Friday, August 31, 2012

Cambodia: Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat Photography
This photo is from RunawayJane.com because yours truly wasn't able to take one.

When I saw Angkor Wat, the first thing I said was, "Wow." All the while, I thought it was just some medium-sized structure, but hell I was so wrong. It's properly massive! Never did it crossed my mind that it was as big as it was when I was there in front of it. There were loads of tourists, and still everyone can walk in a good pace because of the size of the area. The man-made moat around it was unbelievably large scale. One wouldn't believe that this architectural wonder was built in the 12th century. Angkor Wat is known as the world's largest religious building. Not only is it an architectural masterpiece, it is also become the symbol of Cambodia. When one thinks of Cambodia, the first thing that comes to mind would be none other than Angkor Wat. The name Angkor Wat translates to 'Temple City' of 'City of Temples' in modern-day language. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cambodia: Ta Prohm Temple

Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider Location Cambodia

In this post, I'm sharing some pictures I've had when I was in Ta Prohm Temple in Cambodia. Our tuk-tuk driver Kong was excited when he was taking us to the temple as it is popular for being the location of the Hollywood movie Tomb Raider.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cambodia's Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple Angkor Cambodia History

Our tuk-tuk driver Kong says that the Bayon Temple is the last temple to be built in Angkor. According to a bit of research I did, it's the only temple that's built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine. It's most distinctive feature is the massive carvings of faces. Here are more pictures of our visit to Angkor Wat Archaeological Park's Bayon Temple.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cambodia's Banteay Srei Temple

Banteay Srei Cambodia Travel Photography Best Khmer Architecture Design Art

After a really crappy visit to a tourist 'attraction' I shouldn't be talking about at all, everything was redeemed when we went to Banteay Srei Temple. This is already inside the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park. To get inside the park, which includes the world famous main temple of Angkor Wat, you'll need to pay US$20 for a one-day visit, and you'll get a special ticket with your picture printed on it. You'll need to keep the ticket for you to visit the many temples inside the archaeological park. A two-day and three-day visit costs US$40 dollars respectively. The entire area is so big that you can't finish everything in one day. If you're into temples and arhcitecture, then you should definitely get the two or three-day ticket pass.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cambodia's Beng Mealea Temple

Asian Architecture Cambodia Beng Mealea Hindu Buddist Temple

Around 70-80 kilometers from Siem Reap, one would be able to see the Beng Mealea Temple. It doesn't look much up front, but I think it could pass for a worthy visit while you're in Cambodia. It's considered one of the larger temples of the Khmer empire, and unlike the other temples found in Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, Beng Mealea is largely not restored. Trees and plants have grown around the area and through it's sandstone construction. Here are some photographs from our visit to Beng Mealea.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cambodia: Kompong Phluk Floating Village

Photography Flag of Cambodia Geography Asia Travel
The Cambodian flag and some flowers on top of the boats. Most of the boats have the flags on them.

On our first full day in the land of Cambodia, the first place on our itinerary was to visit one of the famous floating villages. The owner of our guest house, a guy named Phil, recommended that we visit Kompong Phluk. My companion, an irish guy named Michael, and I were having breakfast when our tuk-tuk driver introduced himself. His name was Kong (short for Sekong), and he had really good English.

The village was an hour drive from the city center of Siem Reap. We were charged US$20 for the entrance fee to the area. Cambodian drivers like Kong, however, are free from entrance charges. When we arrived in the boat station, we immediately boarded a little boat and sailed to the floating village.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

More photos from Bangkok, Thailand

With my dependable little camera in hand, here are more photos I took while I was in Bangkok, Thailand. May the pictures do the telling. I didn't go to the Grand Palace nor the famous Floating Market. I reckon I'll be back in the future with a friend, a group of friends or family members. Here are a few photos I have taken. I didn't take much photos as I did more eating than doing 'touristy' activities.

Thailand Siam Photography Bangkok Sam Yan Temple Temples

Thailand Thai Temple Siam Photo

Thai Desert Ice Cream Thailand Food Sweets Chocolate Coconut Milk

Thai Street Performers Chatuchak Weekend Market Thailand

Thai Thailand Exotic Food Insects Crickets

Thai Asian Street Food Quail Eggs

Thailand Travel Photography Lumphini Park Must-See

Friday, August 3, 2012

Comparing transportation in Bangkok and Manila

Bangkok Thailand Flight
Bangkok-bound! Woohoo!

I stayed in Bangkok for a total four days, but not straight though. I arrived in the city around midnight of the 22nd, and spent one whole day there before heading the Cambodia on the 23rd. I came back to Bangkok three days until my flight date back to the Philippines came. Compared to Manila, Bangkok is obviously more developed and efficient. What impressed me the most is their transportation system. To get train passes, you get to go to a touch-screen coin/card-dispensing machine where there's an option to have the menu in English. Maps of the city and it's train ways are also given around for free. Some train stations even have information centers for tourists. Train stations are very clean and well-maintained.

Bangkok Thailand Transportation Transport View Landscape Photography
A view of the city from Lumphini Park in the Bangrak District.

Aside from traffic lights, the roads had these timer-like lights which makes it easier for locals and tourists to calculate if it's safe to cross the road already. In Manila, it is considered unsafe to cross big roads because you might actually get killed by a passing car. In Bangkok, there's not much skywalks as there is in the Philippines, but it's relatively safe to cross their roads. The road systems themselves are so much more complex and systematized so there isn't much congestion. Even going to and from Suvarnabhumi International Airport isn't much of a hassle as the have a train connected to the said airport.

However, one of the main challenges as a visitor in the said city is that taxi drivers can't really speak or understand English. I remember getting out from the airport to get a taxi, and no one really. In the Philippines,  almost everybody can understand basic English from store attendants, tricycle drivers to vendors. In Thailand, it's a different story. Showing him the address didn't help much. Good thing I got important phone numbers with me so what the taxi driver did was to call the guest house to ask for directions. So if ever you come to the city, make sure you have the telephone number of the hotel or guest house you'll be staying at.

Bangkok Thailand Railway Map Train System Guide Tourist
This is the railway map of Bangkok, Thailand. Click the map to see it in detail.

Manila can learn a lot from Bangkok. Having a good transportation system indeed makes a city less stressful and makes it more efficient, not only for its residents but also for it's tourists. Unlike Bangkok however, Manila itself isn't much of a tourist destination as travelers to the Philippines only stop by the city to go to the popular destinations in the country. It doesn't hurt to continually improve the capital city in the same way as other major cities such as Iloilo, Cebu and Davao are developing. If Manila's transportation is improved, other important elements of a good city aside, no doubt it will encourage tourists to stay longer in the city, and locals will have less stress in traveling around.

Bangkok Thailand Rama IV Road Photography
A scene near Rama IV Road in Bangkok, Thailand.

Traveling around the city was easy given it's good transportation system, most especially the trains. I hope that in the future, my country's capital city will also have improved train and road systems. As much as I have liked Bangkok in this aspect, it's still different when you're in your very own country.