Monday, November 14, 2011

Travelogue Cambodia (July 2011): Introducing... Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a city that moved at a leisurely pace, almost slow motion, despite the throng of tourists bargaining at the market, marveling at the ancient temples, snapping photos with their all-powerful camera as if the moment will forever be forgotten had they not capture it at that particular second. It was July and unbelievably hot. I was literally melting.

It is a city that thrive from its past. The sprawling complexes of temples, still proud and erect, still defying the forces of nature - water, sun, jungle - that are slowly eating them away. Its past was the reason people come from all over the world. It was supposedly the low season, but the crowd that trampled across the sacred ground of Angkor Wat was, already to my standard, huge. I can't imagine how the place looks like in the height of tourist season. Would one be able to feel lost among the grand stone structure? Would one be transported to the past, imagining ghosts of past priests and kings and villagers roaming around, when one was surrounded by touring groups chattering away in French, Dutch, English, Japanese, and pretty much all major languages of the modern languages?

It is a city that despite it's popularity, is still holding back. There are a couple of modern boutiques, bars, and restaurants - obviously catering to the foreigners - concentrated in the city center, but not yet overwhelming. Perhaps in a few short years, the modernity and tourism are going to go full-blast, and new buildings, squarish and common, are going to loom over the beautifully carved venerable temples. Perhaps. But as of now, the vibe that envelops the city comes from three or four decade backs, as if time has not move much since then, and it fits Siem Reap perfectly.


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  2. owh!! awesome photos you've got there! My bro and his son, Danial went for back-packing to Siem Reap too, last February.. they have visited the same places as you and got similar photos, although not as astonishing as yours.. anyway, seems like you are enjoying your traveling life, yup?! good for you, fatma.. love all your photos.. :)