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Discussion in 'BMW Motorrad' started by nikhuzlan, Jan 29, 2013.
N4TION ADVLux Segment 2 Part 3
Day 1. 3jan2013 KUL - Vientiane - Vang Vieng
We left KL at the crack of dawn. This time there's only a small group of us; Dato' Kamarul, Capt Amin, Hisham, Eddy, Sam, Gerry, my wife and I. The flight to Vientiane is just over 2 hours.
On descend I was a little disappointed to find an inversion layer at perhaps 8,000 ft. Not the best for visibility but also means that there will be no rain. The line of light haze can be clearly seen covering the lower altitudes.
The airport is just 15 minutes from the hotel, and we found our bike in the same state as we left them 10 days ago, although more dusty. We took a room for a few hours to bath and change into riding gear.
His Excellency Dato' Thien, the Malaysian Ambassador bought us lunch. This man we love for personifying everything a Malaysian should be.
After lunch we rode for 2 hours and reached Vang Vieng, our first stop being Nasem. Again.
This is the reason for why Nasem Vang Vieng is a must. Sam discovered this dish and it kinda spread to all of us.
Nasi Goreng Mutton.
Vang Vieng Riverside Lodge was the choice for our nightstop after i looked at a few other places.
Sam jumped in straightaway.
Day 2. 4jan2013 Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang
This time round Vang Vieng is only treated as a transit point as we were heading for Luang Prabang,
planning to spend a few days there.
After a quick breakfast we headed towards Phou Khoun, midpoint on the Vang Vieng - Luang Prabang road.
With just 230kms to cover on reasonable 'good' Lao road we had time for camwhoring in the Lao countryside
The road was better than when i rode it last 18 months ago, and we made good time. There were still bits under construction though, but not much.
Ban Pho Chou. Just 50kms from Vang Vieng, on the ledge of a hill with the Kasi mountains overlooking,
its a place of amazing beauty that can be easily missed if eyes are kept purely on the road. I found this vegetable garden
on my last visit, and planned to stop here again. This time the owner was watering plants with her little daughter.
We continued on, planning to stop at the Phou Khoun viewpoint.
Phou Khoun viewpoint. The ladies toilet has the best view in the world....
We rode on for the next two hours and arrived Luang Prabang mid evening.
We went straight to the banks of the Mekong for some latte. I went looking for suitable hotels with Gerry.
Our home for the next few days. The Salo Guesthouse.
Secure parking for our bikes.
A City of 140,000 including the surrounding area, Luang Prabang is about 440kms from Vientiane. This ancient capital of Laos was founded more than 1,500 years ago. When Laos achieved independence, the king of Luang Prabang, Sisavang Vong, became the head of state for the Kingdom of Laos. Luang Prabang has, throughout history , seen various forces passing through, from Regional Warlords to Vichy French in recent times. Even the Khmers got a slice of the action in the 16th century.
Amongst the first cities to be given a UN Heritage status, Luang Prabang is untypically Laos, with clean well maintained streets. The buildings and rest houses have an air of rustic calmness that does not seem contrived. The kind of tourist in Luang Prabang is also a little different, the 'softer' non-backpacker types with money can be seen toting DSLRs taking street pictures. This is probably due to the better infrastructure which includes a proper airport that can even accomodate regional jets and turboprops.
Food is equal in price as upmarket Kuala Lumpur, which is expensive compared to what Laos has to offer. A street sandwich goes for USD3.50 from a street vendor. Restaurant food is as pricey as Bangkok downtown rates. I find Chiangmai cheaper than Luang Prabang. They prefer US Dollars here, pushing prices even higher.
The restaurants are really something else. The setting, the look, the food, there is an almost inexplicable reason why Luang Prabang is what it is.
Dinner was Lao fare at Tamnak Lao
Luang Prabang takes a different look at night.
The skies of Luang Prabang were clear as Vang Vieng, and the stars came out to play.
Jupiter shines brightly in Taurus, with Orion looking on
A picture of the sky shot at a different angle. I'd like to think that shot a UFO which can be seen as a series of lights
( six colorful lights ) at the bottom left hand side of the photo. I cannot explain those lights. I was away from any terrestrial light to cause reflection, and if its lens effect, I 've never seen it happen before.
Its gonna be a few days with not much to do.
Day 4. 6jan2013 Luang Prabang
On the Western banks of the Mekong, 31km North of Luang Prabang the Pak Ou Caves stands proudly, housing Wat Tam Tin. "Discovered" by Francois Garnier when he was on the Mekong Exploration Voyage 1865-1867, there was a period when this Wat recieved continued patronage from the Royals when Luang Prabang was the capital of Laos. It lost its lustre when the capital moved southwards to Vientiane. A plaque at the entry of the upper cave states that restoration work had been done in 1932. In 1992, the Lao and Australian Government commenced on a 5 year restoration project. Sculptures were catalogued, debris removed, and masonry work rebuilt. Now, every April as part of an annual religous ceremony, cleaning and repainting work are carried out. Worshippwers also bring their household statues of Lord **** to be washed in Holy Wat.
We started the day with breakfast
We booked a boat from a local Tour Company to get to the caves.
The Mekong can be a raging torrent, or a tranquil river, sometimes within just 500 meters.
With the Mekong flowing against the direction we were heading, the 25km/h boat loses at least 10km/h in real speed, making the trip upriver an extended one. Capt Amin amused us with his recollections of riding the longboat up the Rajang in Sarawak during his time in the Force.
A pit stop at a local home brew whisky cum knitting factory on the banks of the Mekong.
Kids selling touristy wares makes good pictures.
After another hour on the boat, we reached the Wat.
There were two Caves serving as Temples. We chose to go to the one furthest first. A long way uphill.
Eddy waited patiently until the area was clear to offer some prayers.
Lunch was at the excellent Sri Naga Restaurant.
We all agreed that this has got to be the best fried rice of the entire trip.
This is also another memorable dish
Day 5. 7jan2013 Luang Prabang - Vang Vieng
Time flies when one is having fun. We left Luang Prabang with a better idea of what we're going to do the next time we come here.
Its a great place to do nothing.
That morning i met with the husband of the Russian Ambasador to Malaysia. He comes to Luang Prabang frequently for holidays as his wife previously headed the Embassy in Laos before being transferred to Malaysia.
We took a picture together.
The road back to Vang Vieng seems 'easier' than the time I rode it last. Familiarity can be comforting.
But its still treacherous and slippery.
Offroad sections still there
But the scenery is unmatched. Tatched roofs, backdrop of the karst Mountains, cool temperatures.....
We stopped at this cluster of huts overlooking a valley. I was drawn by the original old style look of this single room hut.
Sturdily built despite being all wood and essentially dried grass.
Kids wanted a photo with us.
A short ride away was the Phou Khoun viewpoint.
Another quick stop at Ban Pho Chou
The short easy ride from Luang Prabang took us just under 4 hours of riding time. We reached Vang Vieng before 1530, and checked in again at the Riverside Lodge.
As we were enjoying a swim in the pool, we heard the unmistakable sound of the Boxer Twin, and also the sound of someone horning. Dato Kamarul went to check, and to our delight, we saw two water-cooled GS with a film crew. They saw our bikes and wanted to know what we were doing here in 'exotic' ( to them ) Laos.
We got talking and found that they were running the "One World One GS " Adventure for BMW Germany.
When the GS was unvieled at EICMA, BMW ran a contest to select 5 lucky winners. They will be given a chance to ride the GS at locations around the world. We happened to have met them in the Laos Segment.
With Alessio, one of the 5 winners
That night Eric, the Main Coordinator invited us to join them for dinner.
Of course we ere more interested in the bike.
Day 6. 8jan2013 Vang Vieng
Today we intend to do nothing, just laze around. But as we were having breakfast, we heard the GS at the car park and when we went out to check, we saw Eric withthe BMW instructor looking to borrow some soares from us. It turns out that the rented Thai GSA had a siezed rear brake. The pads were worn right through. They wanted to borrow brake pads but when I saw the rear disc, i told them that they gonna need a new disc as well as the one on the bike is all burnt and badly warped.
Eventually they secured the bike and a spare Kawasaki KLR was sent from Vientiane, arriving in the afternoon.
Eric then hung out with us until midday.
Plans have been made for Eric to possibly join us on our Borneo trip this year end.
The TKC80 seems to be the tyre of choice for offloading
Eddy Tan is probably the first Asian to ride this LC. Its 8 Jan, and the press launch is only planned for 20th Jan in South Africa.
I had a go too.
A Sidetrack Story
I am no bike tester, and there are definitely better and more experienced riders elsewhere. But i was at the right place at the right time.
First of all - switches. K16 type thumbwheel. This means horn and signals are far away for the thumb - not good because not easy to use. ASC, ESA and ABS shares one switch - potential for confusion.
There's cruise control similar to RT and GT - good.
All this is left side handgrip.
Right side handgrip - start/kill switch. Mode selector button. Heated grip switch.
I personally prefer the current bike setup. the switches are very robust and works with no problem ever since it came out in 2004.
But maybe the new one is better although I think its a cost saving initiative for BMW as the switches seems common on the GT, RT, Scooter etc etc.
I asked the test rider if some key adjustments are hidden in layers of menu that needs access via the thumbwheel but he said no. its easier. i did not have time to try it myself. I kinda like the current system on the GS, ie, for damping adjustment you can do it on the fly using just one button but on the K16Gt you need to access the menu and scroll, wasting precious time that should be spent on the road.
I am very happy to note that both speedometer and rev counter are still analogue needle type and not digital like on most modern bikes.
The R1200GS is fitted with a slipper clutch, aka Sprague Clutch, aka Limited Slip Clutch. This is not a new thing as many sports bikes comes with it.
In fact, the Honda VFR1000 ( the one with the Gear driven Cam ) of the mid 80s was the first bike to come with it as standard.
The GS / Boxers since the beginning has always used the SDP clutch, similar to cars.
But the Water Boxer now comes with a wet multi plate clutch, making the sprague mechanism easily applicable. Hence the slipper clutch becomes standard.
And with the increased power and torque, this slipper clutch will be much welcomed and will definitely reduce the possibility of momentary rear wheel lockups on downshifts.
When the R80GS came out in the early 80s, it was regarded as nothing more than a 'store' project by some designers with a little free time. The R80 grew to beome the R100. The Paralever came in early in the game, and as i remembered it, was BMW's lasting and significant contribution to the shaft driven fraternity. This design is now unabashedly copied by even the British on the Explorer.
The first real change came in late 93, when BMW introduced the R259 engine as well as the now common Telelever. Designed to separate suspension / steering / braking forces, it was, while heavy, a clever design, which i am sure is one of the reason for its planted front end feel, making the bike more user friendly.
Strangely, the first R259 Telelevered BMW was not the GS, but it came out as the RS. The GS came a year later.
The R259 GS can be considered as the Second Generation. The superseded R100GS was a lighter and less complex machine, a favorite of many RTW Riders even today.
Towards the end of its Model life, BMW released the R1150 just after we entered the new millennium.
When the current model was released, BMW made plenty of changes which resulted in a lighter bike but with more power and traction control. The ABS was upgraded, and electronic suspension became an option.
The 2013 LC which will supersede the current model seems to be more roadbiased than the current one, with bigger rear tyres being a clue to this slant. BMW has definitely done its research, and knows that 90% of the GS riders just want to look the part, and the only offroad these riders will ever encounter is when they reverse their GS on to the grass to make a uturn in their garage. These explains the big rear tyre, the increased HP and more power modes than needed.
Its also probably in response to the Triumph / Multistrada / Versys 1000, and the like.
This 4th Generation model seems more refined, and with the "Idrive" thumbwheel ( I hate this crap on my GT ) there will be many ooooohs and aaaaaaahs from the faithful BMW fans.
This bike is one of two they registered for the One World One GS Ride. So we ( Eddy and Me ) only had a fleeting ride on the bike in the vicinity of the Hotel. I couldn't even get out of 4th gear.
Starting means pressing an unfamiliar rocker like the K16 for seasoned GS riders. The engine settled into a low rumble, the sound similar to the current bike, no louder nor quieter. Switches had a tactile feel to it, the thumbwheel making its presence felt the moment you need to put indicators on. Unlike the current model, effort is required to move your palm closer to allow the thumb to reach the horn and indicators. I never liked it even after 8,000km on my K16.
The Instrument panel has a bigger LCD patch which carries more info fro quick presentation to the rider.
The clutch action is lighter ( Bigger pump and Multi plate clutch perhaps ) and the first gear sneaks in without a clunk. Gear changes definitely smoother and less clunky. I felt the first gear requires less clutch balancing to get the bike moving. They could have lowered the ratio or maybe the engine has more power at that low rev than the current GSA I am riding.
Off idle fuel metering is spot on, the bike able to putter with throttle on idle even in 3rd gear.
The bike is heavier ( hard to judge by how much as it had fully loaded panniers fitted. ). Full lock turns are easier as I felt the bike had better balance. Seat position / height cannot be accurately judged as it was set on high position for the current rider.
I did not have the opportunity to test the brakes so unable to comment on the difference.
Based on what was told to me by the BMW team there, the bike has performed flawlessly after covering nearly 5,000kms.
Regardless of how good it is ( I believe very good ) this GS will be another hot seller even on name alone.
Eric runs a company contracted by BMW Motorrad AG to shoot promotional material, both stills and videos for bike launches. He is the person who operationalises the One World One R1200GS Program.
The GS was not the only BMW we tested. Dato' Kamarul also 'test drove' the latest BMW Rallye jacket, and declared it better than the current Rallye 3 as it seems lighter and more airy, i.e., cooler.
Eventually all their bike woes were solved and they left on the 'bike of wet-dream' - for the many BMW fans that is.....
Meanwhile, back on earth, mere mortals like us can only mount bikes that we pay for and play games that we can afford.
Pic by Kamarul R Muhamad
Video by T3 on their ride in Laos. We are featured at 7:50 onwards.
Amazing... simply amazing!
Pray one day I will have the time and resources to do such a journey. Till then, I'll be living vicariously thru this thread...
Day 7. 9jan2013 Vang Vieng - Khon Kaen
The plan was to exit Laos and ride straight to Khon Kaen, a distance of just under 400kms.
We left Vang Vieng early for Vientiane where we will cross into Thailand.
Bye Bye Laos, till next time.
We stayed at Kosa Hotel, Khon Kaen.
Day 8, 10jan2013 Khon Kaen - Prasat
The plan was to ride as close to the Cambodian border as possible so we can start early the next day.
After kilometers of tarmac we took a detour before arriving Prasat. This area is as flat as it was mountanous at Phu Chi Fa. There is no high ground at all and the horizon can be seen all round. The countryside is dominated by vast tracts of padi fields and looks to me we are passing by just before the planting season starts.
The problem with grassland riding is the hidden potholes in the tall grass.
We had an amazing lunch at a small unassuming restaurant by the roadside just outside Surin.
Day 9, 11jan2013 Prasat - Siem Reap
i hadbutterflies in my stomach as we left the Hotel at Prasat for a short 35km ride to the border at O Smach, Cambodia, Events of the Nan rejection in Laos was still fresh in my head, and I find it hard to live with the inconsistent rules being applied liberally at the behest of the officer of the day
The Border was more 'organised' than expected. There's a casino on the Cambodian side, proper Immigration and Customs building manned
by polite people.
We cleared the Thai side easily
Cambodian Immigration. We met a helpful Cambodian minder who spoke excellent english. He approached us
and asked if we needed help. I asked him, how much? He said just pay whatever is fair value. Cool guy.
As soon as we got the all clear, we covered our headlights to comply with the local law where motorcycles should not have their
headlights on during daytime.
The last barrier ( for Customs ) before Cambodia proper
Roads are amazingly good, and devoid of traffic.
We headed for Anlong Veng, the place where Pol Pot was buried. This means a detour off the main road to Siem Reap
adding 120km to the distance.
Eddy, Hisham, Dato Kamarul
Sam & Capt Amin
Pol Pot was buried very near the Thai border, on high ground at the tail end of the low altitude Dangrek Mountains.
His grave has been cordoned off to prevent abuse by visitors, who have been known to pee in his grave. This is a man who sits right up there with Hitler, heading the Council of the Mad and Insane. A Cambodian who is actually Chinese, he wanted to his country to be self sufficient, and to do so, he planned to put in agrgarian reforms, where the country returns back to basics where people live off the land. in this process, intellect is a threat, adrift from his aspirations. Widespread Genocide were carried out to eradicate anyone suspected of being a hindrance. Even infants were not spared. It was a period of unspeakable cruelty and about 1.5million of the population was decimated.
Born Saloth Sar in 1928 into a family Khmer peasants, with one cousin becoming one of King Monivong's principal wives, Pol Pot also had a sister who at 15 years old became a Royal Consort. His brother, Loth Suong also had a career is a Palace Protocol officer.
He went to good schools, eventually ending up in Paris to study radio electricity.
His rise and the success of Khmer Rogue owed greatly to the American bombing of the Cambodian countryside, where he capitalised on the widespread destruction and death of civilians. He cleverly bought the people over. He painted General Lon Nol as a US puppet ( which was true ).
Eventually Khmer Rogue captured Phnom Penh in April 1975. Pol Pot then laid out his plans ;
Empty the cities, Abolish all Markets, Abolish Lon Nol Currency, Defrock Monks and make them grow rice,
Execute all Lon Nol leaders, Establish Cooperatives and carry out communal eating, Expel Vietnamese minorities, Dispatch all troops to Vietnamese borders.
The carrying out of these vague directives led to widespread abuse, which eventually developed into systematic genocide.
When the Vietnamese took over the country in late 1979 another faction of Khmer Rogue Cadres under Heng Samrin was installed. Pol Pot fled to the Thai Border area to regroup. Although Cambodia had a Government installed by the Vietnamese ) the UN still recognised Pol Pot as the rightful ruler and by default the Cambodian seat in the Un belongs to Pol Pot.
In the early 80s he stayed at Phnom Malai, but in 1985 the Vietnamese overran and destroyed Phnom Malai, and Pol Pot ran off to Trat, Thailand. For some reason the Thais provided personal protection for Pol Pot.
Vienam withdrew from Cambodia in 1989, and Pol Pot moved to Anlong Veng. Although the peace process has started, Pol Pot would not take part in it, still claiming the seat as his. His defiance came undone in 1996, when supporters grew tired of war and started deserting, preferring assimilation into normal life. He also suffered a stroke at the same time.
Ironically it was Vietnam, a Foreign force, that saved the citizens of Cambodia from being killed by their fellow countryman.
He was later arrested for ordering the death of his longtime right hand man, Son Sen. Tried in absentia in Phnom Penh, he fled to his Northern stronghold but was later arrested by Ta Mok in 1997 and was placed under house arrest.
On 16 April 1998 Khmer Rogue agreed to turn him over for trial. He died the same night while awaiting transport to a different location prior to trial.
Although heart failure was cited as cause of death, there was widespread belief he was poisoned.
His body was created swiftly, and buried at the same site.
We rode past the countryside, and stopped to buy drinks by the roadside,
Sam had a photo with this cheery young girl who came to buy something from the shop
Dato' Kamarul played Santa, handing out candies.
Everything became more orderly as we approached Siem Reap
Creative use of available space
We stayed at MyHibiscus Hotel, a Malaysian owned hotel that's Halal. But the Hotel could have been much better run.
Mel and Roh were waiting for us when we arrived. They flew in from KL a day before.
That night the bus came to pick us up for dinner at the market street.
We will be in Siem Reap for 4 nights playing tourists.
Nik, I am most impresses with your FR with lots of beautiful photos.
Congratulations on your wonderful indochina adventure.
Day 10, 12jan2013 Siem Reap
Today we play Tourists at Siem Reap. Everybody did their own thing. Dato' Kamarul's wife, Datin Rozita flew in from KL to join us at Siem Reap.
Capt Amin also got his wife to fly over to join us as well. Both will ride out from Siem Reap to Bangkok where we will transport our bikes to Hatyai,
while we fly home from Swarnabumi Airport.
That night Kamarul, Sam, our Cambodian Tuk Tuk driver and me rode over to Angkor Wat on our bikes at close to midnight.
Eddy and Mel decided to hang out at a wine bar so they did not come.
We wanted to shoot silhouette shots of the magnificent complex against the backdrop of stars.
The thought of paranormal activities were not considered despite knowing that we will be hanging out at a Spiritual place
that has probably seen fierce fighting and bloodshed.
We got there at about 11pm. We parked our bikes at the front of the main causeway that leads to the Angkor Temple and started setting up our camera.
Kamarul has some fancy camera stuff and lenses, while I was using my trusty Sony RX100 pocket camera.
The place was totally deserted, much to our surprise, a complete contrast to the huge crowd in the daytime.
My Sony camera struggle with focus as it was a totally dark moonless night.
Kamarul was struggling with his as well, focusing manually.
As we shot a few shots, i heard distinct shuffling of feet, like slippers shuffling on pebble strewn tarmac. Out of the corner of my eyes i noticed some movements.
It however disappeared as soon as i looked at it directly, but its always present in my peripheral vision. Shortly thereafter i heard someone clearing his throat and
caught something out of the corner of my eye as I looked in the direction. For some reason i did not feel spooked, and i somehow got the message of curiosity rather
than a sinister or evil one.
I walked towards Sam and Kamarul and I noticed they too saw some movements behind the nearby trees. At that time no one mentioned anything.
Then we saw what looked like a Police car approaching from afar, and we were prepared to be at least questioned. I even mentioned it to the others.
The car however stopped about 300 meters away, then it did a quick u-turn and drove away, much to our surprise.
We were still determined to get our shots despite the gently emerging spooky feeling that seems to envelop us.
Finally someone said " There's somebody here " and we all concurred, with Kamarul shining his torch towards the trees.
Our Tuk Tuk boy mentioned casually " I think its ghosts ". Moments later there was an orchestra of wailing dogs, the sound of which
was sufficient to make us all feel errie.
We packed up, and Kamarul executed his first and fastest full lock feet up uturn on his GSA and we rode back to our hotel.
We spoke about it when we got back and we all agreed that there was clear presence of things we could not explain.
The masterstroke of the whole event was when Kamarul examined his photos one of them showed something none of us can figure out.
His shot of Angkor Wat did show the silhouette of the temple quite clearly, but on closer examination,
there were two square lights where there were none when we were there looking live.
When enlarged the square light contained a silhoutte of someone or something 'looking' at us.
My first paranormal experience had it all; I felt, heard and saw it, whatever it was.
And I guess this must be the answer for the lingering question - why was there absolutely no security around the
very valuable main Temple Complex of Angkor Wat. It looks so easy for anyone to walk in and just chisel away at
any of the millions of stone artifacts.
I guess we had our answer that night
This is not Dato' Kamarul's photo. Its the picture of the police car about to turning away, which was followed immediately by dogs howling
Day 11, 13jan2013 Siem Reap
Its Temple Day today.
Before we head to the complex, Mel decided for all of us to shift to a better Hotel. Actually a much better Hotel.
The Sinta Mani is an exquisite place with just over 40 rooms but looks like it has at least 80 people working there.
They take the term 'waiter' very very seriously as every waiter will always be standing by every guest almost all the time.
At the Angkor Complex we had lunch at the nearby Restaurant.
We spent the whole day at the Angkor Complex today. Therefore there will be very few photos from me as the Complex
has been so well photograph so mine will be a waste of bandwidth.
But here's some anyway, to meet our own self serving desires of being a cam whore.
There's people everywhere and getting a 'deserted' photo requires good timing.
These pictures are from Ta Phrom, the Temple made famous by the Movie Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie.
Quiet night after playing tourists.
Day 12, 14jan2013 Siem Reap[/size]
Another day doing the touristy bit, this time to the Water Village at Tonle Sap.
Cambodia actually did not exist 10,000 years ago. It lay submerged below the South China Sea, between two Peninsula; Vietnam and parts of Thailand to the west.
As the Mekong poured silt into the ocean ( just south of Laos then ) it gradually filled up the bay. The Mekong delta emerged from the seabed.
This is why Cambodia is such a flat country with what was formerly islands standing out to become hills in a vast alluvial plain.
It was estimated that with the Mekong's vast flow from the melted snow of Tibet, coupled with the heavy tropical rainfall, the bay filled up within 10,000years.
The sea was eventually outflanked, and part of it became an inland sea. This was the predecessor of Tonle Sap, now the world's richest fishing ground,
yeilding at least 20 times more maritime produce as compared to the North Atlantic.
The Mekong plays a great role in maintaining the fish stocks of the Tonle Sap. As the rainy season comes, between June and October,
the Mekong flows into the Tonle Sap, making the lake 4 times bigger, and raising the water level by at least 20 feet.
Fish spawn, and swim across the plains of Cambodia. At the end of the rainy season the water reverses flow and drains out into the sea.
Peasants have an easy time plucking the fish trapped even in shrubs as the water recedes.
Man learned how to capitalise on this and plan their agricultural lives around this event. Planting, harvesting,
fishing and all activities are scheduled around the movement of Tonle Sap.
There are a number of water villages floating in Tonle Sap. Most are almost self sustaining, some live and die there.
Even boatbuilding is done while afloat.
Most of these waterworld villagers are not Cambodian locals.
Many are Vietnamese in origin, and their inability to get land forced them to be stateless villagers floating on Tonle Sap.
We will visit this place today.
A one hour tuk tuk ride on roads that we wish we brought our GS instead.
We got to the jetty and boarded our boat.
This is the starter system for the boat. Just touch the dangling wire to the nail and the engine will start.
Everytime without fail.
It makes a joke of the BMW starter switch problems that has haunted the BMW bikes to no end.
We passed these perilously built houses on 20ft stilts that lined the canal leading to the lake.
Designed to cater for the vast change of Tonle Sap water level, its an impressive sight.
Our boat was a father and son enterprise. Dad sleeps while son drives....
Riverside restaurants only accessible by boat.
The boat was slow. It was a painstaking one hour before we get to the water village.
They even have their own basketball court.
We returned using the jetty closer to town
Surprisingly we saw this mosque near the jetty. There must be a sizeable number of Muslims here,
probably survivors of the Khmer Rouge era.
After a short rest at the hotel, we were picked up at the hotel by this van. Any idea of a surprise as to where we were
heading came apart when we saw the van.
Pre Flight Picture.
Getting strapped in
Banteay Srei, Citadel of Women, seen from 400ft up. Made of pinkish sandstone in the 10th century, its about 30 minutes by road from
the main Angkor Wat complex. Its small size, excellent decorative carvings and remarkable state of restoration makes it a firm favourite
amongst the knowledgeables. Originally called Isvarapura, it was built by a Brahmin who was a spiritual teacher to Jayavarman V.
This explains the resemblance of some carvings that looks Indian.
"Discovered" by the french in 1914, it was a subject of a huge scandal in 1923 when a young frenchman,
Malraux was caught stealing artifacts in a meticulously planned raid on the Temple. Most of the stolen items were returned.
Another feature of this temple was that it sems to be built as a miniature temple, all doors and entrance are about 60% in size compared to other temples.
The quality of carvings and its intricate designs however makes up for its shortcomings in size.
Situated 12km from Angkor Complex, sitting on a hill at the edge of Tonle Sap, Phnom Krom is a spectacular **** temple
that is now run by Buddhist Monks. Built about the 9th century by Yasorvarman 1.
Its a small complex covering 10 acres with three main towers that has survived the test of time intact,
although the surrounding facades are all eroded as friable sandstone was used for its construction.
From Phnom Krum we overfly the Water village.
Banteay Samre, another **** Temple built in the 12th century during the reign of Suryavarman II.
Dedicated to Vishnu, its somewhat isolated from the rest of the complex.
Elaborate architecture, with fine carvings are still obvious despite being mutilated by theft and natural erosion.
It is still the most complete of all complexes due to restoration work carried out decades ago,
although the lack of maintenance of late leaves obvious adverse effects on the facade.
Angkor Wat looks just as majestic from the air. Its from this vantage one can really appreciate the size of the World's biggest
Religious complex that dwarfs even the Great Pyramids of Giza in land area.
This small temple is largely ignored by visitors, making it a favourite amongst locals as a wedding venue.
All too soon we were back on the ground.
With the sun low over the horizon, we returned to spend our last night in Siem Reap.
Excellent write up on this adventure Capt! Hope to join you in the next outing.
Next Adventure :
ADVLux Sabah Circumnavigation. May 2013. 10 Bikes.
The usual suspects.
Looking forward to the next trip...
what a great adventure's