Entries in #culture (7)



Since arriving 6 weeks ago I have eaten many different Asian dishes. I have managed to eat western food only once which was McDonalds out of convenience. It will be peculiar not eating noodle soup or omelet on rice for breakfast everyday back in the U.K.

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The Angkor Wat  Temples

Angkor Wat is one of the top places to visit whilst in Cambodia and for a good reason. It's listed as the seventh wonder of the world and is a national treasure of Cambodia.

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Speaking The Local Language

When going abroad to non-English speaking countries it can be very tempting to rely on local people speaking English instead of attempting to learn a few words of the local language yourself. It’s interesting how English is often used in Thailand between two non-native English speakers to understand each other.

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A Meeting With A Buddhist Monk 

Leaves rustle as the dry air stirs above Wat Chedi Luang, a buddhist temple and monastary based around the ancient ruins of the massive Chedi Luang which was laid low by an earthquake in 1545. The Frontier volunteer group has the chance to speak to a buddhist monk.

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The Majesti Angkor Wat. 

"Hey get off. I'm sleeping what time is it"!? The time was 4am, and I was half asleep with my friend Jenny shaking me from my slumber. It was time to go see the wonder that is Angkor Wat, and our reason for waking so early was to catch its beauty and the moment of sunrise. After throwing my clothes on, and stumbling into the foyer, by most people's expressions it seems like I wasn't the only one, not loving the early wake up.

In zombie like fashion, we piled into a Tuk Tuk. A Tuk Tuk is the  The local form of transportation which can only be defined as a small rickety 2 wheeled Cart pulled by a motorbike often with a failing engine. Off we went into the darkness headed towards the temple. I can't say I was prepared for exactly how magical and how beautiful the temple was. The first thing we could see was its silhouette in the moonlight, it was bigger than I first thought and the walkway leading up to the first gates was impressive to start with. We entered the main gates and as the sky started to glow orange we awaited the sunrise alongside many other day trippers, all with SLR cameras at the ready. The sun came up and cast light over the temple with amazing blend of reds and orange and cameras clicked away. Soon the sky lost its amber hue and we were ready to explore the main temple. The first thing that comes to mind is how this earlier civilisation managed such workmanship and building feats over a thousand years ago. The size of the building blocks and cutting of stone was so impressive as was the itricacy and delicate nature of the carvings.

After spending a peaceful couple of hours soaking up the atmosphere within the grand walls of Angkor Wat and marvelling at the grandeur of the massif, it was time to be welcomed back into the Tuk Tuk by the friendly face that had greeted is at the ungodly hour of 430am.

Bounding along the dirt tracks and uneven roads, we were quickly whisked away to the huge temple complex of Angkor Thom containing the infamous Bayon temple. Our first stop was indeed the Bayon temple and it did not disappoint. The numerous turrets were absolutely covered with elaborate carvings as well as huge faces which I was amazed at how well preserved they were. The morning air was slowly turning warm and humid even though it was still 8am in the morning and wandering around the temples slowed to a gradual ponder.

A short walk led us to the neighbouring terrace of the elephants, a beautiful sight to behold.  Tunnels and tunnels led us through carved walls until we reached the front face of the huge wall previously enclosing the ancient citadel of Angkor wat.

Now feeling hungry and a little tired from the early wake, we settled down in the shade of the jungle to eat traditional Khmer food- delicious as I had expected. Not wanting to miss a second of the day we swiftly met back up with our Tuk Tuk driver who took us to the mysterious temple shrowded in the jungle that was Preah Khan. Wandering along the royal road to the eastern gate of he temple with the lush forest on either side was stunning. The dirt road was sided by young Cambodian men selling silk and oil paintings of the temples, revealing beautiful elephants and statuettes that once were so prevalent in the temples but had now fallen into a state of disrepair.

This temple was possibly a highlight of the whole day.

From here we managed to squeeze one more temple in, Tak Krom. Also known as Tomb Raider temple. This temple was a labyrinth of passageways with tree saplings having grown between the blocks manipulating the temple to crumble in parts. It was a welcome change to get the shade under these now enormous trees.

Upon finishing the Tomb Raider temple and whizzing back to our hotel We were exhausted. Time for some more Khmer cuisine and straight to bed for a long well earnt sleep

By Rachel Middleton - South East Asia Trail Volunteer

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