October 21, 2007

Back From A Long Hiatus

Wow it's been nearly a month. Guess the past weeks have been kinda hectic - i.e. travelling. Let's see, I was in 6 different countries in the last 3 weeks (Sg included). First week - to the Pinoy land of Manila (hopefully it's the last time already) to finish off a project; second week - to HK and Macau for the annual conference; and this past week - Cambodia and KL for leisure. Well, this will probably be the last of my travels for a while since I go back to the mothership in 2 weeks' time. Actually, less than 2 weeks. Sigh.

Phnom Penh and Siem Reap were great. Despite the short 3 days we spent there, I think we managed to squeeze in most of the key sights. Stayed at the Raffles in Phnom Penh and Hotel De La Paix in Siem Reap, both of which were excellent choices. I'd recommend the latter to anyone who is going to Siem Reap. Great new boutique hotel run by the Bed Supperclub people.

Angkor Wat and the other temples were impressive to say the least. Actually my favourite is Ta Phrom, which is the temple in Tomb Raider, with all the overgrown trees amidst the ruins. The temple is situated in lush greenery, with great big fig trees, which I suppose are not really good for the temple. Nevertheless, there's a sense of tranquility and you feel like you've just stumbled upon a lost ancient city. We caught the sunset on Phrom Bakheng, a temple on the hilltop, which was overrun with Japanese and Taiwanese tourists. Actually everywhere would have been so much nicer without the busloads of tour groups. Luckily, we woke up early enough (5am!) to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat and walked around the temple before the hordes got there. However, it was very disappointing that we couldn't climb up to the third (and highest) level at Angkor Wat as they closed it for restoration works last month.

Sitting in a tuk tuk and traversing the vast expanse of old Angkor city was really enjoyable. The weather was really pleasant, and the sprawling fields, forests and lake, dotted with temples and ruins, made for an amazing backdrop. It won't be hard spending a week in Siem Reap just to chill out at the hotel and take in the sights slowly.

Spent an enjoyable weekend watching squash, which was surprising since I (and probably others) thought I'd be bored. It's back to the grind tomorrow. Time to pack up my mess, tie up loose ends, and psyche myself up for what lies ahead. It ain't gonna be easy but let's just take each day at a time.

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