March 23, 2014

Overland Cambodia - Vietnam : Siem Reap (part 2)

Continuation from here...
Chillaxing under the tree alongside the Siem Reap River was a great way to hide from the scorching hot sun. It's cool under the trees. Plus you can play with the animals there.

I continued cycling towards Angkor Wat just to get an idea how far it is cos I planned to cycle to the world heritage site tomorrow. The distance shown on the map was 5km. Hmm...not that far. But I changed my mind halfway. The weather was too hot. -_-'

On the way back I stopped by Angkor National Museum, a state-of-the-art showpiece on the Khmer civilisation and the majesty of Angkor.

But I didn't go in since I felt the USD 12 entrance fee was quite high.

Angkor National Museum
Operating hours : 
1 May ~ 30 Sep : 8.30 am ~ 6 pm 
 1 Oct ~ 30 Apr : 8.30 am ~ 6.30 pm
Entrance fee - USD 12, Camera fee - USD 2, Audio guide - USD 3 

I was heading back towards downtown area when I saw this gate.

So I parked my bicycle nearby the gate and went inside. Wat Preah Prohm Rath is one of the oldest monastery in Siem Reap, with a history approximately 500 years old.

The temple is quite beautiful. It accommodates several colourful oriental looking buildings surrounded by gardens and decorative statues.

I read other bloggers' post about a mosque in a muslim village, and a few halal restaurants nearby. My stomach was already singing by that time so I decided to check out the area.

There wasn't any signage or direction to Kampung Stengmai but luckily I found it easily. Not really easily but tak sesat la. At first I wasn't sure whether I've reached the correct junction.

junction to Kampung Stengmai

I was turning back when I took one last look at this direction, and that's when I saw what looked like a minaret. And so I continued cycling towards that building. It was the mosque! Alhamdulillah..

The village is not far from the downtown area, but I found the atmosphere to be totally different. The road is not sealed, and it was really quiet. It felt like a hidden and abandoned village.

From what I learned, about 80 families live in the village where most of them are from the minority ethnic Champa.

Neakmah Mosque

*Will blog about the mosque and halal food in Siem Reap in a separate post*

Done with lunch, I visited Artisans Angkor which is less than 5 minutes ride from Kampung Stengmai. Artisans Angkor is a Cambodian company which was created to help rural people with limited education to develop professional skills and get a job.

You can register for a free guided tour to Angkor Silk Farm here

Over the years, Artisans Angkor has become a real showcase of Khmer workmanship for its silk fabrics and garments, stone and wood carving, lacquer ware, polychrome products, silver plating and silk painting.

I walked around to visit various workshops to see things being produced. Some of the artisans are deaf but they do a really nice work.

Artisans Angkor
Operating hours : 7.30 am ~ 6 .30 pm 
 Entrance is free

Of course, there is a shop to sell the finished goods. The products on sale are beautiful but a backpacker like me can only see. No money. haha..

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