Archive for April, 2011

Cross-border conflict

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The cross-border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia has seen both countries suffer fatalities during fighting in two different locations in the past week. Last weekend the friction was in northwest Cambodia around the Ta Muen Thom and Prasat Krabey temples, some 70kms northwest of the tourist attraction of the 13th century Banteay Chhmar temple.

Yesterday the conflict spread to the larger World Heritage temple of Preah Vihear, in northern Cambodia, where the most recent fighting between the border troops last took place in February. Whilst the sporadic clashes continue, up to 25,000 Cambodian civilians have been displaced from their villages and are received aid and shelter from government agencies. Similar numbers have been recorded on the Thai side of the border area as well.

The main border crossing between the two countries at Poipet/Aranyaprathet remains open for the time being though two smaller crossings have been closed at O’Smach and Choam.

The problems are occurring well away from the main tourist centers of Siem Reap and Battambang in the northern half of Cambodia and will not affect anyone heading for those locations. If the situation changes, we will keep you informed.

Update: Local commanders along the disputed border have agreed a ceasefire and although it broke down temporarily on Friday and Saturday, its expected to stem the serious exchanges until the countries can get together for more detailed talks to placate the situation. The sooner the better for the 45,000 villagers displaced by the fighting on the Cambodian side of the border and the 50,000 on the Thai side.

Border clashes resume

Monday, April 25th, 2011

The border clashes between Cambodia and Thailand have flared up again over the past weekend. With sporadic fighting between the two countries centering around the World Heritage site of Preah Vihear on previous occasions, this new outbreak was in the northwest of Cambodia, about 70 kilometres from the ancient temple of Banteay Chhmar. Both armies have suffered fatalities during the four days of shelling and gun-battles, with tens of thousands of civilians evacuated to safety from villages on both sides of the border. The international community has called for restraint by both countries and two international border crossings at O’Smach and Choam have been temporarily closed until tensions ease. The main border crossing with Thailand at Poipet remains open for the time being.

Happy New Year

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

It’s that time of year when historically the harvesting season ends and the farmers enjoy the fruits of their labours before the rainy season arrives. It’s Chnam Thmei in Cambodia and Bpee Mai in Laos, or New Year.

It’s a three-day celebration, beginning in Laos on 13th April and in Cambodia a day later. For the Khmers, it means family gatherings, usually in their homeland, visits to the pagoda to pay respects to their ancestors, eating special foods and playing traditional Khmer games. In Laos, water is a big part of it, to clean the home, and to throw over your friends, so be prepared for a soaking.

Hanuman would like to take this opportunity to wish every one of our friends in Laos and Cambodia, a Happy New Year.

Flight schedules

Monday, April 4th, 2011

The increasing number of flights to and from Cambodia will undoubtedly help to enhance the country as a destination in its own right as well as linking to other Asian countries in the region. The first Air France flight from Paris touched down in Phnom Penh last week for the first time in more than 35 years and it’s hoped it will be the first of many. The Air France schedule from Paris to Phnom Penh, via Bangkok, departs from Paris at 1930 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving in Cambodia’s capital at 1430 the next day. The return flight from Phnom Penh to Paris will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, leaving at 2005 and arriving in Paris Charles de Gaulle at 0605.

The recently-started Myanmar Airways flights between Siem Reap and Yangon in Myanmar are operating on Wednesday and Saturday from Myanmar, leaving Yangon at 0900 and landing at Siem Reap at 1110. In the opposite direction, flights depart Siem Reap on Wednesday and Saturday at 1210 and land in Myanmar at 1320.

On a totally unrelated topic, the legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan is playing in Vietnam for the first time on 10 April at the 8,000-capacity RMIT university stadium in Ho Chi Minh City. Dylan was famous for his anthemic songs during the Vietnam/American War in the 1960s. His songs “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin” were inspirations for the American civil rights and anti-war movements. Admission prices start at $43 per ticket. As part of Dylan’s Asian tour, he will also be performing in China for the first time as well.