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Royal Crown Hotel & Spa
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2015-10-20
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Bees Unlimited, Bees Hunter Tour

“I’m going to meet an apiarist”
“Is that someone who looks after apes?”
“No, it’s a bee man”

So went my conversation with a friend the other night. Actually, I was a little apprehensive about meeting the “bee man”. I had spoken to Dani on the phone, and he had said to wear long trousers so as to minimise the chance of being stung, and shoes that didn’t matter of they got wet, as we would be walking through a bog. He asked if I was allergic to bee stings, and that he would meet me at 6.45 the following day. Talk about a way of setting a prospective client’s mind at rest. Well, I’m adventurous, and wanted to see something really different, and that’s exactly what this day turned out to be. Arguably the most exciting day I’ve had in Cambodia.

bees(01)We met, and Dani took me to Phsa Leu market. I’ve written about this place before. We stopped and had a quick breakfast of fried rice noodles and a quick look for any edible insects or edible rats, frogs etc (we didn’t see any) and then were on our way. As we travelled, about an hour in the tuk tuk, Dani told me about the bees. We were looking for the Giant Honey Bee (Apis Dorsata). It’s about twice the size of a European Honey Bee. They migrate between the Khulen mountains and an area of deforested land near to Phnom Bok. In the dry season they go to the area we were heading bees(17)for. They just follow the flowers! They are farmed using the “rafter” method. A tree branch is set up at an angle and with luck (and a lot of skill from the honey hunters) the bees will form a colony on it. The colony manifests itself with a huge comb. It may be up to 1 metre across. At one end is what is called the “honey head”. Dani told me that he was the person who persuaded the villagers to only take the honey head when they harvest the comb. Previously they had taken the entire comb, and then eaten the bee larvae. Now the villagers take only the honey, allowing more harvests, earlier harvests and sustainable crops of bees. As the honey is liquid golden money for the villagers, eventually they saw sense and now most of them follow a sustainable harvesting method.

bees(14)We got to the village. In this particular place, most of the community gathers honey. It’s the village’s speciality. Dani said there was one other place in Southern Cambodia that farms bees, but apart from that the practise only took place in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam and a few Indonesian Islands. So, we collected the men to show us to the comb – a father and son combo – and went off. It wasn’t too long a trek, and Dani showed me some interesting carnivorous plants on the way. He was also looking for caterpillars – another interest of his. In fact, even if we hadn’t seen any bees, it would have been an amazing walk and talk. Really this man is so knowledgeable on Cambodian wildlife and village scenes. I suppose that’s what comes from living here for over 20 years.

bees(03)We reached a point on the track and the Khmers said they were going to build their “smoker”. This is simply what it says – a burning packet of dry twigs, wrapped in fresh green leaves that produces smoke. They made two. One to get the bees off the comb and one to cover me (I was very grateful). When the leaves were duly smoking, we set off through the bush. It was a trek and slowly the ground got boggier. At one point I was invited to take off my shoes, and roll up my jeans, but the shoes were already wet, and I didn’t want to risk standing on and twig stumps. So the shoes stayed on. However the ground got boggier still and the bush got thicker. Suddenly about 5 metres ahead of me, the father stopped. He had found the comb. I was told to get down and squat low. He was smoking the bees off and they didn’t want them to fly into me. Actually I didn’t want that either, and so I squatted very low.

bees(04)Quite soon I was invited to approach the comb itself. I guess I got around 2 metres away from it; approaching any closer would have been difficult. It was a very confined area. All around me bees were diving headlong, trying to find who was attacking the colony, but thanks to the son, and his smoker, I was not in any danger of being stung.

The camera whirled! The two men expertly removed the honey head and a small piece of the pollen section, and then chatted while we filmed.

bees(10)I can not describe the experience to you. First the noise. The sound of bees buzzing full volume surrounded me. Then the sight of bees darting everywhere, including on one occasion right into the camera. It was nature in the raw, and I was in the middle of it. However, I never got stung thanks to the skill of the men, and the advice I was given. Yes I had wet feet, yes, I picked up a leach, yes, my legs cramped and I thought I’d never stand up again, but YES I had a marvellous experience. Here was a sight of nature that man had known about for thousands of years and I was in the middle of it. When we see European bee keepers in their “space suits”, here were two men in flimsy shirts and shorts, armed only with smoke, removing pieces of a metre wide honey comb … well.

bees(16)I was privileged to go along with the honey hunters and experience a fantastic day. And the bonus to me was when we got back to their house, I was allowed to taste the liquid honey. It had a flavour that is indescribable. Sweet of course, mixed with wild flowers and a little bit of fear and respect for the men who had collected it. And they do this all the time. No fear.

I’d like to say thanks to the men of the village and a HUGE thanks to Dani from Bees Unlimited for taking me on the trip. You too can experience this in the dry season. That starts from about October and runs through really to April. I was lucky getting this trip in so late. In the wet season Dani runs village walks, nature trips, photography trips and even a trip around the markets. You can read it all on his site – http://beesunlimited.com. The man is a genius when it comes to nature and I’d like to thank him through this piece. Go on, the temples have been there for over a thousand years, but the bees have been there a darn sight longer. Given a choice, I know which experience I’d take. There’s no where else in the world you can experience it quite like this!

Cr. http://www.siemreappost.com/bees-unlimited/

#angkorwat   #siemreap   #cambodia   #royalcrownhotelspa   #attraction   #attractions   #temple   #sunset   #sunrise   #cloud   #sky   #bluesky   #whywetravel #forest #viking #phchumbenday
#beesunlimitied
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Cambodian Pchum Ben Days – Ancestor Day

Pchum Ben is a Cambodian annual religious festival. It’s celebrated from the 1st to the 15th day of the waxing moon of the 10th Lunar month, Phutrobot (ភទ្របទ). Pchum means ” gathering together” and Ben means ” offering “. Thus Pchum Ben may translated as Gathering together to make offering. For Cambodian Buddhists believe that after dead, people would involving reincarnation. But for the bad karma that people did during the living, their souls would be stored in hell to receive suffering as punishment. It’s believe that the gates of the hell are opened and the ceased may visit their relatives for 15 days. During this time, foods are offering to the monks (cham hanh) everyday in every pagoda, as it’s the way to generate merit that indirectly benefits the ceased.

Traditionally there is a pagoda in one village, and for the 15 days of Pchum Ben, the villager would devide into 14 groups. Each group responsible for one day of foods offering to the monks of their local pagoda. This process is called ” Kan Ben ” means hosting offerings. During each day, it’s a good chance for the families who are hosting the offerings to recited loudly of their ancestors name, so that they are invited to receive their offerings. Because they cannot receive the merit or offerings without invitation. Day 15th is the last day also the day that celebrated in greater form, which the pagoda would be crowed than other days. Everyone would make offerings to the monks on this main day to ensure that their dead relatives could receive it. Since the last day is doing in generally for all the ceased.

#angkorwat   #siemreap   #cambodia   #royalcrownhotelspa   #attraction   #attractions   #temple   #sunset   #sunrise   #cloud   #sky   #bluesky   #whywetravel #forest #viking #phchumbenday  
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2015-09-23
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Hot Deal!
October Hot Deal 45 USD Per Room Per Night, Included:
- Breakfast
- Pick up service from Siem Reap International Airport.

Check out more information about our hotel at www.royalcrownhotelspa.com or email to reservations@royalcrownhotel.com.kh

#hotdeal   #hotel   #siemreap   #cambodia   #bedandbreakfast   #whywetravel  
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2015-09-23
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Ta Prohm Temple

Unlike other parts of the UNESCO World Heritage site, Ta Prohm has been left in the condition it was found after centuries of neglect. The evocative sight of silk-cotton, strangler fig, and golden apple trees growing out of the ruins has inspired countless artists, and has made big-screen appearances, including Tomb Raider. Ta Prohm served a community of more than 12,000 with a staff of 18 priests and 615 dancers (according to the temple’s records, carved into a stele). Arrange your schedule so that you can visit this popular site early in the day, when the ghosts from the temple’s past may outnumber the current-day visitors.

It's hard to describe the epicness of Ta Prohm in one photo and a few sentences. With huge tree roots enveloping ancient 12th century ruins in the middle of the jungle, it feels like you've stepped onto the set in an Indiana Jones movie. It's so incredible it doesn't feel real, but at the same time there's this insane energy throughout the temple where you can't help but feel like you've stepped back in time to another world where the ancient Khmer Empire was one of the largest and most powerful cities in the world

#taprohm   #siemreap   #cambodia   #royalcrownhotelspa   #attraction   #attractions   #temple   #sunset   #sunrise   #cloud   #sky   #bluesky   #whywetravel #forest #viking
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2015-09-18
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Phnom Bakheng, Siem Reap, Cambodia

phnom bakheng temple was built on the natural hill. com-monthly referred to as the temple-mountain because it is an earthly facsimile of mount meru, it is located on the left side of the road from angkor wat to angkor thom and attacts scores of tourists who come to watch the sunset or sunrise. the temple was cut from the rock that formed the natural hill and faced with sandstone in the late 9th and early 10th centuries, during the reign of king yasovarman i (ad 889-910) , dedicating to shiva brahmanism.

phnom bakheng is 65 meters high and the temple has 109 towers. phnom bakheng temple was a replica of mount meru and the number of towers suggests a cosmic sym-bolism. the seven levels-ground, five tiers, upper terrace-of the monument represent the seven heavens of indra in brahmanism mythology.

the temple must have been a spectacular site in its entirely because originally 108 tower were evenly spaced around the tiers with yet another one, the central sanctuary, at the apex of them all. today, however, most of these towers have collapsed. besides the central sanctuary, there were 4 towers on the upper terrace, 12 on each of the 5 levels of the platform, and another 44 towers around the base. thai brick towers on the different levels represent the 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac. it is also possible that the numerology of the 108 tower symbolizes the 4 lunar phases with 27 days in each phase. the arrangement allows for only 33 of the tower to be seen from each side, a figure that corresponds with the number of brahmanism deities.

at the top of the hill, phnom bakheng is set on a tiered platform of five levels. there are stairways of the very steep gradient on all four sides. seated lions flank the step at each of the five levels. the complex is surrounded by a laterite rampart with gopuras. beyond there is a small structure to north with sandstone pillars in which there are two lingams. a modern footprint of the buddha is in the center of the path. two libraries are opening only to the west on either side of the part.

at the top most platforms of 76 meters square and 13 meters high, five towers are arranged in quincunx. the central tower once contained the lingam to which the temple was dedicated. it opens to all four cardinal point. the remaining four sanctuaries also sheltered lingams on pedestals and open on two sides. the central sanctuary is decorated with female divinities set in niches at the corner of the temple which delicately carved bands of foliage above; the pilasters are finely worked and have raised interlacing of figurines. the makaras on the tympanums are lively and strongly executed. the decoration above the doors is well-preserved showing a panel of foliated cusps with the heads of 33 gods. an inscription is visible on the west side of the north door of the central sanctuary.

according to an inscription on the temple, phnom bakheng was the center of the city of yasodharapura. this fact was verified in the late 9th century with the discovery of an old rampart. this temple was originally called yasodharakiri9. later it was known as phnom kandal. it might have been called phnom dandal10 because it is between phnom bok and phnom krom. today visitors refer to the temple as phnom bakheng. this name was founds in an inscription on the temple in the 16th century.

Phnom Bakheng become the favorite site for sun rise/and sunset because of it's amazing view from the top of the hill.

#phnombakheng   #siemreap   #cambodia   #royalcrownhotelspa   #attraction   #attractions   #temple   #sunset   #sunrise   #cloud   #sky   #bluesky   #whywetravel  
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2015-09-14
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It is raining season

In Cambodia, it’s anything else but cool. Rather the opposite is the case: In April it’s really really hot and in the rainy season from July to October you will feel it additionally very humid. Everything that has to do in any form with clothes tourists from cooler areas prefer to leave them all in the cabinet. But for a visit to Angkor Wat, the most sacred temple in the complex of Angkor, no resistance of annoying clothes will help.

The cloud view after raining is amazing, you should not miss these fantastic view.

#siemreap   #attraction   #travel   #travelphotography   #travelphotos   #children   #playtime   #bathing   #cambodia   #bluesky   #cloud   #angkorwat   #bayon   #whywetravel  
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2015-09-11
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The Floating Village

In a boat, visiting a “floating village.” There are many floating villages in Cambodia where the rainy season drastically changes the water level from where it sits in the dry season. This floating village is on the Tonle Sap lake, the largest body of water in Cambodia. The villagers stay semi-permanently in places for some months, and then move as the water moves.

The people live like other villagers except that the “roads” are water. (Keeps the dust down.) Tonle Sap lake feeds about half of Cambodia and the people export fish to other countries nearby. This is the biggest lake in Southeast Asia. There are gigantic catfish and many smaller fishes and the people eat them all. They also eat spiders: big, tarantula spiders. They’ll eat just about anything, actually. Some small boats drift around selling eggs with half-formed birds (embryos) and the people love to eat the un-hatched baby birds.

There are no crocodiles in the lake because the people have caught-killed-sold them all. They say Italians liked to make shoes from the crocodiles. There are crocodile farms around, but mostly where there are a lot of people, the kids are safe to swim.

#siemreap     #attraction   #travel   #travelphotography   #travelphotos   #children   #playtime   #bathing #floatingvillage   #tonlesap   #cambodia   #whywetravel  
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2015-09-11
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Ever wonder why Angelina Jolie's first child came from #Cambodia ? Pass by an orphanage like this and you will understand. The #kids are so cute and have so much potential.

#siemreap   #attraction   #travel   #travelphotography   #travelphotos   #children   #playtime   #bathing   #whywetravel  
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2015-09-09
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Water Fall: Kulen Mountain, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The Phnom Kulen mountain range is located 30 km northwards from Angkor Wat. Its name means “mountain of the Lychee” . There is a sacred hilltop site on top of the range.

Phnom Kulen is considered a holy mountain in Cambodia, of special religious significance to Hindus and Buddhists who come to the mountain in pilgrimage.

Phnom Kulen WaterfallIt also has a major symbolic importance for Cambodians as the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire, for it was at Phnom Kulen that King Jayavarma II proclaimed independence from Java in 804 CE. Jayavarman II initiated the cult of the king, a linga cult, in what is dated as 804 CE and declaring his independence from Java of whom the Khmer had been a vassalage state (whether this is actually “Java” or “Lava” (a Lao kingdom) is debated, as well as the legend that he was earlier held as a ransom of the kingdom in Java. See Higham’s The Civilization of Angkor for more information about the debate). During the Angkorian era the relief was known as Mahendraparvata (the mountain of Great Indra).

The site is known for its carvings representing fertility and its waters which hold special significance to Hindus. Just 5 cm under the water’s surface over 1000 small carvings are etched into the sandstone riverbed. The waters are regarded as holy, given that Jayavarman II chose to bathe in the river, and had the river diverted so that the stone bed could be carved. Carvings include a stone representation of the Hindu god Vishnu laying on his serpent Ananta, with his wife Lakshmi at his feet.  A lotus flower protrudes from his navel bearing the god Brahma. The river then ends with a waterfall and a pool.

Visiting Kulen mountain, check out our best rate at www.royalcrownhotelspa.com

#kulen   #waterfall   #siemreap   #cambodia   #angkorwat   #kulenmountain   #cheaphotel   #hotel   #cambodiahotel   #siemreaphotel   #oldmarket   #nightmarket   #royalcrownhotelspa   #whywetravel  
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2015-09-07
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