Film Photos from Siem Reap Area
Making the most of the more affordable processing and scanning, I’ve managed to get another three films processed. Some of the photos from these films are scattered through this post. More detail on the photos in this sub-section can be found in my previous post from Siem Reap.
Kampong Chhnang is a town situated on the bank of a river travelling between Phnom Penh and the Tonle Sap. Along the river is a large floating settlement, which over the past four years, has grown from a scant few boat houses into a bustling village in its own right.
The riverfront has grown as a result of Vietnamese immigration to the area. There are many commonalities with the Vietnamese elements of the Tonle Sap in the architecture of the boathouses, design of the boats, and way in which the market areas overlooking the water have been constructed.
Besides the Vietnamese influence, there is a large French influence still visible (much like Battambang) in many buildings, and in the variation of petanque played on the river bank. The grandeur of these colonial buildings surveys a slum area. This may seem like a lack of progress, but if you bear in mind that many of these areas are much tidier than four years ago, with more permanent and weather-impermeable housing, it is evident that progress is being made.
Phnom Penh (Again)
It seems all roads lead to Phnom Penh. While a smaller (and somewhat less vibrant) tourist hub than Siem Reap, as I’ve undoubtedly mentioned before, there is still much to explore, and much to soak in. The picture above shows just one of the new large property developments steaming ahead in Cambodia’s capital city. It’s as much a metaphor for economic development as it is for the dichotomy between large cities and small villages.
One area which has remained largely unchanged since my first visit nine years ago is the Royal Palace: the architecture and gardens are all very familiar. What is unfamiliar, however, is the amount of it which has been closed for public access: there was only around half as much viewable at close range on today’s visit, compared to what was viewable four years ago. Nevertheless, it is still a remarkable place to visit. Due to the very high fences surrounding the complex, it is markedly hotter than the riverfront it overlooks; bottled water is recommended.
I confess the gardens are one of the major reasons I like to visit. Tidily kept, they have a full range of tropical flora which interests me, and also offer some shade from that incredible heat. I’m also partial to the artwork and musical performances, which I’ve always found strangely (given that I favour sharp well proportioned photographs and rock music) alluring.
My next post will be featuring Koh Kong, a coastal town on the Thai border. Kohn Kong marks the end of my travelling around the country, at which point I will be based in Phnom Penh for the remainder of my trip. I have tentatively planned a few places to visit , though at this stage, it seems prudent to simply let life run its course and take me where it takes me. Failing that, I will inundate you with screeds of market scenes, street scenes, and nonsensical ramblings (which I will probably blame on the heat).