Angkor Wat with library and a group of monks in the foreground - photographed in December of 2014
Bike4Kids - Annual 100K bicycle race in the Angkor Archaeological Park - December 6, 2014
Link to 100K race photo album - 2014 Bike4Kids photo album
Link to the race organisers - http://bike4kids.org
Link to 2014 Race Results
100km - http://www.sportstats.asia/displayResults.xhtml?racecode=110733
30 km - http://www.sportstats.asia/displayResults.xhtml?racecode=110734
Exploring the top of the Angkor Thom City Wall
My bicycle on top of the Angkor Thom City Wall at the North Gate.
It is possible to travel along the top of the Angkor Thom City Wall by either walking or using a bicycle. Local people also use motorcycles, but since there are breaks in the wall (and you will have to either turn around or climb the break) this is not really recommended. The city is perfectly square and each side is 3 kilometres long so the total distance is 12 kilometres.
There are five Angkor Thom City Gates - South, North, East, West, and the Victory Gate which is also on the eastern wall of the city. At each Gate it is necessary to descend to the ground level and cross over to the other side of the Gate to continue the journey.
East Gate entrance to Angkor Thom - George Mann Photo - September 2014
There are also four Prasat Chrung (corner temples) at the four corners of the city. Since each one of the gates and corner temples are interesting places to stop (and photograph), the journey is easy (unless there is a new break in the wall) and enjoyable. Most of the breaks in the wall have detours that are fairly easy to navigate, but there are places where you will have to use either a makeshift bridge (walk your bike) or carry your bike down into and back out of a gully.
I strongly recommend that you make sure to carry an extra supply of water, and unless you feel very comfortable traveling alone in the jungle, a friend or two for company. I also recommend that you wear a hat, long pants and long sleeve shirt, because the trail is narrow and the bushes and trees are very persistent in their efforts to reclaim the jungle. Thorns of all sorts have a habit of coming at you from all directions.
Prasat Chrung - North-West
The South Gate, which is the closest to Angkor Wat and the first Gate that most visitors to Angkor Thom will see, it is also the best place from which to start exploring the City Wall.
The best place to start, is the path from the South Gate to the Prasat Chrung (currently being renovated) at the South-East corner of the City Wall - from there you can continue on to the East Gate (a short ride since it is in-between the South-East Prasat Chrung and the Victory Gate), and then either ride on the East Gate or ride west to the Bayon Temple.
To be continued ……………..
Angkor Road Photo Expeditions - private photography workshops for small groups
Full Service - Private Photo Tours & Workshops in the Angkor temples - (throughout Cambodia, Thailand & Laos)
Angkor Thom - Victory Gate - Demon God - George Mann Photo - December 2014
My Adventure & Photo Tour Philosophy:
Over the last 30 years I have traveled throughout Asia as a photographer for commercial clients, book and magazine publishers, international aid organisations, and self assigned projects. You could say I am a very lucky person, because my work and my play has always been one and the same. Whenever people ask me where I went on my last vacation, I always have to grin and say that I have never taken a vacation, I do not understand the concept.
The journeys I always enjoyed the most were those I took with a group of fellow photographers, exploring the roads that normal tourists and even most veteran travlers never venture down. A key ingredient for photographers being, that you have to have control of your method of transport, so that you can protect your camera equipment at all times. Another key ingredient being that you have to allow for chance and opportunity to decide your final destination.
In practice this means that we travel by road in a Mini-Van or SUV as much as possible, so that we can carry all our camera equipment and personal effects with us. It is also very difficult to tell an airplane, train or boat to park it for a while, so we can take some pictures.
For much the same reason we also specialise in photo tours & expeditions for individuals and small groups of friends. Our experience says that throwing a group of strangers together almost inevitably leads to disagreements, about alternate shooting locations, choice of restaurants, hotels, time tables, etc..
Siem Reap, where the Angkor temples are located is in some ways an outcropping in the middle of the jungle, but it also has a fair number of five star hotels and restaurants. There is also a large selection of low to medium priced hotels, and guest houses ranging from a few dollars a night to luxurious (foreign managed) Bed & Breakfast type establishments. This wide variety of accommodations and restaurants makes it very difficult to offer a single tour package that will satisfy everyone, so we would rather offer advice and connect you directly to the appropriate hotel properties. If you want us to take care of the entire package we can, but will require some guidelines so that we can make you as comfortable as possible.
Personally I like nothing better than sleeping on a smooth teak floor and scooping a few buckets of cold water over my head in the morning, but it takes some time to get used to that way of life. The last thing we want is a bunch of grumpy photographers on the way to a sunrise shoot location. So please be realistic about the level of comfort you require.
Please contact George Mann for more information - firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Road - Traveling to Angkor Wat
Bangkok to Siem Reap - by plane, train, bus, taxi, and by boat, are the choices. Although taking this trip by land can be a test of your patience and your love for all mankind, you will eventually get there. The flight out of Bangkok and arrival in Siem Reap is expensive, short, smooth and uneventful.
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap - this trip also has a choice of plane, bus, taxi and boats. The bus is cramped and uncomfortable but it only lasts six hours and is very inexpensive, so it is a popular choice. The boat is either a fairly uncomfortable and crowded water taxi or one of the luxury tour boats, which are probably pretty nice but very expensive. Would love to take one of those luxury boats sometime, so I can write a story about it (if someone from one of the boat companies is reading this, please contact me). The best choice is probably a private taxi if you want to stop and go at your own pace. Share taxis can be worse than taking the bus, I actually had a market vendor with a tub full of fermented fish get on a share taxi with me once.
Koh Kong to Siem Reap - (you could also consider this trip as being from Ko Chang, Thailand), I have done this trip a number of times over the years. It is best to plan a stop in Phnom Penh (and Sihanoukville if you want to go to the beach) on the way, actually not sure if you can go direct. This actually a very interesting trip and if you can afford it, the best way to do it is to hire a van or 4WD with a few other people, so you can make unscheduled stops along the way.
Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap - cheaper to fly out of here to Siem Reap than Bangkok, so if you are traveling to Malaysia you might want to consider it.
Singapore to Siem Reap - for this distance it obviously makes sense to fly and Singapore has a great airport to fly from and low airfares available. For the adventurous it is of course possible to make a multi-day journey by a combination of trains, buses and even boats. It has been a long time since I traveled through Malaysia by bus, but it was an experience I always enjoyed, even when the bus would break down in some small jungle town.
Seoul, South Korea to Siem Reap - I have only done Seoul to Phnom Penh and it was of course very smooth sailing. I love Inchon Airport so I will take any opportunity to stop their for a few hours, Phnom Penh Airport is not so great, Siem Reap Airport is small but very nice.
Saigon to Siem Reap - this is a multi-day journey with many interesting stops if you are going by land or water. The flight is fairly short so it is the only way to go if you are in a hurry. If you are not in a hurry this is the other end of the luxury boat trip to Siem Reap, would love to do it some day.