Can't wait to read stories of your life, happiness and sorrow again, Jibam by Ujang.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Can't wait to read stories of your life, happiness and sorrow again, Jibam by Ujang.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Rose of the North - that's what Chiangmai is called. Went to Chiangmai last weekend dengan 4 other friends for 3 days and 2 nites. We departed at 8.50 a.m. from LCCT and arrived at Chiangmai airport 2 hrs and 50 mins later. Once arrived in Chiangmai, dah ada pick up van to take us to the hotel. Sebelum datang, Stef dah book accomodation kat Suriwongse. Part of the package was tour to handicraft centres before check in kat hotel. All these handicraft centres memang dekat antara satu sama lain. All in one street and of walking distance.
Awal-awal pagi bangun bertolak ke the temple area. Dekat main entrance, we all bought tickets for one day tour at USD20. If you want to hire a guide or transport to go around the temple area, ramai yang dah standy kat main entrance for a fee. We decided not too sebab we got a couple of Angkor Visitor Guide Book which you can get at any hotel or guesthouse and I also bought a book called Angkor Wat Forever by Thierry Diwo with photographs and information about the temples and the wall carvings. We spent a lot of time kat the most popular temple, Angkor Wat believed to bebuilt by Suryavarman II. It a huge complex and took between 25 - 30 yaers to complete. Ada banyak wall carvings depicting kisah-kisah their kings and gods. It was like a treasure hunt for us sebab we were referring to the book looking for prominent wall carvings and bas-reliefs highlighted in the book. Kat Angkor Wat ada 12 sancuatry towers. Tangga nak panjat towers tu memang very steep, I think about 80 degrees. Memang gayatlah rasanya nak panjat, we were contemplating about it tapi kalau tak naik, rugi. Masa naik tu tak berani nak tengok bawah.
Sebelum proceed to other temples, we had lunch at a French cafe right kat depan Angkor Wat. I bukalah bekalan serunding and asked for plain rice. We covered most of the 'must see' temples like Phnom Bakeng, Angkor Thom, Bayon, The Rolous Group, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King among a few. On our way back, stopped kat Phnom Bakeng to watch the sunset. Nak ke Phnom Bakeng pun challenging jugak sebab kena panjat a steep hill dulu lepas tu kena panjat stairs kat Phnom Bakeng to get to the top of the temple. Menggigil jugak kepala lutut. Sampai kat atas, you can see the whole temple area. Memang cantik sebab nampak temples di celah-celah hutan. Actually, kat Angkor Wat pun boleh tengok sunset from one of the towers.
After 2 nites kat Siem Reap and jenuh dah shopping kat Old Market, we returned to Phnom Penh on the morning flight. Sebelum tu, breakfast kat bar di Red Piano, hired a motordups to go to the airport. On the way to the airport realized camcorder tertinggal kat hotel. Nak patah balik tak sempat. Nasib baik Stef ada business card Red Piano. Terus call owner Red Piano, a French guy and he got his staff to get the camcorder and sent it to the airport. I was worried that the staff might not be able to make it to the airport on time but when we arrived at the airport, we actually missed our flight to Siem Reap. We may have got the time mixed up and took our own sweet time to get to the airport. Masing-masing panik tapi nasib baik boleh take the next flight without any extra cost. What a blessing in disguise. Sempat jugak staff Red Piano tu reached the airport to pass me the camcorder.
Sampai kat Phnom Penh, we stayed at rumah Stef's friend, Hui Ling a Malaysian who is married to a Cambodian. Dia bawaklah we all pergi Russian Market and tolong we all tawar menawar barang-barang kat sana. I bought silk cloth, wood carvings including a lazy chair. We all also pekena coffee kat one of the stalls. Memang kao! Malam tu, dia bawak round kat bandar Phnom Penh and had dinner kat a French restaurant belonging to their friend. Hui Ling and her husband gave her insights on Cambodia. Kesian jugak dengar sebab actually susah jugak kehidupan orang-orang kat Cambodia. The basic things like electric and water memang expensive sampai USD200 per month. Yang lain-lain tu tak eloklah I nak cerita tapi bila dengar cerita-cerita macam ni rasa bertuahnya jadi penduduk Malaysia.
I went to Cambodia in May 2004 together with my 2 female travelling buddies, Stef & Zura for 4 days & 3 nites. We did a lot of surfing on the net, reading Lonelyplanet and asking around from those yang pernah ke sana when planning our trip. Masa tu, MAS had no direct flight to Siem Reap, so we had to fly to Phnom Penh and take a domestic flight to Siem Reap. We all book the tickets pun masa kat MATTA Fair. Stef's friend, a Malaysia married to a Cambodian yang tolong book kan domestic flight tickets. Domestic airlines available were President Airline, Siem Reap Airways & Royal Phnom Penh. Tapi kena check from time to time sebab the domestic airline company ni kadang-kadang boleh tiba-tiba bungkus (bankrupt). Once we reached Phnom Penh airport, we briefly met her, collected the tickets and flew straight to Siem Reap. Kalau tak silap the ticket fare dalam USD50 - USD60. The adventurous alternative to air travel to Siem Reap is by river ferry. The journey will take about 4 - 6 hours (251 km) depending on the season. The best is during wet season (June - November). Dry season low water can mean smaller, less comfortable boats and occasional groundings. The advantages of taking river ferry are you will see all these photogenic sceneries, villages and look at how the locals live. Ticket masa tu costs between USD21 - USD25 and have to be purchased a day in advance. Anyway, when we arrived in Siem Reap, dah ada pick up from the hotel. Tak ingat hotel mana we all duduk tapi we decided to check out after one nite and stayed at The Red Piano. We found out about The Red Piano from a friend after we have made our booking at the former hotel before we left Malaysia. The distance from the airport to Siem Reap town is only 7 km. Kalau takde pick up van pun, you can just take the motordups. The room at the first hotel tu memang comfortable and clean. Then, we asked the van driver about taking us to the Old Market to check out guesthouse, Red Piano. We all beria-ria negotiate price. Mula-mula tu dia nak charge us USD20 to take us there including to a restaurant to watch the traditional dance. Bargain punya bargain we decided on USD10. So, we all happily got into the van. But buntut pun tak warm up lagi, we all saw this place terpampang The Red Piano. We were very pleased thinking that we got a good deal. Rupa-rupanya Red Piano and the Old Market were just a walking distance from the hotel. We all looked at each other dengan muka blur. Mula-mula tu, with each other we all sumpah seranahlah van driver tu tapi bila ingatkan face expression masing-masing, tergelak pulak thinking how stupid we were. Sampai kat The Red Piano, we all asked to check out the room. Bila tengok bilik dia, teringat children's story The 3 Bears. Alah, cerita pasal Father Bear, Mother Bear ngan Baby Bear yang ada satu girl masuk rumah the bears and makan sup diorang tu. Warna bedsheet dia oren terang with white, one cupboard. Kebetulan pulak ada 3 katil, itu yang teringat cerita The 3 Bears tu. Anyway, after seeing the room we decided to make reservation to stay there the following nite. Actually the Red Piano ni was where crews movie Tomb Raider stayed while they were filming the movie in Cambodia. Adalah photo Angelina Jolie kat wall di bar kat situ. After that we decided to check out The Old Market. This Old Market is the most tourist-oriented because it has a lot of souvenir stalls offering a wide range of souvenirs from wood carvings, semi-precious stones, silk, silverware, paintings & macam-macam lagi. Apa lagi, we all put our bargaining skills into action. The tip is that kalau penjual tu tak nak lower the price, just walk away. Nanti dia akan panggil you balik and agree to the price you initally asked. But if you go to several stores pun harga yang diorang offer sama, that is the bottomlinelah. Of course the locals will pay much much lower but you are a tourist, so kenalah bayar tourist price. You will also need to consider that the locals ni hidup susah, basic things like electric, water yang most of us Malaysians take for granted memang ridiciliously expensive. Ramai yang could not afford. So, janganlah sampai bargain terlampau rendah sangat.