Tag Archives: cambodia

Blast from the past : when it all began in Angkor Wat

I came across this photo on my facebook account recently. I really love this photo of me in Ta Prohm, Angkor Wat.

Visited Cambodia a few years back with a buddy of mine (might be possibly 2005). This was one of the best trips and it started my whole intense fascination with travelling around the world as well travel photography.

Air travel before the launch of budget airlines within other parts of South East Asia were crazy expensive. It cost as much as me visiting parts of Australia or even Europe for less than 5 hours flight from Singapore.

Visiting Angkor Wat National Park was incredible back then, there were less tourists, air travel was a little cheaper. I crossed the border from Thailand, via the city of Bangkok, making the crazy road trip from the border to Siem Reap with the infamous highly elevated white Toyota that feels more like a bouncy car going through tons of potholes through a dusty road.

Some places around Angkor Wat had hardly any tourists and you could spend a hour all by yourself before you see another group of tourists hoarding the whole place.

The famous Angkor Wat at dawn had many tourists but not as many as it is now.  Ta Prohm ruins where Angelina Jolie had her TombRaider flick shot had even fewer tourists. Siem Reap had the balance of a sleepy tourist town with good touristy places that wasn’t so touristy.

I loved the whole experience and hope to discover more places around the world soon. The world keeps changing rapidly with hoards of people visiting other parts of the world than ever before.  Air travel is becoming more expensive once again but there are more travelling these days.

Apsara Classical Dancer

Angkor Photography Festival Entry

“Dance of the Cham Nymph.”
Classical Cham Dancer From My Son, Central Vietnam.
This was wrote in 2006 for a photo festival.

The Champa empire once ruled across indochina and had some influences on the khmer empire. This classical dance is derived from Indian court dance, which traces its origins to the apsarases (or apsara) of Hindu mythology, heavenly female nymphs who were born to dance for the gods. The traditions of Thailand and Java Indonesia also influenced the music and dance form of both the champa and khmer empires. In this classical dance, the women, dressed in brightly colored costumes with elaborate headdresses, perform slow, graceful movements accompanied by a percussive ensemble the khmers call “pinpeat”.

Once performed to Cham/Khmer royalty, now performed to the burdeoning tourist industry of central vietnam. Tourism has been growing rapidly in this region in the last 5 years. More so now with the advent of budget airlines. Young aspiring classical dancers perform daily to the tourist dollar at these cultural centre.

The photo is done up digitally and my attempt to replicate the old method of color tinting my bw gelatin photo prints. Hence the color tint tones.

I took this image when I was in Central Vietnam, My Son, visiting the ruins. Each morning around 9am, these dance students would entertain the tourists visiting the Champa ruins. My Son is situated 1 hour away from Hoi Ann by motorbike.

Apsara Dancer 2