Travelogs & Reflections > Paul's Travelog > Southern Thailand & Cambodia

Southern Thailand & Cambodia

December 16, 2005

Today I went to Big C with Grandma and Dad, and in the middle of shopping, I started not feeling well and so we went back home and I had a fever and so I slept the whole day.  At 4:00 p.m. Mom came back home with the box and we all were so excited. For two days we had been trying to get the box and now we finally got it. We were excited because we knew that there was cool stuff in it, like milk chocolate icing, new books, and fun games, like Ziggity, a Cranium Cadoo card game. I didn’t feel like eating so I went back to bed.


December 15, 2005

Today we went to mail souvenirs and other extra weight from our packs back to the United States and this time we went with Noy. When we got there, we went to look for our box. We went up to the forth flour and they said it wasn’t there so we went down to the main office and they said it had been sent back to the main post office to be sent back to the U.S. but the worker called and told them to send it back to his post office and said that it would be here tomorrow and we could come pick it up so we packed our boxes and sent them to the U.S. Then we went to pick up Noy's kids, pat and pa, from their school and she gave us a tour of the school. The school is huge because it’s a college, high school and elementary school.


December 14, 2005

Today we went with Faang to try to find our box. First, we went to get medicine and take grandma to get her hair cut. When grandma was getting her hair cut, Faang, mom and I went to find our box. So we went to the main post office and they said to go to a smaller post office so we rushed over to the smaller post office and they said it wasn’t there and we should come tomorrow.


December 13, 2005

Today we are going back to Thailand so we got up at 7:00 a.m. to get a taxi back to the border. Dad took a lot of pictures and mom, grandma, dad, and I talked and Peter listened to music the whole way. When we got there we went quick through the Cambodian side but were held up at the Thailand side so we sat in line for 1 and a half hours. When we were finally done we went to the train station to get our tickets back to Bangkok. It took 5-7 hours to get there but we finally got there and took a taxi to Bill’s house.


Cambodia cultural reflection:

Historical and interesting facts on the temples of Angkor:


Angkor Wat

  • The world’s largest religious building in the world! The architectural style is called “Angkor Wat.”
  • Built by King Suryavarman II in the early/mid 12th century to honor the Vishnu Hindu god. Angkor Wat served as his state temple.
  • Angkor Wat has 3 levels.
  • The central tower is 31 meters above the first level and 61 meters above the ground level.
  • The moat around Angkor Wat is a 1.5 km by 1.3 km rectangle.
  • Angkor Wat has 5 famous towers and lots of bas relief carvings.


  • Was constructed in the late 12th century by King Jayavarman VII.
  • It is a Buddhist temple.
  • Its architectural style is its own “Bayon.”
  • There are 37 towers with 4 faces on each side.
  • There are 216 faces altogether!
  • The best bas relief carvings in all of Angkor are at Bayon.
  • There are 1,200 meters of bas relief carvings at Bayon and 11,000 figures!
  • It was constructed in the Angkor Thom city which was also built by King Jayavarman VII.

Ta Prohm

  • It was constructed in the mid 12th and early 13th centuries by King Jayavarman VII.
  • It is in the Buddhist-Bayon architectural style.
  • It is of similar design to other of King Jayavarman VII’s temples, Preah Khan and Banteay Kdei.
  • Fig and silk cotton trees grow from the temples and corridors. With all the trees growing into the temple, Ta Prohm is a very eerie place and that is why they filmed a scene of Tomb Raider here. The scene is of an entrance of a corridor with a fig or silk cotton tree growing over it.
  • Many parrots live at Ta Prohm. I saw red parrots when I was there.
  • This was one of King Jayavarman VII’s first major temple projects.
  • Ta Prohm was dedicated to the King’s mother.
  • There were 3,000 villagers living in the Ta Prohm area.

I really enjoyed researching these temples because I had so much fun seeing them and wanted to learn more about them because we only got to stay at Angkor for two days. That is why I did this reflection paragraph on how the temples of Angkor Wat were built and other facts about them.


December 12, 2005

Big heads


Years and years ago


Numerous faces


Today we woke up a little later than yesterday to catch our tuk-tuk. We decided to go back to Bayon first because Dad wanted to see the faces in the morning shadows and I wanted to find the cool face on the postcard I bought. When we got to Bayon, Mom, Grandma, Peter and I went looking for the face on my postcard while Dad went off to take pictures. We circled the outside of the complex first but didn’t see the exact match so we went to the next level up. There were lots of faces to look at now because we were on the upper level so it was hard to be sure we didn’t pass it. When we circled that level and still didn’t find the perfect match, we showed Dad to see if he had seen it and he began looking too. After we showed Dad the postcard, Grandma, Peter and I circled that level again. (Mom stayed behind because she met some fellow travelers from Canada.) When we came back still with no success, Dad thought he had seen it. So we walked four stairs to a little platform but it wasn’t the right face. But, then I remembered that there were two cracks at the neck and there weren’t any other faces like it. Suddenly I saw a face nearby with two cracks on the neck. Peter thought it wasn’t the right face so we went closer to it and I saw on the postcard that there was a scratch on the neck and the scratch was there! We figured out that the photographer had flipped the photo so that the face was 180 degrees opposite of its actual orientation. After I found the face I was looking for, I sat on the platform gazing at it and sketched it with Mom. Mom wanted to see certain carvings on the outer wall so we went looking for that. We saw carvings (or bas reliefs) of people celebrating, war, a river with fish in it, transport of royalty, lotus flower, Buddha, boat, praying Buddha, and sumo wrestlers and kick boxers. But we didn’t see the rooster fighting scene that Lonely Planets said was on the wall.  By that time, Peter and Grandma were ready to go so we went to Preah Khan. Peter, Mom and I climbed up on a ledge to eat our sandwich for lunch. From the ledge you could see a great overview of Preah Khan—lots of rubble, archways with windows, and large towers. After lunch we started walking and it was like walking through lots of hallways that led all the way through the complex. There would be places on the side that had doorways and rubble which looked really cool. All along the walls were carvings or bas reliefs in the stone. When we got to the end, there was a huge spong tree that was covering the wall and a building with Greek-like pillars which was interesting because there aren’t many pillars like that in this area. There was a man sketching Preah Khan and we looked at We sat on the stairs looking at the surrounding view while Grandma ate her lunch. Peter went with Dad to go around Preah Khan and back to the entrance. About 10 minutes later, Grandma and I decided to go that way too. As we were walking on the trail, we saw the outside view of it. You could see through into the center of the building because there were a series of windows and in one of the windows was Mom! It looked like she was sleeping but she said she was writing poetry. When we got to the entrance, Grandma and I waited for the rest of the family. When the rest of the family came, Mom saw lots of these concrete carvings with their heads missing so she decided to stand behind and put her head on it. So there it was—this giant body with a tiny head. She decided to sit on the shoulders of one of them and one of the guards got mad at her.


Back on the tuk-tuk, we went to Neak Pean. We walked down this dirt road and arrived at Neak Pean, an island temple. The main temple is surrounded by water and you can’t get there. Mom was reading in the Lonely Planet that there were phallic symbols as the heads of the water spouts in the pools surrounding the temple so she went in search of them. Grandma, Peter and I stayed behind to sketch. When Mom and Dad returned, Grandma went to do poetry, Dad went to sleep on a step and Mom read to us about the temples we had seen so far. When Dad was sleep, I would tickle his foot and he would snore and I tickled his foot when people were going by and he would snore when they were going by and I thought that was pretty funny. He never woke up. We met a guy from New Jersey who told us about traveling in India. We talked with him for about 15 minutes. When we were walking back, we met two guys we had met on the Thai/Cambodia border and talked to them and told them about Laos and it looked like they were going to enjoy it and Beer Lao.


We returned next to Angkor Wat, Wat city! Mom and Peter sat down to eat but Grandma and I went to look at souvenirs. I found a carving of a face from Bayon and bargained it down to $2. I thought it was a good deal so I bought it. Then I helped Peter find what he wanted. He negotiated hard for this one face for $3. They went back and forth--$3, no $4, but finally the saleswoman reluctantly agreed to $3 but when we were walking away, she yelled at Peter that she was going to pickpocket him! When Dad returned from taking pictures, we had our last view of Angkor Wat and headed to the temple on the hill, Phnom Bakheng, where you can see the sunset. It was a really steep hike up so Grandma decided to stay down but we were up to the challenge: Peter and I ran up and waited for a long time for Mom and Dad to make it up. Finally when they got up, we had already run up to the top of the temple, reserved a spot for us and waved to them. Dad took a photo of Angkor Wat from the top of the temple and then we sat down to watch the sunset. I was getting hungry and we didn’t have a knife so I peeled an apple with my nail. When the sunset started, Dad was snapping photos so fast. It wasn’t the best sunset so I just videotaped for a little bit. When the sunset was over, Peter and I ran down the trail. It took Mom and Dad 10 minutes to get down and it took Peter and me two minutes! Peter and Mom got safari hats before we left to return to Siem Reap.  


December 11, 2005


Numerous towers


King Jayavarman VII

One and only!



Wonder of the world

Artistic architecture

Tremendous temples


T0day is our first day at Angkor Wat and so we got up at 6:00A.M. to get a tuk-tuk to take us around all day. When we got to where we have to pay, we found out that I didn’t have to pay 40 dollars because I was under 12 so Dad was happy because he didn’t budget that I was going to be free. When we got to the entrance of Angkor Wat, I was so excited. When we got in to the Angkor Wat walls, there was a long path way that led to the temple so we started walking down the path way. When we got to the temple we had our breakfast. When we were done with our breakfast we went into Angkor Wat. When we walked in, we had to climb a steep stair way that led to the top of Angkor Wat. When I go to the top, it was a great view. When we walked in to explore, we were surrounded by the five famous towers. We stayed there for a little bit while I video taped and dad took pictures. When we had walked around we decided to go eat lunch but now was the hard part for mom because we had to go down a steep stair way but she did it fine. When we had finished lunch we went to Bayon.


When we got to Bayon we were amazed how many faces there were. Dad and I went in and mom, grandma and Peter went to the bathroom. When we got in, we started circling it. When we had just started, I decided to climb up a tower to get a better view. When I got up three people were there and they asked me where I was from and I said Eugene, Oregon and one of they guys said he was from Portland but lived in Eugene for 2 years. When I got down dad decided to go up a level so we did and there were so many faces that you could see. When dad was waiting to take a picture a guy ran by and said “Go Ducks” because dad was wearing an Oregon Ducks shirt. When we kept walking we found a place where you were face to face with some of the sculptures and you could stare at it. When we had seen some of Bayon, we decided to move on to Ta Prohm.


Tomb Raider

A lot of people from all over the world!



Roots of trees everywhere

Ominous & eerie atmosphere


Made for the mother of King Jayavarman VII


When we got to Ta Prohm it was very eerie with lots of trees growing out of walls. mom found us a guide that took us around. He showed us libraries, huge trees that were growing out of the wall, and an old dance hall, and a small face in a root of a tree and the last place he took us to was a place were they had filmed a scene from Tomb Raiders and so we got some one to take a picture of our whole family in the Tomb Raider scene. When we had seen the inside we decided to explore the out side so we walked around the fences but didn’t find any thing so we went back to the tuk-tuk and he took us to a view of a lake but we didn’t spend much time there and then went back to Siem Reap.


December 5-9, 2005

At Ko Samet, we have slept-in, worked on school work, swam in the Gulf of Thailand, and watched movies every night!


December 4-5, 2005

Today we left Khao Lak and went to Surathani. When we got to Surathani, we were dropped off at a tourist agency. We bought tickets to take us to a pier, but Grandma and I started talking with some other travelers who had just returned from the islands of Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui. They had been there for a week and it was totally flooded so we decided not to go there.  Instead, we took the night train to Bangkok (BKK) and I slept well on the train because this time we had a sleeper and my conductor let me sleep-in in the morning, unlike Peter’s conductor who just pulled the covers off of him and made him get up!


When we arrived, we decided to go to Ko Samet, an island near Bangkok. So, we went to the bus terminal and caught the bus to Ko Samet. When we got to the place where we were to catch the ferry, we caught the ferry to the island. When we got on, I had already seen the island and I was thinking we’d get there in 10 minutes max! When we started going, we were going really slow and I thought that at a certain point we’d go a little faster but, no, the driver went the same speed the whole way, and it took us 45 minutes to get there. We got to the island, walked to the beach, looked for a hotel, and got a room at the White Sands Resort.


November 29-December 3, 2005

Cape Pakarang Boat Yard Project: A reflection on my volunteer experience


Every day for a week we got up at 7:30 a.m. to go volunteer at the boat yard at Cape Pakarang. At the boat yard, they make boats for fishermen who lost their boats in the tsunami. They are going to make 47 boats and more. They have made 37 boats already. Scott and Nid organize the boat yard.  A crew of Thai boat builders work at the yard. The volunteers paint the boats, move the boats, move woods piles, sand wood, drop off the boats, and do many other tasks. Lucky, Scott’s dog, is the mascot of the boat yard and is fun to play with. When we were riding in the truck, we had to watch out for him because he loved to hang over the edge of the bed of the truck with his head in the wind.


Monday, November 28: The first day we went to the boat yard in the middle of the day but did work anyway. That day I worked on carving a long boat on cutting boards that will be sold at the one-year commemoration of the tsunami this month. I also sanded the pieces of wood that we did the carvings on. At about 6 p.m., Scott gave all us volunteers a ride back to town so Peter, Dad, and I drove on the trailer back.


Tuesday, November 29: Today when we arrived in the morning, Scott needed us to go pick up wood so we went with Kong, one of the Thai staff at the yard, and Mike, another volunteer, to go pick up wood. When we got there, Mike had to go down this small road with the trailer and had to reverse the trailer and got stuck in the mud but got out because Peter put a piece of wood under the trailer. When we got there, we put the wood on the trailer and went back to the boat yard and unloaded the wood. After lunch I helped paint a boat. At first, I painted in between the cracks where the roller couldn’t reach but then it started to rain so we had to wait until it stopped raining. When it did, I got to climb into the boat and start the inside. When I was done with my part, it was time to go so we got into the truck and went to Khao Lak.


Wednesday, November 30: When we got to the boat yard today, Scott wanted us to make boxes out of thick pieces of rebar, iron rods, so that it would help mold the cement to make a building, a shed for the boat yard.  Our job was to cut the pieces into a certain length so Peter and I had to cut about 148 pieces of rebar with a power circular saw.  Every time, sparks flew everywhere so we had to wear protective safety goggles and gloves. When we had only 36 pieces left to do, we ran out of rebar so Peter and I went with Kong and Lucky to get more. When we loaded the truck, the pieces were too big so all the way they dragged on the road and it was really LOUD. Luckily, in the middle of the drive, we had to pick up Ben, another volunteer, so we got a break from the noise. When we finally got back to the yard, Peter and I cut some more pieces. With only 16 pieces left to cut, the machine broke so Scott put a clamp on it and it was good enough to work with it but then it was time for lunch. After lunch Peter and I finished cutting the pieces!


Today we finished a boat and so our family, Mike, Tim, Scott, and Terik went to a village to give the boat to the village. It was 2-3 hours away and it rained for most of the trip. Dad, Peter, Tim, Mike, and Terik had to sit in the back of the truck in the rain.  When we got there, we launched the boat into the mud and then had dinner at one of the villager’s homes. The food was really good. On our way back, it didn’t rain and we finally got back at 9 p.m.  I was tired and went to bed.


Thursday, December 1: When we got there, Scott wanted Mom and Jodi and her mom and me to move a huge wood pile to a different area so wheelbarrow, after wheelbarrow, we made slow but steady progress. Then Mom, Dad and I had to move a huge log, and, when we got over to the pile, Dad had to move so it was mom and I carrying it. Suddenly Mom dropped her side and the log was so heavy it fell on my side and scraped against my wrist, leaving a big scrape on my wrist. I started to get light-headed and had to take a break. So I lay down for a half hour. But I wanted to be there when we finished because we got to burn the pile. When I got back we were almost done and so I helped finish. Now was the fun part: Scott got paint thinner, which is good for starting a fire. We made a small pile and then Scott poured a cup of thinner on the pile and a quarter of a stick that I was to throw onto the pile when Scott lit it. So I did that and the fire shot straight up but then it puttered out. To dry the wood, we had to throw 6 cups of thinner on the fire. By then, the fire was going good so one person stayed at the fire while all the workers and volunteers helped to move a boat out from the boat house so workers could paint it and do other things to it. We all pushed and got it out of the boat house. Then it was time to go home and I was tired so I ate and went to bed.


Friday, December 2: Today we had to finish the carvings so Mom and I did about four each because Peter, Dad, and Grandma had to stay back in town because there wasn’t enough room in the back of the truck. When they came, Peter and I helped Jacob, another volunteer, and a Thai worker move a wood pile. The boards were really heavy but Peter and I didn’t have to do the hard work. When we were done, Jacob and the Thai worker were sweating so much and they were really tired. When we were done, it was time to go home.


Saturday, December 3:  This was our last day. When we got there, we had to move a boat and it was going to the son of the family who owned the coconut grove where the boat yard was located. So we had to walk the boat over to their house and it was a little ways and they kept leading us the wrong way so we went in and back out but finally got there. I went around filming until lunch. After lunch, we had to put a boat on the trailer because we were going to deliver it today and then had to move another boat to take its place. When we left to drop off the boat, it started raining and Scott said that every time they deliver a boat it rains.  We decided not to go deliver the boat because we had to get ready to leave tomorrow.


After this week I’ve learned a lot. I learned how to use power tools, carve, build boats, the steps in sanding wood, and learned more about the tsunami. I also learned that I really like to volunteer and I want to do more volunteering. When the tsunami happened last year, I did a project about the tsunami in school and learned a lot about it. Since I knew more about what happened than a lot of other people, I really wanted to help the victims of the tsunami. In my school project, I learned how many people died—about 200,000-250,000 (and they are still finding more bodies)—and I saw pictures of all the damage the tsunami did so I really wanted to help. While we were volunteering, Dad and I researched going to Khao Sok, a national park near Khao Lak, but, since I would have to skip one day at the boat yard, I decided not to go because I really wanted to help the people who had been affected by the tsunami.


November 28, 2005

Today we went in search of tsunami relief volunteer work. We are in Khao Lak, an area that was hard-hit by the tsunami. When we got to the first center that was recommended by someone we met in Koh Lanta, they didn't take us because we were kids. So, we walked up to the grocery store to find out if anybody there could recommend an organization to work with. They told us to go to The Nature Resort so we took a sawng-thaew. Mom talked to a woman there and made a few phone calls and when she was finished, we had work!


November 24-27, 2005

We've been in Koh Lanta for 4 days and Peter and I were sick and it's been rainy weather. We did a few things though. We did a special celebration for Thanksgiving and looked for shells but we didn't go swimming because it wasn't very good weather.


November 23, 2005: Koh Lanta, Thailand

Today we arrived at Koh Lanta, after a long boat ride from Rai-lay to Krabi Town, then another minibus ride to the ferry, 2 ferry rides, and a 20-minute truck ride to the hotel. When we got to the hotel, we were all starving so we had lunch at the hotel’s restaurant. Dad and I went to look for a place that barbecues fresh fish for dinner and on the way I found a cowrie shell and a walk-out to a pier and saw squid and lots of fish.


November 22, 2005: Rai-lay Beach, Thailand

Today we got up and Dad had found a nice beach so we went over there after breakfast. Dad and I went to a cave that you could explore in the water. In that area, we saw squid and I ‘inked�Ethem which means I slapped the water near them and they pooped out black fluid, ink! Peter, Grandma and I went back to the hotel and I bought a wooden whistle for 10 baht and I learned some tunes on it. We went swimming and this guy videotaped me jumping into the pool. After the pool, we were hungry so we went to lunch. When we returned to the room, we started watching a football (soccer) game. Mom and Dad got back right before the rain. When the rain subsided Dad and I went to look for the sunset but there was none. When we got back, Peter was gone and Dad went to look for him. An hour later, they hadn’t returned and we went to look for them. We found them at a place called Lucky’s watching Oceans 11. When Oceans 11 ended, Peter recommended another movie but I wanted to play pool at the bar! Dad and I played two games of pool; Dad won one and I won one. Two other people came to play pool so we played in teams. We lost the first game. At that time, Dad was getting very competitive and he wanted to play more. We played the winner of that round and that time we won! Then we got to play another game but we lost—a disappointing loss as that was our last game. We got ice cream and went back to the hotel and went to bed.