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Amongst the temples found in Angkor, Bantaey Srei stands out in its relatively small size while bearing extremely fine sandstone relief carvings that protrudes out in 3D. It is located about 20 km north of Angkor and almost at the foot of the Kulen Mountains.

In the temple, pediments and lintels are found to depict whole scenes of Hindu mythological stories. The image here shows Narasimha clawing Hiranyakasipu. Narasimha literally translates from Sanskrit as 'Man-lion', which is an avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu.

'You want rice?'

Interesting to note that there were so many types of rice sold here: Jasmine rice, Saravanan rice, Neang Khun rice, Sticky rice, Phkar Khaguey rice and other kinds of rice!

This young chap looked pretty laid back as he waited for customers to come and buy his rice. Taken at the Old Market of Siem Reap, this area is where the locals come to buy their food ingredients, raw meat, vegetables and other household stuff. They can even vamped up at the several hair saloons and manicure shops found inside the market building.

"I'm bored! Where are my customers!"

Certainly, that's how the lady fish seller looks like in the photograph. This was taken at the wet market section of Siem Reap's Old Market, called Psar Chas in the local language. This place is a huge hub of sellers and buyers. Fresh food, dried food, meat, fish, vegetables, fruits along with non-food products like hardware, clothes, bags, shoes and even jewelry are sold here.

Meandering through the various stalls was an experience in itself. The sights, sounds and smells assaults you from every direction. A photographer's haven.

If you are the market type, make sure you take a pit stop at Psar Chas in Siem Reap. The wet and dry market caters mainly to the locals; so you'll have an authentic traditional marketing experience here.

After all the bargaining and marketing, you can have a go at the local delicacies in the myraid of choices amongst the food hawkers here. In the foreground of this photograph, there are some fried fritters ready to be served.

Ikat Silk at Siem Reap

on 07 November 2012

In this image, a skilled silk worker is tying the silk threads into patterns. The craftswomen of Artisans d'Angkor are trained in this unique resist dyeing technique of ikat to produce their beautiful and high quality silk.

In the Puok District, just 15 kilometers away from Siem Reap, is the silk farm and production factory managed by Artisans d'Angkor. Rural underprivileged village girls are given the opportunity to learn the long-lost traditional techniques of silk dyeing and weaving through a 6-month training. Once completed, they are provided jobs to make a living with dignity. This is one of the objectives of Chantiers-Écoles de Formation Professionnelle (CEFP) when it set up Artisans d'Angkor in 1998.

For more info on Artisans d'Angkor, click here

This is the main showroom of Artisans d'Angkor in Siem Reap. The finished handicrafts of the various workshops are displayed for the viewing pleasure of visitors as well as for sale.

There are wood and stone carvings of many recognizable ancient Khmer statues and bas reliefs found in the temples in Angkor. Silk products are also plentiful. During my visit, there was a certain French woman who just couldn't get enough of the high quality silk items. She purchased quite a big quantity of silk items here and later again at the Artisans d'Angkor silk factory about 15km away.

In this image, a craftsman is polishing a buddhist statue at the Artisans d'Angkor showcase workshop in Siem Reap. Since its establishment in 1998, Artisans d'Angkor has dedicated itself to preserve the Khmer traditional skills such as stone carving, wood carving, lacquering, gilding and silk-making. It does this through its 6-month training program in a specific traditional handicraft skill.

The disadvantaged rural youths from surrounding villages are given the opportunity to participate in the training, which also has the objective of providing them the opportunity to make a living with dignity. In most cases, they contribute back to their families whom are often very poor.

"I work solely for the people of Cambodia and in past years, I went regularly into the rural areas and jungles of my country to help clear landmines of which there are an estimated to be over three million. I have found many thousands of relics of the war from clearing the mines and exhibit them at the Siem Reap landmine museum of which I am the curator.
My only goal in life is to make my country safe for my people." - Aki Ra

Aki Ra was taken by the Khmer Rouge at a very young age to be indoctrinated as a child soldier after his parents were killed. At the age of ten, he was given an AK47. Later, he learnt to set and detonates land mines. He was forced to switch to the Vietnamese side and again later to the Cambodian army. When the UN peacekeeping force came, he worked for them clearing the landmines.

His awesome story is well-documented here

In 2010, Aki Ra was named one of CNN Top 10 Hero

Looking for souvenirs in Siem Reap? The Angkor Night Market and the Noon Night Market are two places you can search for a bargain or two.

Located at one of the tributary lanes shooting from the side of Sivatha Boulevard, the two night markets are practically neighbours to each other. You can get a relaxing massage, a fish spa 'treatment', look for souvenirs and paintings, or bargain for bags and backpacks. At the back end of Angkor Night Market, there is a small Movie Mall showing documentaries on the Angkorian history and temples.

Shop all you want here... and remember to bargain hard!

The night scene at Siem Reap is as happening as most tourist spots in South East Asia! The Pub Street is what its name says... this street is filled with pubs! With fancy names like Aha, Angkor What? Bar, Linga Bar, Miss Wong and X Bar, party animals are spoilt for choice!

Come night time, the street comes alive with neon lights and lit signboards of competing clubs and pubs. Most are filled to the full during peak season. One of the popular joints, Temple Club offers free apsara shows. It is no wonder this club is a hot favourite with the crowd. Upstairs host the apsara performances while downstairs provide pool tables.

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Hello... I Am Josh

A Travel Writer & Photographer from South East Asia

A little about me

Josh For some, it's shopping therapy. Others, movie therapy. Yet more, reading therapy. For me, it's writing therapy.
 
Why writing? When I travel, I enjoy first-hand the experience like in shopping therapy. But when I write about my travels, I live vicariously the experience again, as if like a movie sequel (or more like GroundHog Day, except that this is fun!). Yes, writing evokes the memories, the fun and the not-so-fun but all-in-all it gives the satisfaction of reliving the sense of place once more.
 
With images, it enhances the experience down one's travel memory lane. With this in mind, I hope to share my travel stories in words and images with you. For your escape therapy! More...

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