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Malaysia and Cambodia


This is about my upcoming trip to Malaysia and Cambodia. The first part is pre-trip - information about flights, itineraries, accommodation and all the things that you need to do to plan an overseas holiday. This is my first trip to Asia and I hope it may help others. Comments are very welcome and anyone who has travelled to Malaysia and/or Cambodia, please feel free to comment and offer any advice or tips that you think would be helpful. As of today ( 28th February) , in exactly 11 days (minus 30 minutes) I will be in Kuala Lumpur.

I had the most amazing time and hope you enjoy reading about my trip. Each post is numbered and I'm doing them in order from start to finish - a little like a diary.



60. Ta Prohm - 1

The Jungle Temple

The next temple I wanted to see was Ta Prohm - the "Jungle" temple. I had seen pictures of it and it was a child's dream - overgrown with trees and weeds and left to the jungle. The books all said it was a good choice for visiting in the middle of the day when the time is at its hottest because you are protected from the sun by a canopy of trees.

We drove along and soon arrived at a corner on the left hand side - a bit like a watering hole for horses in the country in Victorian times - people congregating outside a horse trough! Of course there were no horses' troughs or horses here, but that is what it felt like.

Meet me on the other side
My driver said to walk down there (he pointed the way) and told me he would meet me on the "other side". I looked at him skeptically and asked, "Where on the other side, how far is it?" He said the other entrance it was about a kilometere walk! The thought of walking for a kilometre in the heat wasn't very appealing on such a hot day, so I told him, "No. I'll meet you back here." He tried again, but I was adamant. Famous last words! I should've listened to him. By the time I had been walking for some distance I realised my error, but it was too far to walk a.l.l. the way back and say, "Listen, you were right Zola, I will meet you on the other side."

Another very important lesson
Always listen to your tuk tuk driver - he knows better than you, a mere tourist!☺ If I had the time over again, I would walk right back even if it was a long way to let him know.

Above: Disabled landmine musicians
Walking along this shady path way, these musicians were on the left hand side. They weren't playing though and I didn't hear them. I found out much later they do not play when you are there, they wait until you give some money and then begin playing. I feel terrible now that I didn't know this and that I didn't help in some way.

Above: Disabled landmine musicians
These men are victims of the landmines that were laid by the Khmer Rouge. Terrible wounds and tragedies inflicted on thousands of people by the communist regime - limbs lost, blindness and deformed, scarred faces.

Ta Prohm history

The temple is to the east of Angkor Thom and you enter from the west and leave from the east. Building on Ta Prohm began in 1186 AD. Originally known as Rajavihara (Monastery of the King), it was built by Jayavarman VII who dedicated it to his mother. Constructed originally as a Buddhist monastery, it was enormously wealthy in its time with control over 3000 villages, thousands of support staff and vast stores of jewels and gold.

Above: Ta Prohm
The temple is only partly cleared of jungle growth. It was quite different coming here, I almost felt like I was here as it was being built - all that brick and mortar and stuff lying around. As though the workmen had only just downed tools and knocked off for the day.

Above: Ta Prohm main entrance
Walking closer and seeing this empty ruin, I couldn't but help wonder how it must have looked in its hey day. I can very well imagine monks walking along the terraced verandah, chanting, their hands clasped in prayer. A sense of timeless beauty surrounds this eerie place, no doubt due to the quiet and the fact that it is a ruin in the middle of a jungle. The only sound was the sound of the birds swooping around the trees.

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