I did not really plan to get to Preah Vihear but I was misdirected and I was lucky enough to meet again Cambodian Easy Riders in Sra Am.
Preah Vihear are the Khmer ruins on the Cambodia and Thailand border and for many years Thailand and Cambodia is arguing for the ownership. In 2008 it was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which caused some increase tension in this spot including some shooting and military troops movement.
Prahat is situated on the top of the hill and Lisu does not really like climbing hills. I still can not get used to it, but here is flat as the table, and then suddenly the hill starts. So we biked with Lisu to the base of the hill and than I hiked to the top. On the way I was astonished to come across an abandoned gun in the bunker pointed into direction of Thailand. There were no soldiers around, so if any one would be crazy, he could grab this gun and start shooting!!!
Child of the soldier.
After another five minutes of hike we come across camps of soldiers and those solderers were accompanied with.... their families. Many children were running around in the soldiers uniforms imitating their fathers behavior.
Soldiers were also very proud from their their "toys" and they were very happy to show us the big gun for Thai airplanes.
Now there is not a serious tension on this border, we were also shown the No Men's Land -the land between the Cambodian sand bags and Thai sand bags,
and we could see the Thai solders on the other side. Strangely enough on the way back, on the Cambodian side, we came across the Thai soldiers coming back from the main road to Thailand. So I guess now it is really peaceful place and the army is just to show off the power.
Prahat itself is a beautiful located ruins, but for me I was most astonishes with the soldiers surrounding of the Prahat.
On the way back from the mountains I came across the Cambodian Tank unit. The soldiers were again camping with all their families, and they were very happy to show me their tank, and were very happy that I took a photo of them and no one really asked for any money. And I had a feeling that if my dream would be to drive a tank it could have been possible to arrange for 10 or 20$. But I prefer much more to ride on Lisu than to drive a tank....
No Men's Land
No Men's Land
Big gun against Thai planes.
In the evening I had a opportunity to see how the Cambodian people (who most of them were soldiers or were working for the army) were parting. At the main square there was a disco and dart game. One payed 0.25$ for one dart, but it was enough to break one balloon with the dart to get one beer and for 2 or 3 punched balloons one received the bottle of liqueur. I stayed with a beer. My successes rate was 50% so I was able to win cheaper the beer in darts than buying a can in the store :)
There was also a disco place with very loud music were initially five young girls were dancing and trying to encourage Cambodian to join them. And after some time when the Cambodian had enough beer and liqueur they paid for the entrance to the disco and they started to dance. The disco was surrounded with the wire fence. The surprising thing was that inside the disco everyone was dancing, outside there was no one dancing just watching the dancing people. Unfortunately some
of the soldiers were a bit aggressive towards the girls that had to dance with them. Partially this was the alcohol was the reason, luckily the girls knew how to handle those guys.