VA Goes To Cambodia
Travelling can be an essential part of personal development. It serves as an opportunity to change our way of thinking, lifestyle, and cultivate character and personality.
For architects, travelling is a chance to widen perspectives and be inspired by masterpieces created by people from different layers of time.
At Visionarch, annual trips within and outside the country are held to give employees learning experiences past the confines of the office. As such, a three-day respite in picturesque Cambodia was held last March 11-13, 2016
Day 01 – Siem Reap, Cambodia
The first leg of the trip took place in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The group visited one of the important archaeological sites in South-East Asia – the Angkor Archaeological Park. It houses the remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. A local Cambodian guide named Tony brought the group to the impressive monuments of Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Phrom.
The temple of Angkor Wat is the earthly representation of Mt Meru, the Mt Olympus of the Hindu faith, and the abode of the ancient gods. It is believed to be the world’s largest religious structure and is an exceptional model of proportion, composition and sculpture in architecture.
Standing at the exact center of the walled city of Angkor Thom, Bayon represents the intersection of heaven and earth. The temple boasts of stone carved towers with faces of Avalokiteshvara. The curious smiling image has been dubbed by some as the “Mona Lisa of Southeast Asia.”
Ta Phrom popularly known as the Tomb Raider temple is a quiet and sprawling monastery that has been partially cleared of overgrowth. Huge trees and strangler figs grow over and through the buildings showing the dynamic interaction between nature and man-made art.
From the layout to the bas relief and sculptures that adorn the structures, the Angkor Archaeological Park exemplifies cultural, religious and symbolic values as well as high architectural, archaeologic, and artistic significance.
Day 02 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
A five-hour bus ride to Phnom Penh commenced the second day of the tour. Situated at the junction of Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, Phnom Penh was the hub for both the Khmer Empire and French colonialists.
Along the walkable riverfront, a set of golden roof and spires mark the approach to the Royal Palace. The palace complex located at the heart of the city built during 1860s, consists of diverse structures, buildings and tropical gardens. Within its grounds lay a variation of large and small scale structures of halls, stupas and temples. Extraordinarily intricate details cover the majority of the building’s surface
The next destination sets the whole trip apart from the other attractions. It is a memorial not for the gods & kings, but for those who perished during the Khmer Rouge. Choeung Ek is a historic place in Phnom Penh and stands as a reminder of the atrocities faced by the masses of Cambodia. The “Killing Fields” as it is commonly known is marked by a Buddhist stupa with glass walls and its center filled with skulls
Day 03 – Siem Reap, Cambodia
Aside from the scheduled visit to temples and historical sites, the group also had the opportunity to explore Cambodia on their own. From roaming the streets, to indulging themselves with local and exotic food, and going through the day and night markets, everyone was able to engage in Cambodia’s way of life.
Discovering Cambodia’s through its built environment highlighted the importance of embracing heritage and making it a leverage to the future. From sightseeing to interacting with the locals, approaching diverse situations with curiosity and an open mind become second nature. The architectural trip unquestionably provided a learning experience that lead to mindfulness and a fresh perspective on life.