Sub Sub Hi, Cambodia
Sub Sub Hi, Cambodia
  • Kee Seong Eun-hye
  • 승인 2008.06.05 16:53
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It was my second chance to visit Cambodia.  Unfortunately, I had missed my first chance during the last summer vacation, so this time I had really made up my mind to go there.  I visited Cambodia with my father during the winter vacation for four days from December 31, 2007 to January 3, 2008.  It was a sweet holiday for me, as I had had a busy schedule all through 2007. 


First Night in Cambodia

I arrived in Siem Reap Airport at night.  Even though the total flight time was shorter than when I had been to Canada, I felt very tired and wanted to take a rest as soon as possible.  After I met our guide, he explained to me why I felt so tired.  It was because of the small airplane I had arrived in.  He said that Siem Reap Airport was built and opened recently due to increasing tourism.  Actually, a few years ago, if foreigners wanted to visit Siem Reap, they had to come here by bus, which took five hours after arriving at Phnom Penh National Airport.  However, this small and poor country knew that there was no other way to earn money except from tourism, so they built an airport in Siem Reap but limited the size of airplanes to less than 300 seats in order to protect Angkor Wat.  I then realized the full story.

I got on the bus and moved from the airport to our hotel with my group.  The guide said that there could be a small lizard in my room so I was afraid.  But it was inevitable because of the environment so I was careful of the lizard all night.


Living History, Angkor Thom

In the early morning, we started the tour.  On that day, I visited Angkor Thom first.  Angkor Thom, the ancient seat of government, was established on a plain and was surrounded by a manmade lake which was made to prevent enemy attacks.  In order to make it easy to enter there, people built a bridge across the lake.  I entered Angkor Thom through the South Gate and there were very big statues from the legend of the Churning of the Milk Ocean lining the path up to the South Gate for about 100 meters.  On the right side, there were wicked Gods, and on the opposite side were the good Gods.  Both groups of Gods pulled Vasuki, the king of snakes. 

After I entered the South Gate, I rode a bus and 5 minutes later, I could see Bayon which was a much huger site than I had expected.  It was built by Jayavarman VII who was the king of the Angkor Empire.  Actually, he was not a member of the Royal Family, but an armed forces commander.  He beat the Cham in a war and became famous.  At that time, the king’s seat was empty, so Jayavarman became a king who had no successor to the throne.  That’s why he created Bayon to show off his works through carving his whole life story there, which calmed down his opponents who didn’t want to serve him as a king.  After I knew the full story of Bayon, I could understand easily the carvings and what they meant.  Although more than a thousand years had passed, I could feel how strong Jayavarman VII had been and how big the country was.  In my eyes, it seemed that the old country was still alive. 


A Universal Mystery, Angkor Wat 

You can see a building in the middle of the Cambodian flag.  That’s the universal mystery, Angkor Wat.  Most tourists visit Cambodia to see it.  It is the only example of a significant religious centre to have remained as such since its foundation—first Hindu, dedicated to Vishnu, then Buddhist.  The temple is the epitome of the high classical style of Khmer architecture.  Angkor Wat is called the most beautiful and perfect building in the world which was built before the 12th century.  It was built from 1,113 to 1,148 by Suryavarman Ⅱ and experts estimate that almost 200,000 slaves worked to build it.  However, some Cambodians believe the legend that Indra, the God who can make rain and rides on elephant that has three heads, built it himself.  Also, Zhou Daguan’s writing says that it was built in one day and night, which people also consider a myth.  Actually, there are more hypotheses about Angkor Wat but no one knows what is true or false.  It still remains one of the world’s seven mysteries.  When I first saw Angkor Wat, it overwhelmed me with its dignity and historical feeling.  I couldn’t take my eyes off it because I was so impressed by its appearance of artistic and scientific and historical value.  All of the roads had been so long and it was such a hot day but I forgot all of my tiredness, fatigue and heat because of the fact that Angkor Wat was now before my eyes and I was there. 


Same Blood, Same Appearance

On the last night, I visited the restaurant, Pyeongyang Naengmyeon, run by the North Korean government.  The guide said that there were two more Pyeongyang Naengmyeon restaurants in Siem Reap, but this one was the best in terms of taste and performance.  When I entered there, another performance was already underway.  There were a lot of visitors owing to its popularity, so I and my group members waited until the performance had finished, and about 30 minutes later, we entered the restaurant.  There were many North Korean women who were very thin and had beautiful faces.  They asked us to place our orders and they performed multiple roles: waitress, singer, dancer, and performer.  At once, they served dishes and next they appeared on the stage and sang a song, played the electric guitar, and danced in the North Korean style.  In the restaurant, most customers were South Korean and some of their hometowns were in North Korea.  For them, it was the best gift in Cambodia, I think.  When I talked with North Korean waitresses and saw their performance, I felt something very strange.  Maybe the reason was that I had met them in Cambodia, not in Korea.  Even though it was too short time that I met them in the restaurant, I could feel that they had the same blood and same appearance as us.  At that time, I realized why the unification of North and South is necessary and I desired it with my whole heart.  




1. If you want to visit Cambodia, I recommend you avoid April because this month is the hottest month in Cambodia.  Also, you’d better visit there in the winter season.  In summer, Cambodia is crowded with too many tourists so you cannot enjoy your trip enough.  However, if you visit there in winter, you can keep your composure throughout your trip. 

2. Before you start your trip, study about the sites such as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.  When you tour Siem Reap, maybe 80 percent of your trip will involve visiting the old sites and seeing them.  If you prepare before your trip and learn about their history, you can have a more meaningful time confirming these precious world heritages with your own eyes.  However, if you don’t study anything and see them, they can just seem to be “old rocks” in your eyes.  Therefore, it is so important to study before you begin your trip.


       Wicked Gods in front of South Gate         Carvings on the wall of Bayon



Scenery of Bayon


Steep stairs in Angkor Wat            A fairy Apsala                Cambodian children


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