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Bokor hill station was a resort built in the early twenties of last century for the French colonial settlers in Cambodia. It was conveniently located to escape the heat and humidity of the capital Phnom Penh.
In 9 months 900 lives were lost while building the place. The centerpiece was the grand palace hotel and casino, complemented by shops, a post office (now demolished), a church and the Royal Apartments.
In the early seventies the place was abandoned as the Khmer rouge took over the area and it remained one of their last strongholds. Now it’s a ghosttown that is covered in clouds for most part of the day.
Bokor Hill station can best be visited by renting a motorbike in Kampot heading west over NH3 then continue the very decripit road (it’s an adventure) uphill.
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Angkor, in Cambodia’s northern province of Siem Reap, is one of the most important archaeological sites of Southeast Asia. A Unesco world heritage site, it extends over 400 square kilometres and contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations.
With over two million visitors each year, what strikes me most is that Angkor can still give the traveler a true explorer’s feel. Of course taking your time and going well off the main trails helps a lot. I rented a bike for three days to explore the huge area. To get kinda lost and be fully alone amidst ruins peeping from underneath the centuries old trees. immersed in the mystical atmosphere…
Angkor, the largest religious monument in the world was recently in the news because people regularly lower their pants for nude pictures. They might very well have confused Angkor with the temples of Khajuraho in India, where the sexual practices at the time are depicted rather vividly.
The Isis temple of Philae sits on a small island in the river Nile near the city of Aswan in southern Egypt. It’s a major tourist attraction, and as it goes with the Egyptian destinations, they are not necessarily tailored to a solo traveler like me. This I realised once again as I saw one after another tour group embarking on the boats to the island. And these are not even the people staying on the big ships cruising the river Nile. I was lucky enough though to hitch a ride to Philae.
The Isis temple used to be located on another island but along with the inundation of the Aswan dam the temple and many monuments were recovered and repositioned on Philae and if you didn’t know you wouldn’t really notice.
Upon entering the temple’s interiors the atmosphere coming off the walls is pretty special, the murals soak you into the ancient world, a time long gone but in a curious way it feels as if it’s the present moment. I was lucky enough to be alone in certain places, also when face to face with a little bird in a hole in the wall who caught my attention for minutes at a time. Gazing into each other’s eyes, I received a nourishing transmission of some sorts…
There is a tremendous amount of stories surrounding Isis ranging from the mainstream legends and fables we are being taught in school. Then there is the more esoteric notion of the mystery schools of Isis of which Mary magdalene and Jesus the Christ might ‘ve been initiates. The goddess Isis is also connected to profound cosmology, associated with specific planets aligned to the ancient world.
No matter what might ring true to your inner ears, here’s the invitation to receive the power encoded in the murals of the collages below…
Even though Isis was the main deity venerated here, there were also shrines dedicated to the Hathors, multi-dimensional, extra-terrestrial beings who have been associated with numerous ancient civilisations of the past and most recently with ancient Egypt. (photo above)
‘Isis & Osiris’, available in Stino Select
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Imagine yourself immersed in the warm turquoise carribean water less than two hours after landing in Cancun, Mexico. Just a little further south from the overrun beach town Playa del Carmen, Tulum offers a more laid back feel and is quieter and still has enough bars offering you your happy drinks during the happy hours.