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Siem Reap Lowdown - Page 3.2727272727273 - Explore Angkor Wat

Explore Angkor Wat

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Siem Reap Lowdown

Two-wheel torture

Norm Clark enroute from Battambang to Pursat in last year’s ride.

Australian physical fitness trainer and endurance cyclist Norm Clark has just returned Down Under after an eight-day stint in Cambodia to map the course for this year’s Great Cambodian Bike Ride, which kicks off in Siem Reap on September 1.

Each year this ride, a fundraiser for Siem Reap NGO Kampuchea House, gets bigger and better – or worse, considering the participants’ point of view.

The course is true two-wheel torture and last year’s odyssey, which covered 700 kilometres over six days, took its toll on riders, especially Kampuchea House founder Les Stott, then 60 years old.


Old timers

Ek Somaly at the Raffles Afternoon Tea Reception reunion.

What emerged from the afternoon was a treasure trove of oral history: stories of the lives of ordinary folk

Last month the management of Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor honoured the hotel’s illustrious former employees, one of whom had first clocked on for duty over half a century ago in 1946.

Many of the staff honoured had also proven their loyalty, having weathered the closure of the hotel in 1969, and then duly reporting back for duty when the hotel reopened and the political situation had calmed down.


Zipping around on Zulu Time

The fly boys, all kitted up at Siem Reap’s Hotel de la Paix.
The high fliers are equipped with these magnificent machines:
* A CL-600-2B16 Challenger 605, which costs a mere $24 million.
* A 2008 Socata TBM 700, more attractively priced at only $2 million.
* A Piper Malibu Mirage (piston-single), which costs on average $700,000 for a second-hand model.
* A 1993 Cessna 560 C/N 560-0225, a steal at only $500,000.

A group of tourists passing through Siem Reap last weekend raised the stakes entirely when it comes to defining high-class travel.

Restoring history through art

Photo by: Peter Olszewski
A restorer painstakingly fixes a painting at Bakong.

It’s a magic morning at the Bakong temple grounds, with the prodigious Khmer tower framed by blue sky, and a riot of purple bougainvillea blooming at its base.

Cows graze on rich green grass beside the mirror-surfaced moat, monks chant in their monastery and, in the almost ruined Prasat Wat Bakong, work hums as a team of restorers patiently re-render the many religious wall paintings.

While almost all of the restoration at the Angkor temples revolves around the ancient


A new place for meetings

Siem Reap’s cultural and entertainment fare, sadly lacking due to absence of suitable venues, is about to be boosted with the new push to cement the town on the regional and international conference circuit.

The value-added aspect for Siem Reap residents is that conference attendees want entertainment after their meetings finish. And for that they must have venues with appropriate equipment including, of course, sound systems.


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