Ankhou Graphic Design

Web development, graphic design, and photography by Ian Houghton, based in Revelstoke, BC.

SE Asia: Siem Reap & Vientiane

0 Comments | posted 20/05/10

Siem Reap

It’s been less than a week and I’ve actually found the time to get some more photos up, who would’ve thought? I’ve combined two locations into one here because there weren’t enough high-quality photos from either one to make the post a decent size. The first set of photos are from Siem Reap in Cambodia. The name literally translates to ‘Siam Defeated’, and refers to a Cambodian victory over the Kingdom of Siam (Thailand).

Siem Reap also serves as a gateway to the temple complex of Angkor, Cambodia’s biggest tourist attraction. The town of Siem Reap itself is medium sized, and has plenty of attractions of its own. We visited the night markets, ate cheap tacos on Pub Street (yes, it’s actually called that), and visited a sculptor’s exhibition of his miniature temple carvings.

Lizard sunbathing on an Angkor Wat miniature sculpture

This guy was just chilling out on the miniature temple wall – scaled up, I like to imagine him T-Rex size

Close-up of Angkor Wat miniature

The sculptor had captured details like windows, doors and pillars

Angkor Wat miniature framed by vegetation

It almost looks full-size in this picture

Three-quarter view of Angkor Wat miniature sculpture

A better view of what it looked like

Sculpture made of recycled rifles

A sculpture constructed of recycled rifles

We went to a gallery in Siem Reap which had some amazing photos, original art and sculpture. It was called the Red Gallery, and my favourite pieces were the metal sculptures made from recycled rifle barrels and frames. A close second was the book of infrared photography of the temple complex, which unfortunately I don’t have photos of.

Street next to a river in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Beautiful green verges bordered the river

The part of town we were staying in wasn’t directly adjacent to the centre and stayed quiet at night, thankfully. We were right next to the river, which was lined on both sides with beautiful lamp posts, sculpted animals, and old trees. We stayed at Rosy Guest House which I can thoroughly recommend. If you can fork out for one of their nicer rooms with an ensuite ($12/night), don’t hesitate. Otherwise, the rooms on the top floor with shared bathrooms are also very nice.

Cambodian man with child and elephant sculpture in Siem Reap

Sculpture of an elephant next to the river

Sunset on Pub Street, Siem Reap

Sunset on Pub Street while eating delicious, cheap tacos

X Bar with halfpipe on the roof, Siem Reap

This is at X Bar on the third floor just next to Pub Street – there was a halfpipe!

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the halfpipe being used; apparently the skaters come out at around 4pm, and we were there much later.

View of Pub Street in Siem Reap from the X Bar

View of Pub Street at night from the X Bar

Me and a tiny banana

They loved tiny bananas in Cambodia – very reasonably priced and a great breakfast


The second set of photos is from Vientiane in Laos. It was our first stop in the country after an all-night trip from Bangkok on a Super VIP bus. The trip wasn’t incredibly comfortable, but was worth it to see the bus, which was literally the plushest road vehicle I’ve ever had the pleasure of sitting in. Still not enough leg-room though.

Vientiane is a very nice city. Not incredibly cheap, but quite quiet and low-key. We stayed at a guest house a couple of streets away from the square in the centre of the city for a very reasonable price. I forget the name, but make sure you shop around, as there are much more expensive options for similar facilities. Unfortunately both V and I spent the entirety of our time in Vientiane feeling awful; we’d both managed to contract some kind of flu bug from the bus we took from Siem Reap to Bangkok. I’d love to go back and see it properly someday.

The Golden Stupa, Vientiane, Laos

This is the national icon of Laos, the Golden Stupa

Unfortunately it was raining on and off while we were in the city, so the photos were all taken while it was overcast. Lost a bit of lustre off the gold, but you get the idea.

Pavilion near the Golden Stupa

Another beautifully-decorated pavilion near the Golden Stupa

Close-up of the Golden Stupa, Vientiane

A closer view of the Golden Stupa

Dragon sculpture in the Golden Stupa courtyard

Awesome dragon sculpture in the courtyard of the Stupa

Entrance gate to the Golden Stupa interior

These entrance gates were locked on both sides – guess they don’t want tourists tramping all over the thing

Dragon sculpture near the Golden Stupa

Another beautiful gold-plated dragon sculpture

Statues and an archway in Vientiane

I’m not sure who this guy is, but I like to think he’s a samurai wizard

Buddha sculpture near the Golden Stupa in Vientiane

Buddha sculpture close by – I like the framing of this shot

Entrance archway to a temple, Vientiane

Entrance archway to a Buddhist temple

Large temple in Vientiane, Laos

Another large temple near the Stupa

Statue in front of the Golden Stupa, Vientiane

The Wizard and the Stupa – next Harry Potter book right there

Long line of stupas

I’m not sure what these were, but they may have been burial markers or memorials of some kind

Beautiful painting in a Buddhist temple

Beautiful murals in a Buddhist temple

Beautiful painting in a Buddhist temple

Beautiful murals in a Buddhist temple

V discovering a kitten

Our kitten

We found this little guy while we were looking around the Buddhist temple near the Golden Stupa. He was wandering around looking for attention, so we played with him for a while. He nestled up on my backpack and then peed on it, which wasn’t quite as cool. Before we left we tried to put him somewhere we thought he would be safe, but the monks assured us that all the animals in the temple were fed regularly and looked after. This didn’t inspire a lot of confidence, as we found him near another cat, which was very dead indeed.

Closeup of the kitten

A better view of our little friend – hope you’re still doing well buddy

And that’s it for now. I still have two locations to post up, so hopefully I’ll get around to that in the next week or so. Look forward to Sukhothai and Vang Vieng!

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