Angkor Wat in Siem Reap was so massive and so incredible that it was challenging to capture it all! If you are going to Cambodia, this is a must see place. We spent a couple of days walking around the massive complex and going around to all the temples. Angkor Wat is still a little under the radar for Americans, but it's the largest spiritual place on earth.
For $20 a day, you can hire a tuk tuk to take you around to all the temples within the complex. He will drop you off and wait for you while you go in and look around. Entrance fees are around $40. It's very "un-official." Just go out into the street and flag someone down driving a tuk tuk. Tell them you want a tour guide, and they will be happy to do so.
Phnom Penh and Battambang
One of my goals for traveling to as many Asian countries as possible was to sort out the differences between them. Reading something or watching a show doesn't do it for me. I have to see it and feel it for myself. All these countries triggered different emotions for me and I wasn't expecting that. In Cambodia, I felt deeply empathetic. The air was heavy in Cambodia, the moral felt low. Something about this country felt a little desperate and sad. Their history has such triumphs and sadness that has left its citizens in confusion and without much cultural identity.
Behind the Scenes of Laura Mam
One of the main reasons that brought me to Cambodia was Laura Mam and her ambitious desire to re-ignite the need for original arts and cultural identity. During the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s and 1980s, all artists were murdered and the country lost around 1/3 of their population. The effects of this genocide has still not recovered. Laura is Cambodian American, and in her 20s, moved to Phnom Penh to start an artistic revolution in the music scene. She has started a collective of musicians that produce original music. In the US, we take our music industry for granted: high quality studio production, concert production and high quality music videos. We place value on our artistic integrity. In Cambodia, not so much. Karaoke has been widely popular. It's cheap and easy, but not sustainable for the progression of culture and identity. What Laura and her collective of artists are doing has never been done before. On tour for a couple of days with Laura, I've become truly inspired. I believe in the big picture of what she is trying to do for her country and for her roots. She's incredibly eloquent, a leader and extremely passionate. I can't wait to share the documentary that we filmed about her while we were there!
These are just a few behind the scene photos of her getting ready for the concert and on the tour bus from Phnom Penh to Battambang.