“A fish out of water? A traditional man in a modern world”

Siem Reap December 2016 (19 photos)

How does one immerse oneself in the sights, sounds and smells of a country in only a couple of hours?

Siem Reap has numerous markets, each with a different personality/style. The photo above was taken near the largest market, Psar Chas (the Old Market). Frequented by locals but mostly targeted to tourists looking to engage in a bit of haggling and wanting to find a bargain or souvenir. Interesting enough to want to experience but you’ll mainly be mingling with tourists. However there are some very nice pubs and restaurants scattered around this area as well which I can attest to.

But for the real flavour of Cambodian life, what if you could find a busy traditional market that the locals use?

A few days earlier we had driven past a large street market. It was packed with locals and composed of old buildings, outdoor stalls and narrow lanes. I asked my guide about this local market. When he mentioned that he had once taken an Australian Geographic Magazine photographer there who ended up staying for a few hours, I was convinced. I made a mental note to return to this market on my own on my last full day in Siem Reap.

This was a surprise find for me. I didn’t know about this market before arriving in Siem Reap and when I visited it there were no other tourists that I could see. It was a hive of normal daily activity. I watched locals just going about doing their normal shopping, all the while dodging motorbikes which were able to squeeze into gaps between pedestrians you wouldn’t have thought possible.

This little girl couldn’t take her eyes off me. As I mentioned in my earlier post Lost inside Cambodia, children in Cambodia were absolutely fascinated by me.

I just wandered around absorbing the atmosphere of the markets. My camera was busy that day.

Buddhist Monks frequent this market regularly. They lead a frugal life and walk around offering prayers to stall holders in return for a small gratuity.

They simply stand outside the stall and wait. If no-one asks for a blessing they walk away.

A lot of the black dots in the photo above and below are flies. No refrigeration either. Be thankful this isn’t smell-o-vision.

The whole animal is used. Those are intestines hanging on the hooks above the bowl.

I must admit I had hoped to see a Buddhist Monk with an umbrella at some stage during this trip. That got ticked off my to do list at this market. It was a pleasant surprise to meet one up close in this environment.

Another Cambodian child staring at me.

Being in the midst of this market I really did feel like I was lost inside Cambodia.

Are you serious? I’m starting to develop a complex.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Lost inside Cambodia (3)


82 thoughts on “Lost inside Cambodia (3)

  1. J.D. Riso says:

    The kids know a secret agent when they see one. 😎 What a delightful place to spend a few hours. Except for the meat. 🀒

    • Yes, they all see right through me. πŸ™‚

      The market is full of colour and noise. The meat isn’t for everyone but it’s a part of the way of life. Mistakingly, I’d always associated Buddhism with vegetarianism but that isn’t the case in Cambodia.

  2. it is interesting to see, how busy siemreap is in the year 2017. i was ther in 1997, and many things have changed since that time. thanks for this vigorous fotodocumentation!

  3. Give the kids a break! They’ve never seen a dragon before! I bet you didn’t tuck you’re wings away, you insensitive fire breather! Oh…and…felt like I was there with you. Great captures! πŸ™‚

    • Well I guess you can’t blame them. After all, I do put on the full show when I realise they’ve seen me. Fire and all. I think they appreciate it. πŸ˜‰

      Thank you. It was a very colourful passing parade at those markets.

  4. I was also going to say that the children had never seen a live dragon before (or at least a foreign one!) What evocative photos, but I am glad I couldn’t smell anything from the post. πŸ™‚


  5. I lingered here in the local market a long time, Draco. I really enjoyed it so much. When traveling, a local outdoor food market is my favorite place to be. But they can be intimidating, and this one would have been over-stimulating, I think I would have lasted about a quarter hour at the most. So to walk through here with you, closely observing the subtle beauties, the cultural norms, and the staring children, was a true treat.

    • I must admit I was a touch nervous wandering through that environment, observing the frantic pace of life. Every sense was stimulated in abundance. I had hired my tuk-tuk driver for the morning so I knew where the escape was, but in the end 2 hours just flew by. The monks were simply an unexpected bonus and I followed them for a while. This is exactly what I wanted to see, away from the tourist areas. Thanks for coming along for the tour, Jet. Much appreciated.

    • This is real life, not a tourist trap and I am very happy to have found it. We don’t realise how good we have it until visiting places like Cambodia. I was vaccinated for everything imaginable before going there.

      Have a happy Easter, too.

    • Completely agree.

      I’ve deliberately shown the more interesting photos. I have a lot more photos showing mess/rubbish, blood, knives in action and meat/fish offcuts, but decided against showing those.

  6. I really enjoy this market tour. Fresh veggies look so colorful and delicious. The meat market is something else. How did you deal with those motorcycle traffic? I’d be confused… Great photos of the market. πŸ™‚
    Love the expressions of these kids, especially the last one πŸ™‚

    • One woman did wave me away whilst smiling so I gave her a wave and smile back and lowered the camera. Most other people didn’t mind or didn’t notice me. It was so busy there. I was more concerned about being hit by a motorcycle or having my foot run over.

    • Thank you. The temples of Angkor attract a lot of tourists, including monks. You see them everywhere, touring the temples carrying DSLR cameras and on the streets riding motorbikes. It’s an interesting sight. πŸ™‚

      Also there is often a modern temple associated with the ancient temples where local monks can worship.

  7. Amazing find of a market where there are literally no tourists. I reminds me of the countless wet and outdoor markets in Singapore and Malaysia that I went to each weekend growing up. Just the locals doing what they do and living life ad it is. Simple, yet with so much life.

    Perhaps it’s your lens and camera that the children are fascinated with… 😏

    • I think some local knowledge is a big advantage to finding off-the-tourist-trail locations. It was a pleasant experience compared to the tourist markets where every stall holder asks if you want to buy something.

      My camera. That’s a valid alternative explanation but then why didn’t the adults look? I believe it’s my dragon aura – only the innocent eyes of children can see it – that makes them notice me. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      • Very good to know you weren’t harassed by the stall attendants here – then you know you are watched. Doesn’t sound like this entire market was watching you, which is very nice πŸ™‚

        Ah…dragon aura. Maybe you still have that child-like persona in you πŸ˜€

  8. Glad you got to see the monk with the umbrella…I remember in China at a temple of the Shaolin Monks I saw a monk with a mobile phone; now why I thought they wouldn’t have modern technology is beyond me…but I did and I was surprised.

  9. You may not have smellivision, but I could hear those market noises coming through the photos. Those bikes go too fast and too close. Good to know the way out!

  10. Fabulous pictures as always. Speaking of developing a complex, after having so many pictures taken of us in China I start to feel anxious every time a stranger near me pulls out their cell phone.

  11. Wonderful Photos! Hmm, I think sometimes children can sense things we can’t! That could be good! πŸ˜‚ Looking at your photos, I was thinking how neat it would be to have all of that fresh food available — until you got to the meat just hanging in the open air! πŸ™€πŸ˜›

  12. I bet you really enjoyed this market Mr Draco .. I can only imagine the smell. The colours and people going about their day are fabulous! Love your photos .. makes me feel like I have been there with you! Wonder why the kids are so intrigued?

    • I did enjoy being immersed in the daily lives of Cambodians for a while, Julie. It was a very colourful place.

      Why are the children intrigued by me? Some things have to be seen to be believed. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  13. Wow, very different from the market in the city where I live… it seems to be bursting with fabulous colour and freshness that looks so different to what I’m seeing in the UK. The food is making me hungry!! πŸ˜€ Maybe it’s just your brilliant photography, but whatever it is, it’s wonderful to see how people live across many miles. And I love the way the monk very sensibly keeps cool with an umbrella. Haha… useful all weather tool! πŸ˜‰

    • I was so happy to have discovered this place, off the tourist trail, observing people going about their daily lives. The colours, sounds and smells were all encompassing. So very different to what I see back home.

      Umbellas and Monks just seems like a natural pairing. exactly as I’ve seen on TV. πŸ™‚

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