Sunday, July 4, 2010

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Like everyone else out there, we also have a list of places in the world we wish to see with our own eyes – mix of common and not-so-common locations. And while most of those locations will very likely remain dreams, we were able to fulfil one of our desires – when we went to see Angkor Wat in Cambodia this June

For those who can't quite place the name, Angkor Wat is the largest temple in the world (by area) and is considered by many to be one of the seven wonders of the world. Like some Inca and Aztec cities, the place was forgotten and covered up by the jungle, till French explorers rediscovered the place in the 1860s. Then Pol Pot and the civil war kept Cambodia out of bounds for the rest of the world till the 1990s. The temple and the adjoining capital city of Angkor Thom was built by the Khmer kings of Cambodia. Their style of architecture borrows a lot from South India and depicts mythology from Hinduism and Buddhism.

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Saturday, July 3, 2010


After feasting our eyes on the magnificent Angkor Wat ruins, we joined another couple friend in Langkawi, Malaysia to enjoy a few days of azure seas and white sand beaches. Unfortunately, our timing wasn't the best and our visit coincided with the rainy season there. However, the island itself looked very green and beautiful - and the smaller islands around Langkawi lived up to their reputation of spectacular beaches and enchanting seas.

How to Get There
Langkawi is quite well connected to Kuala Lumpur (7-8 flights a day) as well as Singapore. We flew in on Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur, where the trip was an hour long and tickets for the round trip cost just Rs 3,000. The airport is small but very nice - and the runway lies right next to the sea, making for a very beautiful landing. At the airport, there are the usual regular duty free shops and Starbucks - and more importantly, car rental firms. The island is about 320 sq km, which is less than the size of Greater Mumbai (437 sq km), but large enough to make traveling around a pain. If you have a license and can drive, it is incredibly convenient to take a car on hire and drive around the island. Indian driving licenses work just fine and you can get a middle aged Proton Wira 1.5L manual (Proton is Malaysian national car company) for about RM 220 for two days. Petrol is really cheap - equivalent of Rs 25 per litre - and the roads are in fabulous shape.

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