Sometimes my fruit hunting adventures take me to really interesting places, not just really interesting durian.
Only 600 meters away in Cambodia rests the Preah Vihear Temple, a 1,100 year old ruin preserved by its remote location.
Despite Thailand and Cambodia’s ongoing border disputes, for years it was possible to hop over the border to Preah Vihear from Thailand instead of making the 4 hour journey from Siem Reap. That changed in 2011 when the uneasy peace dissolved into a long-range artillery duel that killed soldiers and civilians on both sides and damaging some parts of the temple.
Now the cliff-top is a strange mix of Buddhist pilgrimage site and and military encampment. Huge coils of barbed wire snake through the golden statues and sandbags are everywhere, as are friendly and rather bored Thai soldiers. Someone hauled a television set up there, and as I peered at Preah Vihear through a pair of provided binoculars, the soldiers drank coffee and guffawed at a Thai drama.
Despite the military paraphernalia, I felt completely safe. Maybe it was the families milling around snapping photos of themselves in front of the stunning view over Cambodia, or the presence of my gracious hosts from the Sisaket Department of Agriculture.
All in all a strange experience but lovely experience, and worth it just to catch another glimpse of Cambodia.
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