Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The week that was has been a very enriching cultural experience. To be finally able to walk the old stone steps of Angkor was a dream come true. And to visit one of the major cities of South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur and experience its multi-cultural environment was rewarding as well. Allow me to share my brief impressions of both cities.
Let me say this first, that for a third world country, Siem Reap in Cambodia, is a really expensive place to visit. The cheapest food ranges from $2-3 USD. Relatively expensive compared to say Vietnam. Just walking the streets, you’d be hoarded by a slew of vendors and Tuk-tuk drivers that after a few days can get really annoying. Soon you’ll be able to memorize the phrases like “1 dollar!”, “Tuk-tuk sir!”, “Want something cold to drink sir? Something to eat?” But getting used to these nuances and actually dig deeper into their culture and crafts, you’ll find them to be very interesting.
Angkor Wat, the main complex didn’t fully meet up to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it’s monumental, the architecture is really impressive and still is an amazing world wonder. But, if you were able to visit the other temples in the park, you’ll try to find the intricate carvings from Bantey Srei and the eerie feeling of someone watching you from all corners at the temple of Bayon in Angkor itself. Still, all in all, the whole park stands as one of the most important structures in the world along with Egypt’s Pyramids.
Kuala Lumpur Cityscape
It’s my second time to visit Malaysia. The first time was when we climbed Mt. Kinabalu in Sabah and the main city of Kota Kinabalu is small and simple. This is the first time I’m visiting West Malaysia and I have never seen a place with so much backpacker concentrated in one area such as Kuala Lumpur. When I say backpacker, I mean those guy’s and gals traveling around the world toting their big bags and a small bag at the front. Probably because KL has one of the best airports in the world and they go here in transit to different points around Asia.
I must admit the city reminds me a bit of Singapore, only a bit messy and dirtier. However, the people are very colorful in terms of culture. Never have I seen such diversity of nationalities in one place. Their railway transit may not be the best but it’s hell of a lot convenient than taking those exploiting taxi drivers and getting stuck in traffic. There is little to see in the city except for the high rise structures of Petronas and Menara Tower, but I’m really impressed that they were able to preserve some lush forest reserves in the city itself. The highway leading into and outside the city is well paved and impressive. Kuala Lumpur though is not a place you stay long but a place you go in transit to different places. Still, if you look further, you might discover some off-the beaten destinations just really close to the city as I did.
That’s it! It’s reality back in Manila once again. I’ll be posting some details of the trip in the next few days since I need to rest for now and catch up with work (argh!). Nothing really bad happened during the trip except that someone stole my unopened SPF 50 sunblock and my new polarized shades as well leaving only the casing at the top compartment of my bag. I lost it at the airport when I checked my stuff. I bet that guy who stole it is headed to the beach right now. And in Cambodia, I suffered some major intestinal rumble (must be something I ate). But that didn’t stop me from exploring the temples which I did after I popped in some medicines. Anyways I’ll be writing more about it later. Belated happy easter by the way!
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.