Cambodian trip: sunrise at the Angkor Wat and the Landmine Museum

Seeing the sunrise on the Angkor Wat from a hot air balloon… That’s on my bucket list now!

Hello dear readers! How are you? I hope you are having a nice weekend. Here in Scotland it’s raining, today we wanted to go to the farmers’ market and then to buy a camping tent in Clydebank, because we left ours in Italy, but we ended up doing nothing and being lazy: with this weather I enjoy staying in. But let’s travel back in time and go to a beautiful sunrise in Cambodia, in a much warmer climate. It was January and Gabriele and I were visiting the Angkor Wat. On our third day in Siem Reap we woke up at 4.45am, we met our tuk-tuk in front of the hotel and we headed towards the temples. It was surreal to be on a tuk-tuk in the middle of the night with so many buses and other tuk-tuks passing beside you, everybody going to the same place in darkness. I very enjoyed it. Once you arrive in Angkor Wat it’s all about choosing the right spot, really, and once you find a good one don’t move! Also, try to be on a little hill so that when people arrive they don’t ruin your view. Unfortunately at sunrise it’s quite crowded, too, but at least it’s cooler and it’s so beautiful and unique, a once in a lifetime experience. In the end I get why it’s so crowded, we don’t have to be jealous. Many want to enjoy this moment (and hopefully not only to take a photo!).

This is the truth (it’s not me in the photo): it’s full of people. Don’t believe what you see, it’s crowded. But it’s still beautiful: a sunrise in front of a UNESCO World Heritage monument.

After the sunrise we took advantage of the calm after the storm, because of all the big groups going back to the hotels to have breakfast, and we visited a quiet and peaceful Angkor Wat all for ourselves. It was surreal, to be in a world famous temple like this and it seemed like it was all for us (finally).

After our lovely early morning visit (we also managed to go on top of the Wat because there was a very short queue) we enjoyed observing some monkeys waiting for us at the exit and then we went back to our hotel Cyclo d’Angkor to have breakfast. After that I had a fantastic massage while my boyfriend relaxed by the pool on the rooftop.

In the afternoon we went to Siem Reap’s town centre to have lunch and then we searched for a tuk-tuk that would bring us to the Landmine Museum, which was 47minutes (28kms) from the centre. We really enjoyed passing by the countryside and getting away from the touristy Pub Street to observe Cambodians in their daily lives. While on the road I was reading Lonely Planet’s pages about the Cambodian civil war and genocide to my boyfriend, to learn some history because I obviously knew what had happened but not in detail. It was very, very sad and touching and it prepared us to visit the museum. The Landmine Museum was opened in 1997 by Aki Ra, a former child-soldier of Pol Pot’s army whose parents were killed by the Khmer Rouge. This was the most shocking thing for me, I didn’t expect the founder of the museum to be a former Khmer Rouge fighter who planted thousands of mines during the war. While we were visiting Aki Ra was there, too, talking to other visitors. Along with the museum, he has opened with his wife (who sadly passed) a facility for children and teenagers who lost their parents, were abandoned or were hurt by landmines. I can only imagine how much guilt he must live with everyday. But now with his charity he is raising funds for Cambodia’s demining, he is helping children under his care and people who lost limbs because of the mines. Since 1992 he has personally removed 50.000 landmines. You can donate on the museum’s website, if you wish: http://www.cambodialandminemuseum.org/our-history/ . There is also a documentary film about him and I’d really like to watch it, it’s called “A Perfect Soldier”.

During our visit we bought souvenirs because the money would go to their charity, just like the entrance tickets. As I was telling you in the blogpost about Chiang Mai’s Elephant Sanctuary, during this trip I bought only ethical souvenirs whose money would go to charity I care about, instead of buying always the same useless things.

After our visit we went back to the hotel and cooled down from the heat with a dip in the pool, on the rooftop.

Have a good Sunday, guys.

xx

Camilla

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s