Siem Reap memories !

Siem Reap is a very nice city in Cambodia, just at the foot of Angkor Wat temple. I have lived there during two years and half. It is a fascinating town full of creative energy. Tourists from all around the world visit the city each year, and every day an incessant cortege of tuk-tuk strides along the Sivatha Road. Many expats live together with the local population. Today I want to go back in time and tell about some places that I really liked.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the 8th wonder of the world. It was constructed as a Hindu temple for the Khmer Empire. It has remained a significant religious center since its very foundation. It is now a symbol of Cambodia and a prime attraction for visitors. Its detailed sculptures are spectacular and make it a must-see place in South-East Asia. But mostly, do not miss the sunrise at Angkor Wat as you will regret doing so otherwise. You will have to wake up at 4:00 a.m if you want to enjoy it, but it is definitely worth it!


Angkor Thom South Gate

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I miss cycling at Angkor Thom South Gate. The place is very atmospheric during the monsoon. If you don’t care about the rain, it is a good time to find some peace moment inside the temple.

Wat Bo Pagoda

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Many tourists will not visit “Wat Bo Pagoda”, the oldest Pagoda in town. And yet this Pagoda is so mysterious and peaceful. If you are lucky, you may enter inside and see magnificent old style fresco. Take your time to walk around. You will certainly meet some monks and very nice people. The place is very quiet and perfect for meditating enjoying a bit of silence. This is definitely one of my favorite places. More about Siem Reap in the next articles !

Chess against failure

A nice Ulule project which deserves support and sharing! Frédéric Zaborski is a newly retired teacher who is willing to give some of his time to NGO in Cambodia and Laos. He needs your help to gather enough chessboards for each NGO. The event will be covered by French chess federation.

18 days left!

http://www.ulule.com/echecs-contre-echecs/

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What’s about

• Provide  20 complete games Chess and 1 large wall board for 4 schools.
• Get out there from February to May 2016 to initiate adults and children. This will be done with the approval of four NGOs or local official structures of Cambodia and Laos working in the field of education in disadvantaged areas.
• This material will be supplemented with school supplies and magazines of Chess.
• A booklet of Chess rules and principles will be written in 3 three languages                                                       (French / Khmer / English and French / Lao / English)

 

Why Chess ?

• They are universal, are played everywhere, at all ages and among all ages. They are a common bond.
• They are trainers. Many studies show that regular Chess significantly improves academic performance. They develop skills such as imagination, sense of observation, attention, concentration, memory, anticipation, deduction, determination, thoughtful risk taking, …
• They are learning because they facilitate socialization, respect for others, respect for rules, tolerance and peaceful provide essential weapons to grow progressing.

His représentative : Frédéric ZABORSKI, President  club since 2011.

Frédéric Zaborski

For Who ? Where ? With which NGOs or local official structures ?

* The School of Chiro (Cambodia)   with obt Cambodia. http://obtcambodia.wordpress.com
* The E.N.S. to Luang Prabang, Laos  (poleactivitesfrancophones.org)      whith “Compter sur demain” (comptersurdemain.org)

These two structures, enthusiastic about the project, joined very quickly.

 

How ?
The objective, in the medium and long term, is to install the game of chess in the school structure.
For this, the older students, accompanied by one or more adults in the school, will benefit from this initiation. They will, in turn, pass on to others what they have learned.
The pedagogical approach : * A mix of the Chess rules and games to observe, reason, analyze, count. Take the time to appropriate the space of the board, to appropriate action specific to each part before starting to play.
In a second time, games will be played by reducing the number of parts                                                                    (eg : 8 pawns against King + King + 8 pins).
In a third time, the main principles of the game will be introduced : the importance of the center, the King’s protection, the protection of parts together, ….
Basic Duration : 20 hours spread over ten days + 1 as they want the rest of the day !
Extension : A distance (email, skype, mail), follow-up action will be implemented by French players or elsewhere, with the leaders of each school in the form of advice, documents, useful informations.

 

_________________Why help us ?

• Because in helping us, may, in the short term, 100 people discover a new area that will entertain them, will advance and strengthen.
• Because you will allow, these 100 people to discover other new field.

More about the project here: http://www.ulule.com/echecs-contre-echecs/

The gentle pleasure of life in Kampot

Kampot is the capital of Kampot Province in southern Cambodia. What a gentle pleasure of life to live in Kampot. The city is quiet and it’s pleasant to see how people take the time to live. There are many guesthouses and coffee-shop in town where you can enjoy a drink while admiring a sunset. If you don’t like the touristic town Siem Reap, you will certainly fall in love with Kampot. Swimming in the river, canoeing, reading a book on the river bank, riding a motorcycle to discover Bokor mountains and the countryside of Kampot, sleeping in a hammock and visiting pepper farms are the main activities.

We spent a few days at Greenhouse, a paradise on earth! The river view from the Greenhouse restaurant is wonderful and very inspiring. What a pleasure to have a breakfast or a drink before dinner.

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Kampot Greenhouse Terrace

The railway between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville for the freight services.

More about the railway:

http://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/phnom-penhs-rail-freight-services-begin

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Kampot Railway

During our stay in Kampot, we have been visiting a pepper farm: Sothy’s Farm. The green pepper is the one that is gathered from November to December. It was very perfumed and long in the mouth. But ”the king of spice” is the famous black pepper, which is the most delicious pepper in the world.

Read more: Cambodia’s Comeback Spice – TIME

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Kampot Green Pepper

What I enjoyed the most is certainly canoeing on the river while admiring the sunset. It’s was so magical and gorgeous. If you want to see a rural Cambodia countryside with a relaxed atmosphere, you should really not miss Kampot!

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Kampot Kayak

The soul of Phnom Kulen

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It’s been a year and half since I live in Cambodia. A few weeks ago, I went for  two days in Kulen Mountains. Phnom Kulen (”Mountain of the Lychees”) is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia. My obsessions were to meet the inhabitants, sleep in the Pagoda and visit the batcave. I was dreaming about it. We rent a motorbike to go there and we just took a blanket in case we could sleep. When I travel, I love improvisation and the feeling of freedom.

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Monks and Waterfall

It was a beautiful day with a generous sun. We swam in the waterfall surrounded by a lush vegetation. I was so impressed by the peaceful mood of the place. It sent shivers down my spine as I saw a ballet monks in the water. After few hours of serenity under the sun, we went at Wat Preah Ang Thom Pagoda, where an impressive reclining Statue of Buddha carved from rock rests in a tree.

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The reclining Buddha

We were lucky to have a stunning view on the lush jungle.

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Establishing contact with the inhabitants of the Pagoda was quite easy. As I know some words in Khmer, I asked if we could sleep in the Pagoda. We met a nice monk with an open heart and a generous soul. He told us that we had to ask the village’s policeman for a permission.

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Miraculously, we obtained the authorization to sleep one night with the protection of the policeman. We slept under an inner courtyard near the Pagoda with others persons. A mosquito net was generously made available by the nice monk. An inhabitant took me for a walk before the sunset and showed me the hidden treasures and the fascinating beauty of the forest:

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We ate in the inner courtyard with the other people and we had a short time of meditation. We played an interesting game of chess with my friend while we tried to avoid the flying insects.

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Lying on the floor, I was looking through the darkness when I saw some exquisite fireflies around us for the first time of my life. I was like a child seeing snow for the first time. The sky was clear and starlit, and sleep with the sounds of the forest was an amazing experience.

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We woke up early in the morning and had a soup for breakfast. A generous person proposed us to go with him by motorbike to visit the batcave and the lost city ”Sra Damrei”.

The batcave is quite narrow, humid and cold. Usually, the monks get together inside the cellar to pray.  We saw a big millipede on the ground and hundreds of bats from the ceiling. After climbing to the top of the viewpoint to contemplate the vastness of the forest , we went to the lost city ”Sra Damrei”.

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Courtesy of Daniele Oliveri.

That was just amazing and surprising. I realized how lucky we are that we have met such warm people. The journey was quite exhausting but full of emotions.

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He took me for a walk.

 

Delightful Koh-Rong.

Long beach

There are no words to describe this heavenly island. Just take a boat from Sihanoukville in Cambodia, put down your backpack on the hot sand and enjoy the turquoise blue water. Welcome in Koh-Rong island!

Es gibt kein Wort um diese Paradiesinsel zu beschreiben. Einfach den Boot von Sihanoukville in Kambodscha fahren, deinem Rucksack auf den warmen Sand hinlegen, und das blaue türkise Wasser genießen. Willkommen in Koh-Rong Insel!

Long Beach day

If you like sleeping in a hammock, eating the fishes that you have caught on your own, swimming in the blue turquoise lagoon with sometimes nobody around you (Coconut beach, Long beach), this island is just for you!

Wenn du auf einer Hängematte schlafen magst, selbstgefangene Fische essen magst, in der blauen türkisen Lagune schwimmen magst, ist diese Insel einfach für dich (Coconut beach, Long beach).

Jungle

A luxuriant jungle surrounds the blue lagoon. By walking through the jungle, you can reach “Long beach” in 2 hours. The lazier will take directly a motorboat for Long beach. Snakes, spiders and monkeys are the main animals that you can meet in the jungle. You have to be careful. You will not find any hospital on the island, and come back to Sihanoukville will take you 30 minutes with the speed boat, and 2 hours with the slow boat.

Ein üppiger Dschungel umgibt die Lagune. Du kannst in zwei Stunden zu Fuß durch den Dschungel ”Long beach” erreichen. Die Faulesten werden einfach ein Motorboot nach Longbeach fahren. Schlangen, Spinnen und Affen sind die Hauptbewohner der Insels. Vorsichtig sein. Es gibt kein Krankenhaus auf der Insel. Nach Sihanoukville dauert es zwei Stunde mit dem Boot.

Long Beach and the Jungle

Snorkelling and scuba diving are the main sporting activities on the island. The lagoon contains a variety of coloured fishes and a beautiful coral!

Die Hauptaktivitäten sind schnorchen and tauchen. In der Laguna gibt es viele bunte Fische und schönen Korallen.

Desert Beach

Explore the coast of Koh-Rong will take you 5 hours by motorboat. It’s an amazing experience if you want to feel alone on the beach of Coconut beach, just listen the sound of the waves and the light gentle touch of the palm tree leaves.

Es dauert fünf Stunde, die Küste von Koh-Rong mit einem Motorboot zu entdecken. Es ist eine wunderbare Erfahrung, im Besonderen wenn du allein auf dem Strand liegen magst. Einfach das Geräusch der Vellen und die schöne samfte Bewegung der Palmenblätter.

Fishermen

Some fishermen live far from the main touristic part of the island.

Fisher wohnen weit von der touristischen Teil der Insel entfernt.

Sunset

Just think about nothing and let it go…

Einfach denken aufhören und entspannen…

Peaceful life in Prey Chrey.

Dear readers,

I apologize. I haven’t written an article for a long while. My blog will restart soon. Meanwhile, I let you enjoy the mood of this short video and the photos of the peaceful life in Prey Chrey, a small village near the border of Vietnam, accessible only by boat  two times. It’s very complicated to go there, especially during the rainy season. But, you will find an authentic Khmer village, with some silk weavers. There aren’t any guesthouses and any hotels. Prey Chrey is far from modernity.

On the boat  for  Prey Chrey.

The silk weaver

KidsIn Cambodia, the kids always smile, play and laugh, even though life is not easy for them. In these pictures, they were surprised by my camera.

Bicycle

In Prey Chrey, I saw a lot of grannies in good health! It’s unusual in Cambodia to find some nonagenarian grannies. Perhaps, stay away from modernity is the secret to live longer.

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Granny

Khmer Pile dwellings

The Dolphin of the Mekong.

  • The Dolphins of Irrawaddy is an endangered species in the Mekong. The main reason of his extinction is the use of string bags by the fishermen. Also, they are sensitive with the noise of the motorboats.

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  • The most part of the villagers live with the income of the fishing. That’s why, it’s very difficult to change the habits.

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  • The first possible solution as tourist is to not use a motorboat when you visit the Mekong. Then, the hard task will be to find a fair solution between the local NGOs and the villagers.

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  • How could we carry out an appropriate income for all the villagers, if they can’t fish in great quantity?

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  • Perhaps ecotourism will be the best solution, even though not all the villagers can take an advantage of this activity. But, what can we do for the others?