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Phnom Kulen Travel Blog

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Breakfast at the Lotus Lodge.

We were up early today at 6:30 AM. We were heading out for a trekking in order to get to know each other a bit better before we would start working on two houses of disabled families. But not before having breakfast at the Lotus Lodge! I opted for a very tasty noodle soup, which should be good fuel for today's 21 km of walking. Yes, you read that correctly. After driving for 1,5 hour we would be dropped off at the foot of Phnom Kulen (Kulen Mountain), north east of Siem Reap. We would have to climb up 470 meters and continue our way across the plateau. Some of my fellow trekkers were seriously worried about this task, but having done trekkings in Nepal, Ladakh and Laos I wasn't too daunted about it all.

Stocking up for the trekking.

After stocking up on water and snacks we left the hotel at 7:45. In the bus on the way to Phnom Kulen one of the two Rith's in our trekking staff told us some interesting details about Cambodia in general and the mountain specifically. Phnom Kulen is considered the most sacred mountain in Cambodia. In 802 Jayavarman II proclaimed himself a god-king here, declaring independence and thereby created modern-day Cambodia.
When we arrived at the mountain we were given a briefing by Dave before heading off. Besides the 15 volunteers (2 were arriving in Siem Reap after the trekking) there were also a doctor (Brett), MAG event manager (Steve) and three trekking guides (Rith (1), Rith (2) and Jam) present. The 20 of us walked up the the foot of the mountain and started climbing. Before long we were in the jungle making our way up rocks and sandy paths.

Rith (1) telling us about Phnom Kulen.
When we finally arrived at the top of the plateau we were all but exhausted. Continuing along the way we eventually arrived at a village where a truck with delicious packed lunches was waiting for us.

After the lunch break we continued our way for the second half of the trekking. We passed a village where Rith (2) let us sample some locally distilled rice wine and eventually we arrived at a temple that housed an enormous reclining Buddha which was carved from the sandstone upon which the temple that houses it was built. While we enjoyed the breathtaking views across the plateau from the temple a monk was kind enough to get the key to the door so we could admire the big Buddha. From here on it was a short walk to our camp for tonight, located next to the Kulen waterfall. Tents for each individual volunteer had been set up and we were welcomed with some refreshing fruit juice.

One of the MAG busses.
After a long sweaty day the best of all was taking a shower under the waterfalls. My obligatory travelling mishap happened when I stepped into a hole hidden beneath the water and I hurt my lower leg. Later on someone mentioned that I had blood on my trousers and the wound had indeed been bleeding. Fortunately we had a doctor present that would examine my wound - which wasn't all that big but had indeed been bleeding quite a lot - the next morning. Our dinner consisted of spring rolls, frying meat and fish on a hot pot comparable to the ones I had in Nepal and Laos and some tasty fruit. Everybody was knackered so by 10 PM we all retired to our tents, falling asleep to the soothing sound of the waterfall. Life can be quite fulfilling at times. ;-)

Biedjee says:
Damn you for stealing the title of one of my blog entries! (as obvious a choice it may be)
Posted on: Dec 02, 2010
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Breakfast at the Lotus Lodge.
Breakfast at the Lotus Lodge.
Stocking up for the trekking.
Stocking up for the trekking.
Rith (1) telling us about Phnom Ku…
Rith (1) telling us about Phnom K…
One of the MAG busses.
One of the MAG busses.
Map of the area, with Phnom Kulen …
Map of the area, with Phnom Kulen…
The trekking briefing. From left t…
The trekking briefing. From left …
At the trekking briefing, with Dr.…
At the trekking briefing, with Dr…
Phnom Kulen.
Phnom Kulen.
Starting the trekking.
Starting the trekking.
Trekking up Phnom Kulen.
Trekking up Phnom Kulen.
During the trekking.
During the trekking.
Tina refreshing at a spring.
Tina refreshing at a spring.
Trekking on the plateau.
Trekking on the plateau.
Dont worry, its not a landmine,…
'Don't worry, it's not a landmine…
At a local village.
At a local village.
Thats not a lunch! Thats dinner!
That's not a lunch! That's dinner!
Lunch break.
Lunch break.
At the lunch stop.
At the lunch stop.
Martina and Rith (2) sampling the …
Martina and Rith (2) sampling the…
Ed trekking.
Ed trekking.
A short break.
A short break.
At the temple of the reclining Bud…
At the temple of the reclining Bu…
Rith (1) explaning the linga and y…
Rith (1) explaning the linga and …
View from the temple.
View from the temple.
Monk at Phnom Kulen.
Monk at Phnom Kulen.
Huge reclining Buddha.
Huge reclining Buddha.
The head of the reclining Buddha.
The head of the reclining Buddha.
At the head of the reclining Buddh…
At the head of the reclining Budd…
The temple of the reclining Buddha.
The temple of the reclining Buddha.
A warm (make that hot!) welcome at…
A warm (make that hot!) welcome a…
The camp site restaurant.
The camp site restaurant.
The Kulen waterfalls.
The Kulen waterfalls.
Sharing hobbies with Martina.
Sharing hobbies with Martina.
Hot-pot for dinner.
Hot-pot for dinner.
Helen and the hot pot.
Helen and the hot pot.
My room for tonight.
My room for tonight.
Phnom Kulen
photo by: edsander