” because it has been allowed to maintained its original “discovered” state from the early 20th century. Although the undergrowth has been cleared from the temple, the large trees with their roots have been allowed to remain in place. This has led to the temple and accompanying trees to have an eerie almost supernatural feel.
It’s a good bet for a decent photograph or two. Between light and shadow and the vegetation, there is plenty of opportunities to be pleased with your results. More so than at other locations that are predominately rock with very little contrast and flat lighting.
Some of the scenes in the Angelina Jolie movie “Tomb Raider” were filmed at this temple.
It is located in the central Angkor area and is easy to access. There can be crowds there. I recommend that you visit Ta Prohm either early in the morning or before closing at 6:00pm.
Photos taken with a Leica M8 and Summicron 35mm f/2 or Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 lens.