On To Preah Vihear!

Posted: October 4, 2008    Categories: Cambodia

I’ve pretty much seen all most of the temples in the Angkor complex at this point, including many of the smaller sites away from the main park which few people visit. I even went to one site located in a monestary where there were zero tourists, zero people selling stuff, and zero government officials. It was pretty neat.

I also visited Tonle Sap, which is a big lake in centeral Cambodia. The lake is unqiue because every year it shrinks and grows dramatically with the season. The level of the lake can go up and down over 12m. There are people who live on the lake in floating houses. They have floating everything including stores, schools, newspapers, hospitals and temples. Many of the people who live there are Vietnamese, not Cambodian.

Tomorrow I’ll be off on my biggest adventure in Cambodia. I’ll be taking a 200km motorbike journey to Preah Vihear, an ancient temple on the border of Thailand, older than Angkor Wat and the location of many historic events, including the final surrender of the Khmer Rouge. The ruins are on top of a 1,500 foot cliff overlooking the rainforest below. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site just this year.

Preah Vihear was the location of a small border conflict in July between Thailand and Cambodia. There are also still land mines in the area. Thankfully, the area around the temple, the roads and paths have all been painstakingly cleared. The secret is to just not wander off into the forest, which I wouldn’t do even if there were no land mines.

Also, talking about recent military actions and land mines makes a long trip on a dirt bike seem like a much bigger deal than it really is.

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