December 2014, after several months of planning, we finally head out for our memorable holiday to the beautiful country of Cambodia.
After taking early morning flight on Air Asia to Siem Reap, we finally arrived at Siem Reap International Airport at around 750 hrs.
Upon arrival, we experienced inconvenience where one of the officer at the airport insisted that we need to fill up the Visa application form. It was only after one of the member of the group clarified with another officer, we were directed immediately to the Immigration counter as Malaysian passport does not require visa to enter into Cambodia.
Some of us were then asked by the Immigration officer for “pocket money” where we then departed with RM5 / RM10 each person. Indeed the start of the holiday were not a memorable one.
Exiting the airport, we could not find our guide whom were informed of a different flight arrival time. Luckily we had his number so after calling him, he immediately arrived.
Boarding the transfer, we officially started our vacation in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap, (in Khmer language, ក្រុងសៀមរាប is pronounced as [siəm riəp]) is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in the north-western of Cambodia. It is a very popular resort town as the gateway to Angkor region and today is a very popular tourist destination. In 2014, Siem Reap was ranked as the world’s fourth best city for tourists by TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards.
Re-discovery of Angkor started in 1901 when Ecole francaise d’Extreme-Orient (EFEO, French School of the Far East) began associated with Angkor by funding an expedition into Siam to the Bayon. They took responsibility in clearing and restoring the whole site when Angkor ruins were rediscovered, rescuing Angkor from the jungle and assuming its place in the modern world.
The acquisition of Angkor by the French in 1907 due to the Franco-Siamese agreement, Siem Reap began to grow, absorbing the first wave of tourists brining the temples of Angkor as one of Asia’s leading draw until the late 1960s. In 1975, the population of Siem Reap along with the rest of the cities and towns in Cambodia was evacuated by the communist Khmer Rouge and driven to the countryside.
Siem Reap slowly regain stability and rejuvenated in the tourism industry in the mid-1990s with the death of Khmer Rouge Regime leader, Pol Pot’s dead in 1998. Today, Siem Reap serves as a small gateway town to the world famous Unesco Heritage Centre of the Angkor temples.
After dropping our luggage in the hotel (unfortunately, rooms are still not ready for check in), we head out to our first visit of the day…… Angkor Silk Farm located in Puok District which is also known as Phouk Silk Farm.
At the Silk Farm covering an area of 8 hectares, we were shown how silk is traditionally worked in Cambodia. Our lovely guide from Angkor Silk Farm gave us details on the culture of mulberry trees providing feed for silkworm, silkworm farming, cocoon unwinding, preparation of the silk threads, ikat technique (tie-dyeing of the threads) and silk weaving. We were definitely impressed by the dexterity of the artisans with the silk threads.