All the sketches from my Cambodia Sketching Trip 2014

I've decided to just put all the sketches here on one page instead of having separate entries for them. I was losing momentum after the third posting. That's quick.

Alright, so here are all the sketches from my 2014 Cambodia trip, which is actually to Siem Reap, Angkor Wat and Tonle Sap only.

Items from my luggage, which is a messenger bag. I like to travel light. I have those dry-fit sports T-shirt that can be washed and dried easily. The packing list is not too different from my Spain sketching trip.

Tonle Sap Chong Kneas Village sketch
The first day was spent at Chong Kneas fishing village of Tonle Sap lake. You can read more here:

Tonle Sap Chong Kneas Village sketch
Fishermen sorting out the catch.

Tonle Sap Chong Kneas Village sketch
There are lots of make-shift wooden tents around the village. Dogs, chickens and children are running around.

Tonle Sap Chong Kneas Village sketch
This is the floating petrol station. The long boat by the side should be carrying the fuel.

Tonle Sap Chong Kneas Village sketch
This was where I had breakfast. It's a house or shopfront in the village. The lady was selling instant noodles plus meat, pork most likely. Anyway, it's a challenging breakfast because there were lots of flies. Every dot you see in the sketch above is a fly. No kidding. Always go for hot food when you're eating there.

Tonle Sap Chong Kneas Village sketch
This is near the entrance of Chong Kneas village. There are lots of tents selling stuff by the side, and in the middle is the dirt and mud road for trucks transporting the fish. Most of the tents or stores sell food items. Most of the activity happens in the early morning before the sun rises.

Children of Tonle Sap
This was drawn at other houses outside of Chong Kneas village. Basically, there's one long road from Siem Reap to Tonle Sap. On both sides of the roads are these houses built on stilts. It's the dry season so the wooden stilts are exposed. When Tonle Sap is in the rainy season, the water can go all the way up to the second or third steps of those staircases.

So these kids were all crowding in front of me as I was trying to draw the houses. There were kids behind me also. I was surrounded. There are lots of kids in Cambodia, not just here.

View outside Amigo Villa hotel at Siem Reap
The view outside my hotel Amigo Villa at Siem Reap. It cost around US$15 per night for a clean room with bed, air con, toilet and breakfast. We booked the hotel though Airbnb. It's a really nice and simple hotel. Great place to rest after a day of walking at the temples.

Visiting Cambodia is very affordable and should definitely be on your list of places to visit if you happen to be in South East Asia.

Angkor Wat sketch during sun set
The amazing Angkor Wat is really challenging to draw because of all the sandstone blocks used for building the temple.

I sketched this during sunset on the first day. If you get the Angkor Park pass for the first day, you can visit the temple during the evening for the sunset and it would not be counted as one day.

When the temple is closing, guards will go around asking people to leave. That should be around 6pm. It gets dark quite quickly and there are no lamps of any kind in the temple so definitely bring a touch light.

Miss Wong bar at Siem Reap
Miss Wong bar at Siem Reap. Drinks are very affordable also.

Breakfast at Amigo Villa
This was breakfast at Amigo Villa. It's pretty good although a bit light.

Bayon at Angkor Thom
So the first day, we visited Tonle Sap and just walked around Siem Reap's town area.

On the second day, we visited Bayon temple located in the centre of Angkor Thom city. There are several temples inside Angkor Thom, and Bayon is possibly the most mysterious. There are supposedly 216 gigantic faces on the numerous temple towers, 4 to each tower. The carving is amazing.

Bayon temple in Angkor Thom
This is up on the higher floors of the temple where you can see the faces up close. There were a lot of tourists. But you won't feel that it's a touristy place because there are no stalls or people selling anything inside this temple, or at the other temples. Stalls have to be outside the temples. The only touristy part would be the part where they had people dressed in Cambodia costumes to take photos with tourists.

Bayon Interpretation Centre
This was drawn outside the Bayon Interpretation Centre.

Near temples, there are usually a lot of sandstone blocks laying around. They could be collapsed blocks or they could be just laying there for whatever reasons. If I had the time, I could spent one whole day just drawing those blocks because I really like the way the light and shadow plays on them.

Lunch under big tree
Lunch was under a big tree located in front of the Terrace of the Leper King. Cambodians seem to like meat and what they serve here were BBQ fish and pork. Vegetarians will find it challenging to visit Cambodia.

Ta Prohm temple sketch
This is the temple Ta Prohm, or more famously known as the temple that appeared in the movie Tomb Raider. You'll see lots of beautiful and gigantic trees here, many of which are strangler figs and can be seen growing on the roofs of the temples with roots coming down all over. It's a sight to behold.

Ta Prohm temple sketch at Tomb Raider tree
This is the famous "Tomb Raider tree". It's a favourite photo taking spot among tourists who would arrive in groups after groups.

To draw this without breaking my neck, I was seated as far away as possible from the tree, on top of the collapsed sandstone blocks with a sculpted wall behind my back.

Ta Prohm temple sketch
This is another area inside the temple. Note the big tree on the right and the size of the people. I love the trees.

All the sketches rendered in just black and white or few colours are those that I had no time to draw. For a sketching or photography trip, I would recommend getting a 7-day Angkor Park pass instead. The 3-day pass is for casual tourists. There's enough for you to see for 7 days so you can imagine the size of the whole place. But generally speaking, people would visit one temple in the morning, go for lunch, and then another in the afternoon. For a 3-day pass, you can cover 6 temples or locations, basically the major places of interests, at a comfortable pace.

With a 7-day pass, you can spend one full day at each of the places to draw or take photos. Enough time to really enjoy the place.

Lounge area at Amigo Villa
Drawn at the lounge area of Amigo Villa while waiting for breakfast.

Angkor Thom sketch
This is the start of the second day and we were at the south entrance of Angkor Thom city. This is where the mini buses, tourists on bicycles, tuk tuks would enter. There are 54 statues on each side of the road. Some of their faces have been weathered to the point where you can't see any facial features. The temples in this region were built in the 12th century.

Baphuon temple sketch
This is Baphuon, just another one of the beautiful temples. There's a long walkway in the centre raised up by pillars. I only had time to draw the front and didn't have time to go into the temple. So I suppose I'll have to go back to Cambodia again in the future.

Big tree BBQ
We had lunch again at the big tree. Remember that the big tree is near the Terrace of the Leper King which is also near the Elephant Terrace which is also near Baphuon and also the Royal Palace below.

There are usually stalls selling food outside the temples. If they are not up to your hygiene standards, you can get the tuk tuk drivers to drive you out of the park to look for better food. If you stay within the park premises, obviously you'll save more time from traveling. Most tour groups leave the temples during lunchtime.

Royal Palace and Phimeanakas temple
Phimeanakas temple.

If you've played the Uncharted series of video games, well, you'll get into the same mood when visiting these old ruined temples. You'll never know what amazing sight you'll discover next.

This is the Gate of Library, as I was told by a small boy there. There was this group of boys going around asking for money, saying they are orphans and they have a donation card in the form of an A4 paper with names of those who have donated. I'm not sure if they were telling the truth or not but I donated US$5.

The US dollar is the widely accepted in Cambodia. There's also the Cambodia dollar which is the Riels. Currently, it's 4000 Riels to US$1. So their 1000 Riels note is like a quarter, $0.25.

This sketch is titled "Trying to use up the Viridian". Viridian is my least favourite colour of my Daniel Smith 10 colour palette. The colour is pale, the paint does not wet well and will suck water from your brush. I just find it difficult to use physically and in the colour theory sort of way.

The blacks are from the Pentel pocket brush. I used it as a dip brush because the cartridge ran out of ink. The cartridge ink does not flow fast so if you do fast strokes, you get the dry brush effect.

Prasat Suor Prat is a series of twelve towers. This is during evening time and the light and shadows are just beautiful.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat.

I saw many people leave when the sky turned blue. Maybe they thought the sun was up. The sun will come up over the temple walls and towers.

Definitely catch the sunrise and sunset at the various temples, not just at Angkor Wat. You can just make do with one sunrise at Angkor Wat if you don't want to wake up so early each day.

These two buildings are suppose to be libraries. I'm not sure if it's the book-kind of library or some other kind of library.

Some scenes around the food stalls in front of Angkor Wat's right side.

Managed to get a sketch of a monk. He was splashing water onto the family. The ceremony was over before I could finish.

The right sketch is a stall selling touristy stuff.

At Angkor Wat, there are also those dressed in traditional Cambodia costumes taking photos with tourists. It's not free. And I did not manage to finish this sketch as they walked off, maybe for lunch.

Another interesting thing to note is there are lots of stones piled onto each other in Angkor Wat and the other temples.

Preah Khan sketch
Preah Khan is another temple with beautiful trees.

Preah Khan sketch
This is inside the Preah Khan temple. I like this view but it's an extremely challenging to draw because the area is quite tight. There are four doorways, one of them is blocked by collapsed bricks.

Going on the tuk tuk is the best way to get around to the temples and different parts of Siem Reap. Charges are around US$15-20 for a full day booking, more for further places. Angkor Park is only around a 30 minutes or less drive from Siem Reap town centre.

So if you're sharing 4 person to one tuk tuk. That's only $5 per person.

View outside Amigo Villa
This is another view from Amigo Villa, from the ground level.

I was trying to fill up the pages of my A5 landscape sketchbook. Since the book had 80 pages, I gave myself a quota of 20 pages (or 10 spreads) a day. It's quite an intensive sketching trip.

This was sketched at Khmer Kitchen Restaurant. The food is good, more expensive than the local street food but still very affordable. And this was the last sketch I drew.

Generally speaking, food there is affordable. A can of Coca Cola is around $0.50 to $1. Food is maybe $1.50 to $3. A 1.5 litre mineral bottle is $0.50. So you can actually get by with just US$10 for food each day.

I'll probably go back to Siem Reap again.



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