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Digital Magazine

April - June, 2010

Exclusive! The Resurrection of Indradevi and Jayarajadevi, “ Queens of the 12th Century Khmer Kingdom”

Angkor Wat At the Center of the World An approach to the Wonders of the Temple

There is a Black Cat around Cambodia Abstract photography for an Abstract country...

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Cambodia’s Premier 5 Star Luxury Spa Resort Angkor Palace Resort & Spa in Siem Reap-Angkor

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villas. Savour the hallmark Royal Khmer cuisine. Chill out by the swimming pool or work out at the tennis courts and the gym, practise your swing at the 16-bay driving range. After a day of temple touring, get pampered at Kainnora Spa with its choice of traditional Khmer and modern therapies. You will be totally charmed.

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EDITOR’S NOTE Dear Readers,

A recent professionally conducted and internationally audited Digital Magazine & Newspaper Survey received 30,000 responses from a cross section (2/3 trade-professional and 1/3 consumer) of digital edition readers of 160 publications representing 50 publishers.

Beginning April 1, 2010, you will find Cambodia Insight online at www.CambodiaInsight.com. Thanks to the support of our readers and advertisers, and a knowledgeable support team, the January launch and distribution of Cambodia Insight went quite well. Our team distributed the issue over a three month period. However, we soon learned that with the global economy being what it is, a quarterly digital on-line (E zine) magazine is more appropriate than print in serving the cost versus benefit needs of our all-important readers and advertisers. This is particularly evident in our home town of Siem Reap, where due to last year’s severe drop in tourist arrivals, many businesses were forced to cut back on advertising and marketing expenses. This was necessary in order to keep highly trained staff and maintain property until the tourism based economy improves, hopefully to pre 2008 levels. (When it seemed as though it was raining dollars and Riel in Cambodia). Unlike print, cyberspace is not limited to a set number of pages. Fortunately, Evans Marketing, which is the publisher of Cambodia Insight, has been in the fore front of developing digital media since the public internet emerged in the early 1990’s.

VOICES

The survey message was delivered to 375,000 current digital subscribers and received an 8.8% response rate. The sampling error was < + 0.5% at a 95% confidence level. The survey findings confirmed our optimism that readers prefer electronic sources for many reasons.

Here are some examples of On-Line E-Zine advantages • Viral marketing through Web 2.0 websites (social community sites) • Numerous links within the text to other sources as well as a set of related links at other sites. • Links to related archival articles and/or searchable archives • In-depth Q & A with source or subject • E-mail for feedback to the editor or writer • Chat rooms for readers who are interested in similar topics • Audio and/or video clips • Additional photographs or graphics • Opportunity to pose a question to an expert • Survey to complete at the end of the article • Option to arrange for e-mail notification of new issues A few of the key findings and results: High overall satisfaction, 92% of digital readers are engaged, reading their issue within a week and over 52% read it immediately or the same day. Digital Readers Take Action. Over 91% take one or more actions when reading advertisements or articles. As frequent readers, 61% have read 3 or 4 of the last four digital issues, similar to the rate for an “average” print reader. The “Big 3” reasons for reading digital include: 1. Environmental friendliness 2. Ease of saving 3. Convenience of searching. Surveys across age group, gender and occupation show similar satisfaction and preferences. My thanks to our knowledgeable Evans Marketing support team and especially, to all of you that have sent in letters of support for Cambodia Insight. Also, my thanks to all that have invested their time to comment on the articles, photographs, graphic design and overall quality. We have been fortunate in receiving many constructive suggestions for the improvement and distribution of Cambodia Insight magazine and believe we have incorporated much of this into our forty four page second quarter digital edition of Cambodia Insight. I look forward to hearing from you and hope you will become a subscriber to and an advertiser in, our Free Cambodia Insight Digital E-Zine. (You may subscribe and download at www.CambodiaInsight.com) Sincerely,

Charles R. Evans, Publisher Cambodia Insight Managing Director, Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co., Ltd., Office at Ta Phrom Hotel on Pokambor Ave. Mondul 1, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap-Angkor Kingdom of Cambodia Charles@CambodiaInsight.com Tel: +855 (0) 63.969.201 Fax: 63.969.201 H/P: 017.906.721 2

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The King and the Wat Damnak Library Not everything in Siem Reap is about tourism. Now itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s possible to find a well established library at the Damnak Pagoda. This is the Center for Khmer Studies that was opened on the 15th of January by King Norodom Sihamoni, in a moving blessing ceremony.

The time of war for Cambodia meant the destruction of books and thinkers. The recovery from this disaster is in the process of rescuing the most selective cultural identity of the survivors of the ancient Angkor civilization. To do so, we need to proceed to resurrect the history, art, traditions and society of Cambodians. At the same time, Cambodia has established its place in the South East Asian region.

King Norodom Sihamoni, Wat Damnak Library

When the King came to the Damnak Pagoda, his presence emphasized the mission that was established by the national and international consortium of founders of the library. The mission was to promote research, teaching and public service in the social sciences, arts and humanities in relation with the Cambodian culture and history. It is also the largest Cambodian library outside Phnom Penh and will program training courses in research, translation, publishing, conferences and events.

Liam MacKenzie & his camera were privileged to follow the King during the afternoon of the blessing ceremony which was assisted by children of the schools, the members of the Angkor Association for the Disabled and a gracious group of dancer girls of the Conservatoire Preah Ream Bopha Devi from Banteay Srey.

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CONTENTS 04

The King and the Library... Not everything in Siem Reap is about tourism

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Angkor Wat... An Approach to the Wonders of the Temple

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Finances from Cambodia 2010 Economical Perspectives

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Banking in Siem Reap

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Angkor National Museum The Legend Revealed

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The Discovery of Indradevi and Jayarajadevi... “ Queens of the 12th Century Khmer Kingdom ”

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A Question of Arrangement People & Cultural awareness

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Khmer MARKET Living the Experience!

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Boutique Villas in Siem Reap For Original Tourism

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A Sea Change Late In Life Exodus to Cambodia

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There is a Black Cat around.. Abstract photography for an Abstract country...

A Quarterly Magazine on Business, Economy, Tourism, Culture and Society in English for Cambodia. Founded in Siem Reap City in January, 2010 by Evans Marketing Charles R. Evans Albeiro Rodas Don Finck Kanyapat Evans Savuth Sao Atchariya Priabnan Seriya Chan Bunleab Hong Eric Larbouillat Peter Richards Tower City Pattaya Co.,Ltd.

Publisher and Managing Director Editor - in - Chief Senior Creative Director Creative Director Manager, Graphic Design & Print Production Graphic & Web Design Sr. Webmaster & Programmer Jr. Webmaster & Programmer Sales Executive Thailand Bureau Chief Thailand Distribution

Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co., Ltd., Ta Phrom Hotel, Pokamor Avenue, Mondul 1, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap–Angkor, Kingdom of Cambodia Tel: +855 (0) 63.969.200/201 Fax: +855 (0) 63.969.201. Advertising & Subscriptions E-Mail: Advertising@CambodiaInsight.com E-Mail: Subscription@CambodiaInsight.com @Copyright Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co., Ltd. All rights reserved. The name Cambodia Insight.com, in either English or Khmer languages, its associated logos or devices and the contents of this publication and website may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in print or electronically, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without written permission of Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co., Ltd. Cambodia Insight.com is a wholly owned publication and website of Evans Marketing Business Adviser Co., Ltd. Licensed by the Ministry of Information.

GLOBAL MELTDOWN Tourism is down! Money is tight! What to do? Let staff go? Save money? Stop advertising Marketing is often the first thing that businesses cut back on in a recession. But stop and think a moment… What effect would that have on your business ? Do you want even fewer customers, or do you want to buck the trend and keep your business thriving ? Think about it ? if people don’t know where you are or what you have to offer, why would they become your customers? Be sensible and choose your business investments wisely. A few extra dollars spent on advertising in Cambodia Insight might be the best investment you could make…

Although every care has been taken in the production of this magazine and website, no responsibility for errors or liability is assumed through the use of the information contained herein. Cambodia Insight.com is an independent publication dedicated to providing our readers with informative content presented in a positive light helping to boost business investment, tourism, Cultural awareness and the image of the country.

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ANGKOR WAT...

At the Center of the World An Approach to the Wonders of the Temple

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Drawing of Louis Delaporte (1880) in his work in French “Voyage au Cambodge” (A Travel to Cambodia)

The Governor of Siamrap having provided us with three elephants, on the 13th inst. we started for the ruins of Angkor, three and a half miles distant, to the north. We took but little baggage with us, being rather impatient now that we were nearing the main object of the expedition – the ultima Thule of our desires and hopes – and so we passed quickly and silently along a narrow but good road cut through the dense, riant forest, until, in about an hour’s time, on suddenly emerging from the woods, we saw a little way off to the right, across a pond filled with lotus plants, a long row of columned galleries, and beyond – high above the beautiful cocoa and areca palms – three or four immense pagodas, built of a dark-grey stone. And my heart almost bounded into my mouth as the Cambodian driver, turning towards the howdah, said, with a bright flash of the eye and a proud turn of the lip, ‘Naghon Wat;’ for we were then at the very portals of the famous old ‘City of Monasteries,’ and not far distant was Angkorthom – Angkor the Great. Frank VINCENT, Jr. in his book “The Land of the White Elephant” (1871 – 1872)

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NGKOR WAT was built under the reign of SURYAVARMAN II (1113 - 1150) and it is the biggest temple of the Angkor civilization. It can be translated as City Temple and became a national emblem of Cambodia (the national flag represents three of its central towers). The complex is located six kilometers (3.72 miles) at the north of Siem Riep downtown and one kilometer (0.62 miles) at the south of Angkor Thom. This is a place that has inspired visitors thru the centuries. The City of the Temples, the City of the Pagodas, the Sacred City, the National Temple and many other places have tried to describe the impressions of those who get in contact with it for the first time. Angkor Wat is a square of 210 hectares oriented to the West, unlike the other temples. Its whole structure represents Mount Meru in the Hindu traditions, the Sacred Mountain that is considered the center of the universe and the home of Lord Brahma and the Devas. The central tower is 65 meters (213 feet) high. It was built to honor Vishnu, one of the five primary forms of God according to the Bhagavad Gita. The galleries are especially meaningful because they represent scenes of the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana. There are also inscriptions from the Hindu and Buddhist time of the temple. The name of the designer of the temple is obscure. Dawn Rooney (Angkor, 2004, p. 125) says that some scholars believe that it was the Brahman Divakarapandita, minister of King Suryavarman II, who designed it, according to inscriptions. The Cambodian legends attribute the construction to Visvakarman, the divine architect of the universe of the Lord of Creation in Hinduism.

A History of Glory, decadency and Glory... Today it is known as “Angkor Wat”, but it has had some other names over


The Cambodian flag represents three of the most emblematic towers of Angkor Thom.

Voyage au Cambodge

the centuries. When French explorer Delaporte saw it in 1880, Cambodians called the temple as “Nokor”. One evidence is Nokoreach, the Cambodian National Anthem based in a tune of Chuon Nath (1883 - 1969). The anthem finished saying ...

Thus heaven will lavish its bounty Towards the ancient Khmer country, the Moha Nokor.

Nokor is a Khmer word derived from the Sanskrit Nagara that is Capital. Angkor Wat or Nokor is also known by Cambodians as Preah Pisnulok, referring to King Suryavarman II, the founder of the Sacred City-Temple. But its original name is unknown, since no inscriptions have been found. As it was dedicated to Vishnu, it is possible to conclude that the Hindu god was its name like Wat Preah Vishnu (the Vishnu Temple) or Preah Visnulok. We know that the whole construction took about 40 years under the governance of the god-King Paramavishnuloka (Suryavarman II), one of the greatest and mysterious kings of Eastern Asia. Thanks to him, the Khmer Empire expands its boundaries to most of the South East Asian region and he established good diplomatic relations with China. There is evidence that some decorations are unfinished, coming to the conclusion that the death of the king that occurs in between 1145 and 1150, also stopped the works. In 1177 - about 30 years after the death of king Suryavarman II, his mortal enemies, the Chams, sacked the city temple. It was the first decadency of Angkor. It was only after the upcoming of king Jayavarman VII in 1181, that the Empire would retake control and he restored Angkor. But Jayavarman wanted his own capital and built it few miles

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encroaching of the forest. Its historical location was reported in Europe and Asia since the 16th century by several explorers. Here began the list of the first persons who saw the ruins of the great temple since 1585 according to Dawn F. Rooney in his work “Angkor, An Introduction to the Temples” (Odyssey, Hong Kong, ISBN 962-217-683-6; pp. 32 - 34).

A Tower of the Central Sanctuary of Angkor Wat.

The galleries representing the stories of the Sacred Books of Vishnu in Angkor Wat.

north of Nokor: Angkor Thom, the other wonder.

today venerated in including Angkor Wat.

Unlike his Hindu predecessors, Jayavarman VII was Buddhist and he decided to convert the Kingdom to the new religion. The Hindu Nokor, venerating Vishnu, was made a Buddhist temple under his reign.

Temples are asleep in the forest... (From the National Anthem)

The conversion of Hindu Cambodia to Buddhism was rather specific as many scholars pointed out. It is possible that the idea that Buddha was born as a Hindu, plays its part. Hinduism continues its way among Cambodians until present time in a syncretic form of Buddhism. Images of Vishnu are

Cambodia,

In 1431 the Thais lead a great siege on Angkor. The second decadency of Nokor began and the complete abandonment of the Angkorian temples was effective after the 16th century when the Khmer people founded new capitals in the southern regions of the Mekong. However, Nokor, unlike many temples, were not totally abandoned as many think. Its good preservation is due to its wide moat that protected the area from the

1570: It is possible that in this year the Cambodians themselves reported the Temple according to records by Gabriel Quiroga and Christoval de Jaque, but the events reporting it are unknown. A visit of the king to Nokor? It is possible.

1585: The Portuguese writer Diego do Couto, who never had been in Cambodia, described a Cambodian king visiting the temple by elephants. It is possible that do Couto knew about it through the reports of the Portuguese Catholic missionary Antonio de Magdalena, who came to the Kingdom in that year. 1601: Marcelo de Ribadeneira reported the temples as an ancient city and he wrote that some say they were constructed by the Romans or Alexander the Great. 1603: Spaniard Missionary Gabriel Quiroga de San Antonio reported that in 1570 an unknown city was seen by the local natives.

Angkor Wat is an irreplaceable treasure. The number of tourists visiting each year is dramatically increasing. The phenomenon is quite recent and so are its destructive impacts. Your behavior can make a difference to the preservation of Cambodia’s heritage. - Accept the restrictions placed on the temple complex ( e.g. do not touch, do not photograph, do not enter) - Avoid touching – every small touch becomes harmful when reseated by 1,000 people every day. - Wear appropriate footwear – avoid high heels and studded soles. - Mind your backpack- you could brush up against the walls and damage the carvings and bas- reliefs. - Avoid climbing unnecessarily on the statues and monuments. If you must take a photo on top of a monument, be selective and choose to climb only one. - Stop graffiti- resist the temptation to scribble your name or draw on the monuments. - Admire from afar- If every visitor to Angkor Wat took home a piece of temple as a souvenir, the temples would quickly disappear forever. - Shop responsibly- Beware of buying objects of unknown origin. The looting of archaeological sites results in the loss of significant social and cultural treasures, and robs the Cambodian people of their history. - Don’t litter- take your rubbish with you. - Respect silence and other people. The temple complex brings different experiences to different people. Allow other visitors to experience the peace and beauty. ** Courtesy of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property. 8

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1606: Christoval de Jaque mentioned in his chronicle that in 1570 there were visitors to Anjog. 1632: The Japanese interpreter Kenryo Shimano - said to be in the temples between 1632 and 1636 -, made a diagram of Angkor and called it Jetavana, the famous Buddhist monastery of the Savatthi city in India where Buddha gave many teachings and discourses. He omitted the word “Angkor” from his drawings. His son, Morimoto Ukondayu, visited the temple to pay tribute to the memory of his father and left a Japanese inscription that can be seen today. 1641: Dutch trader Gerard van Wusthoff described it as Anckoor and said that the king used to visit it. 1672: A French missionary named Pere Chevruel reported the temple as Onco and said that it was as Saint Peter’s in Rome for the natives. 1850: Another French missionary, Charles-Emile Bouilleaux, published his chronicles of 8 years travels and described Nokor. 1855: The American missionary Dr. A. House, published his own description of Angkor. 1857: Englishman Do King wrote his own report of what he saw for the Royal Geographic Society that was published in 1859.

Towards the ancient Khmer country, the Moha Nokor... (From the National Anthem)

Then, what was fire, is able to become fire once more. The ancient temple of

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the past Glory of the Khmer people, was built to show the meaning of a Nation and the admiration of everybody who sees it. The upcoming of the French Protectorate at the middle of the 19th century would also mean the full discovery of the Angkorian ruins. Well organized expeditions to the temples for studies and works of protection and reconstruction, began in the 1860s. Among others, Francis Garnier and Louis Delaporte wrote the most well elaborated reports about Angkor with their Voyage au Cambodge: L’Architecture Khmer (Travel to Cambodia: The Khmer Architecture, 1880.) In 1898 the Ecole Française d’Extreme Orient was established (The French School of Far East) in Cambodia and it is the first responsible for the restoration for the temples and its new time of Glory. Image of Vishnu that still venerated inside Angkor Wat, in the First Level. The temple was built under the Hindu religion.

Between

TASTE OF INDIA

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The French archaeologists worked with Cambodians in the studies and protection of the ancient sites and Angkor soon became a symbol of unity and national identity for modern Cambodia. The works were suspended for short periods, for example, during World War II. But the most gloomy period was the Indochina wars, especially after 1970. Fortunately, Nokor, the City of the Temples of the military king Suryavarman II, the same one who conquered neighboring kingdoms and built a great Empire, was never attacked by the modern wars of the 20th century. During the Khmer Rouge era (1975 - 1979), foreign archaeologists were expelled and the natives were executed. But a small group was allowed to continue even in that time, according with the reports of D. F. Rooney. India signed an agreement with Cambodia in 1980 to


continue the restorations. Although some scholars and journalists criticized the works of the Indian archaeologists of that time, D. F. Rooney points out that they were working under very difficult conditions and the fear of Khmer Rouge attacks. After 1990s, the United Nations began to give its own contribution to the development of reconstruction and protection with the new Royal Government. One of the new measures was to stop looting by creating the mobile cultural heritage police unit. Many international organizations have been supporting projects that the Cambodian government is doing to preserver the archaeological site. The administration was given to a nongovernmental organization, APSARA, and the world is getting to know Angkor through several documentaries in many languages around the world. The increased international tourism to Cambodia, especially after 2004, made Angkor a center of great interest and admiration, recovering its ancient glory. In 2008 the prestigious American travel guide Frommer’s, pointed out Angkor as an endangered site:

The Three Towers from the yard between the first and second level. They inspired the Cambodian flag.

But Angkor’s tourist infrastructure is growing faster than the site itself can support. Travelers must be mindful of the impact they are having on the site. (for more, see Frommer’s new book 500 places to See Before they Disappear). Research and pictures by A. Rodas

Khmer Apsara Ladies

Welcome to the Kingdom of Cambdodia Hello my name is Vibol. I welcome you to the country of my birth and to the beautiful land that we Khmer people love. I will be happy to be your local driver, guide and assistant while you are in Siem Reap. Your business will be greatly appreciated! Telephone : (+855) 012.53.93.48 / (+855) 092.19.44.22 E-mail : veboloung@yahoo.com www : Face Book : Vebol oun I have a lot of experience, I speak very good English. I am friendly, honest, helpful, reliable, and very knowledgeable about local culture. I can provide you with transport in my Tuk Tuk or if you prefer an air-conditioned vehicle. I charge very reasonable rates! My years of experience allow me to provide excellent itineraries. I look forward to making your stay in Siem Reap a most memorable adventure !

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(17 %), business is doing poor (13 %), gasoline and energy is too high (12 %), not enough jobs (12 %), threats to take land from people (11 %) and poor infrastructure (10 %). Are you and your family richer, the same or poorer than one year ago? Do you think that you and your family will be richer in one year more? 25 % said that their incomes rose in the last year, 36 % said that it remains the same and 39 % concluded that they are poorer this year then before. 40 % think that they will be richer in one more year, 32 % the same, 20 % poorer and 8 % did not answer.

Cambodia 2010: Recovery or Recession ? Cambodian Young Leaders Summit Leadership for a New Generation

Finances from Cambodia 2010 Economical Perspectives Young Cambodians are optimistic about their countriesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; development Young Cambodians are rather optimistic about their own country and they think it is going in the right direction in the area of development. This was the conclusion of the US International Republican Institute (IRI) in its July 31 - August 26, 2009 Public Opinion Survey on Cambodia that was released this month. The survey (it can be found at http:// www.iri.org) gathered a sample of 1,600 Cambodians older than 18 years from the 24 provinces and a separate group of 400 Muslim Cambodians. OďŹ&#x192;cials and their families were excluded from the survey. 79 % of inquired people believe that Cambodia is going to the right direction because it has now more roads (76 %), more schools (61 %), more health clinics

(29 %), more pagodas (21 %), more bridges (17 %), less poverty (17 %), more irrigation built (16 %), better water and electricity supply (11 %), good business environment (11 %) and more peace (11 %). 21 % say that the country is going in the wrong direction because there is more corruption (38%), still poverty (29 %), prices of goods are too high (29 %), nepotism (29 %), prices of crops are low for farmers

The first decade of the century was a great challenge in economy for Cambodia. It was not only the reconstruction of a devastated nation, but it showed a lot of potential, not only in natural and even technological resources, but in human potentiality. The 2009 global crisis was a test to previous economical growing. But it will be this year where Cambodia will demonstrate how real the previous economic growth was. 1999 - 2008 was a period of great transformations in the economy as the increase in population, rural migration to cities, more infrastructures and the integration of the country in global markets. Even today 1/3 of its population is still under the poverty line. But during that period there was a considerable reduction.

Is it time for investment in Cambodia ? Investment has been aďŹ&#x20AC;ected by the 2009 global crisis. Although there is optimism, it is not possible to forget that 2010 is the year of recovery. Investment is still a good idea in a country that appears promissory and welcoming. Cambodia is in the 60th position of investment freedom in the scale of the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom of the Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/ Index/country/Cambodia) - the study contemplates 179 countries, therefore, the position is quite positive. According to the study of the Heritage Foundation, foreign and domestic capital are treated equally in most sectors in Cambodia only a few sectors subject foreign investment with

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tourism has been especially important in the main tourist spots, but in certain cases it seems that there is the idea of copying tourist models of neighboring countries, while forgetting what makes Cambodia especially attractive to foreigners is its natural environments. It is also a cheap destination for most international visitors. Norms to control the inflation of prices to foreigners were reinforced in the last year, making that especially attractive as an economical place to visit. A tourist backpacker finds guest houses from three to 15 American Dollars.

Graduation Time conditions, local equity participation or prior authorization from authorities. Foreign investment is promoted nowadays by the government that sees it as a way of development. Companies are allowed 100 % foreign ownership to trade as long as they are registered at the Ministry of Commerce. However, a non-transparent court system could be one of the main obstacles for investment, according to Heritage Foundation. Foreigners do not have restrictions in foreign exchange accounts. They can lease, but not own land and the government may expropriate property only in the public interest and with advance compensation.

By sectors The more depressed sectors in 2009 were construction firms and garment factories. While construction is expected to expand, certain signs of hope exist for garment factories. Tourism and agriculture, will be the stars of the year in Cambodia due to best prices of rice and the evident improvement in the tourism infrastructure around the country.

to oďŹ&#x192;cial numbers. There is some good news for the rural areas if policies to improve the standard of life of farmers will be implemented. National projects are planned to develop rural infrastructures and locate new international markets. Cambodians are already talking in terms of competitiveness and the diversification of agriculture.

Cambodia is well regarded as a safe place in most of its provinces. Criminality can be considered at a tolerable level and foreigners who are victims of violence are minimal. In 2009 the number of homicides per 1,000 people in Cambodia was two, according to the Global Peace Index, that is a very low level of violence. In January 2009 a number of 218,691 foreign visitors entered the Kingdom and 105,701 of them arrived in the Siem Reap International Airport, as 48.3 % of the total.

How was tourism in 2009 ? International tourism saw a global reduction due to the financial crisis. It was particularly felt in a country that began a growing process of the tourist industry development since 2004. But we can consider that the eďŹ&#x20AC;ects of the global recession were not so terrible in Cambodian tourism, as it was in nearby countries with a longer tourist tradition. As Cambodia is a relatively new international destination, the country is still adapting to reductions. The development of infrastructures for

By A. Rodas

Another good sign for investment is the growing optimism of Cambodians and their will to reduce poverty. The country is looking for new markets around the world, regional integrations, a sustainable management of natural resources and investments in agriculture, infrastructures, education and higher savings. It is almost sure that agriculture will be the strongest sector in 2010 in Cambodia, a sector that makes up 31.8 % of the GDP, according

Royal Palace of Kingdom of Cambodia APRIL - JUNE , 2010

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Travelers can be sure that Cambodia offers good banking services around the country. As for cities like Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Battambang, it has all the banking options of any modern country.

Banking in Siem Reap Main banks in Siem Riep :

Siem Reap is a special city with a complete infrastructure for the needs of any kind of visitor. ATMs can be found along the most central streets and markets. Several foreign currencies are available in a good number of money exchange offices and banks. In a general sense, security is good, taking tof course the normal preventions as in any other country. Visa, Visa Plus, MasterCard, Maestro and Cirrus are accepted, among many others.

SBC Bank

ANZ Royal Bank

SBC stands for Singapore Banking Corporation. It traced its presence in the Kingdom since 1993 and it’s present in most of the Cambodian provinces. In Siem Riep you can find it in the Sivatha Street.

The main office of the bank in Siem Riep is located in the Tep Vong Street (between the Pokambor Av. and the Sivatha street.) There are offices in the Old Market, National Road (near the Caltex Station) and in the airport. This bank was created in 2005 by the Royal Group Company. It was the first to introduce the ATM system in Cambodia.

Vattanac Bank

ACLEDA Bank

The bank was founded in 2002 in Phnom Penh and has brances also in Siem Riep. It has services like Western Union and it is located in the Sivatha street.

A private bank stablished in Phnom Penh in 1993 as an NGO for the development of micro and small enterprises. Today it has an extensive net of branches in most Cambodian provinces (160 brances.)

Canadia Bank It was founded in 1991 and it was privatized in 1998 with 25 branches in the country, 3 of them in Siem Reap. The main office is in the Sivutha street, there are other offfices in the Old Market and in Leu Market, on the National Road.

Even if you can do any commercial transation in Dollars in Cambodia (double currency Riel/ US Dollar) we recommend you to use Riel for popular transations (public transportation, market, etc) if you want to keep cents. It is usual that any transation becomes more expensive in US Dollars.

By A. Rodas Data as for the first week of March 2010 14

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Angkor National Museum The Legend Revealed The Angkor National Museum is the most important museum dedicated to the Angkor civilization in Cambodia and Asia. It is located in Siem Riep City, in the exclusive Charles de Gaulle Avenue, at the north of the National Road.

Lintel Style: Banteay Srei Date : 10th Century Display in Gallery C

Its collection, exhibited in eight galleries (the Exclusive Gallery and the other ones identified from A to G), numbers several masterpieces of theAngkor temples and it is the most complete representation of the culture, history and archeology of the Golden Age of Cambodia. The Charles de Gaulle Avenue is not far from the temples itself (about two kilometers from downtown). The facade keeps the harmony of the Angkorian unique architecture. Comparable to any modern museum in the world, it has a fast ticketing service system (and it is possible to book online), a Guide Map and Audio Tour Set (personal translation device) with eight languages (Khmer, English, German, Korean, Japanese, French, Chinese and Thai.) It is a highly recommended place to complete visits to the temples. The combination of modern technologies with its multimedia presentations is ready to introduce the visitor into the magic of the Angkor world.

Wooden desk : The Museum Mall

The Museum is placed in 20 thousand square meters (65,616 sq. feet) surrounded with the Cambodian traditional gardens and the exclusivity of the northern area of Siem Riep City. The Museum is the product of a joint eďŹ&#x20AC;ort of the Royal Ministry of Culture and Fine Art, the APSARA Authority and the Museum Co., Ltd. on a 30 year concession period. No doubt, it is a world class museum dedicated to the preservation of the Khmer artifacts, collections and restorations of the fascinating Angkor Civilization. The Angkor National Museum is unique in Cambodia. It has its own style and its full inspiration in the ancient glorious time of the Khmer Empire, just at the doors of the temples. by A. Rodas

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Gallery 6 : Ancient Costume

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The Resurrection of Indradevi and Jayarajadevi, “Queens of the 12th Century Khmer Kingdom” It is said that all those beautiful women on the walls of the Angkorian temples are Apsaras, the female spirits of clouds and waters... but...What would happen if we discover that some Apsaras of Angkor were a real person...or that maybe our ancestors were depicted on the walls for the centuries to come? I proudly present to you the 12th century Khmer royals, Queen Indradevi and Queen Jayarajadevi. These sisters were the spouses, professors, and advisers of the beloved and most respected King Jayavarman VII, the prolific builders of temples, hospitals, and training centers for the people of Cambodia.

Here’s the proposal of Phalika, a Khmer-American photographer who proposes that two of the traditional Apsaras of Preah Khan, Bayon and Bantey Kdei are actually the Queen sisters Indradevi and Jayarajadevi, wives of King Jayavarman VII (1125 - 1215). If the hypothesis of Phalika comes to be true, it would mean an archaeological revolution in the studies of Angkor, because it is possible that all the supposed-to-bemythical characters on the walls, maybe were historical people, the ancestors of the modern Cambodian people. An ordinary day of temple exploration has led to an extraordinary discovery. Hidden in a narrow labyrinth of galleries, amid dark and moss-covered stone walls and ceilings in precarious danger of collapse; there stood before me two queens of the 12th century Khmer kingdom. It was unknown to the eyes of the world and the Cambodians, who fondly remembered the queens through oral history with no pictures and rare written notes; nevertheless, ever present, these stately queens had endured the ravages of time, invading jungle, and human pillage.

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While these queens are revered and worshipped by the locals, they have been grossly overlooked by both Khmer and foreign historians, who have dismissed them as a common garden variety of celestial dancers known as apsaras. So everybody followed and so did I until I noted the “braided” eyebrows, my French friend made me notice, to which I replied to him. “I don’t think they were braided, but gemstones were removed and left these knitted like little holes.” The unique feature on the eyebrows with other gemstones hacked off, sparked my interest to discover who they really were: dancing apsaras, or dancing queens or local goddesses ? On the following days, in a different temple, Bayon, I re-photographed my two favorites sculptures to complete my portfolio of the ”Sacred Treasures”. While editing the photos, I noticed compelling resemblances of my last 2 sculptures to the queens. The confirmations of their lives and status as queens in Bayon temple were the necessary, irrefutable proofs I needed. As my curiosity grew about the queens’ mysterious lives, I fashioned a theory that there was a strong possibility that I might find other renderings of the queens in additional temples built under the same reign. I feel extremely fortunate to have discovered not just one set, but


Queen Indradevi in Preah Khan is compared to her images in Bayon:

Queen Jayarajadevi in Preah Khan is compared to her images in Bayon:

ten plus sets of sculpted images of these prominent, surprising, and kindhearted queens in Khmer history. France has “Mona Lisa.” Egypt has “Cleopatra.” And now Cambodia and the whole world will be inspired by two influential, beautiful, and compassionate queens, Indradevi and Jayarajadevi. This is an exciting story and discovery about people of the past by people of the present for people of the future.

The Discovery of Indradevi and Jayarajadevi, Queens of the 12th Century Khmer Kingdom This discovery was made possible through the focus on two particular sculptures: the sisters and queens

Indradevi and Jayarajadevi, both advisers and wives of King Jayavarman VII. Queen Indradevi’s unique features exemplify the ideal Khmer beauty, with her oval face accentuated by a long nose and cleft in her chin. The queens were attired like saints/deities. Their sculpted images can be found in three temples, Preah Khan, Bayon, and Bantey Kdei, which were built during their reign as a testimony to their historical influence on that era. When viewed in the context of the royal life depicted in the bas-reliefs located in the 2nd inner gallery of Bayon temple, these sculptures provide proofpositive evidence that these women existed and corroborate with the oral legends handed down about them. Obviously, not all apsaras are celestial dancers; some apsaras might be royal APRIL - JUNE , 2010

court dancers, princesses, devatas, saints, goddesses, or queens. It’s unconscionable to categorize and label all Khmer women of the royal kingdom as apsaras. Clearly, these are sculpted portraits of powerful, influential, beautiful, and compassionate Queen Jayarajadevi and Queen Indradevi of the 12th century Khmer Kingdom, who made major contributions to culture and governance. The reverberations of their tremendous influence still resonate in the nowadays body of research. These royals left behind a legacy of wealth and cultural heritage that propelled Cambodia on the international stage and made tourism its first and main economic drive.

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Summary of recognized historical fact and cultural context: Fact 1. They are the known sisters, queens, and royal spouses of King Jayavarman VII. In Bayon, the inner 2nd gallery bas-relief illustrated the hierarchy and the activities of the King and his two Queens. Please see the notes in the two bas-reliefs depicting the differences of types and classes of all the figures. Fact 2. The word “preah ang” means sacred, divinity or saint, and is a formal manner of addressing royalty. In Khmer history, it is common to give kings god-

like status. King Jayavarman considered himself a god-king. Therefore, his queens would also be considered goddessqueens. In historical records we found the sculpted images and statues of King Jayavarman VII by the thousands, but we only found 3 presumed statues of Queen Jayarajadevi and zero, none of Queen Indradevi’s statues or sculptures. It was not surprising that at the present, I found more than dozens of paired sculptures of the sisters-queens in their temples built during their reign, once I differentiated them from the common apsaras.

Fact 3. In Preah Khan, Queen Indradevi’s sculpture originally had precious gemstones encrusted in her eyebrows and crown. Gold hoops once dangled from her earlobes and still more gemstones had been woven into her body belt, all treasures long-ago stolen. The fact that she was adorned in precious gemstones and gold is a revealing feature of her true royal identity. No other apsara sculptures have ever been encrusted in gold and precious stones in Khmer history. Fact 4. In Preah Khan, Bayon, Bantey Kdei Temples were built under the

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same reign only a few years apart. Temple building averaged 20+ years before completion. In their era (and in nowadays) only the few elites and religious high order could read Sanskrit. However, all the people, men, women and children of past and in the present can tell the narratives looking at the bas-reliefs. Fact 5. In Bayon and Preah Khan their facial features are unique and recognizable, despite the wear and tear and minor damages occurring over the centuries. The western, Indian-like traits of Queen Indradevi’s clef chin, oval face, slight squarish jaw lines, long nose, slightly slanted eyes, elegant eyebrows, and unmistakable smiles are more similar on both sculptures than different. Striking Chinese/Asian looking facial features on Queen Jayarajadevi are a rounder face, cute little nose, slanted eyes, and elegant, curling lips either smiling mischievously in life or gracefully in death. Fact 6. Queen Indradevi was probably named due to her Indian looks. Indra is derived from India, Inde. Indra is also referred to as a god in Hindu. Fact 7. At the main entrance in Bayon, their most sacred temple, Queen Jayarajadevi was represented in a dwelling structure fit for a queen. It had curtains, maids, musicians, and apsara dancers with two other sculptures on her left side, one of them which is Indradevi. At Bayon, on the second floor, the main tower walls were covered by the sculptures of these paired queens, recognized by their hallmark attire and standing position of a divinity. In addition, above their alcoves, the little Buddhas

(their King representations, some are left, most are desecrated), were blessing them reasserting again their status of goddess-queens. On the other side of the main entrance, initially thought as the many wives of the King, upon closer examination, was Indradevi’s look-alike. Fact 8. Queen Indradevi’s image represents the perfect, idealized features of a Khmer woman. To this day, Cambodian women and men are desirous of having a cleft chin! This feature is usually considered a masculine and authoritative trait in the western world. Fact 9. In Preah Khan and Bayon, Queen Indradevi’s body posture from hand to foot was the same. Her dress with a fishtail also folded in the same direction. Fact 10. Sculptures of kings, queens, and common people have been found throughout world history. Why are we (Westerners lead the discussion and the Khmer people follow) assuming that all apsaras are alike and dismissing them as mere concubines? “They existed to respond to the passion of the males” so wrote Vittorio Roveda in 1997 in Khmer Mythology. Other than celestial dancers there is a good probability that these standing apsaras were actually portraits of princesses, queens, or other women of the court. Fact 11. No two hand-carved stone sculptures are alike. However, all four sculpted images of the queens have more similarities than differences. They have been subjected to the harsh, tropical weather for over 800 years. If more investigative forensic work were

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performed on these sculptures, the results could confirm the queens’ status as royalty rather than as mere celestial dancers. Additional variables could be: talent of sculptor, quality of stone, age, fashion, condition, and change of status. If four out of five facial traits of the two sculptures match, this should be considered compelling evidence as to the sculptures identities, along with other distinguishing features, such as tiaras, earrings, hand-arm positions, garlands, lotus, etc. Fact 12. The Khmer Apsara Authority, which oversees the work and upkeep of the Angkor grounds, may be too overwhelmed to take appropriate action, as the AA allocates each temple to a different country to be maintained and studied. Therefore, as experts, they are limited to the gates of their individual temples and overstepping this boundary would be considered an international faux pas. This means the discovery process can be painfully slow, if it moves at all. Fact 13. The only three statues that experts still question as being the image of Queen Jayarajadevi, resemble, in my opinion, the mother of King Jayavarman VII or a deity other than the queen. This is the reason for naming her “Prajnaparamita” rather than calling her Queen Jayarajadevi. Her facial traits closely resemble those of Jayavarman VII’s, with the exception of the queen’s angular eyebrows. Consistently, I have found the two sisterqueens in saint-like poses, attired regally in gold necklaces, tiaras, earrings, and rings denote their goddess-queen status. Why does one find only three statues of these celebrated queens, while King

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“ I believe that as Khmers with our rich heritage and due respect to our good kings and queens if we had known of the portraits of the Queen Indradevi and Queen Jayarajadevi instead of calling them apsaras, hidden in Preah Kahn in danger of collapsing stone walls, we would have saved their precious sculptures and placed them next to King Jayavarman VII in a museum.” By Phalika Ngin Khmer-US, photographer Jayavarman’s Buddha-like representations can be found in hundreds of various forms? It is not surprising that I have found that the goddess-queens were sculpted in pairs adorning virtually every main entryway in Bayon, Preah Khan, and Bantey Kdei! They have been called apsaras, and sometimes, referred to as devatas, but never as queens. The bas-reliefs and stone sculptures are carved pictorials that can be understood in any language in any time. They have always existed as goddesses-queens among us. This is a revealing exposé of

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these two sisters-queens in order to understand their undeniable mystique, intelligence, and influence during the King’s inspiring reign. I believe that as Khmers with a rich heritage and due respect for our good kings and queens, had we known about the existence of Queen Indradevi and Queen Jayarajadevi we would have removed their precious sculptures and placed them next to King Jayavarman VII in a museum where they rightly belong. We would have

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not called the queens apsaras and left them hidden in Preah Khan, endangered by collapsing stone walls. In conclusion, the queens’ sculptures display exquisite workmanship. They are the most impressive sculptures found in all the Angkor grounds. Queen Indradevi and Queen Jayarajadevi deserve to be protected and placed in a museum for the entire world and the Khmer people to cherish. Notes on the attributes, postures, and symbols of the royals: King Jayavarman VII’s image and attributes:

god-like

Statues and sculptures of all sizes resemble a sitting, meditating Buddha. He favored several positions in two different forms: a. Meditating with crossed knees and hands open resting on the lap; eyes closed with a peaceful smile and hair pulled into a chignon and the absence of a cloth across his chest.


b. Meditating in the same sitting position, but on a coiled 7 head naga (cobra) that covered his entire back. His brilliantly simple traits and symbolic signs were intended to influence the population, but all symbols, sculptures, and statues of him became easy targets of mass destruction by his enemies over the centuries.

Queen Indradevi and Queen Jayarajadevi’s goddess-images and attributes: 1. Thus far, the two have always been found together in a pair. Where Indradevi was found, Queen Jayarajadevi was nearby. 2. They usually wore a peacock-like tiara or crown, with 8 + flowerets. 3. Their favored earrings were small bunched rings or earrings fashioned like the body belts. 4. Most of time they wore several necklaces adorning the chest from the neckline to the breast line with body lace or belts across the torso encircling to the waist line. 5. They wore jasmine-like garlands that serpentine from one side to the next, like a shawl. 6. They posed with specific arms and hands position. An arm is up at shoulder level and the hand in the form of a karana mutra, a gesture for banishing an enemy or warding off evil. The other arm elegantly hanging at the side of the body with the hand in a form of varada mudra, the palm of the hand facing forward, symbolizing charity, and compassion. 7. In the three temples, the fashion of

the dress looked the same, with the fishtail to the left or to the right. 8. Added bonuses: Standing in a dwelling structure with musicians, the king, maids, dancing apsaras, and or a servant at the pedestal and a bird, or standing on the lotus flower or pod, or a praying Buddha on top on the alcove. Notes on the Royal Bas-Reliefs of the Inner 2nd Gallery of Bayon: A day in the Royal Life of King Jayavarman VII, Queen Jayarajadevi, and Queen Indradevi , as illustrated in a bas-relief at Bayon, 2nd floor inner gallery on the North side, 17 March 2010 From top to bottom, the hierarchy of the social classes and etiquettes is observed. Top level above the roofing, celestial apsaras give blessings to the King and Queens. For each royal, note the elaborate roofing of their palace. Top level below the roofing (3rd floor), the King’s image is larger and his head is elevated above the others. The next largest image is of Queen Jayarajadevi, to the left of King Jayavarman VII, the 1st recognized wife. Her head is elevated

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above Queen Indradevi, who is to the right of the King. All royals are sitting above a platform; next to each are servants fanning with long handle fans. On the 2nd floor, on the right side, the court ladies and noblemen sit on the floor watching the dancing apsaras perform to the tune of an all-women orchestra of musicians. On the 1st floor, the commoners congregate. In the seemingly anecdotal bas-relief of their royal history, the queens have also defined for us the two categories of the “apsara”, celestial and dancing. In the same inner gallery on the NE side, there is a horizontal bas-relief depicting the royal court as well. In this bas-relief, the royal hierarchy of the court is clearly depicted (from right to left) as the King with his TWO Queens, the dancing apsaras, and a musician, respectively, and the noblemen facing the king. Also, there exists a distinct representation in the attire and posture of the dancing

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apsaras in King Jayavarman VII’s era versus the standing, dancing apsaras of Angkor Wat’s era. Clearly depicted these 2 bas-reliefs are the distinctions and differences, as well as the importance, of women figures during the reign of King Jayavarman VII -- from the celestial apsaras giving blessings, to the two queens sitting with their King, to the dancing apsaras and ladies of the royal court. This is an amazing lesson from the past that ends the confusion surrounding of the word “apsara” – which the Queens are NOT (as we have incorrectly labeled them). The truth has now prevailed.

Personal notes: However, their time is running out. We must act before all antiques, artifacts, statues, sculptures, and traces of them are lost forever. I believe there is an urgency to remove the queens from further vandalism and collapsing ceilings, and rightfully place them in a museum, where they belong, to inspire Khmers and free the whole world’s imagination. They have already survived 800 years with extreme environmental hardship and will not be there for the next ten if we don’t act now to safeguard them for Khmer history sake and as world heritage treasures. This is a discovery story as well as an appeal to save the queens!

Phalika Ngin www.phalikan.com March 26, 2010

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A question of Arrangement

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ride price, dowry, possession, obligation, and arranged marriage. Words that instantly make the average western woman cringe, and yet in Cambodia these are parts of every girl’s life, and never more so then at the announcement of her upcoming wedding. Survey any group of western woman and reactions to bride prices and dowries certainly fall on the negative side. Yet, in Cambodia and in many parts of Asia the dowry is a sign of a future husband’s capability to provide, and look after his new wife. The concept is completely normal and being offended by it, is seen as at best funny, or at worse, ill- advised and ignorant. Arranged marriages are alive and well in Cambodia. Most marriages have been arranged by parents rather than by the nuptials themselves. Forced arrangements are now on the decline and girls have the right to refuse their parents, but in practice this is extremely uncommon. Love is not necessarily a driving force and something that comes later, if at all. According to Buddhist religion it is the parent’s obligation to find a spouse for their son or daughter and marry them into a good family. For many Khmer girls it is about making sure their parents are happy before they die. Cambodian weddings are a colorful affair. Instead of searching for that ‘one perfect dress’, brides often have up to ten costume changes, with hair, make up and wedding party changing along with them. Weddings too are steeped in tradition and while ceremonies have changed somewhat from the realistic to the reenactment, each wedding continues the ancient traditions.

Weddings in Cambodia generally span multiple days. Some ceremonies are for family and close friends and others for the many invited guests. Walking with the groom to the bride’s house carrying silvers plates loaded with freshly killed chickens, coke and fruit offerings is an amazing experience. The cleansing ceremony and “pretending to cut the couples hair” certainly brings many smiles to the faces of guests. For me the most

moving part of the wedding ceremony is participating in the “knot tying” where guests tie red strands around the couples wrists which bring them luck and happiness and are worn for many days after the wedding. It may surprise the modern western bride that the roots for our western wedding are ancient and come from

As the western world’s divorce rates skyrocket and the emergence of the “quickie divorce” or “no fault divorce” makes it even easier, Cambodia reports a tiny 2.5% of marriages end in divorce. In Cambodia, traditionally values and religious beliefs held strong and domestic violence was rare. However the rise of domestic violence increases steadily and it’s an issue that historically

Groom & Gift Procession to get in the Wedding House many cultures and of course the church. Historically marriages were arranged by parents and routinely were not arrangements based on love, but rather for the economical benefit of the families. The word bride has English origins and literally translated to “cook”. Finally, the now ever popular “bridal shower” is said to originate from when father did not approve of weddings and villagers brought together a collection of goods to act as you guessed it, the dowry! As my Western girlfriends have babies later, lament over the lack of potential men, go through divorce, or perhaps enjoy the sexual freedoms of the west, my Khmer girlfriends have an opposite approach to life and marriage. A women’s virtue is of the utmost importance and sexual freedom is something that is not necessarily wanted and certainly frowned upon. Even in marriage, some Khmer women have little sexual freedom and are seen to be there to provide for their husbands needs.

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has been viewed as private, and a matter for husbands and wives or their families to resolve. As the problem continues to rise, Cambodian society will need to adapt, change its thinking, and provide support for victims and their families. I can’t help but compare the strength of the family structure in Cambodia to countries like Australia where this continues to be eroded, and wonder what role the institution of marriage plays upon this. Are we better off finding our own partners in life, and walking away when things don’t work out? Or is better to allow our families to influence our decision making and choose our partners for us? As for the dowry, by the time I finished talking to people about this I started to realize that actually its rather like the father of the bride paying for the wedding…. As I struggle to actually write that, I realize there is still part of me that struggles with the concept. By Fiono Kidston 23


Khmer MARKET Living the Experience! Many tourist guides can tell you that places like Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Phnom Penh, Poipet, Battambang... already have modern air conditioned supermarkets and even Western malls at your disposition. Nice to know it, of course if you need a battery, your favorite deodorant or to get the last edition of The Economist magazine.

But if you came to Cambodia to tour around, forget the Western supermarkets and take the adventures into the Psah...!!! (Psah is Market in Khmer.) It is a popular and almost unique Cambodian place to practice the oldest human activity of products interchange. Of course, every country has its own popular version of a market, where you can see the local identity in those crowded spaces where people, products and even animals find the old tradition of commerce. Lately, Cambodian popular markets are evolving from dusty places to more organized areas. But they keep the atmosphere of a rural place where thousands of products are exhibited. The Cambodian markets are big squares in any downtown divided in sections: fruits and vegetables, clothing, meat (fish, poultry and pigs, many of them alive,) appliances, jewelry, handcrafts, restaurants and many others.

Hen & Duck eggs 24

Fruits, vegetables and meat are normally fresh. By tradition, most Cambodians do not eat cats and dogs as they do in countries like Vietnam and Korea. But there are Cambodians who do it, because they are descendant from countries where dogs and cats are eaten. Fortunately, you will not find it in the Cambodian markets. Counterfeit and products from smuggling can be found as well, from appliances to music, books and videos. Their low prices can be attractive. But there are rules on the way to control it. At the same time, if you come from countries with strict controls over illegal software, books and appliances, you would be advised not to buy such products as you can have problems when entering the customs declaration area of your home country. Exotic species of animals and plants are not allowed in the markets, but it is possible to find them. Please do

not buy exotic flora and fauna from Cambodia unless you can be certain they are not internationally protected or on an endangered species list. You may get into trouble with international authorities or authorities of your own country. It includes buying skins of crocodiles, snakes and other animals. An international fact: locals will increase the normal prices of their products for any foreigner. Our own observation is that in Cambodia it can be about 50 % more than what it is. You are welcome to discuss the prices with Cambodians in a gentle way. Using the Cambodian currency is advisable, because paying in American dollars, you will lose money.

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All kinds


A Variety of Vegetables

Fresh Sea Food

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best to exchange your foreign currency at a traditional money exchange shop. There are many, normally open from 7am until 5pm. Try to look for a busy shop, one with many local customers as well as foreigners. Currency exchange rates can fluctuate daily. Become knowledgable about the rate you should receive and be sure to count your Cambodian Riel in front of the cashier before leaving. Exchanging currency in the local Psar market will cost more.

Vegetables

of Fruit

All kinds of Khmer Rice APRIL - JUNE , 2010

Vegetables 25


Siem Reap Food Basket Here, you can get a glance of what the cost of living is in the popular market. The modern malls just put European or Western prices to any product, expecting to get Dollars from foreigners. If you are a tourist on a tight budget, you can be especially sensitive to prices. But anybody can enjoy buying in the Psah (the Khmer word for Market). The following is the food basket list in Psah Leu, the popular market at the National Road, not far from the bus station. Our Cambodian secretary who buys there every day, says to just compare prices with your own country. If you like to cook while you are in Cambodia, just buy what you need in the popular market and you will find it easy to get along with Cambodians: (Prices will be noticably higher on or near major holidays). By A. Rodas Photos by Atchariya / Research by Srey Nuch / Savuth

Fresh Fish and Meat Counter

Fruit Counter

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Boutique Villas in Siem Reap For Original Tourism

Fiona

Anthony

Is it possible to talk about “original tourism?” Well, traditional tourism would mean by contrast going to a place, taking a middle hotel and following a general tour around the most important places of a city. Most of the visitors to Siem Reap come to see the temples, of course. The city already has many good hotels and several tour services designed for backpackers or luxury visitors.

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urely original tourism would be difficult to define. As originality means new proposals, then we have to show examples. Sojourn Boutique Villas in Siem Reap is one of those experiences we can define as original. The idea is not to see only the fascinating millenarian rocks of the temples, but to meet the Cambodian traditions and culture.

Fiona Kidston and Anthony Jaensch are from Australia. A couple of young entrepreneurs that fell in love with Cambodia and decided to settle in Siem Reap city with their business ideas for responsible tourism. It meant that, as foreigners investing in the country, they would choose to operate their business ventures in a way that

would provide local Cambodian people with a benefit from their own success, while respecting their unique cultural identity.

A. Rodas: You have been in Cambodia for five years already. How do you see the development of this country?

As with many expatriates that have decided to settle in the country, they came six years ago for holidays and decided to stay. The first decade of the century has been of special changes for a country like Cambodia: from the nightmares of wars, conflicts and misery, to a very dynamic developing nation that is attracting visitors and investors from everywhere in the globe. Fiona and Anthony have been direct witnesses of that change in the last five years.

Anthony: We started in Cambodia in 2005 so the development since then has been astronomical. In that time there were three or four restaurants in Pub Street among tourists and traffic and noise and dust... There has been also a significant development in the experience and English of job applicants. Originally there was not a lot of competition and many Khmer operators struggled to understand the needs of many visitors – this is all changing quickly.

A. Rodas, our Editor in-Chief begins to interview Anthony & Fiona.

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CONTINUED TO PAGE 31

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A Sea Change Late In Life Exodus to Cambodia

Mr. Graham Ingles out with the ladies, but if you marry them you will be sure to have a problem eventually.” Graham was speaking from experience, because while in Thailand he had been married, then divorced on three separate occasions.

Graham at work on his home made houseboat

Here is the story of a long time expat in Thailand, who after thirty seven years, decided that it was time to “weigh anchor” and start a new life in the small Khmer fishing town of Koh Kong in south west Cambodia. When I first arrived to settle in Thailand in the late 1990’s I wisely decided to board in a guest house in Pattaya’s southern beachfront suburb of Jomtien, which was owned by a well known Australian Expat. The “Hare & Hound” guesthouse was run by Mr. Graham Ingles, who had owned similar establishments in the Kingdom for many decades; so talking to him and the long-time expats who regularly drank at his ground floor beer bar was an essential education. Graham was affectionately known as “Pa” by the Thai people because his wise advice was greatly respected and freely given by all who would respectfully listen. Conversely, Graham could be quite abrasive and somewhat sarcastic to those who tried to talk B/S to him by straying from the truth or taking him for a fool, which he certainly was not.

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After a year or so, I moved on to another residence, being quite a bit wiser from my re-education period with Graham, who told me when I first arrived, - “Throw your rule book away and start again, everything is completely different over here, and when you think that you have learned something, they change the rules.” Graham was like an older brother to me and his sound advice saved me a lot of trouble, so I owed him a big debt of gratitude for the avoidance of a lot of headaches. One of his favourite pieces of advice for newcomers was not to get married, “Sure you can go

Eventually Graham retired in his mid fifties, and I again returned to share a house with him and found him no less interesting than when I first set foot in Thailand. Our conversations often revolved around the past, present and future of the Thai Kingdom, and especially the effects upon foreign nationals, who were long term residents. Then came Graham’s unforgettable comment, - “I have been here for 35-years, and when I first came to Thailand it was easy to make some money and to live, but every year I have seen them make things harder and harder.” He went on to say, - “One day soon someone will say or do something that will really “pee”

Graham’s friends enjoying Koh Kong sea views

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me off, and I will go to Cambodia.” Graham had been to Koh Kong in south west Cambodia a few times, and after a little investigation, he decided that it was a good place for his final retirement days. He had a small but steady income from overseas, plus a healthy overseas bank account. After one month on a business visa he easily converted to a 1-year visa for around 9,000 baht, or could also have obtained a business registration and work permit for about another 5,000 baht.There are no requirements to have money in a local bank account, and virtually no restrictions on what type of work or business you wanted to do in relation to the work permit or business registration. Most foreigners work without a permit and do not have any problem from officials. Although happily residing in a Koh Kong guest house, Graham was a long term planner, so he had a unique plan for his long term residency, by building his own “House Boat.” Even though he was not a boat builder, Graham was skilled in electronics and had a wealth of practical knowledge from years of working in the greater Asian region with mining exploration & survey companies. He wisely used local materials and equipment where possible, to ensure ongoing maintenance would not create any problems. Two locally made fishing boat hulls of around 15-metres in length were the basis for the main structure, and these were of a Muslim Dhow design that are strongly held together with wooden dowelling plugs. The deck and cabin were of a standard design with a toilet / shower at the stern, a few metres back from the helmsmen’s seat

Captain Graham at the helm at the rear of the main cabin. Large water storage containers were fitted at various points along the deck to maintain a balance, and the large cabin area had ample room for a double bed, some bunks and a kitchen area. Twin long-tail motors used by the local boats were ideal for the odd time when propulsion was required for other options. One, being a trip up the big but beautiful Koh Kong River, or a fishing excursion out to sea. After launching his house boat, Graham permanently moored it at one of the local piers, where he could obtain both electrical power and water, and simply parked his motorbike alongside, for the times that he needed to make a trip around town or into the beautiful forest or mountain areas. I visited Graham on several occasions and really enjoyed sitting with him and enjoying a quiet beer as we watched the other boats travelling along the huge river; no pestering by street sellers, just pure relaxation. Last year I asked Graham how he liked his new retirement life in Koh Kong;

He replied, “You know, I have never regretted moving to Cambodia.” So, a lesson to be learned; No matter how settled and comfortable you may feel, there may come a time when a “sea change” in your life is required and Cambodia may be the ideal answer. Epilogue and Obituary: Little did I know when I started writing this story, that I would receive the sad news that my friend Graham Ingles had just passed away. After an extensive heart operation in Phnom Penh, Graham returned to his beloved house boat in Koh Kong, but has since passed away. At least he had the pleasure of spending his last remaining time on Earth in an absolutely idyllic existence. His relatives in Australia have instructed that Graham’s house boat be sold, so if you have some boating experience, then maybe this could be a “sea change” for you. (Phone Karl in Koh Kong +66.877.765.257 for details).

By Peter Richards

THAILAND

BORDER CROSSING

POIPET SISOPHON

LAOS BORDER CROSSING

TEMPLES OF ANGKOR

BANLUNG (RATANAKIRI)

STUNG TRENG

SIEM REAP

Cambodia

BATTAMBANG PAILIN BORDER CROSSING

KOMPONG THOM

PURSAT

SENGMONOROM (MONDULKIRI) KRATIE

KAMPONG CHNNANG BORDER CROSSING

KAMPONG CHAM

UDONG

KOH KONG

PHNOM PENH

KAMPONG SPEU TAKHMAO PREY VENG TAKEO

SIHANOUK VILLE

KAMPOT

SVAY REING

VIETNAM BORDER CROSSING

SAIGON BAVET

KEP BORDER CROSSING

Fresh seafood is their favorite

Map of Cambodia APRIL - JUNE , 2010

29


There is a Black Cat around Cambodia Abstract photography for an Abstract country...

Abstract Studio Liam Mackenzie has a white Bolognese doggy living in a black studio on a central street of Siem Riep City. His business card, his own design with a Liam Mackenzie stylish form at the side of a colorful flowerstamp, says that he is photographer, teacher, friendly, graphic designer, funny, polite, intelligent, dependable, determined, organized, tall, awesome, patient, logical, lethargic, rider, loyal, modest, determined, proud, large, stubborn and quixotic. All those adjectives can be proven after talking with him in a studio of about 5X10 square meters of black walls, two desks, a black umbrella, some professional Cannon cameras and lights for taking photos. Photography in Cambodia is reduced to children and temples. His pictures are a real run through colors, lights, perspectives and unexplored sites from Australia to the Khmer lands.

preparing himself for travel through South America. Liam prefers Siem Riep to Phnom Penh. He opened his graphic design and photography studio to provide all kinds of prints, creative advertising and photography work in menus, signs and advertising artworks. He thinks that there is not a lot of competition in this area in Cambodia. He defines the subjects of his photographs as abstract. We went to the wide screen computer on his desk to see some of his numberless works. The first pictures to be shown are of colorful food on luxury restaurant tables of his customers that invite you to enjoy a delicious dinner.

His first incursion with Asia was in Thailand as a backpacker. Then he discovered the descendants of the Angkor Empire and fell in love with them enough to settle in Siem Riep.

Then we saw unfamiliar wonderful views of Australia. I asked if he puts names to the photos, but he said no and I try to imagine titles for what are pieces of art. Being persistent, I asked him to give a title to one of the views on the screen, but he said that he prefers not to because he is not good at that. His feeling is that everybody is free to give the meaning to what they see.

By motorbike he rode also through Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and finally Cambodia. His vocation for travel by motorbike is already

Looking for the effects of light on unusual spaces, the pictures seem to be part of an abstract movie or the fragments of a psychological story of

30

APRIL - JUNE , 2010

somebody inside mysterious places. How indifferent can normal transients be to corners, flat spaces, the play of the light on surfaces around ourselves. Then, we need the camera of an artist like Liam to explore other dimensions of reality. A Buddhist monk in a cavern became our subject of analysis. Abstraction of the light in a composition of a religious figure inside the texture of a rock. Is it possible to speak about abstract art in photography? If abstract art is the departure from reality to create an imaginary perspective, then photography is not completely abstract since it works with the effects of light on reality. We could understand abstraction in photography as the discovering of new dimensions of light. Then, I began to understand why no titles for the pictures. The abstract photography proposes, not imposes the perspective of the photographer. Liam prefers not to use flash and he showed me the effects of music shows’ photographs in Australia of some of his artist friends. The lights of the scenery involves the singer or musicial artist to underline the human figure as they were the characters of very wonderful stories. CONTINUED TO PAGE 31


BOUTIQUE VILLAS IN ... CONTINUED FROM PAGE 27 Our hope is that Siem Reap will be able to hold onto it’s charm as it develops after all that’s why so many people love it here. A. Rodas: How did you start? Anthony: Cambodia for us was almost fatalistic. We arrived on holidays while spending a year teaching English in China. We had both left corporate careers and knew we did not want to return to that. It all came about by chance really, but fell into place very quickly. In our corporate life we spent a lot of time in nice, but stale hotels and we thought our experiences and dreams of a different approach could be applied here. Cambodia is a place where anything is possible really. I don’t think we have skipped the long hours, but it’s a different kind of work! A. Rodas: In this five years, how has the number of foreign visitors grown? From which countries?

Fiona: Definitely it is something that is growing more and more. Over time the market is changing, with cheap flights from budget airlines like Jet Star and Air Asia now able to land in Siem Reap. There is a strong market of visitors from Malaysia and Singapore. I guess that the newest emerging markets are from India and even Russia. The traditional European and Australian market is also growing. The country is becoming less ‘scarey’ to visit, before Australians were going to Vietnam or Thailand, Bali... but they did not consider Cambodia. Australia as a whole is now viewing Cambodia as a destination rather than a no go zone or a short side trip. A. Rodas: What does Cambodia have to offer to international tourism? Just Siem Reap? Is Cambodia safe everywhere? Fiona: We find Cambodia to be a very safe country to visit and live. You need to be sensible and not walk down empty streets in the late hours alone, but you should not do that anywhere. The people in Cambodia are incredibly friendly and welcoming and on the

There is a Black Cat...

whole, make this an incredible place for people to visit. Young, old, single or travelling with a family, its all very possible here. As more and more of Cambodia becomes easily accessible for visitors, the spread of tourism across the country will grow. There is so much to see and something to suit nearly every type of traveler. Anthony: Five years ago Cambodia was just a stop place between Vietnam and Thailand, but now more and more customers are starting to see Cambodia as a whole. We hope that soon, there will be flights between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. It would help Cambodia, because it will offer more things and not just the temples. A destination where you can come for a week or two weeks... really, there is a lot of promotion to invite visitors to stay longer and also enjoy visits to different villages and enjoy the natural environment. The more the skies open up, particularly in Siem Reap, the more that the destination will grow. By A. Rodas

Ta Prohm Hotel

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 30 A 129-second exposure of the moon amazed me and showed me a white light on the sky as a start. Only this camera could detect the move of the white light thanks to the rotation of the earth. This is the kind of photographs I enjoy to take, he said and told me that he teaches 12-14 year-old children of the city. The lessons are with film cameras, avoiding digital ones, because the students would put more attention and responsibility to the shutter button.

Ro

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Liam coincides with the feelings of those who come from developing countries where societies are concerned with several rules, but people are not fully happy. In a country like Cambodia, rules are not too many, but still things can be done well. We finished the interview just at the moment a group of teenagers were waiting outside the studio for their photography lesson. They are learning how to see the light playing above the surfaces of Cambodia, giving expression to unexplored spaces. They are learning to see the world like a Black Cat with a White Dog around.

Great in-town Riverfront location Friendly, well trained & service minded staff Newly refurbished rooms with modern amenities Value for your money-rooms from $35. Attentive & Caring Management Need more? Just ask ! Si

Film cameras are good but they are more expensive when you have to develop pictures, but for this same reason, students of photography are more careful in what they are going to take when they use the film camera. Liam said, I like Cambodia, I like the people, I like the weather, I like the craziness of this country. Somebody described to me, this country as the perfect anarchy, but it works and I like that description.

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By A. Rodas APRIL - JUNE , 2010

31


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be inspired be involved be creative be amazed This is your chance to see the real Cambodia and is an opportunity not to be missed. Join a local family and spend a few hours walking in their shoes. Help with a harvest, get into planting, weave thatch, learn to drive a bullock cart or perhaps brave the infamous Prahoc !

experience the real Siem Reap

Day in a life more than just temples

This project directly helps all villagers providing a sustainable income year round. Capture some incredible photographs and memories that will last a life time. Tour Details ❁ Departs 8am-4pm ❁ $32.00 per person ❁ Experienced Local Guide ❁ Air-conditioned transport ❁ Picnic lunch ❁ Village tour & activities ❁ No passes required ❁ Local host family ❁ Activities vary according to the season, Eg. rice harvest, thatch rice planting, prahoc, rice wine ❁ Visit a local school help teach ❁ Bullock cart of Cambodia tractor ride TUE

THU

SAT

Tel : +855 (0) 63.969.200 T/F : +855 (0) 63.969.201 Office at Ta Prohm Hotel Pokambor Avenue, Mondul I, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap-Angkor Kingdom of Cambodia www.CambodianToursCompany.com


Angkor Discovery Enjoy the incredible grandeur of Angkor Wat and unlock some of her secrets. Explore the mystical Bayon adorned with faces and enjoy the history of the temples within the Ancient city of Angkor Thom. This includes all the must see sights. Tour Details. ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁

Departs 8.30am – 4pm $22 per person Khmer buffet lunch included Angkor Pass required Experienced Local Guide Includes all transport Designed for those short on time, who want to maximize their temple experience MON

WED

SAT

Short on time & want to see the best? Come Discover

Outlying Adventure From some of the earliest Angkorian temples to the most intricately carved Banteay Srei, and everything in between. Visit the beautiful Ta Prohm temple, with those amazing trees. Lolei Pagoda, & Journey through some beautiful local countryside. Tour Details ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁

Departs 8.00am – 5pm $30.00 per person Experienced Local Guide Picnic lunch provided Angkor Pass required Air-conditioned transport TUE

THU

SUN

A full day of adventure, exploration & hidden treasures

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Treak Village Walk & Talk Treak Village is home to around 230 families, half surviving day to day. The village mostly consists of farmers & while Siem Reap is changing quickly, change here is slow, giving you the opportunity to see life in a typical village. From the grounds of an ancient pagoda to vast rice fields & stilt home this should not be missed. Tour Details ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁

$20 per person 50% of the tour fee goes to the Treak Village Enrichment program Allow approx 2 hrs Ancient Temple Sacred Pagoda Village stories & life

Booking on request - min 3 hrs notice

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Tonle Sap Great Lake The Tonle Sap is the life blood of Cambodia providing more than half the fish consumed in Cambodia. The lake and the peoples lives are greatly entwined. Your guided boat trip includes visits to floating homes, schools and much more. Learn about this incredible eco system and the people who live on it. Tour Details ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁

$20 per person Departs 1pm – 4.00pm Includes transport to / from lake Guided bout trip on Tonle Sap Includes stops on route Experienced Local Guide TUE

WED

FRI

SAT

Learn about life on one of the worlds most amazing lakes

Office at Ta Prohm Hotel Pokambor Avenue Mondul I, Sangkat Svay Dangkum Siem Reap-Angkor Kingdom of Cambodia www.CambodianToursCompany.com Tel : +855 (0) 63.969.200 T/F : +855 (0) 63.969.201

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Beng Melea Beng Melea is a temple still shrouded in mystery. Perhaps the living template for Angkor Wat, Beng Melea is a temple offering incredible beauty, and adventure. 60km from Siem Reap, Beng Melea is free from the large crowds of the main temples. Our tour takes in hidden passageways, climbs over, through and up this credible temple ruin. This is the temple where you can live out your inner Indiana Jones! Tour Details

Jungle Temple Ruins

❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁

Departs 8.00-3.30pm $32.00 per person Experienced Local Guide Picnic Lunch Airconditioned transport River Quarry Stop Small jungle temple included Journey through local villages $5 Beng Melea Pass Required MON

WED

FRI

Kompong Phhluk Located around 16km from Siem Reap, on the flood plains of the Tonle Sap this village is an absolute must see. Homes tower on stilts, some 10 meters high in dry season, while in the wet, water laps at the floor boards. Few tourists make it this far, allowing you to explored and enjoy. Photo opportunities abound. This is an experience you will never forget.

An incredible experience

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THU

SUN

Office at Ta Prohm Hotel Pokambor Avenue Mondul I, Sangkat Svay Dangkum Siem Reap-Angkor Kingdom of Cambodia www.CambodianToursCompany.com Tel : +855 (0) 63.969.200 T/F : +855 (0) 63.969.201


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be inspired be involved be creative be amazed

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create your own Khmer cuisine

Details : ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁ ❁

Cooking Class Rady Chef & Demonstrating ingredients

Classes run most days at 1:30pm $22 per person including transfers Advanced bookings are essential Hands on Interative Class Enjoy making & eating your own creation Set in a Village pavilion 10 mins from town Learn about Cambodia’s food, customs and superstitions Meet a village family and learn about cooking and cuisine in a Khmer household.


Private Touring Small Group Tours Unique Travel Experiences

Multi Day Packages Different Destinations Community Connections

H/P : +855 (0) 17.906.721 Tel : +855 (0) 63.969.200


For more information contact Charles Evans : H/P : +855 (0) 17.906.721 / Tel : +855 (0) 63.969.200 T/F : +855 (0) 63.969.201 Charles@CambodiaBusinessInvestment.com www. CambodiaBusinessInvestment.com


32

MARCH - APRIL , 2010

Cambodia Insight Master Final 29.03 Noon issu2  

1APRIL-JUNE,2010 Angkor Wat At the Center of the World There is a Black Cat around Cambodia An approach to the Wonders of the Temple Abstrac...

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