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吳哥通王城 Angkor Thom (簡稱大吳哥)


寺的門口被護城河包圍,十分寧靜。The main entrance of the temple is protected by a river.

聖劍寺 (Preah Khan)

聖劍寺是建於12世紀主要廟宇,相傳是闍耶拔摩七世為紀念父親而修建,由於當時大吳哥城正進行在修建,他也曾暫居於此,在這裡朝拜和讀書。聖劍寺規模宏大,佔地甚廣,通往此廟有四條路,穿過一層層的石門,一旦踏進迷城便容易迷路。西門入口兩旁雕有乳海翻騰的景象,阿修羅與善神手執舍沙蛇神互相拉扯,寓意着生命起源與正邪力量爭相較量。東西兩邊,有一列長長的蓮花牆,上面凡佛像已被毀壞。寺內由中央塔開始,有一條狹長走廊,向各方伸延,拱門愈走愈小,每多走一步,便要彎腰更低,以示謙卑虔誠之心。是這樣,我一路走著,突然發覺我身邊的人群消失了,只剩下我。一路被精緻的浮雕包圍,走進小室,又到了另一個迴廊,我迷路了。時間和方向完全消失……

The Preah Khan temple was built by JayavarmanVII in the 12th century. The temple, dedicated to his father, occupies an extensive area and is composed of a few layers of enclosures. To tourists, it is a maze of vaulted corridors decorated with stone carvings where they would easily lose their ways inside the massive stonework.  Along a bridge near the Western entrance, the causeway is lined with stone with devas on one side and asuras on the other pulling a giant serpent Naga, symbolising the ever struggle of life between good and evil. There was a long narrow corridor in the middle tower of the temple. As each of the arch gets lower, every visitor have to bow their heads, an act of humility and respect. When I was walking along the corridor, I suddenly realised the crowds around me had disappeared. I went pass an arch and made a turn at the corner just to find myself standing under another arch, again surrounded by similar stone carvings. I was completely lost. It was as if I was lost in time and space…

時間、空間、歷史幻象交錯 In conversation with history, space and time.

拱門很少,要低著頭走過。The low arch is designed to ensure visitors to lower their head to show respect.

寺的中心點,它是否有點像正在發亮的蠟燭。At the centre of the temple, the sculpture is a reminiscent of a candle.


巴戎寺 (Bayon) 

巴戎寺是大吳哥的正中心,也是吳哥王城中最重要建築之一,建於12 世紀末,由國王闍耶拔摩七世為自己建造,是整個高綿藝術和建築最出色的代表作。現已剩下37座佛塔,塔上有四面佛,四個面分別代表慈、悲、喜、舍,亦是著名的「高綿的微笑」。四處迴廊的浮雕,故事內容十分豐富,上至宗教故事神話傳說,古代戰爭,由國王闍耶拔摩七世本人身騎大象,出征凱旋歸來;下至一般庶民色彩的生活題材,如水上生活,斗雞和下棋,生育,馬戰團等等。

Bayon is at the heart of Angkor Thom built in the 12th-century by Jayavarman VII. The temple is the masterpiece of Khmer architecture and art. There are 37 towers left in the temple decorated with the stone inscription. Inside there are four Buddhist faces, the famous carvings of the smiling gods. Other bas-reliefs on the wall revealed the colourful Khmer culture vividly. There are figures telling legends about the Gods, glory of the army, celebration of winning the war, as well as the everyday life of the peasants such as people playing chess, a cockfight and women selling fish in the market and so on.


仔細看這個藝術的寶庫,每一個佛像,仙女也對著你微笑,浮雕功奪天功。The aesthetic of the reliefs depicting Buddha and fairies are at the height of Angkor Empire. 

舉世聞名的「高綿的微笑」The world renowned ‘Smile of Angkor’ sculpture. 


女王宮 (Banteay Srei) 

意思即為「女人的皇宮」,建於967年,而於1002 年的闍耶拔摩七世時期完成,雖然規模較小,但被譽為柬埔寨三大廟宇之一,是吳哥古蹟中的寶石,展示出殿堂級高綿藝術的精華。寺院由紅色砂岩雕刻而成,展現女性宮殿的柔美,每一個門楣及牆上全以最精緻及複雜的浮雕覆蓋,整座建築散發著粉紅色的光芒,顯得迷人又耀眼,如進入仙境一樣。當中一個石刻仙女,被冠以「東方蒙娜麗莎」的美譽,粉嫩的肌膚,配以輕紗和金環,線條纖細可人,是女性美的典範,神秘而又美麗。

The modern meaning of the temple built in 927 is the “citadel of the women”. It was subject to further expansion and rebuilding work in the eleventh century by Jayavarman VII. The scale of the temple is relatively small when compared with other Angkorian construction, but it is one of the three most famous temples in Angkor Wat being known as the “jewel of Khmer art”. Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, which highlights the feminine beauty with a pink light aura. The walls and arches of the temple are carved with delicate figures. One of the most famous carving is called the “The Eastern Mona Lisa”, a fairy that showcases the perfection of feminine beauty with slender figure, covering by transparent drapery that reveals the soft skin underneath and gold bracelets in her limbs, mysterious yet charming…


女王宮其中一個入口,一到埗已為整個建築物著迷。I was totally fascinated once arriving the entrance of the temple.



門楣上的浮雕是我見過最美及最精緻的。The most exquisite reliefs that I had ever seen in my life.

每一個角度也像一一個粉紅色的寶石。As stunning as ruby at every corner. 

從「東方天堂之窗」望著東方蒙娜麗莎。Admiring the most beautiful woman of the East through Eastern Gate of Heaven.


塔普倫寺 (Ta Prohm)

因荷里活電影《盜墓者羅拉 (Tomb Raider)〕》 在此取景而享負盛名,而王家衛的《花樣年華》也在此拍攝。離吳哥城東不遠,尊奉婆羅門教和佛教,當地人人稱為「小吳哥窟」。寺內長滿了幾百年的老樹,與建築物交纏。老樹破壞了建築物的原貌,但也支撐了它的結構,相生相滅。

The temple is famous since it was used as a location in Hollywood movie Tomb Raider, where Angelina Jolie stood on a giant tree root. Ta Prohm is located not very far from Angkor Thom, and honors the Buddhists and Vedism. The temple is an impressive display of the power of nature. Many strangulating roots have embroiled the entire complex and then grown out of the ruins. The plants have swallowed the relics while at the same time giving support to these ancient relics.

崩密列(Beng Mealea) 

崩密列在高棉語是「蓮花池」的意思,位於吳哥執以東約40公里外,是吳哥古蹟中最神秘、最偏遠的寺廟之一。寺廟是政府唯一保留原始崩塌面貌的建築,沒有按設計在原址重建,讓千年寺廟繼續在叢林之中酣睡。雖然它已是一個頹垣敗瓦的廢墟,處處都是斷壁殘垣,青苔樹蔓,但陽光隔著濃密的叢林,照射在滿是青苔的巨型石塊之上,卻有著別具風味的殘破寧靜之美,展現出建築物及自然的和諧共生的景象。據說宮崎駿的著名動畫《天空之城》,亦是以崩密列的廢墟作為構圖描繪出來的。

進寺內的過程,有點像 Indiana Jones 冒險電影的經驗,穿過古蹟中一條古道時,漆黑一片,伸手不見五指,然後才到達一座荒廢的宮殿花園。

One of the most mysterious and hidden temples at Angkor, which is located about 40km northeast of Siem Reap, and buried deep, deep inside the rampant jungle. It has been kept unrestored as the original state of how it was discovered. The site of messy ruins lying quietly in the woods give an eerie sense of beauty. Exploring the Beng Mealea temple is like going for an adventure in the “Indiana Jones” movies.


荒廢的古城,處處都是斷壁殘垣,青苔樹蔓,感覺落寞蒼涼。A hidden gem swallowed by the jungle. 



一片頹垣敗瓦,沒有曾經的輝煌,卻有另一種殘破寧靜之美。A timeless untamed beauty hides herself inside an idyllic jungle. 

Travel

吃在暹粒 All About Food in Siem Reap

小鎮風情

暹粒面積不大,共有7個區域,遊客大部分都全到市內的法租界 (Old French Quarter),舊城區(Old Market) 及酒吧街 (Pub street)。小鎮內沿河而運,皇宮及充滿殖民地色彩的老房子,也可於這裡找到,風情萬種。日間於法租界四處漫步,十分寫意。如果覺得太悶熱,不妨到Raffle Angkor 喝下午茶,酒吧內的咖啡特別美味。舊城區如步行街一般,可四處游走,這裡隨處是時尚的咖啡店,特色的餐廳,及售賣手信的小店,還可品嚐柬埔寨地道名菜 Amok。

Charming Colonial Town

There are seven districts in Siem Reap, though most tourists gathered in the Old French Quarter, the Old Market and the Pub Street. The town centre is built along the river, where you can found colourful buildings from the colonial era and the royal palace. Walking casually along the area in the Old French Quarter is a relaxing affair. It would be a good idea to have afternoon tea in Raffle Angkor to avoid the afternoon sun as the bar serve exquisite local coffee. The Old Market is where you will find small vendors selling local specialities and food, as well as very fashionable coffee shops to hang around. Don’t miss the quintessential Cambodian dish Amok!.

 Old Market 內隨處都是有型的餐廳。Discover the trendiest bars and restaurants inside Old Market.

 Red Piano 是當年 Angelina Jolie 拍戲時於這裡消遣。 Don’t miss a bar called Red Piano where Angelina Jolie used to love to hang around here during shooting of her famous movie.

在街內游走時,不妨到 Gelato Lab 吃個冰淇淋吧﹗Drop into Gelato Lab for ice-cream and coffee, an escape from heat and sun during day time.

吃在暹粒

沒有想過暹粒是美食天堂,這裡天然資源豐富,因此水果和蔬菜是絕對的名物﹗不要錯過這裡的芒果,鮮甜而多汁,一試難忘。市內提供國際級食肆及地道的柬埔寨美食,不如看看我的推介。

All About Food in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a paradise for food because it is so rich in natural resources, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables! Do not miss out the fresh mangos here.  Also, the city has so many restaurants serving all kind of exquisite local and international cuisines. Let me introduce a few of them.

  1. Cuisine Wat Damark  – 暹粒市內最受歡迎食府,也是亞洲50大餐廳之一,法藉主廚Joannes Riviere 已札根於柬埔寨長達15年,善用地道食材,如河鮮、香料和蔬菜,配合他的經驗,創造了充滿現代感的高棉菜。One of the most popular restaurants in Siem Reap and named to be one of the Asia 50 Best Restaurants. French chef Joannes Riviere has been in Cambodia for 15 years. He is excellent in using local ingredients from the river, herbs and veggie, mixing them with his creativity to give traditional Khmer dish a modern twist.

於餐廳小房子內,有庭園和室內可供選擇。 The restaurant offers alfresco and indoor dining areas.

餐前小食 (Amuse-bouche),材料包括西瓜配以豬肉和蝦乾及香蔥。 An interesting amuse-bouche in which watermelon is paired with dry minced-pork and spring onion.

(Appetizer) 柚子、蝦及荷花沙拉,配以香炒青蔥及椰子。 Pomelo and water lily salad with prawn, sprinkled with fried shallots and coconut and lemon basil, an extremely refreshing dish prefect for the hot summer in Siem Reap.

煎洞里薩湖 (Tonle Sap Lake) 魚,以咖哩清湯,番茄及地道香料一起吃,鮮魚味完全沒有被蓋過﹗My favourite fresh catch of the day from Tonle Sap Lake! Coacker fish  is served with  sour clear curry soup, tomatoes and local spices, banana chunks and rice paddy herbs.

香煎 Sanday 魚 (洞里薩湖的河鮮),配以茄子3 食 (茄子蓉、蒸茄子和燒茄子),十分惹味。 Pan-fried Sanday (fresh catch from Tonle Sap Lake) toasted with aubergine puree, steamed aubergine and fried aubergine!  One of my favourite veggie on earth!

很特別的一度地道菜,以吳哥黑啤酒慢煮豬腿,配秋葵及已煎香的麵條及發酵辣椒汁。One of the most unusual local dish – Angkor stout slow cooked pork shank in black beer with okra together with fried crispy noodles and fermented chilli sauce.

很美味的甜品,朱古力紀廉及椰子加牛軋糖奶油和焦糖脆片。 Chocolate pot de crème with caramelised rice praline, toasted with coconut whipped cream and nougatine.

很喜歡這個petit fours。山竹(Mangosteen)、柑橘 (Tangerin) 和椰子,以上面的粗鹽調味﹗Petit fours is seasonal fruits in which mangosteen and tangerine seasoned with a pinch of salt!

  1. Fresh Fruit Factory – 一向怕冷的我,從來不吃刨冰 (Shaved Ice),因為在香港開冷氣好像不用交電費的情況下,即使戶外攝氏30度的天氣,在室內地方也會經常冷得全身發抖﹗但因暹粒實在太悶熱,每天溫度大約38度,中午的時候更沒有人外出,否則不用一小時,可變燒豬。於是刨冰變得非常吸引。這間由日本人主理的小店,很有特色,刨冰是由煉奶製成,又香又滑,再配以地道芒果,味道一流﹗I was never fond of shaved ice because I do not like the cold. But since Siem Reap is scotching hot, having shaved ice is a welcoming change. This Japanese-ran store presents a very unique. This dessert is made by condensed milk and serve with fresh mango. The taste is exquisite.

門口給人嘻皮士的感覺,可能也反映著這對日本partners 的性格。A bohemian entrance which reflects the cool characters of the Japanese partners.

小店內每一幅牆已讓遊客留下他們的印記。我也在外牆畫了一個蝴蝶,老闆很開心。 This little gem is adorned with marks left by tourists all around the world.  The owner is so delighted to see I paint a little butterfly on the wall as a gift to them.

芒果沙冰 (smoothie) 及刨冰很滑,必試。 The mango smoothie is a must try dish here.

刨冰很大碗,以煉奶製成,非常滑,溶了也不會覺得在吃沒有味的水。The silky smooth shaved ice is made with condensed milk based on Japanese recipe.  It will not turn into ice water when it melts under the hot weather.

3. Raffes Angkor –  一個充滿殖民地色彩的老建築,酒吧給人懶洋洋的氣氛,天花上的吊扇,灰色的絲絨梳化,木椅子,望著酒店的泳池,非常的 “old world charm”﹗必點吧內的咖啡,用上暹粒咖啡豆,十分香濃,而餐前小吃香蕉片,是用胡椒和鹽調味,一吃難忘。 This is an old building full of colonial colour with a bar that gives a relaxed atmosphere. In full display is an old world charm – a ceiling fan, grey velvet sofa, and wooden chairs facing the hotel pool. Order a cuppa here made of the rich and bold local Siem Reap coffee beans. The taste of the pre-dinner snack, banana chips, seasoned with salt and pepper, leaves a lasting memory.

Old World Charm 耐看的地方不是庸姿俗粉的裝飾堆砌奢華,而是源自它優雅的本質,旖旎的風姿及引人入勝的內容。This enchanting hotel is a typical colonial style where you can immerse yourself in old world charm, a beauty who is femininely charming, elegant, graceful and a book for you to read…

大堂內的老升降機,默默地告訴Raffles 的歷史。An old elevator inside the lobby, whispering history of Raffles to everyone who passes by.

 必點的咖啡,獨特的暹粒咖啡豆,甘香並帶有雲呢哪味,沒有苦澀的餘韻,一試難忘。 The latte is one of the best in town using local coffee beans that offer a hint of vanilla flavour without any bitterness in the end note.

酒吧望著室外的泳池,步伐放慢。 The bar oversees an outdoor swimming pool for everyone to unwind.

當日點了Macaron,雪糕及麵包布丁。 I also try macaron, ice-cream and bread pudding.

法租界 Old French Quarter.

Travel

吳哥寺(小吳哥) . Angkor Wat

吳哥寺(簡稱小吳哥) 是高棉建築藝術最登峰造極之作,亦被譽為世界上最大的宗教建築。城內總共分為三層構造,從外可見轟立著五個高塔,最高的中心塔離地面約65米,城外四面由護城河緊緊環繞。主建築群周圍有大空地,內裡有多個小房間,共藏有超過2000 個浮雕及銘文。最具歷史感的銘文和浮雕,可於此處尋。當爬到主塔的第三層, 可看到四個大佛,面向四個軸心。現在主體建築有些較新的佛殿,仍有不少僧侶在這裡修行。日落時,整個吳哥寺變成金色,十分耀眼。夕陽餘暉襯托之下,美得令人不捨離去。

The temple of Angkor Wat is the masterpiece of Khmer architecture, and it has been called the largest religious structure in the world. It has already become a symbol of Cambodia. The temple is made of three layers of gallery, and composed of five towers that symbolize five peaks of a mountain. The largest is the one in the center, which is 65 meters tall, and the quincunx of towers. The walls are surrounded by a moat that symbolizes an ocean surrounding mountain ranges. Walking along the corridor of the complex, one would be immediately impressed by the extensive bas-reliefs and devatas adorning the walls, as there were over 2000 of them inside Angkor Wat including some of the oldest art works. When I was walking up the steep stairway to the third floor of the central tower, I saw four Buddhas each facing the four axes. Many Buddhist monks can be seen in the temples, with their orange robes casting a bright contrast with the grey walls. Sunset in Angkor Wat is one of the most impressive and breathtaking views, with fading dusk light turning the stones into golden color. A sight that will forever linger in my mind.

寺內第一層的浮雕、銘文是最豐富。The first layout of the gallery showcase the most extensive reliefs and inscriptions.

長廊的浮雕十分震撼。The stunning reliefs at the gallery wall.

聽說塔頂曾有一顆鑽石。Legend said there was a huge diamond casting on top of the tower.

塔頂內高錦盛世的浮雕。The reliefs represent the height of Khmer art.

 靜待日落。Watching sunset is a must at Angkor Wat.

於第三塔上的引人入勝的浮雕。The enchanting reliefs on the third floor.

浮雕是高棉藝術頂峰之作,輕紗放在肌膚上,十十分立體。仙女體態和比例均稱,非常優美。This is the height of Khmer artistic style, layers of draperies that cover the lush skin of the fairies can clearly be seen.  The fairies are well proportioned with slandered bodies, all looking very natural.

安靜。My moment of solitude.

作了一個小小的捐獻,僧侶為我送上祝福。I made some donation for the temple and the monk was blessing me with his good words.

 在這裡修行的僧侶。Monks are still practising here inside Angkor Wat nowadays.

日落時,有點深秋的感覺。Sunrise…sunset…Life is changing of seasons.  Fall is here… 

Travel

時間、空間、歷史幻象交錯 Illusion of Time, Dimension and History

時間、空間、歷史幻交錯

吳哥王朝早已於歷史洪流中煙消雲散。這個盛極一時的神秘高棉帝國,除了留下一段段謎樣的歷史,還有千百年來屹立不倒的文明遺跡。置身其中,一座又一座的祭祀廟宇、國王陵寢,在刻上活靈活現精緻浮雕的走廊中穿梭,每一個角落都有故事,感受到千百年前人民生活過的痕跡。王朝的輝煌,在廢墟中一幕幕重新上演,虛實交錯,同時又像細訴往事如煙。人類文明敵不過時間和歷史的巨輪,一切已煙消魂散,剩下的只有遺址。

那是一段關於人性的時代傳記。紀錄了人類如何在苦難之中絃歌不輟地創造文明,同時又不斷因其貪婪自私的本性而摧毀所有的繁盛,留下一頁頁血雨腥風的史書,滿山遍地的白骨亡魂。時宜至今,歷史仍不斷重新演釋,週而復始,令人痛心。

吳哥建築美學

吳哥窟的建材主要紅土、砂岩、方磚、經過精密計算和佈局進行相崁,並以大木刻和仔細上色的木材蓋建。最早期在高棉神廟留下的木材,因為年日久遠早而腐爛,只剩下牆上一個個整齊的洞孔,便可知一二。吳哥的建築群包括祭祀的地方,迂迴的長廊及至後期錯綜複雜的廟宇,高聳層疊式金字塔式建築。而後彌山 (Mount Meru) 是高綿建築學的高峰,它是整個宇宙及精神層面的中心,採用了軸向校准,對準了夏至及冬至的方向,並以幾何和精確的比例,展示王朝的偉大及力量!當我爬上吳哥窟的高梯,再一層一層爬上去看寺內的大佛,不能不讚嘆建築群信仰的力量。

Illusion of Time, Dimension and History

The remains of the great Khmer empire spread out in the jungles and allow its visitors a glimpse of the majesty of this once proud civilization. Stories and legends of the era lie in the stone inscriptions adorning the buildings. These carvings tell episodes about gods and people’s everyday life so vividly that I am able to relive its colorful history. But revisiting the past also prompted me to think how ironic it was for such a powerful civilization to suddenly come to its end, its people gone, and its architecture abandoned in a jungle. I cannot help but ponder about the dark side of human nature, and how history keeps repeating itself under the influence of human greed, which brought upon wars that ultimately destroyed the very proud civilizations they themselves built.

The Aesthetics of Angkor Architecture

The Angkor Wat is known to the world for its architectural and artistic value. A large part of the Angkorian architecture was mainly constructed of red clay, sandstone and brick. The stones, laid without mortar, were fixed to places with very tight and nicely-fitted joints. The earliest temples used a lot of wooden materials that perished over time. The major scheme for the building construction of Angkorian temples was that of the Temple Mountain, an architectural representation of Mount Meru, which is the home of the gods in Hinduism. The temple itself was in the shape of a pyramid of several levels, and the home of the gods was represented by the elevated sanctuary at the center of the temple. When building the sacred space, it is believed that the designers took measurements of solar and lunar time cycles and incorporated this divine mandate to perfection. When I was climbing up to the stairs step by step, it was hard not to be mesmerized by the effort of the designer and the power of the religion.

A moment of solace.

Lost in space and time.

 

Travel

吳哥窟 – 人生之旅 Angkor Wat – Journey of my life

首次想到柬埔寨的吳哥窟,是看了王家衛的《花樣年華》。梁朝偉飾演男主角的周慕雲,於荒廢的寺廟內,面向一個小洞把心底秘密說出來 [注1],背景音樂旋律拉奏著千百年來的哀傷。他心底那段未果的愛情,一如盛極一時的吳哥王朝一樣, 隨時間消失,只剩下斑駁遺跡下的滿目荒涼….. 心想有生之年必須造訪這個國度。 柬埔寨的歷史就像是一個複雜的萬花筒,放眼望去,交錯著硝煙烽火,刀光劍影。吳哥古蹟是世界上最大的廟宇群建築,供奉印度教的毗濕奴 (Vishnu) 及佛教(大乘佛教),延伸到160公頃。提據銘文,當時曾動用三十萬名工匠及六千頭大象興建,工程浩瀚無比。每一個城市有它的城門、護城河,有些寺廟甚至鑲滿寶石或黃金,綺麗奢華,王朝盛極一時。

吳哥王城由 Jayavarman VII (柬王闍耶拔摩七世) 於12世紀間興建。吳哥通王城( Angkor Thom) 也稱大吳哥,是「大城市」的意思。吳哥的通王城始建於9世紀,現今所見的建築是由12世紀末、13世紀重建而成。而大吳哥以著名的巴戎廟(Bayon)為中心,也是著名的「高綿微笑」佛像所在之處。及至15世紀時,柬國王朝沒落,被逼棄城退守金邊。輝煌的建築竟漸漸被叢林蔓藤吞噬,完全湮沒在人類的紀憶之中。直到19世紀,一名法國生物學家按照古籍探險,終於在不見天日的叢林之內發現這座迷失的古城,令文明古蹟重見天日,哄動一時,被列為世界七大奇觀之一。

在50至60年代的柬埔寨曾經在國際舞台上光輝無限,成為多過知名人仕或政要到訪之地,座上客包括前美國總統甘乃迺的夫人(Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) 、瑪嘉烈公主、李光耀總統、及法國總統。直至1970,龍諾 (Lon Nol) 策動政變,推翻帝制。在1975年至1979 年間,赤柬 (又稱紅色高棉) 的波爾布特 (Pol Pot) 掌控政權,在接近四年的「零度歲月」自絕於國際社會,展開了人類歷史上最恐怖的大屠殺之一。極端獨裁的政府,黨同伐異,無所不用其極地逼害反對派人仕,對持異見的文人、藝術家、及政客進行殘酷清洗。大屠殺令當時人口由700萬大減至 350萬人,全國四分一人口死於處決、酷刑、過勞、饑荒等等,該國至今仍留下聞之色變的夢魘。英國電影「戰火屠城」正是以這段殘忍的歷史為背景。

一直到1991年,柬埔寨終於在巴黎和平條約規定下,由聯合國接管,取得短暫和平。1993年實行君主立憲制,再次建立柬埔寨王國。到1997 洪森發動軍士政變,掌控政權至今,該國仍籠罩在強人威權統治的陰影下。

這是我第一次到訪暹粒。在飛機上,看到一大片肥沃的土地,路上樹木林蔭。全市只有六條馬路有交通燈,沒有工業,生產主要來自農業和旅遊業。一個富有歷史文化的城市。萬城區全是殖民地色彩的老房子、小店、酒吧,並且有多種特色美食。頂級的酒店或隱蔽的渡假村也座落於鎮上。很適合家庭、情侶或喜歡探險的旅遊人。不如看看我眼中的吳哥窟及暹粒吧﹗

Angkor Wat has always on my mind since watching In The Mood for Love by Hong Kong movie director Wong Kar-wai. In the film, Chow Mo-Wan (by Tony Leung) brought the memory of his forbidden love to the monastery relic in Angkor Wat, where he whispered into a hole in the ruined wall. He then covered the hole with soil to bury the brief romance that never blossomed in daylight. Along with his unspoken affection lies the faded grandeur of the Khmer Empire, which was once the most powerful Southeast Asian empire during the Middle Ages. But as time goes by, the great empire was forgotten, its holy temple abandoned, leaving behind the valuable relics of the legacy. It was then I decided I must visit this place and see it for myself. Cambodia has a long and colourful history. Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is the largest temple complex and religious monument in the world, located on a site measuring around 160 hectares. Originally it was built as a Hindu temple for the Vishnu god in Khmer Empire, but slowly transformed into a Buddhist temple towards the end of the 12th century. According to old documents, over 300,000 workers and 6,000 elephants were employed to build the extensive structure. Each palace in Angkor had its tower gate and city moat, and the temples were lavishly adorned with gold and jewelry.

Angkor Thom was built by Jayavarman VII in the 12th century, which literally means “Great City”. At the centre of the massive complex was the magnificent state temple, Bayon, the temple of the smiling gods. In the 15th century, the royal family of Khmer Empire suffered a downfall and fled from Angkor Wat. The awe-inspiring temple complex was then left to wither in decay, later forgotten, and in the end completely swallowed by the robust jungle. Until the 19th century, adventurers discovered the ancient temple according to historical records, stunning the world with its grandeur and aesthetic values. It is now listed as one of the seven wonders in the world, and preserved as an UNESCO World Heritage.

Cambodia was once glamorous on the global stage and hosted numerous international stars. Until 1970, Lon Nol launched a coup to abolish the monarchy, and declared himself the president. Following his ruling, communist party Khmer Rouge rose to seize power and its leader Pol Pot led the country into a dark era known as “The year of Zero” in history. During the vicious four-year regime, the country descended into complete chaos. The dictator sealed the country off from the outside world and launched a genocide within his own country to eradicate his opponents. The deadly cleansing was performed on writers, artists, politicians and so on, resulting in a shocking plummet in the population of the Cambodia from 7 million to just 3.5 million! A fourth of Cambodians died from torture, execution, starvation or exploitation. The bloody history has inspired award-winning British drama film The Killing Fields.

The country only achieved peace when the United Nations took over its governance after the Paris Peace Accords, and later restored the status of the royalty. However in 1997, Hun Sen launched another military coup and seized power, extending his legacy until today. This is the first time I visited  . I saw a large piece of fertile soil on the plane, with trees and trees along the road. Only six main roads have traffic lights in place, and the economy relies on farming and tourism. Nevertheless, it is a city rich with history and culture. Visitors will find vintage and charming colonial buildings with pubs, shops, and a diverse local cuisine. Top resorts and hotels are also in town. It is a place really suitable for different travelers. Let’s take a glimpse of how I feel about Siem Reap!