Travel Letters

Kampong Thom Market

Kampong Thom

Cambodia

January 27, 2019

Hello from Central Cambodia,

Kampong Thom may be a small city.  But it’s also a city of lively contrasts.

A constant flow of determined traffic crosses the steel arch bridge that spans the Steung Saen River.  In the shadow of the bridge, a lone fisherman silently casts his net from a tiny wooden boat.

The traffic across the bridge is brisk.  Vehicles vary in size and speed.   Yet without the assistance of traffic lights at the four-way intersections, the trucks, buses, cars, vans, and motorbikes sort themselves out, effortlessly, courteously and safely.

Kampong Thom Temples

 

Kampong Thom (pop 32,000)

Kampong Thom Province

Cambodia

January 27, 2019

Hello from Central Cambodia,

I visited two Buddhist sites here in Kampong Thom.

Phnom Santuk is a cultural and natural site located in Ko Koh village, Ko Koh commune, Santuk district, about 17 kilometers south of the Kampong Thom provincial town.  

The ancient carvings and the modern pagoda are located on the top of the mountain.  (I learned in my research that the Khmer word “phnom” means “mountain.”)

Shall I climb the 800+ steps to the summit?  Or just take a taxi.

Sambor Prei Kuk

Kampong Thom City

Capital City

Kampong Thom Province

Cambodia

January 26, 2019

Less than an hour’s drive from Kampong Thom in Central Cambodia lies the UNESCO World Heritage Site - The Temple Zone Sambor Prei Kuk, Archeological Site of Ancient Ishanapura.

I visited the site with my friend Howard.  We strolled among the temples for several hours.

I have two distinct impressions of this site.

First is the age of this site. 

Archeologists agree that the temples were built in the late Sixth to early Seventh Centuries.  This complex is at least two hundred years older than the first temples at Angkor Wat, one of the most famous sites in Southeast Asia.

My second impression is the detail. 

I look closely at the decorations on the temples, the 1300-year-old decorations!   UNESCO calls the sculptures and reliefs “true masterpieces.”

Phnom Vor Village School

Phnom Vor Village School

Phnom Vor

Kep Province

Cambodia

January 24, 2019

 

Who can resist the charm of the schoolchildren in the rural community of Phnom Vor Village?

Attentive, curious, serious and ever so friendly, the young girls and boys are totally delightful.

In the early and late afternoon, the children of all ages attend English classes that are taught by the local teachers.

The Vine Retreat

The Vine Retreat

Phnom Vor Village

Kep, Cambodia

January 22, 2019

Hello,

About a year ago, my Bangkok friend Robert invested his considerable talents in the ten-room guest house, spa and adjoining farm and gardens called The Vine Retreat.

Robert, a native of Quebec Province, Canada is a Certified Accountant.  But somehow, he has morphed into a civil engineer, electrician and carpenter as he repaired, renovated and rebuilt the long-neglected site in the jungle uplands of Kep Province in southern Cambodia.

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