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My trip to Phuket, Thailand in 2009 with my buddies Ken and Shankar, can easily be our best holiday till date.

The setting was perfect:

– 3 friends eagerly looking for a beautiful beach holiday, fantastic food and vibrant nightlife

–  White sandy beaches and plenty of sea activities

–  Unexpected discovery of a Bike Show and Songkran Festival (Water Festival to mark thai new year) in town

Time has lapsed by 3 years, but the experience is still fresh is our minds. It often becomes our topic of conversation each time we meet. Benchmarking the level of excitement, fun and discovery we had in Phuket for our future holiday plans 🙂

Kayaking…I am *one eyed* holding a handy-cam, other two are my buddies Ken and Shankar – guide at the back

tourist town of Patong

Vivid Blue Waters of Maya Bay

Crowded White Sandy Beach of Maya Bay

Cave used for bird’s nest collection

Monkey Island…Get ready with your banana!!

Spectacular View from out boat…cruising towards James Bond Island

Spotted a Sail Boat…Wahweeee!

Explorer thinking of his next move…James Bond Island

Scenery made famous by Hollywood’s most famous Spy

Our Ride…James Bond Island

Unexpectedly found a Bike Show in town…which took us away

Share your experience of best beach holidays you had  in and around Thailand…

Do you know that I got myself lost in Ta Prohm?

Ta Phrom is one of the famous temples of Angkor Thom. This is due to its postcard view among the overgrown trees and hugely popularized by Hollywood production such as “Tomb Raider”. Tourist throng here all season to get their pictures taken by the pillars and corridors of the temple, drapped with huge trees holding itself steadily by overflowing roots from temple roof to the ground.

As any other excited tourist I started off by taking snaps of myself and family members along the walls, trees and fallen sand stones of the temple. Then I decided to do things differently, with my cool handycam I pretended to be “an explorer in the newly found ancient site during the early 19th century”, when Ta Prohm was first found. As I went in and out of smaller temples in the compound, I got carried away and lost track of my tour group. Then I realized I am on my own…

I know what you are thinking….and it’s nothing like that. It was not dramatic, I’ve never got myself trapped in a series of chambers and dead ends but I just wandered around aimlessly among the ruins and thinking how long it’s gonna take before I can eventually find my way back to the group in time without spoiling the intenirary.

It’s a 13minute video….my view of Ta Prohm

Finally, I had my chance to visit one of the world’s most fascinating Ancient Cities: Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.

These ancient sites were built as a place of worship to God by the rulers of Khmer between 12 to 13th century. King Suryavarman II, a Hindu, built the Great Angkor Wat to worship Lord Shiva and Vishu. King Jayavarman VII dedicated Bayon, Preah Khan, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei and other temples to Buddha.

Angkor Wat and Thom were at its prime with abundance of wealth and food, with it’s amazingly brilliant engineering marvel in plantation and water irrigation system, until it was attacked and defeated by the Siamese Army from today Thailand. The defeated King together with his subjects left their beloved temples behind and then most of its glory eaten by the jungles of Cambodia, until its rediscovery by French explorers in the 19th century.

From then on, massive restoration works being carried out on these ruins by countries like France, Japan, Germany, India and South Korea. Angkor Wat and it’s surrounding temples declared as “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO in 1992 and this opened up to large tourist flow annually regardless whether it’s dry or wet season (Cambodia has two main season, each 6 months apart).  It is truly a wonderful site to behold and glad that rebuilding efforts are being taken. To me, all of this looks like “The World’s Largest Jigsaw Puzzle”.

I got into a one day guided tour around Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat with an entrance fee of $20. As time is limited during arranged tours, my family and I were taken to visit the main attractions: Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple, Elephant Terrace (ancient stadium), Ta Prohm and Bankheng Hill (cancelled due to rain).  Please enjoy the pictures I have lined up freshly for you from Siem Reap.

As our boat struggles through the shallow waters of the Tonle Sap – dry spell from November to May at the largest lake in South East Asia – we witnessed the daily activities of the fishing community. The scenes which I enjoyed the most while I was there last week, were the wonderful faces of children.

They might live in poverty line with only lake water for drinking and limited food resource from the lake, but like kids everywhere around the world they enjoy the moment to last.  Some of them working on boats while others just cooling themselves off by swimming and diving in the murky water.

Here, I present to you the beautiful antics of Siem Reap Kids living in Lake Tonle Sap 🙂

Guide, me and a little helper in the boat

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June 2012
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