Who said monks are restrained by their vow of silence and abstinence of worldy pleasures? I guess times have changed. Like our modern priest and nuns, monks are no longer confined to the walls of their convents or temples. They seem to be open nowadays to explore new things and the world around them.
Monks among the tourist
I found this group of monks who seems to be tourist as well when we were waiting for the sundown at Phnom Bakheng in Angkor Archaological park. I was amused to see them carrying some cool gadgets under their brightly colored robes. To think that another word for buddhist monks are Bikkhus which means beggars, these folks have money to afford gadgets as such.
Whenever I explore a certain place, I try to look more into areas and attractions closer to nature. And with this, I was quite impressed to find a forest at the heart of the cosmopolitan city of Kuala Lumpur. This is not just a recreational park at that or was made for that purpose of having a city forest, in fact it is one of the oldest permanent tropical rainforest in the country. Now let’s take a short hike into the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve.
Exquisite detail carvings (height is about 1 foot)
Continuing on with my series of my favorite temples in the Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, this time we venture of quite a distance, 20km away from the main temples and visit the so called ‘Jewel among the Temples Angkor‘, Bantey Srei. If Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom impressed you with its sheer scale, Bantey Srei, which literally translates to ‘Citadel of the women’, will mesmerize you with one of the most celebrated Khmer Art intricately carved along its temple walls.
The Angkor Archaeological Park, is huge and there are numerous temples around that you would need at most a week to explore most of them. But like I said before, I would only be featuring some of my favorite temples. One such temple which have also been popularized in the media and one of the most postcard perfect temple scenery is Ta Prohm.
Updated:Thank you Toe for the help on naming the dishes 😀
Let me start first that by saying that I’m no food critic nor a gourmet expert and my cooking skills rank below 5 out 10. But one thing I know is that I do appreciate good food and binge into what I really enjoy. And in any adventure, I always try to be as adventurous with the local dish as well. Cambodia is no exception of course, a taste of Khmer Cuisine is a welcome experience.
But apologies if I forgot the names of some of the dishes. Any help on identifying them would be welcome (help Toe! hehe). Like the dish above is a Khmer chicken dish we ate for lunch at a restaurant near Srah Srang worth USD$ 3. It has that semi mint lemon grass taste and the sauce is a bit on a sweet and sour side.
Jills and lake over Bukit Tabur, also known as Taman Melawati Hills
I have always been a nature person. Given a choice if I’ll hang around a mall or the countryside I’ll definitely choose the latter. With my friend already off back to Singapore by bus yesterday, I’m on my own on my last day in Kuala Lumpur. So what am I to do on this city of skyscrapers and railways before I fly out by night? I’ve already explored the Mini-forest at Bukit Nanas near the Menara Tower and been around the malls and parks in the city. So very early in the morning I went to the nearest LRT, bought a ticket and took the first train to Wangsa Maju station since I decided to go a bit out of town to climb Bukit Tabur in Taman Melawati.
View of the serene lake which is really a big Dam
Before I went on my trip, I researched around where I could find a nice nature tripping escape out of the city. There are lot actually around Malaysia, but most would take at least 3 days on which I have no luxury at the moment. Then I stumbled on some photo groups and individuals who were raving about their sunrise pictures at a place called Bukit Tabur which is only 30 minutes away from the city. So I researched more and found some bits and pieces of information and asked around as well. The place is not really a tourist spot so you won’t find it in any guide books around. So here am I again, going to another off-the-beaten path, riding on the train, armed only with a few notes and information, I was wondering if I’ll be able to climb the place or find it at all. It always give me a chilling feeling traveling to an unknown place not certain of what I’ll found. I remember my first lonely planet travel to Sagada on an unconventional means years ago, I felt a combination of fear and anticipation like now. I guess adventures are like that, you always start of with a cold feet, but once you step a foot forward, it makes all the difference and you move on.
I think most people already know that Angkor Wat is one of the most important structures in the world. Since Cambodia finally cleared itself of its land mines and opened itself up for tourism, it gave a lot of people from around the world a chance to finally see this UNESCO World Heritage Site which entranced a lot of people since its discovery. It has been used as a setting for some movies like Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider adventures in Angkor Thom and the profound whispers of Chow Mo-wan in a hole at one of the walls at Angkor Wat in the film In The Mood for Love by Wong Kar-wai, which piqued a lot more interest to the general movie going public. Personally, being a fan of places with scenic ruins overflowing with history, Angkor Wat placed as one of my dream destinations (along with Maccu Picchu). And it has been great that I finally had the chance to walk these hallowed corridors whose walls echo stories withstanding throughout time.