South-East Asia Kitetour 2001

First release March 18 2001

Index Thailand Cambodia Vietnam



From Bangkok to Battambang

khmer word for 'kite' is ~ khlè'ng

We took a bus from BKK to the cambodian border at Poipet, and we were there within 5 hours. Then it took one hour for to get exit stamp, cambodian visa, donation for the police-families-fund, entry stamp and another hour for to find a truck heading to battambang. Road conditions are really bad, but we were told that the battambang-route is much better than the way to Siem-Reap, and we proofed it as truth, sitting 4,5 hrs on the board of a truck :)
Battambang is Cambodia's 2nd largest city, but i think there were no more than 30 travelling foreigners in town, and after all we must say that it was best city-stay on our trip! Good and friendly people, found good friends and good hospitality, and even cleanest hotels for budget price :)
We visited 2 ancient temples (Wat Ek Phnom + Wat Banan), the "sailboat-mountain" (Phnom Sampeau - mass-grave from pol-pot regime) and very friendly agricultural villages in the countryside.

>drachen< auf Khmer heisst ~khlè'ng

Von Bangkok gings weiter zur kambodianischen Grenze bei Poipet - eine schnelle Busfahrt von 5 Stunden. Danach eine Stunde für den Ausreisestempel, das kambodianische Visum, eine kleine "Spende", Einreisestempel und eine weitere Stunde um Plätze auf einem Truck nach Battambang zu finden. Die Strassen hier sind oft in wirklich schlechtem Zustand, und die direkte Route Richtung Angkhor gilt allgemein als eine Vorstufe zur Hölle. Tipp, im Internet gefunden: Umweg über Battambang mit "guter" Straße, dann von dort per Boot weiter. Proof: stimmt! Guter Rat. :)
Battambang ist Kambodias zweitgrößte Stadt, doch wir fanden dort nicht mehr als etwa 30 ausländische "Touristen" vor. Teuflisch: Allerbestes Essen, liebster Service, grossartige ehrliche Freundlichkeit und Hilfsbereitschaft der Bevölkerung versetzten uns arg in freudiges Erstaunen.

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A whirlwind on the road.
Guide in Siem Reap



Flying on Wat Banan hill.
This temple was built in the 10th century (western calendar). So it is older than most structure of Angkor.

Fliegen auf "Wat Banan".
Der Tempel wurde im 10.Jahrhundert erbaut - noch vor den Anlagen Ankhors.
Hinter dem Tempel steht noch ein altes aber gut geöltes Flugabwehrgeschütz der "Roten Khmer" (PolPot Regime) .


Siem-Reap and Angkor
One of the best standard-journeys you can travel im Cambod is the daily boat from Battambang to Siem-Reap. The ride is about 5 hrs through a small river and through many small villages, and absolutely free of dust and bumps and car-accidents.
In Siem-Reap we checked a hotel, went to the market and rented a moto for to meet the sunset at Angkor-Wat. Unfortunately we werea little shocked. All we knew about this famos historic place were photos and the tales of friends who had been there several years before ("ancient ruins in the middle of jungle, overgrown by trees, and only birds, monkeys and a few monks and soldiers - and no tourists at all") - and we found few birds, few monkeys, some monks - and thousands of tourists, AC-buses, etc. It was yet same like disneyland :(
So we just checked a few places, flew the kites at Ankhor (-Watzmann) and said goodbye... (and thankyou)

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our favorite: Ta-Prohm
most temples are getting reconstructed now, but Ta-Prohm was secured to stay as it was shaped in the last hundred years: relics from carved stone, destructured by rain, sun, storm and agressive growing vegetation makes you better understanding the meaning of civilisation and manshaping in time...


muschel over Angkor.



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Kiteday Angkhor - the field-crew -


booked the speedboat to phnompenh, its a 'quiet' journey of some 5 hrs crossing the big tongle-sap lake and river. arriving in the capital we settled in a guesthouse at the lake, where we had nice sunset with dinner on the water...
next day we met the cambodian kitefliers, who we knew from several kitemeetings in dieppe, france and cervia, italy. our kitemate sim sarak was unfortunately at a conference in bangkok, but he arranged best welcome and hospitality through mr. ouk lay and mr. dek sarin.
because they're all from the ministry of fine arts, it happened to us to have a real official but nice welcome.
In the evening the was a official cultural meeting in the national theatre, with the cambodian and thailand national theatres, the royal princess and all ministers and ambassadors (which were sitting just behind us!). due to the long war there was no cultural exchange with neighbor thailand, and now it is one of cambodias main projects to find back to peace, art and crafting traditions and transfer with the world.
Next day we visited the national museum and had kind of workshops with local kitemakers and fliers and a visit at the national kite collection, which is not yet open to public.
at dinner (...) we had the idea to make a webpage about the kite assembly - most ministries did not yet had internet devices, so this could be a small but effective support.

from left: mr.ouk lay, kisa, krong nguon ly, mr.tom, mrs.krong, mr.dek sarin.


khleng-ek kites


New Site! Cambodian National Exhibition Hall :
Traditional Kites Assembling

mr. dek sarin, director of cultural development, ministry of fine arts + kisa.

National Exhibition Hall
National Cultural Center of Cambodia
National Fine Arts Assembling

khleng-ek kites in background

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Krong Nguon Ly, Kitemaker in Phnom Penh.

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streetkiting in phnom-penh

kitemeeting on the street
( no wind situation :)

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Kompong-Som (Sihanoukville)
After that we headed for some relax.
cambodian beaches need no many words to explain..


our kite-buddy francois
(beach club guesthouse
at victory-beach)


no nasawings found!


we tried to find a passage to vietnam through the mekhong-delta, but due to our narrowed time we decided to go back to phnompenh to book a "standard saigon tour"  ("maybe.. that it takes a week to go through the delta..")



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