Posts Tagged With: vacation

Soggy Sights in Hong Kong

Our spring break came before the Chinese and Easter holidays and last minute plans brought us to Hong Kong for 4 days. The price was right, so we decided to go find warmer temperatures, do some shopping and see a few more sights. Checking the weather forecast the days before we were to leave I was disappointed to see rain, rain and more rain forecasted. Thinking things would change closer to the departure I remained optimistic. The day before we left the weather reported only a chance of afternoon thunder showers and I felt relieved. However, I did pack my umbrella and raincoat at the last minute just in case. This may have jinxed the trip, or the weather report was toying with us to think we could get away with rain free days.

Sunday March 31st we departed Shanghai only slightly behind schedule. Landing in Hong Kong we immediately noticed the dark skies threatening rain. We made it to the hotel and out to dinner without incident. The skies remained dark. The air was thick and humid. We returned to the hotel room deciding what to do next when we heard this unusual noise. Looking out the window we saw heavy rain that sometimes was going sideways. The sound of the rain was soothing and with the windows open and fresh breeze filling the room it quickly lulled me to sleep. Not long after flashes of lighting and loud thunder roared. It continued all night waking us on occasion. The next morning the rain continued to come down. I wondered how it was possible for so much moisture to come out of those clouds. Maybe we should have built an ark!

Umbrella veding machine in Hong Kong Metro station... almost sold out!

Umbrella vending machine in Hong Kong Metro station… almost sold out!

We decided to head out and get out of our small almost claustrophobic size hotel room. Within seconds we were soaked despite the umbrella and rain coat. My feet were squishy and squeaking with every step as water lined the streets and keeping dry was an impossible task. We ran into a small home/ hardware type store that sold a variety of household items and gadgets. For 10 HK$ (about $1.43 CDN) I found a lovely raincoat that would be large enough to cover my poor leather purse and camera. It was also a little longer than the one I had, so more of me would be dry. However, I felt like I was wearing a plastic trash bag; how unfashionable, especially in Hong Kong. I looked like a drowned rat in plastic wrap and despite the rain locals looked cool and calm with their waterproof shoes and more fashionable trench coats. Oh well we decided the rain wasn’t going to spoil our vacation since our time was limited.

Luckily and we tramped around overhangs from buildings and some covered walkways protected us in some places, although the damage had already been done. We were still wet. We wandered a large mall at Time’s Square and bought some great new Samsung phones cheap, which just happened to be on sale, SCORE! so all was not lost. John was happy to find Pizza Express which served good thin crust pizza.

 

 

Rain rain go away... Heavy downpour along Hong Kong Street in Mong Kok

Rain rain go away… Heavy downpour along Hong Kong Street in Mong Kok

 

I knew the rain was bad and it continued until mid day. With a short break that was short lived it started again. It wasn’t until now as I researched things did I know HOW bad the weather was. Here are some of the stats I found from Bloomburg and The Guardian press on-line:

  •  March 31st there was 40mm of rain
  • In some parts of Hong Kong there was hail, only the 39th time this has occurred in the city
  • hail was golf ball to fist size
  • 245 flights were affected, some 200 delayed, while others were cancelled or diverted
  • there was flooding in some areas where water reached up to waist height! People were swimming to get around -or out.
  • there were 3000 lightning strikes reported in 1 hour with 8000 in total

Hong Kong terms this kind of storm “Black Rain” which means 7+cm of rain can fall in 1 hour. We were lucky we missed this coming in, but wandered out in it the next morning not realizing how bad it could be. The rain ended up lasting the entire time we were in Hong Kong and it didn’t let up for days after. The rain lasted 1 week in total! It started Sunday and the following Saturday it stopped. Now we did have a few hours each day rain free and the heavy rain luckily started JUST after we returned to our hotel. The day we left we were not as lucky and it rained quite hard for a few hours. A quick dash to the metro kept us dry. Our flight was ready to go when it began again and with only 1 hour delay we were able to take off. Luckily we were already on the tarmac and in the que, or I am sure the delay could have been longer. With so many trips and vacations in my life the last 2 seemed to have had the trickiest weather. Hopefully that  is it for a while.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Misty Threshold of Inspiration

What is a misty threshold of inspiration? For me it is a combination of 3 photo challenges 😉 Ailsa has asked for something MISTY while Word Press asked for a THRESHOLD and Bastet asked for INSPIRATION.

Going through my pics from our recent short trip to Hong Kong I thought this photo fit the bill for all 3. Our short trip was saturated by heavy down pours. Luckily we got in before the storm, so our flight was not diverted, delayed  or cancelled. Each day we would arrive inside JUST before the skies really opened up. Umbrella’s and rain coats were unfashionable, but kept us mostly dry. The day we left heavy rains left everything misty over the hills. As Ailsa says fog and mist are mysterious and I thought this was be good inspiration for someone to write a short story or poem. Bastet wanted a photo to help inspire someone to write and hopefully this will get some creative juices flowing.

Misty Hong Kong

Misty Hong Kong

WP’s theme of threshold was described as something that can show change or a beginning. Travel is just that for me. Stepping away from the comforts of home and going somewhere new is exciting. I love the opportunity that travel provides… allowing you to see and do new things, meet new people, experience new foods, sites, smells and learn about different ways of life. My first solo trip opened so many doors for me and without that opportunity I may not have ever taken the chance to move half way around the world. It was a big step… challenging, exciting and scary. Crossing over that threshold has been many fantastic adventures.

The Ultimate threshold -flight

The Ultimate threshold – flight

What big step have you taken in life?

Stay tuned…

Categories: travel, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Time Temptation

With a view like this doesn’t it tempt you to jump on the next plane and say forget work… ? The beach is a place where time stands still. I don’t need a watch or worry about where to be. I can just soak up the sun, swim  in the sea and revel and relax.

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I wish I could go back in time and enjoy the sunny carefree days when we were in the Philippines just a month ago. As we enter our busy season at work I long for more time

This is my response to Where’s My Backback theme Temptation and Baset’s Pixleventures Time. Click on their links to see more.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Return to Coco Beach

February 2011 Chinese New Year holiday we went on our first Asian adventure. I had just been teaching a few months in Shanghai and we wanted to escape the noise and cold damp for the 10 day holiday. Booking late we found high prices and limited availability. We searched and found a very cool little resort that was different from your typical hotel room. We were delighted by its rustic charm and felt like we had landed on Gilligan’s Island. Most people we met there were on their second and third visit to this little gem. We vowed to return and this Chinese New Year holiday we did.

This year we booked early, but prices were high due to poor air quality that gripped Shanghai. We booked 5 nights since that was the cheapest option. Flights nearly doubled for extending our stay a day or two in either direction. It would be a short trip, but nice to get away to the most relaxing place we had ever been. The place is called Coco Beach and it is located in Puerto Galera on Mindoro Island in the Philippines.

Welcome to Coco Beach

Welcome to Coco Beach – View on approach by boat

The resort has been around since the 1970’s and it resembles a type of Philippine traditional home. They are simple huts made with bamboo and palm leaves. The rooms have no TV, internet or air conditioning. A simple sliding window and canvas curtain open to reveal the best views, better than any HD TV. Rooms are equipt with bathrooms with cool running water, which is fine due to the heat and humidity. You look forward to the cool water. Rooms are set along a hillside to take advantage of the view. This time our hut was set back further from the ocean, so our view of the sea was partially obscured by the towering palms. This also blocked out the soothing sounds of the sea to lull us to sleep each night and the palms blocked out the cooler sea breezes. Nights were hot, but a fan kept us comfortable. Weather forecasts called for rain or cloudy days, but we lucked out with sun, warmth and blue skies everyday. The day we were leaving a quick rain shower passed through, but it was short-lived.

To get there was quite the adventure. We had a late morning flight and got up early to head to the airport. We were met with a thick dense fog. I figured we would be slightly delayed, which was an understatement! Once in the airport we learned from other people in line the flight may be delayed until 3:30 that afternoon. It was now 9AM. It took over 2 hours to get to the counter where the delay was confirmed. The long wait was attributed to attendants trying to re-book the numerous connecting flights. Most people connect through Manila to the more popular Boracay and Cebu beaches. Once we got to the gate more rumours started to be passed around that the flight was further delayed or even cancelled. The flight was now scheduled for 8:20 PM. Since we had gone through security we were stuck waiting. The fog/smog mix remained heavy and didn’t lift. Finally late afternoon the first flights could leave. The visibility had only slightly improved. Our flight would take off, hopefully, once our plane arrived since it was still in Manila. About 4:45 it was confirmed the flight was in the air, but it was still uncertain we could leave since fog was rolling back in. Being close to the sea and 2 rivers certainly has its disadvantages.

The beach - coral reef almost touches the shore

The beach – coral reef almost touches the shore

Finally about 10:45 PM, 5 minutes shy of our morning departure time, nearly 12 hours before we were able to leave the gate. Tired and wary we arrived in Manila about 2:oo AM. The next morning came fast since we had a 6:30 AM shuttle to take us to Batangas where we would board a boat to Coco Beach. It was all worth it once we stepped off our boat and quickly porters grabbed our luggage and brought it to the main building where the staff awaited us playing guitars and singing Welcome to Coco Beach. As before each guest was presented with a shell necklace and handed a drink and shown a place to sit and relax. When we were ready the kind staff gave us our keys and gift box filled with homemade soaps, creams and shampoos made on site. 3 days here would go by quickly, so we had to make the most of every minute to soak up the sun, kind smiling faces and relaxing atmosphere. Aaahhhhh we’re back…..

steps leading up the hillside to the huts

steps leading up the hillside to the huts

What crazy travel delays have you encountered?

Stay tuned… and be sure to check out my previous post from today… RED #2 -Tourist in Your Own Town.

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Awe & Wonder: Preha Kahn

Our time in Cambodia was winding down and we had 1 last day of the 3 day ticket to the Angkor Wat site. After spending the morning at the floating village we decided to try to capture the sunset at Angkor Wat and see one last temple for the remaining part of the day. Our driver wanted to take us to the Lady Temple, but it was a bit far out. I read about Preha Kahn and decided that would be our last temple visit.

Leading up to the gate this bridge with the carved images guides your way.

Leading up to the gate this bridge with the carved images guides your way.

Preha Kahn is similar in design to Ta Prohm since it was built by the same ruler. One of the temples was built for his father, the other his mother. This temple had been used as a monastery and residence for the King over time. This temple promised fewer people, but the same enchanting trees and vines over walls. Unfortunately not all temples have been saved –yet. Preha Kahn lay mostly in ruin to a larger extent than the other temples we had seen. It was still something I wished to see and get more shots of the atmosphere that intrigued me. Seeing the temples almost brought me back in time as my eyes tried to soak it all in. The feeling of peace and freedom to explore the ruins where little was off limits was unlike any other travel experience where velvet ropes and guards hush you and hold you back.

Since our return I have read about tourists climbing to roof tops and exclaiming they are re-acting scenes from movies and video games which, is a little shocking. I guess some people take more liberties and blur the world of fantasy and reality more than most. As more tourists come so does the wear and tear on these ancient sites. Preservation is starting to become more important now than ever. Restoration is expensive and pain staking, so I assume that fewer liberties will be allowed and more restrictions will be the norm in the near future.

 

The wall to protect the inner temples inside the main gate. It was said the large moats surrounding the temple complexes held crocodiles to help protect!

The wall around the inner temples inside the main gate. It was said the large moats surrounding the many temple complexes held crocodiles to help protect!

Strolling up from the main road we followed a long sandy path where a child was drawing designs and pictures in the dirt as a tourist tried to question him and get him to pose with his works. More rubble lay about and statues were headless as well as some ancient gods had been chiseled out of the bas reliefs. These temples had been Hindu and Buddhist over time and when one took over the former gods had been erased in some instances. What struck us more was the crumbling walls toppled by giant trees and roots. Some of the trees had been partially chopped down, but the roots still head fast in ancient foundations. Each turn seemed to show us another tree, a larger one with a firm grasp trying hard to erase an ancient civilization.

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There is a delicate balance being played out between nature and man. Tourists come to see the lost cities smothered in trees with its mystique and atmosphere and nature fights to reclaim its land. On one side nature needs to be controlled so it doesn’t completely destroy the site, but without this unique phenomenon will the tourists keep coming?

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Light was fading fast, so we needed to cut our visit short, so we could race to Angkor Wat to try to view sunset. With time against us we went in the same gate we viewed sunrise and needed to race across the grounds to the opposite side if we wanted the temple silhouetted against the colourful sky. Crowds were exiting as the day was nearly done. With the sun to our back we paused to look around and see if the sky was starting to light up in brilliant colours only to realise a large cloud bank stretched across the horizon. As luck would have it we would also miss sunset. With disappointment I stopped to look around one last time and soak it all in. Part of travel is sometimes missed opportunities, but many more great adventures will outweigh the things left undone. Leaving a great destination with more to see and do is all the more reason to return.

 

This is the fifth in a series of posts about our December trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia. If you would like to see more be sure to check out:

 

Stay tuned… with Chinese New Year holiday upon us we are heading to the Philippines for a few days of rest and relaxation. I apologise now if it takes me a little longer than usual to respond to comments.

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Cambodia -More Awe & Wonder

In December we took our first trip to Cambodia. We spent 10 days in the Siem Reap area which is known for the famous ancient temples and ruins at Angkor Wat. There are a lot of other things to see and do besides temples. A few museums, a waterfall and silk ‘farms’ are available to visit for a change of pace. The one that sounded the most interesting was out on Tonle Sap Lake; a floating village. We decided to visit the floating village  which  is also quite popular with tourists. The idea intrigued me and I was curious what it would be like. I pictured houses floating similarly to boats, but somehow anchored in place. We decided this would be worth seeing, something different and more unusual than anything we have ever visited before.

Only mode of transportation that works here

Only mode of transportation that works here

There are a few places where you can go and see some of the floating villages. The place our tour driver, Rak, recommended was a little further from the city. He felt it was less touristy and crowded. It was $25/person for the trip which included the price of our driver and the entrance/boat for about 1 hour. It was a short drive on main roads through the city . Next we drove through more open country that reminded me of the wide open spaces back home. Once we turned off the main road it slowly turned into a dirt road, sometimes littered with potholes. Seeing Tuk Tuks bump along in the dust made us very happy we had a comfortable car. The road here isn’t paved since the lake floods each year and the road is under water for a long period of time. The dry season runs from November to May and the lake will be as small as 2,700KM2 and it can swell as large as 16,000KM2. Due to this natural phenomenon the inhabitants have constructed their houses on tall poles made from tree trunks. This would be something to see.

House on stilts

House on stilts

We parked the car and Rak hired us a boat and we were led away. We had the boat to ourselves which was a nice surprise. We started off slowly going along a narrow passage for what seemed like a long time. There wasn’t a lot to see other than some trees that were partly under water. Eventually we started to see some of the houses on stilts. As we rounded a corner the village came into view. Houses varied from those in bright colours, to pale peeling paint, to simpler ones in plain wood or what looked like woven palm leaves or reeds. The locals went about their daily business in small boats. We saw some children going off to school while others stayed home and helped pick small fish out of fishing nets. We continued on passing more and more, which was hard to take it all in.

floating villiage

After about 30 minutes we docked and were asked to get off our boat. Another tour through the mangrove was offered for an additional $5 in smaller boats. We decided against this part and continued on our journey. After this stop there was another place to stop and eat and a large temple, but our driver pushed on. We eventually reached the open lake and our driver stopped our boat. We weren’t sure of the purpose since there was nothing to see. We were like sitting ducks and soon women in small boats approached us, With limited English they tried to sell us unappealing snacks and other items. When we said no thank you they said to buy some to give to the villagers. Again we declined and our driver returned us the way we came.

Houses up close

Houses up close

Back on shore we watched some of the locals in temporary houses, simple shacks, where they sold some food to passing tourists and other local workers.  Nearby there were a lot of rice patties and in small shallow sections of the river men wade chest deep and cast large nets to catch small fish. After watching a few minutes we returned to the car and back to the city.

I took a lot of photos, but it was hard to get the best shots as we were always moving. Sometimes I wish we could have also got up closer to have a better look.

a tourist boat with approaching sellers out on Tonle Sap Lake

a tourist boat with approaching sellers out on Tonle Sap Lake

This is a part of a series on our trip to Siem Reap. Missed the other posts about Cambodia? Check them out by following the links below:

Stay tuned …

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Awe & Wonder: Angkor Thom

Our recent trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia brought us to the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat. The best preserved and well-known is Angkor Wat, but there are many temples within the area. According to some research, I read after our return, there are hundreds of temples in Cambodia. One of the largest complexes is a short drive past Angkor Wat called Angkor Thom. Within its grounds are many structures and temples hence the Khmer meaning of its name Big City.

Angkor Thom is unique with many of the gates and some of the temple structures not only having the intricate carvings, but faces pointing to the four cardinal directions. Another of the temples have a large sleeping Buddha camouflaged in the wall. A path and signs pointed us through the grounds where things were spread out amongst trees, small ponds, long walkways and open spaces. Walls and tree roots snaked around the temples adding to the atmosphere. In other areas rubble littered the grounds where parts of buildings lay in ruins. Much of this complex has had some restoration to allow tourists a view back in time to a great empire.

We tried to avoid some of the crowds and had an early start. Our driver, Rak, dropped us at a small temple outside the main gate and told us he would meet us on the other side. John climbed the steep staircase as I took pictures. Next we made our way to the gate and happened to see a naughty monkey knocking over bikes and trying to run off with guide books. As we walked through the picturesque gate we noticed an elephant coming along down the road. We went back outside the gate and snapped a few photos.

an unexpected surprise

an unexpected surprise

On the other side of the gate we got back into the car and drove down a long stretch of road to the first temple complex. I was surprised that cars were allowed inside, but soon understood when we drove fairly deep inside before we saw the first structure. I started to understand the size of this complex in comparison to Angkor Wat.

credit: www.poricany.cz

We started at Bayon, the temple with the faces. We wandered around the grounds where nothing was off-limits. Little piles of stones reminding me of the Inuit inukshuks littered the piles of rubble. We made our way higher and IMG_6442got some close up views of the large stone faces standing watch. From there we went to Baphuon where Buddha lay hidden. The sun was getting hot and this was the first day where the usual high temperatures made an appearance, so we stuck to the shade and didn’t climb the upper levels of the next few temples we saw. My shoulders were not covered enough, so a guard showing me a sign with the universal no symbol, had me sweating under my long sleeves and now double layers. Without a map and a loss of direction we continued to follow the path and people who lead us to a long stone walkway. It was surprisingly massive. I realised we had made our way through the complex, but we had missed the one thing I had hoped to see, the elephant terrace. From what I understood it was a small rectangular structure. After a few more steps I saw the elephant carvings and realised we were in fact on the terrace. People crowded and snapped photos of the elephants. We found a hidden staircase that led below the terrace to a narrow passage. I am not sure the purpose other than the many carvings that graced the walls. We led our way down the staircase to see more carvings. Our driver was waiting for us and as we drove along the road I could see just how immense the terrace was with carvings from top to bottom and along the entire length; it certainly wasn’t what I had imagined. Again Angkor left me in awe and wonder.

This is my fourth post about our recent trip to Cambodia. Two posts are about the site itself and the third is a response to a photo challenge. Want to read more check these out:

Stay tuned for more…

Categories: Culture, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Awe and Wonder: Ta Prohm

Have you ever watched the movie Laura Croft: Tomb Raider? If you have then a must stop is the Tomb Raider Temple, as it is often referred to, within the Angkor Wat area in Cambodia. Its official name is Ta Phohm, but due to the movie’s success and popularity rarely is it referred to in that way. I think I had seen the movie years ago and all memories and expectations from it were lost. Others come because it is one of the temples where the large trees still cover the walls and give it a lost/explorer type atmosphere as you wander through the combination of recently preserved walkways and parts that still lay in ruins.

Just inside the main entrance our first glimpse of the incredible man vs nature in Ta Prohm

Just inside the main entrance our first glimpse of the incredible man vs nature in Ta Prohm

This was the one temple I was most looking forward to. The photos and stories I had seen and heard made it sound mystical and magical. As we approached the temple along a wide sandy path I wasn’t disappointed. The small stone temple complex with some crumbling stone masonry around gave it an incredible atmosphere. Unfortunately it was under restoration and over run by tourists, so the atmosphere was quickly lost.

Close up of the massive trees that have over taken and caused some of distruction to the ancient temples

Close up of the massive trees that have over taken and caused some of destruction to the ancient temples

Soon as you enter the main area a large cloud of dust greets you. A main temple is surrounded by scaffolds and small cranes as workers reconstruct the fallen. Stone masons carve and add designs into the stone by hand to recover the lost motifs and images. Restoration is important since the large trees that reach up high have taken their toll on the delicate stones balanced to form walls, paths and pillars. The tongue and grove and indents that fit each piece together like a puzzle is no match for the large roots that snake under the foundations, over walls and through roof tops. Ta Prohm has many areas that have collapsed and fallen over time. I found it surprising how piles of stone were casually strewn about and covered with mosses. The fallen walls, arches and columns a result of time and nature.

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We came here after a morning of the elusive sunrise at Angkor Wat. It is a short drive around the Angkor complex. It was getting close to noon, so the sun was bright and high in the sky. It is recommended, to make the most of your photos, as the best time to visit due to the thick foliage that causes darkness and shadow at other times of the day. Numerous tourists and tour groups swarmed the most photogenic areas.  I patiently had to wait to get a photo in numerous areas only to be frustrated as I was jostled by the crowds or someone would walk into your shot without as much as an apology when it was finally my turn. The crowds made the temple less enjoyable and it certainly lost its mystique.

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I wandered the many passages and paths that were like a maze within the complex itself. Many passages were narrow and shallow making me wonder how small the former Khmer people were. I got lost as I went inside and out from darkness to light, only to find my way when I encountered the small Buddha statues dressed in a variety of ways. Each Buddha was decorated slightly different helping me recall my route. The smell of intense in the air would tell me I was getting close to such a small altar with a local person passing you incense sticks for good luck, but then requesting a donation after doing so.

I found John again after getting separated in the large crowd earlier and we retraced our steps to leave. Outside the inner passages we walked along part of corridor one which was recently restored the other still crumbled and fallen. Few people ventured this way and it was much more enjoyable and serene. From here we could see the many walls that were set like mazes making me wonder what other secrets and passages we left unexplored. I wished to return to Ta Prohm again, hopefully without the crowds.

Luckily after long waits or hidden areas within the large temple maze I was able to get some incredible shots I was hoping for.

Luckily after long waits or hidden areas within the large temple maze I was able to get some incredible shots I was hoping for.

Stay tuned…. more temples from Cambodia

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Angkor Wat Awe and Wonder

The morning started at 4:30 AM with a wake up call. Today was an early start to make sunrise at the ancient temples of Angkor Wat. Quickly we dressed for the early morning chill and ran downstairs to the lobby to meet our driver and guide for the day, Rak. Sleepily we climbed into the car and drove off into the darkness. We drove round twists and turns with the sound of the tuk tuk motors filling the air as we passed them in our car. We came to a large ticket area to buy our 3 day passes ($20 USD for 1 day and $40 for 3), get  our photo taken to be placed on the ticket. The large crowds were quickly handled and within minutes we were back in the car and getting instructions as to where to go once we were dropped off at the gate. It was pitch dark with no street lights, luckily I brought a small portable flashlight. Rak pointed the direction and we were off with the crowds over ancient cobbled stone and we picked our way in the darkness following the simple beam of light. Suddenly a slight outline of the temple loomed in front of us. It was right there the entire time. My breath caught in my throat, as awe washed over me. I had imagined it far from the road, but it was right in front of us the whole time hidden in the inky blackness. We continued on up some stairs feeling our way in the dark. On the other side we could clearly see the temple and where the reflecting pond was to get the best photos.

The large crowd of people spread out along the pond, so it was difficult to get a good place to view the sunrise and see its reflection in the said pond. I pushed through the crowds looking for a better place. On the opposite side a smaller pond was less crowded, so we moved there and waited for the sun. The temples were now outlined by the ever lightening sky. Unfortunately after the early morning start the low hanging mist and cloud along the horizon blocked out the sunrise leaving a bland, dull sky. It was disappointing we missed the glorious colours and sunrise, especailly since the sky appeared clear when we left, oh well the temples were still there, so we set off to explore.

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Two smaller structures were near the reflecting ponds, so we started there. We then went to the main temple area. It is 3 levels and each one is a steep climb. In some places wooden staircases and railings were added to make the climb easier. Few people were around, so we were able to explore and take photos with ease. A large crowd had gathered in one area and suddenly everyone jumped up and a rope barrier was moved to allow the crowds to climb to the highest level. Take note that Angkor Wat is a temple and you must be respectful, so no short shorts or uncovered shoulders are allowed. If you do not follow this request you will not be allowed to enter. As far as I know a scarf isn’t enough to cover your arms and shoulders. It must be a proper top. The day we visited it remained cool, so it wasn’t a problem for us. You should also note the ticket you purchased will be requested to be presented at numerous locations even within the same temple complex. It is a paper ticket, so keep it safe. We clambered up the steep stairs and the view was worth it. The view over the grounds and surrounding area was stunning. The sun was finally making a brief appearance and it highlighted all the carvings and bas reliefs that covered the walls. The amount of workmanship in this temple and the carvings that covered every wall, celing and doorway was amazing. Some told stories while others showed gods, or intricate sdesigns. The detail was fantastic and some carvings were shallow and worn over time while others were deep.

detailed carvings covered every surface

detailed carvings covered every surface

The pillars represented mountains and look like lotus buds

IMG_6059View from the Top

Intricate carvings

Intricate carvings

Leaving the temple we followed the same route we took before sunrise. We were surprised how large the moat was surrounding the temple complex, like a river,  and how close we were to  the edge picking our way through the darkness. The uneven large stone bridge was massive. Along the way we could spot the restoration work that has been taking place to preserve this incredible landmark and World Heritage sight.

view towards the main gate

view towards the main gate

Stay tuned… more temples and Siem Reap to come.

Categories: Culture, Photography, travel, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , ,

CTB Take Flight

Ho ho ho it is that time of year where many people travel. Living abroad it is the one holiday pretty well everyone is going somewhere. Many people travel back to their home countries to share the holidays with friends and relatives, while others go on beach holidays or other fun travel destinations. Each year thus far we have gone home for Christmas, but this year is different. We are going to Siem Reap, Cambodia to see the temples of Angkor Wat.

I love ancient history and Egyptian and Roman art and architecture are my favourite. I love exploring old temples, churches and reading about days long gone. It amazes me how such incredible structures could be built without modern technology. Angkor Wat promises to dazzle and awe in the same way.

Bags are almost packed and 1 more sleep before we get on a plane to one of my most anticipated locations and adventures in travel. Since we have been living in Shanghai we have had the chance to see many amazing places and meet fantastic people. From the Terracotta Warriors and Great Wall, and huts on a hillside where every cell relaxed and became tranquil, to a hustle and bustle of a busy city. My love of history has built this next destination up in my mind as the best yet and I just can’t wait.

We are gone for 10 days and I will have my iPad, so I can try to blog. I do not have a cord to download photos from my camera to the iPad, so you may have to wait for images :0)

All the best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Travel safe….

Stay tuned….

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