I’ve been putting off writing about our visit to Kompong Luong, a large floating village on Tonlé Sap Lake in Cambodia. Maybe it’s because I was somewhat uncomfortable being there. Also, my knowledge about the community is poor, so I feel ill-equipped to write about it. And, my photos, taken in the bright glare of midday, look as washed-out as I felt. Nevertheless, as I think back at our short time at Kompong Luong it was one of our more unique travel experiences. Imagine, a community of over 1000 families largely dependent on fishing, where everything floats: temples, markets, clinics, restaurants, a police station, even a karaoke bar…Sadly, it and other communities on the Tonlé Sap face major problems. Continue reading
I have raved about this hike in summer and now I’m going to sing its praises in winter. The snowy mountain scenery along the Elfin Lakes trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park, near Squamish, British Columbia, is stunning. Hiking it on a windstill day, under a cerulean sky is pure happiness for me. It’s still early in 2018, but our hike to Elfin Lakes and overnight at its backcountry shelter may well turn out to be the highlight of my year. Continue reading
There is one silver lining to the incessant rainfall in Vancouver: snow in the mountains, and lots of it! A couple of weeks ago, Whistler had 79 cm (31 inches) within 24 hours. Our local mountains too, just a 15 minute drive from my rain-soaked abode, have piles of the white stuff. This makes me very happy! During the last few weeks I’ve snowshoed at Whistler’s Callaghan Valley and on the North Shore mountains, in West Vancouver’s Cypress Provincial Park. They were very different experiences, from trailblazing in hip-deep snow to a gentle jaunt in a winter wonderland. Continue reading
Better late than never as I finally continue writing about our travels in Cambodia. Today I’m reminiscing about Kampot, a quirky, unhurried town that sits on the banks of Praek Tuek Chhu River in southern Cambodia. Other than some interesting excursions in the surrounding countryside, there’s not much to do in Kampot itself. And that was just perfect. After the intensity of Phnom Penh, it felt good to just be, and not to do. In this post, I describe some of my favourite things about Kampot. They may not sound very exciting, but they hold sweet memories and remind me that slow, easy days of simply absorbing a new place can be just as rewarding as visiting big name attractions. Continue reading
January can be a bit of a letdown after the merriment of Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s celebrations. A few nights ago, I was thrilled to get another festive jolt at the Vancouver Chinese Lantern Festival. Lantern displays featuring everything from giant dragons to smiling trees light up the night sky at the Pacific National Coliseum (PNE) complex. The holidays have come and gone for many of us, but this festive event runs through January 21. The bonus: no holiday traffic, parking issues and crowds to contend with. Continue reading
One of our favourite days in Cambodia was spent on a bike tour run by local students through the villages and markets around Battambang. It felt good to stretch our legs, get a glimpse of rural Cambodia and be in the company of young folks. We pedalled through the peaceful countryside, stopping at small villages that retain traditional Cambodian livelihoods. It was a fun and hands-on day. I even learned to make rice paper wrappers (well…sort of).
Before visiting Cambodia, I had no idea that there was more to Angkor Wat than Angkor Wat! The largest religious monument in the world is just the big daddy of over a thousand temples spread across 400 sq. km in the Angkor complex (Angkor Archaeological Park). In my last post I wrote about our first day at Angkor, on a cycling tour that included visits to the most popular temples: the busy “big three”—Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Ta Prohm. Our next two days, now via tuk-tuk, took us to temples a little further afield. While they may lack the grandeur of Angkor Wat, our overall experience was perhaps even grander. Continue reading