Angkor Wat, Gladiators and a word about Tourism

Siam Reap scared me at first.
Having been to Vang Vieng and Bangkok i expected another tourist flooded city….and thats exactly what i found.

Siam reap is the most touristic town of Cambodia, home To Angkor Wat (which was the reason i came here anyhow) the majestic Monument that even made it on the national Cambodian flag, the amazing ancient ruins that…anyways thats for later.

I have been hosted by a Belorussian Kickboxer, which brought me back to “beach body” 😉
Training him for his match in 2 weeks every day, and so training with him in the Gladiator-style Khmer Military Training Center.
And today for the first time in a Year – SAUNA!!!!
I almost forgot what i was missing… O_O

On my first day in Siam Reap i went to Angkor Wat after 17.00 thats when the guards go home, and you can enter for free and enjoy the last hour of sunlight…with a bicycle, you can also sneak into the Bayon at night time…but it was a little scary…. err, ah Don’t do it it is really boring to see one of the most magnificent buildings of ancient history at night time, with full moon and no loud tour-guides around, hearing the geckos and frogs… hrmm hrmm

But at this evening the daylight was only enough For one of the hundred temples…so i went the next day and bought a ticket and i did not regret it!

but please, see for yourself:

Notice how the trees look like Ent’s from Lord of the Rings, trying to invade the human fortress.
It was incredible, the archaeologists puzzeled a whole big Temple and the buddha face together from scattered stones…just incredible!

After this 7h trip in full sun, i felt ready for coconuts, vegetables and rice.
A lot of rice…I have my favorite restaurant where i can get free steamed rice…so i ate something like 3plates of rice 😀

I have no idea how i will switch topics now. From Happy at tourist attraction Angkor to Angkor What?, Happy Angkor Pizza, Le Prince d’Angkor, Temple Club, Angkor Beer…etc.
This place is booming because of the ruins, so everybody imitates the Style and Name of the Temples.
Tourists destroy places.
First there are a few Hardcore Backpackers like Magellan, Cook or Marco Polo, who go to places “nobody” has ever been before.
They then tell all their travel friends “Hey you should go there, it really nice”
Then the next wave of people comes there…still used to sleep on the floor, but maybe one Family seizes the opportunity and Builds a guest-house/bar/club/whatever and profits from mouth propaganda.
In the world we are living in the guest-house owner will not stay the only one.
Because of Jealousy, Competition and Customer Demand places start changing.
And depending on the kind of popularity the place will attract a certain kind of travelers (tourist is not a very nice word anymore)
And with every wave there are more potential investors who will Build a five Star Hotel, Spa and Resort. (Siam Reap, Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai)
A Big huge Club or Bar (like Pubstreet here, Khaosan Rd in Bangkok or central Vang Vien)
Ecotourism (Luang Prabang, Chiang Mai, Siam Reap, Malaysia…)

“People come people go” – but something stays

So Long
Ole

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Goodbye Thailand – Bangkok never sleeps

My last time in Thailand I spend in Bangkok, after a 10h train ride (which was filled with reading and watching the landscape pass by)

Arriving in Bangkok i immediately went to Khaosan Rd with my CS-host.
….Khaosan is crazy!! Hookers, [a lot of] Ladyboys, loud music, faked passports and a lot of alcohol.
You can be sure every “girl” that shows a lot of skin is probably not a girl…
The next day i, for the first time in my life, went wake boarding.
After about 20 times falling face or ass first in the water, i figured out how to take of.
After 3h of wake boarding i felt really good, exhausted and as i would finally again be sour the next day 😉

In the evening i went to the modern day Bangkok-“Metropolis”
I did not feel like i was in Thailand anymore, but somewhere or should i say some-when in the future.
I bought an Ukulele and a Harmonica, which i already indulged to learn.
And in the evening i found it…i have been looking for it since Mumbai.
A Jazzclub!

Time passed, nights passed, go to bed at 6 in the morning, not knowing  where you will go to bed…Bangkok is indeed a crazy city!
The very last night i spent, dancing like crazy, in an underground DnB-Party @ Democ cafe with amazing DJs (Yaakparty, vivian, and Brwnsugrz)
They powered me to dance for 2h straight, without taking any drugs, not even sugar….believe me that was really good DnB!
(Maybe i was craving for something different then “Gangnam-Style” which they play @ every corner…krai tse roo [who knows])

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then i left.
I miss Thailand already, for the country i was allowed to experience, the people i was allowed to meet, for the things i was allowed to see and the food i was allowed to try.

So Long Ole

Thailand:
I got to know the Thai language pretty well in my time here.
but there is to much to tell you, thats why i will tell you only a few things:
I don’t want – Mai ao
do you think foreign people don’t have a brain – Kun kotoua farang mai mee samong la!
no problem-mai pen rai
i don’t know – mai roo
i don’t understand – mai kow chai

Food: try everything! its all good, stay in a monastery for a few days and try real local food…the more rural you go, the better your experience!

I honestly understand everybody who moves out to live in Thailand, i almost stayed here, but i will definitely come back!

The Issan Rockets and Glass-Hill forest monastry

After taking a bus from Laos to Thailand i am in Thailand now.
Wait a moment… i don’t know why but something is of with that beginning sentence.

I arrived in Si Sa Ket, a town that apparently has a temple completely made out of recycled bottles…and a town of which i only saw a pretty but pretty expensive hotel for the night where the Internet shut down regularily..

But from there i went to Huay Tap Tan to meet Tony’s friend Noi.
She is an elementary school teacher for handicrafts and taught me how to make a palm leaf hat.
Also she can massage very well.

Then i went to the Monastery her brother leads.
And spent 5 relaxing days there, amazing food in the morning, 2-4 showers, and a little meditation.

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One day we were sent to go to see the Issan Rockets…rockets, but they don’t explode when they are up.
“Fireworks that doesn’t explode…sounds a little boring” i thought to myself, and i won’t judge you if you think the same.
Well we all could not be more wrong!

Did i promise to much? I have never seen something that incredible.
The rocket we carried actually won the event with a height of 370m about 1 213.9 feet…as i said, i don’t want to be there when the rocket comes down!
Tomorrow i will go to Bangkok my definite and last stop in Thailand.
Let’s see how crazy it really is.
So Long (and without a sunset)
OLE

Goodbye Laos – A last road trip (Tha Khaek Loop)

actually its more like 2 roadtrips…but who cares right?
I could tell you i climbed the mount everest post a few pictures of snow and fog and you would believe me.
You know in fact i am sitting in front of a giant green screen in New York, Germany and didn’t move for 8++ month…

I have no idea how this came out of me right now

Hitchhiking from Luang Prabang to Tha Khaek:
We won by one day…and actually hitchhiking
But that doesn’t matter at all, because hitchhiking competitions are like rolling a dice and getting certain number combinations first…what thats a game? Never mind then.
We were extremely lucky…like rolling a Yatzee 5x in a row.
The longest we waited was 10min and nobody ever asked us to pay anything, the opposite we were invited for food twice and i was forced to drink once…well i sacrificed myself for the competition…but to explain to a chinese couple that doesn’t speak 10 words of english, that you don’t eat meat and don’t drink alcohol, when they invite you for food, is both difficult and disrespectful in my set of reality.

Anyhow we got to our goal in 3 Hitchiking and 4 real days.
By the way – if you need an international drivers license GET IT AT HOME!!! At least if you are German…

In ThaKhaek we had to walk about 2km into the city, and then slept in some roadside motel because it was getting stormy…like real stormy (see the pictures)

Hitchhiking works really good though…maybe i will enhance the hitchwiki regarding this topic

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The Day after arriving in our destination, we found Gemma the Italian girl and decided to do the THA KHAEK – Motorcycle Loop.
We rented 2 bikes, the chinese ones are totally enough, even though the modern ones look cooler.
And drove about 500 Km in 3.5 days….a lot of fun! and dirt! and a burned spot on my leg (i totally forgot, that the exhaust is flamin hot after driving and leaned against my bike…stupid Ole!) and Sticky Rice

There is so much i could talk about now
Lets stick with a short version 😉
We went around the loop clock-wise
1) Blue Lagoon – very nice, but the road is quite hard
green/blue milky water that comes fresh from an underwater spring
(5000 LKip)
2) Konglor Cave – Huge…no seriously…this cave is 7.something km long and, i think i start repeating myself, huge. Bring a good flashligh!
(100,000 Lkip/boat for 3 + 5000LKip/person)
3)Sleeping on the other side of the cave in Ban Nathane
Very beautiful home stay, they fixed my machete, we played a lot of cards with the kids, maybe you can teach them a new game when you go there.
But when we got back to the boatplace we had, after about 2h of fighting, to pay again.
We put up a sign that says it now, please look if it is still there (which i strongly doubt)
4)MangKone Cave, free entry (for us)
looks like a sight seeing spot from communist times, beautiful though
bring powerful flashlights and don’t be afraid of mud if you go in the main cave…the side cave has some old buddha statues, it is like in a dream
5) The Terrible road, we were lucky, it was only dirty, and that because i took every pothole i could possibly find to make our bike (and my shoes for that matter) look like a little adventure. Not to bad…
If you reach the Dead Lake, you know it’s almost over…and you reached a very nice picture spot….or if you come counterclock-wise you know its going to become worse
Sleep at Sawatdee guesthouse…ignore what possible commissioners told you 🙂
6)Tha Falang
a place to take a bath yes, but not as nice as you would wish
there are pointy rocks in the middle, on which you can stand (if you find them in the milky water)
7) a small cave on the way about 10km away from ThaKhaek
Xang cave possibly
10000/per person for a guide who is going to show you a very beautiful biiig cave that you won’t expect…a nice place to swim (more beautiful than Tha Falang)

Thats it, if you do the loop, you will probably start at 7 and go to 1, but the other way is nice too.

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Some words concerning freedom:
My mother asked my to realize that i am free.
I tried, but i in fact realized something else.
I am free, you would say. I am touring around where ever i want, going to places that are beautiful. Doing things i like.
But i don’t feel much more free than you…or less.
Everybody is free, it is the limits we set ourselves.
I have an appointment on the 14th of june, which stresses me out a little bit. I have Visas and other deadlines that push me
I have a goal: to travel around the world.
With this this goal there are responsibilities and limitations that arise completely by its self.
You have Goals too:
Finish you bachelor, make a game, build a house, find a partner, finish your education or what ever it is that you want to achieve.
With this goal you yourself put those limitations on yourself.
You are as free as you want to be!
So long Ole

p.s. Laos is a beautiful quiet slowmotion country.
Chinese money is eventually going to “ruin” it from my point of view.
Food: Noodlesoup (Föh)
Sticky rice (Kao niau)
words:hello- Sabaidee
thank you -khop jai
no- bo
go-pai
how much-taorai
no meat – bo sai seen
no have money – bo mee ngoen