Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Phnom Penh, the capital city

Phnom Penh has been the capital city of Cambodia for over six centuries. Knowing as one of the oldest capital city in Southeast Asia, Phnom Penh is the city of history, commercial, and tourism. The city has been expanding years by years and the population has reached around 3 million.

Wat Phnom 

Based on the history, the city was founded after the forbidden from Angkor by the king, his majesty, Ponheayat in 1434. The reasons that led the king decided to move down in order for building down along the Mekong River because Angkor city had gone through a lot of wars and especially, the invasion from Siam (Thai nowadays) and the city was close to their city as well. Another reason was that the geography of the new city was better for protection and easy for people to live. 

Phnom Penh drawn in 1887

There was also a story telling about how Phnom Penh was built. It was known that the name of the city was given after an old lady named Penh. She found a big Koki tree stopped at the riverside nearby her house after a big rain during the raining season. Then, she went down to see that big tree and found the statues of Buddha. Being so surprised by finding those statues, she gathered the villagers living around there to pull that big tree up to the land and she asked those people to build up a small mountain and a pagoda over there to place the statues. After building the mountain, people gave the name to that place as Phnom Daun Penh and then it was shorten by just only Phnom Penh until present. 

The old lady named Penh found the statues in Koki Tree

Wat  Phnom first built based on the story

The statue of the old lady, Penh
Even though Phnom Penh has been modernized from a decade to another, it was not used as the capital of Cambodia many times because of war and the reigns of kings who had ruled the country. In 1975, Phnom Penh was once again deserted because of Khmer Rouge after the fall of Republic of Cambodia led by General Lon Nol. It was the darkest time in the history that Cambodia was brought down to the zero point and city was known as ghost city due to the fact that people were evacuated to live in other provinces and there were the group of high command of Khmer Rouge only who lived in the city. After the fall of Khmer Rouge in 1979, Phnom Penh has been made the capital city of Cambodia again. 

The evacuation of Phnom Penh citizens in 1975
Phnom Penh, the ghost city from 1975 - 1979
Phnom Penh in present
Phnom Penh in present

Phnom Penh in present
With the rise of economy and political stability, Phnom Penh has become one of the interesting places that attracts more investors from overseas to do business there and more importantly, it is also attracting many tourists from over the world to visit since the government has taken their actions to develop and preserve the tourist sites such as Royal Palace, National Museum, Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, Cheung Ek Genocide Museum, shopping centers, and other resorts located around the city. Also, there are many investments on restaurants and accommodations that has facilitated a lot in the process of providing services to the tourists.

Royal Palace

National Museum

Toul Sleng Genocide Museum

Cheung Ek, The Killing Fields

Shopping Center
With regards to this development and the potential for tourism sector itself, Phnom Penh has become another interesting sites after Siem Reap province, known as the center of cultural and natural sites. By this way, our tourists are able to spend their stay longer in Cambodia by combining their trip to both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh back and forth as they can enter either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap first due to fact that there are international airports in each cities.
Central Market or Psar Tmey

Night Market in Phnom Penh

Our company is the local tour operator based in Siem Reap, Cambodia established by Khmer local people. With the team that have experience in this tourism industry for more than 12 years, we put all our efforts and commitments to arrange and provide all our value customers an unforgettable trip. Customer services and flexibility are our top principles to work in this business. 

“Satisfaction and enjoyment of our customers are also ours, so we will serve them in the level best from our heart and passion”, President of TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel.  

Interested in our packages? Reach us @www.trailtoangkortours.comOur team will respond to you shortly.

Steven Lor, Sales Manager - TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel  

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Tourism is one of the main sectors that helps to develop Cambodia’s economy because this country has abundant of potential resources which are natural resources and cultural resources. Natural resources refer to natural mountains, lakes, forests, river, sea, and island while cultural resources refer to fabulous temples, monuments, museums, traditional show, and some other historical sites such as the killing fields, genocide museum and buildings remaining from colonial period.

Because of peace over the country and political stability, the development of economy as well as the physical infrastructure, and especially, the crucial resources available in the country, TRAILTOAngkortours & Travel was established which was founded by Khmer local people in order to fulfil the needs of tourists that have been increased year by year, and to promote Cambodia tour as well. The company was created in 2015 and it is based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Even it has just founded recently, it was built up by a skillful and experience team as the founder and subordinates have experience in this sectors for more than 10 years. TRAILTOAngkortours & Travel provides range of services including hotel accommodation, transportation, tour guide, restaurants, tickets (flight or bus), and other activities available in the country. It also offers the packages that includes the tours in many tourist sites in Cambodia such as Siem Reap tour for those who would like to spend their holiday in Siem Reap or they may prefer to relax at beach sites of Cambodia for their holiday in Sihanoukville.

Since the most popular tourist site in Siem Reap is Angkor tour, we would like to describe some highlights that are recommended to our value clients. First of all, the clients will visit the main temples in Angkor area such as Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom complex, the suburb temples outside Angkor areas – Banteay Srei, Banteay Samre, Beng Mealea, and Koh Ker temple. Besides temples, clients may visit Kulen Mountain knowing as the natural mountain and sacred place for religious ceremony during the reign of the very first king during Angkor period, King Jayavaraman II. 

Angkor Wat temple
Banteay Srei temple
Bayon temple
Beng Mealea temple

Koh Ker temple

You will also take a countryside tour to explore the life of people living there. You will have an opportunity to involve with those local families by practicing doing some farming activities such as rice planting or harvesting, making palm sugar, riding ox-cart or buffaloes-cart, trying some seasonal fruit or bamboo sticky rice, and especially, having dinner hosted by a local family. In Sihanoukville, you may take yourselves a rest with the fresh air at our beach sites. Besides spectacular scenery and white beaches there, you may take an adventure to visit some beautiful islands such as Koh Rong Island, Kong Rong Sonleoum Island, Song Saa Private Island, and many others as well as all of which will take your breath away because of their lovely view.

Countryside tour

Countryside tour

Koh Rong Island

Song Saa Private Island

Besides providing tour services to our valued clients and minding our own business, we are also caring about our society and of course, we have contributed what we earned from our business to support our people living in the rural area in Siem Reap province. By doing so, our sister company, Community Residence Siem Reap, has founded Rural Hospitality Vocational Training to provide skills and training to our local people in order to qualify for the jobs available in Siem Reap or any other provinces in Cambodia.

This is what we are doing for in order to support our society. We do not just try to survive ourselves but we would love to share what we have earned from our business too. Therefore, we have become the sponsor and partner to support that non-profit organization since we understand that the money that we donate to those poor people does not last long so we provide them the skills so that it is much more useful to them and it can help their living for long term by having a good job from the skills they got from us.

Steven Lor, Sales Manager - TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel                                                                                                   

Monday, August 14, 2017

After Incredible Finds, Angkor Archaeologists Wrap Up Dig

BY MICHELLE VACHON, The Cambodia Daily

After 13 days of excavation that yielded artifacts beyond their dreams, archaeologists and researchers wrapped up work in Angkor Archaeological Park this week. After the excitement of their finds—which included a 1.9-meter statue of a guard and part of a Medicine Buddha—the team now have to get on with the job of assessing what they’ve found.
This will range from restoring statues to analyzing soil samples to determine which medicinal plants were grown at the site where a hospital stood 800 years ago, during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.
Sculputure fragments unearthed at the dig are photographed with a ruler that indicates their scale and orientation. (Natalie Khoo)

One big task will be to renovate the magnificent guard statue found on the second day of the dig on July 29. It would have once stood in the hospital grounds, which are located next to the northern entrance of Angkor Thom, the walled city of the king.
Weighing about 200 kg and missing its feet and part of its legs, the sandstone figure was an unexpected discovery.
“Normally we find pottery, shards of different sizes…tiles and some metal objects, but this is special, unusual that we find statues,” said Im Sokrithy, an archaeologist with the Apsara Authority, the government agency that manages Angkor Park in Siem Reap province and which conducted the excavation.
Their archaeological riches didn’t end there. The team came across traces of smelting, which might have been for bronze casting, said Mr. Sokrithy, who was the dig’s scientific supervisor. “We’re now working on it,” he said.
On Monday, the archaeologists unearthed their second major find. This time it was a Medicine Buddha, which they identified from an object similar to a small pyramid in the palm of his hand. Although hospital inscriptions from that era mention that a Medicine Buddha stood in the temple of every Jayavarman VII hospital compound, this is the first ever found.
“I had said we would hit gold if we found the statue of the Buddha. This is it, we hit gold,” said Dr. Rethy Chhem, an authority on Angkorian hospitals and medicine who served as adviser on the dig.
The statue confirms that Buddhist medicine, whose techniques included pulse taking, was practiced eight centuries ago in Cambodia, he said.
The excavation also yielded a large number of assorted fragments, said Khieu Chan, an archaeologist with the Apsara Authority and a site supervisor during the excavation. “So many porcelain, roof tiles, Khmer ceramics…and Chinese ceramics,” he said.
On Wednesday, researchers began completing their records of the site and filling in the excavation pits to protect it for future excavations and enable people to walk again in the area.
The excavation has shown that more research needs to be done on Jayavarman VII hospitals, Mr. Chan said. Dr. Chhem agreed, if only to try to find out who used the hospitals, he said.
Whether future digs will be lucky enough to come across similar incredible finds, however, remains to be seen.
During the excavation, the team was joined by 14 archaeology students from 10 countries that are members of the East Asia Summit, said Ea Darith, an archaeologist with the Apsara Authority’s Angkor International Center for Research and Documentation. Prior to working on the dig, the students visited the pre-Angkorian site of Sambor Prei Kuk in Kompong Thom province, which last month received Unesco World Heritage Status, and the Angkorian monument of Banteay Chhmar in Banteay Meanchey province, he said on Wednesday.
Funded by Singapore, the project has a long-term goal, said Singaporean archaeologist Lim Chen Sian. “These are the new generation of archaeologists, which will produce archaeology and scholarship [research
documents] for the next 30 years,” he said. “This project allows them to interact…to meet, so that in the future when they reach middle management and senior management, they will have this friendship and
bonding continuing throughout the decades.”

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See you around!

TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel - Kingdom of Angkor

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Villagers carve out a niche with traditional set of skills

Koh Chen’s villagers have been hammering out a living for generations, and its younger artisans see no reason why their source of income should change

by Roth Meas, The Phnom Penh Post

As you enter the village of Koh Chen (Chinese Island) on the Tonle Sap you hear the dull thud, thud of metal being hammered into shape.
This is the sound of the villagers practising their craft. For inhabitants of Koh Chen, on the opposite side of the river to Oudong on National Highway 5, copper smithing has long been a way of life.

The Kandal province artisans make pots, bowls, plates, ornamental swords, bracelets, and other souvenir items from flattened copper. Their work not only exemplifies Cambodia’s reputation for craftsmanship, but offers generations of villagers a reliable income.

Hammer in hand, coppersmith Pin Vuthy, 24, says he and other young people in the village learned their craft from their parents and elders.
“Making artistic copper pots, bowls, plates or bracelets is our traditional job in Koh Chen village,” he says.

And Pin Vuthy says he wants to see these skills passed on, so future generations can enjoy this guaranteed livelihood.

Their traditional work is in such high demand that Koh Chen villagers rarely need to market their products directly, with Phnom Penh’s dealers beating a path to their door.

“Generally we make copper products based on orders from dealers at the market,” Pin Vuthy says.

All eight people in Vuthy’s family are skilled in fashioning copper into craft items, involved in every stage of the production process.

Pin Vuthy cuts and carves flattened copper into decorative swords, popular among Cambodians for weddings. His two sisters carve them with traditional Khmer motifs. In one day they can produce up to six wedding swords.

Pin Vuthy emphasises the fact that his is a highly skilled trade in which attention to detail is essential to a quality product. “Carving is not an easy job, and I pay a lot of attention to it,” Pin Vuthy says. “I have to use both physical and mental power to do the work carefully by hand.”

He says he is proud of the traditional skill set of his family and his community, considering his craft to be a part of his ancestral heritage.

He says his job offers him a good income, and he doesn’t have to leave his village for work – although he occasionally goes to Phnom Penh to buy copper.

Jeng Chanthou, one of the dealers who frequent Koh Chen village, has sold its products for the past 14 years.

She has some of the copper items silver-plated, selling the work at Russian Market, Central Market and small shops in the city.

“Mostly foreigners and high-class people buy the artistic pieces from us,” Jeng Chanthou says. “But we also place orders for bracelets, copper jewellery and swords for traditional Cambodian weddings.”

She says plates with carvings of Angkor Wat or Preah Vihear temple always fetch a good price.

Interested with these sites? Please reach us @ http://trailtoangkortours.com/contact-us.html, we will respond your shortly 

See you around!

TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel - Kingdom of Angkor

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

For Archaeologists, a Dream Find at Angkor Park

BY MICHELLE VACHON, The Cambodia Daily

Archaeologists are typically happy to find pottery shards when they excavate a site in Angkor Archaeological Park as too many centuries have passed and too many cities have risen and collapsed for them to expect to find major objects in the ground.
So what occurred Saturday seemed like something that happens only in the movies. On the second day of an excavation in Siem Reap province, a team of archaeologists found a 1.9 meter statue weighing about 200 kg at an 800-year-old site in Angkor Park.

The archaeology team holds a religious ceremony on Sunday to ask the spirit protecting the site permission to move the statue they unearthed the previous day to the Preah Sihanouk Museum in Siem Reap province. (Apsara Authority)

“We were very surprised to find this,” said Im Sokrithy, an archaeologist with the Apsara Authority, the government organization managing Angkor Park, and the dig’s scientific supervisor.
The sandstone statue is missing its feet and parts of its legs. Had it been whole, it would have stood at least 2.1 meters, he said. In the image of a guard, it would have stood on the grounds of a hospital that was located next to the northern entrance of Angkor Thom, the walled city of King Jayavarman VII. The excavation began last Friday and is meant to last about 12 days. The hospital is one of the 102 that the 12th century king is believed to have built throughout his Angkorian empire, said Tan Boun Suy, deputy director-general for the Apsara Authority.
“Jayavarman VII’s reign was truly remarkable in terms of social programs,” he said. “The hospital consisted of wooden buildings and a chapel erected in stones. What is left is the chapel…as wooden structures have long disappeared.”
If the excavation unearths other objects of the time, it would provide useful information on the life and activities in those hospitals and also the lives of ordinary people of the era, of which very little is known, he said yesterday.
For this excavation, the Apsara Authority retained Rethy Chhem as an adviser. A university professor and radiologist who heads the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, a Phnom Penh think tank, Dr. Chhem is also a historian and the authority on Angkorian-era hospitals and medicine, Mr. Boun Suy said.

Archaeologists made a grid to draw the statue yesterday before moving it. (Apsara Authority)

Moreover, Dr. Chhem initiated and led the 2006 excavation of a hospital built during the same era near the western gate of Angkor Thom alongside French archaeologist Christophe Pottier.
“There are four hospitals identified at the four cardinal points of Angkor Thom,” Dr. Chhem said last Friday. “They were identified by French archaeologists about 100 years ago, but had never been excavated.”
“In each hospital…there were two shrines within the enclosure,” he said. “The principal shrine has a gate that opens toward the east, the second one…to the west.”
They housed three divinities, including a statue of the Medicine Buddha, Dr. Chhem said.
“We would hit gold if we found the statue of the Buddha.”
Many statues of the Buddha were destroyed during the reign of Jayavarman VIII in the mid-13th century in his effort to restore Brahmanism in the country, and most of those that remained were looted, although some were buried for their protection.
Dr. Chhem and the excavation team never dreamed of finding one of the hospital’s major statues on the second day of excavation. And yesterday, the team kept making discoveries: They found a piece of another statue, Mr. Sokrithy said. “We also found much evidence of wooden structures such as roof tiles and ceramics.”
The excavation is conducted by the Apsara Authority in cooperation with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies’ Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore. As part of a training program, 10 students from Asian countries, the U.S. and Australia are taking part in the excavation, Mr. Sokrithy said.

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TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel - Kingdom of Angkor

Friday, July 28, 2017

Siem Reap and Countryside Activities (Part ii)
Farming transportation (ox cart & buffalo cart)

In part I of this blog reading, we have known the lives of local people living in the countryside not only Siem Reap but also any other provinces in Cambodia. It also described about the most important job of Khmer people do for living which is agriculture or specifically, it is rice farming. In the process of doing rice farming, transportation is also important due to the fact that farmers will need to transfer farming tools, food, seeds, rice planted, or rice sheaves back and forth from their field and house, and the most popular transportation that they usually use is ox-cart or buffalo-cart.

Rice fields at Bakong village, Siem Reap
Angkor Wat temple

Oxen and buffaloes are not all used based on the region and the culture of people living there. In some provinces, they tend to use oxen rather than buffaloes and some other provinces, on the other hand, buffaloes are widely used than oxen. Being back to the past once machine was not created, ox-cart or buffalo cart was used not only in the process of doing farming but also as the transportation for people to commute from one place to another since it can carry things with which they bring such as clothes, food, or goods. During the period of war, it was also used to transfer weapon and food or any other war equipment to supply for soldiers at the battle fields. The whole cart is made from wood and designed based on Khmer traditional style but now people tend to use rubber wheels instead of wood wheel because when the wheel is broken, rubber wheel is easier to fix than wood wheel.

Ox-cart with wood wheels

Ox-cart with rubber wheels

Now, even technology has been developed and most farmers have change to use machines instead of traditional way, ox-cart and buffalo-cart are still being used by most of Khmer farmers due to the culture and their family's economy. Furthermore, they have become an attractive activity in tourism sector as ox-cart and buffalo-cart ride are included in the countryside tour program. This program, the clients will spend some time to take ox-cart or buffalo ride, walk along the road in the village to explore local school or pagoda with participating blessing ceremony, involve with local farmers to do some agriculture activities available by each seasons and have lunch or dinner hosted by local family.

This article is to show that ox-cart or buffalo-cart is an important tool to use in Khmer people daily life since the ancient time until present. Not only have they facilitated goods and people from one place to another, they have also helped to earn extra profit to our people as well by taking the tourists for a ride to experience the countryside life and spectacular view in the rural area. Furthermore, the cart is also considered as the national identification based on its age and style in Khmer culture. 

Tourists riding buffaloes- cart 
Blessing ceremony

Local school

TRIP MESSAGE: The activities and spectacular view of countryside in this blog article are available in Siem Reap, kingdom of Cambodia and this interesting scenery is brought to you by TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel. 

Our company is the local tour operator based in Siem Reap, Cambodia established by Khmer local people. With the team that have experience in this tourism industry for more than 12 years, we put all our efforts and commitments to arrange and provide all our value customers an unforgettable trip. Customer services and flexibility are our top principles to work in this business. 

“Satisfaction and enjoyment of our customers are also ours, so we will serve them in the level best from our heart and passion”, President of TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel.  

Interested in our packages? Reach us @www.trailtoangkortours.comOur team will respond to you shortly.

Stay tuned for part III, the last part of Siem Reap and Activities blog article! 

Steven Lor, Sales Manager - TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel  

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Archaeological Find Reveals New Side to Life at Angkor

A recent discovery in a rice field in Angkor Archeological Park has enabled experts to shed new light on life in the capital of the Khmer empire a thousand years ago.

The cause of the excitement is not a new temple, but an iron smelting site.

Researcher always believed that Angkor, the vast city whose population may have reached 1 million at some point, obtained its iron for tools, weapons and construction from distant parts of the realm. The new find is making them think again.

Archeologist Im Sokrithy will explain in a conference tonight in Phnom Penh how he and his team discovered an iron smelting site with four furnaces used to melt ore and extract metal right in the middle of Angkor Park.

“What we found confirmed that it was a smelting site and the site was used to produce metal,” he said yesterday.

Which means that in addition to being home to Khmer kings and filled with scores of temples, Angkor may also have included industrial works.

Located in today’s Zone 2—the zone next to the monuments in the park in Siem Reap province—the site of about 4 hectares is now a rice field in Sala Kravan village, Mr. Sokrithy said.

“This is an important discovery to prove that in the capital city…there were some industries located right there and producing metal to supply the capital,” he said.

Preliminary dating of ceramics found as part of the excavation has led his team to believe the site is from the 11th century. Hopefully, further tests next year will prove this, he said. If so, it would mean the smelting site would have been around in an era of gigantic projects, such as the West Baray water reservoir, which spread nearly 8 km long and 2 km wide, and the Baphuon, Angkor’s biggest monument until Angkor Wat was erected in the following century.

Since very little is known about life and activity in the capital when the Khmer dominated the region, evidence of industrial activity would help draw a picture of the city during that era.

An archeologist with Apsara Authority, the government body managing Angkor Park, a World Heritage site — and a lecturer at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh — Mr. Sokrithy conducted excavations at the site in March 2016 and again in January with an Apsara archeologist team, all of them graduates of the university.

The project is supported by Apsara Authority and the Cultural Relationship Study of Mainland Southeast Asia Research Center in Thailand.

Interested in our packages? Reach us @www.trailtoangkortours.com. Our team will respond to you shortly.

TRAILTOAngkortours and Travel – Kingdom of Angkor