Angkor Wat Replica in India?

Today, the news about Angkor Wat replica in India spread over internet and it becomes a very hot topic among Cambodian internet users.

According to BBC news website, a Hindu trust in eastern state of Bihar in India has already started building a bigger and taller replica of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple.

The project costs about USD 20 million and will cover on the land of 16 hectare (40 acre). It will spend up to 10 years to finish the whole Angkor Wat replica. The builders of the project stated that it will be the world’s largest Hindu temple when completed.

Questions are raised over this surprising news. Why they don’t build a new one instead of building Angkor Wat replica? Is it possible that they can build another Angkor Wat which will be bigger in size, and taller in height than the original one?

Looking at the budget spending on the replica, USD 20m sounds not enough. I don’t know what materials they will use to build the temple. The news reported that the trust plans to recreate the temple’s huge structure and elaborate stone carvings so the main material must be stone.

It sounds even more impossible to build replica of Angkor Wat huge structure from stone with USD 20m.

I guess it would costs hundreds millions of dollar to build this mega-structure temple and elaborate fine stone carvings like original Angkor Wat.

The replica will occupy only 16 hectare while the original Angkor Wat takes up to about 140 hectare. I can say that they can build a bigger one but only the central temple. The replica will lose many features of original Angkor Wat temple including libraries, moat, outer enclosed wall, and bridge.

Angkor Wat has been rebuilt as a small-size replica in many countries such as China and Thailand and it is not the first time that a foreign country builds it in a big scale.

France also used to build the replica of Angkor Wat on 1/1 scale for its Colonial Expo in 1931 but it could only build the central temple. Even though, France managed to build it in real scale the result was incomparable with the original.

It is good that India is trying to honour our Angkor Wat by building this replica but I find it’s not necessary.

They could build new temple to dedicate to their god instead of Angkor Wat in their own architecture style which looks very different from Cambodian architecture.

For me, even if they could build it, it will not affect the fame of our Angkor since the replica will not include many important features I mentioned above.

They just build the main structure in a bigger size and I don’t think they can make stone carving as fine as the real Angkor Wat.

In contrast, People who see the replica will want to see the real one so it will help boost the growth of tourists coming from India to Cambodia.

And how about you? How do you think about this story?

20 Beautiful Photos From Cambodia That You Might Not Have Seen Yet

This is my regular collection, when I found a nice photo of Cambodia, I add to my list. These are not taken by me, but by various tourists and photographers that have been to Cambodia.

These photos are rarely and you might not find any similar to these beautiful photos. I try to add details description and attribute to the original photographer as much as I can. If any of these are your work, and you want to have more description or any link back to your work, I would be happy to add.

Enjoy !

1. Days’ end (Cambodia) by nabilkannan

A boat, resting, on the banks of the Mekong River, outside Phnom Penh, Cambodia

2. Phnom Penh – Beaux Arts Cambodia by Marco Paoluzzo

3. Children of the lake (Cambodia) by maapu

Cambodia’s Great Lake, the Boeung Tonle Sap (Tonle Sap Lake)
In the wet season, the Tonle Sap Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia, swelling to an expansive 12,000 km2.
The Lake is an important commercial resource, providing more than half of the fish consumed in Cambodia.

In harmony with the specialized ecosystems, the human occupations at the edges of the lake is similarly distinctive – floating villages, towering stilted houses, huge fish traps, and an economy and way of life deeply intertwined with the lake, the fish, the wildlife and the cycles of rising and falling waters.

4. Welcome to Cambodia! by Darrell Neo

Siem Reap, Cambodia
Opposite Silk Weaving Institute.
Vertical Panorama, 3 Exposure HDR (-2, 0, +2) x2, Photomerge and Post processed with Photoshop.

This is my 1st trip with Crossing Bridges. (A Regional Photography Communities) 5th year presently. Involving Photographers from countries like, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia. This was taken on the 1st day of the trip. An awesome 6 days photography trip with 50 talented photographers from South East Asia.

5. Phnom Kulen, Cambodia by Frank Spee

Tried something else for a change. This group of monks decided to take a dip near the waterfall at Phnom Kulen, Cambodia. Got some sneak shots and closeups of their robes and compiled it into this. Hope you like it. I think the thick blue haze contrasts nicely with the saturated oranges.

6. Postcards From Cambodia by Jon Sheer

Boys playing volleyball in the Tonle Sap River, Kampung Phluk stilt village, Cambodia.

7. Operation Breakfast completed – Battambang, Cambodia by Maciej Dakowicz

Cambodia, April 2004

8. Cambodia Lafforgue by Eric Lafforgue

dancer of the national ballet, Phnom Penh Cambodia. They are not very talkative…it’s after 2 hours of shooting that i discovered they mainly spoke french…

9. The Burning Sun in Cambodia by Trey Ratcliff

I’ve never sweat as much in my life as I did while exploring the remote parts of Cambodia. This temple was about an hour by sketchy motorbike outside of Siem Reap. There was absolutely no shade anywhere, since the only parts of the temple that remained standing offered no cover at all!

10. Angkor .. Cambodia by Nicholas Kenrick

11. Angkor Wat, Cambodia by John Paul Endicott

Spring 2007
What can you say about Cambodia? It defies description and humbles each new visitor. The temple site was crumbling before our eyes. To have the chance to capture the sculptures and carvings before they crumble in to dust was a great honor. Visit Cambodia- not just for the sites- but for the people!

12. Boat Boy Sunset (Cambodia) by nabilkannan

If you are ever at the Lakeside at Phnom Penh around sunset, make sure you pay these boys to take you to the middle of the lake for an awesome view.

13. “Why are these Houses on Stilts?” Cambodia, Kampong Kleng by Christopher Schoenbohm

Why are these houses on stilts? This area, known as Kampong Kleng is prone to monsoon floods. This road is actually under water during the monsoon season. These people all make their living from fishing. Two months from now this place will look nothing like the photo. I’ve written a bit about my trip to Kampong Kleng below. The place is spectacular. Mr. Ta, who has a great eye for photography noticed the clouds above and I jumped out of the car to take a quick photo. I love the cloud formation in the background. Cambodia has numerous thunderheads that build up in the afternoon as a result of the midday heat.

14. Cyclos, Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Jérémie Montessuis

15. Cambodia:Siem Reap : Rice field by Frederic Poirot

2 days in Angkor/Siem Reap, Cambodia

This picture was taken from the bumping taxi, on the way to some temples. I was very interested by the resigned attitude of the man walking the field.

16. Sunlight in the market of Phnom Penh, Cambodia by Jerome Lorieau

17. CAMBODIA – Countryside by MASSIMO

18. Beautiful Life in Cambodia by OPERAHIDUP PHOTOGRAPHY

19. Web maker by Frederic Poirot

“On candystripe legs spiderman comes
Softly through the shadow of the evening sun
Stealing past the windows of the blissfully dead”
The Cure, Lullaby

20. Days in Cambodia by morena

My Tutu driver (3861) was a silent boy. In the last day of the whole 4 days’ journey, we had some conversation.
His father died during the Cambodia civil war when he was just born. He also told me he married, and his wife has been pregnant for 5 months.

When I returned Shanghai, I recommended 3861 to my freinds. They went to Camboida 5 months later. Then I saw the picture of the new baby.

Best wishes…

Ethical products in Cambodia

This week I’m in Cambodia and it is a total surprise. Like most Asian countries, Cambodians are intrinsically ‘green’ in their daily lives, so there is a fair amount of biodegradable products around. While I am mostly in Siem Reap, which is small town near the Angkor Wat Temples; it gives me a good insight into Cambodian life.

Most of the people who live here, are rice farmers and in addition to growing rice they also grow their own vegetables and fish in one of the three large lakes in Siem Reap. They hardly use any pesticides or fertilizers in their cultivation, so their diet is mostly organic and fresh.

Much like in other parts of Asia – general packaging material is made of all-natural products. Their most famous dish called amok is steamed in a banana leaf cup and usually eaten straight out of it. They also have a street snack made with sticky rice stuffed with plantain, wrapped with banana leaf and roasted – the leaf not only acts as flavour but also biodegradable packaging.

I also saw excellent quality Cambodian silk for sale which is hand-spun and dyed with organic dyes. I bought a couple of paintings from a women’s co-op here and they came wrapped with a rattan tube which again is hand-woven and biodegradable. There is no end to the innovative use of natural materials not just in Cambodia but also in the rest of Asia.

The Cambodians are skilled artisans and anyone who has visited here, will know this. However, a lot of their craft-work is wood based with leads to deforestation. Cambodia has one of the largest rates of deforestation mostly in part due to subsistence use for firewood etc but the high-quality wood is also illegally logged for export.

Although the town of Siem Reap has a fair amount of forest cover, the rapid development to support the tourism industry is putting strains on its natural resources. Ethical consumerism within places like Cambodia is easy enough because a lot of the arts and crafts are hand-made by artisans. The biggest impact as a tourist visiting Cambodia is the place you choose to stay in.

A number of hotels, guest-houses etc have come up to accommodate tourists and agricultural land is being converted into these developments. The people here have a better quality of life than other parts of Cambodia but with growing environmental degradation, it is only a matter of time before that is affected. In the face of abject general poverty in Cambodia, only talking about environmental awareness is not going to solve the pressing socio-enviro problems.

Angkor Wat is Part of What Makes Tourism the 1 Industry in Cambodia

As we flew into Siem Reap, Cambodia, our tour guide prepared us for the dramatic differences between Cambodia and Viet Nam. In Viet Nam, you see economic progress everywhere, new buildings going up, hustle and bustle in the shops and its cities are bursting with energy. In Cambodia, not so much.

There is a lot of poverty in Siem Reap, and much of it is surrounded by hotels. Tourism is the number one industry. The average salary in Siem Reap is $2 a day but tourists can easily drop $500 a night at a hotel. Hotels are ubiquitous. The currency in Cambodia is the Riel, but it’s practically worthless. That’s why whenever we received change from anybody it was in new bills. Nobody uses it. The U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere.

The food we were served was very similar to the food in Viet Nam except even more watered down for the tourists. I asked for a bowl of diced hot peppers, and that’s probably what made me sick. I lasted all of 2 days before hitting the bed and staying there.

I did manage to pull my head up and get into a tuk-tuk (a carriage attached to a motor bike) with my husband to do a fast tour of Angkor Wat, because for some reason, it was scheduled for day 3 of our tour instead of day one.

We had a guide in Siem Reap, too, who was delightful, Mr. Ing. You know how some people can take a boring subject and make it interesting, while other people can take an interesting subject and make it boring? We had a tour guide in Hoi An who ended every sentence with “yeah.” She barked orders at us like a drill sergeant. She was also very difficult to understand and demanded that we listen to her long boring stories about facts that were probably very interesting but it was lost on me. Mr. Ing made the stories about the temples in Siem Reap fascinating. Except I was too sick to pay attention.

Here is a photo of the Ta Prohm Temple. Many of these temple ruins are located in dense jungle that had been cleared out by early archaeologists. This temple was built in 1186. In the photo below, you can see the tree roots of the Kymer Spoong tree with the wandering tendrils of the charay. It is a vast complex with 39 towers which, over the years, has been heavily looted.

At the Preahko Temple, I shot this photo of a lizard. Most of the lizards we saw were smooth-skinned but this one was similar to gecko. I mean, look at it’s feet.

I believe this child was a tourist at the temple ruins. I did not shoot photos of the kids who were begging and selling trinkets because they would not leave me alone if I did. At the Ta Prohm Temple, they have the system down pat. You might not notice when you enter the temple grounds, but the kids take a photo of you. By the time you reach the other side, they have developed the photo and glued it to a plate, which they then try to sell for $5.

One of the kids asked me if I was from Australia. He then guessed Britain. Maybe because I wasn’t speaking to him. I swear, they are relentless. When he finally guessed America, which was about #10 on his list, he then rattled off the name of our president, Obama’s daughters, Obama’s dog’s name (which even I don’t know), said Rhode Island was our smallest state and knew when Hawaii was admitted to the Union. He had gleaned this information from other tourists.

I asked him why he wasn’t in school. He said it’s a holy day. Yeah, well, what day is today? What day of the week? What is the name of this holy day? He didn’t have answers for any of that. I suspect every day is a holy day for this kid.

We saw several performances of Aspara dancers in Cambodia. Note how far back the fingers are extended. They flex their fingers for years to get them to move in that direction. Toes, too. This dance below was about the lotus flower. Each hand movement has meaning. The Aspara dancers do not smile and do not sing, but there is music as their story unfolds through slow and calculated movement.

Angkor Wat is the granddaddy of the temple ruins in Cambodia, built in the 12th Century to honor the Hindu god Vishnu. It is also depicted on the Cambodian flag because it’s a national treasure. I was too sick to see much of this temple, but I did walk down a long exterior wall filled with carvings that depicted heaven above, earth in the center and hell below. The hell portion showed men being eaten by large animals and tortured. It was a lot more interesting than the heaven portion.

The human cost of the Preah Vihear conflict

When a site is awarded World Heritage status, it usually means a jump in tourism visits and revenue. Not so with Preah Vihear, where the conflict over the surrounding area between Thailand and Cambodia have caused much economic hardship to the residents of the area.

Adventures in Angkor – Siem Reap

I missed last week’s installment of Adventures at Angkor… oops! This last installment isn’t so much on Angkor, but on the modern town of Siem Reap, which is where you’d want to go if you want to visit the temples. It’s a small, bustling town – bustling from the massive tourist boom it has experienced since the late 1990s, and even in the off-peak tourist season the town still hums with excitement.

This section of town you are seeing in these pictures is called the Old Town, the heart of Siem Reap. It still contains many of the shops and watering holes that draw in the tourist dollars. Food and drink here are relatively cheap – although not cheap compared to the native Cambodians, who I suspect less than half of what a tourist would normally pay on a menu.

Souvenir shops like these are ubiquitous in the old market, a square block of shops selling everything the tourist needs by way of a souvenir – bags, hats, small statues, t-shirts, fridge magnets, postcards, etc. A tourist trap, to be sure. So make sure to haggle in these types of shops!

A Tour of Eight Worldwide Sacred Sites

Journey to the extraordinary: Check out these awe-inspiring sacred sites and ancient wonders.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

The ancient capital of the Khmer kingdom, Angkor is the most popular destination in Cambodia. Stretching over some 400 sq km, including forests and jungles, Angkor Archaeological Park contains remains of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th century.

Explore Angkor Wat (believed to be the largest religious structure in the world) and the city’s other ancient towers and temples. The nearby town of Siem Reap offers a number of hotels, restaurants and transportation to Angkor.

Easter Island, Chile

Easter Island, located in the South Pacific between Chile and Tahiti, is one of the most isolated inhabited islands in the world. Its name “Easter Island” derives from its rediscovery by a Dutch explorer on Easter Sunday in 1722.

Formed out of an ancient volcanic eruption, the triangular-shaped island covers only 103 kilometers (64 square miles). It is famous for its 800 or so ancient Polynesian statues that stand across the island. Exactly why and how the original inhabitants — referred to as Rapa Nui — assembled these ancient wonders is not fully understood (partly because their written language has yet to be deciphered). It is thought the Rapu Nui people arrived from Polynesia around 400 AD.

Jerusalem, Israel

Located in the Judean Mountains, between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern tip of the Dead Sea, Jerusalem has a history that goes back to the 4th millennium BC, making it one of the oldest cities in the world.

Jerusalem is considered holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam – making it sacred to more than a third of the world’s population. Key religious sites include the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. The old walled city, a World Heritage site, has been traditionally divided into four quarters, although the names used today — the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters — were introduced in the early 19th century.

But Jerusalem’s appeal is certainly not limited to religious travelers. With its rich history, archeological treasures, museums and concerts, Jerusalem is a popular destination for religious and non-religious travelers alike.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

Chichén Itzá is the largest of the ruined Mayan cities on the Yucatán Peninsula. It is believed that the construction of the first temples (dedicated to the rain god Chac) began in the 7th century — and the city reached its peak under the rule of the Itzáes in the 10th century.

In the following centuries, Chichén Itzá became the most powerful city in the Yucatan. Most of the grand architecture was built during this age, in a mixture of Maya and Toltec styles. At the end of the 12th century, the city was captured by rival city Mayapán, but it remained a place of pilgrimage for the Maya until the 16th century.

The structures of Chichén Itzá were overgrown with jungle and slowly decayed until major archaeological excavations began in the 1920s.

Avila, Spain

Ávila is a medieval city in the province of Castile-Léon, about 113 kilometers (70 miles) northwest of Madrid. Founded in the 11th century to protect Spanish territories from the Moors, Ávila enjoys an authentic medieval atmosphere with its magnificently preserved city wall, historic cathedral, and a number of Romanesque churches. The old town of Ávila has been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Ávila is important to pilgrims because of its association with the mystic and reformer St. Teresa of Ávila. Teresa, a 16th-century Carmelite nun, reformed her order, had many ecstatic visions, and wrote several books. She is the female patron saint of Spain and was the first woman to be named a Doctor of the Church. Shrines erected in her honour include Convento de Santa Teresa, a 17th-century convent built over the site of Teresa’s birth, and the Monasterio de la Encarnacion, where she lived.

Parthenon, Athens, Greece

The Parthenon, which has stood atop the Acropolis of Athens for nearly 2,500 years, is the most famous surviving building of Ancient Greece and one of the most famous buildings in the world.

It was built to give thanks to Athena, the city’s patron goddess, for protecting Athens and Greece in the Persian Wars. Throughout its long life, the Parthenon has functioned most importantly as a Greek temple, but has also been a treasury, a fortress, a church, and a mosque.

Lourdes, France

T637297A A Tour of Eight Worldwide Sacred Sites

Located in the Hautes-Pyrénées département in southwest France, Lourdes is the largest Catholic pilgrimage destination in France and one of the most popular Catholic shrines in the world.

The small town (population 17,000) receives more than 5 million visitors each year thanks to visions of the Virgin Mary reported by a young girl named Bernadette in 1858.

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes includes 52 hectares of property and 22 places of worship, including a sacred grotto, two basilicas, and a variety of buildings for pilgrims and the sick. Outside the sanctuary, many pilgrims also visit the home of the young visionary, St. Bernadette.

The Great Sphinx, Egypt

1953622 The Great Sphinx of Giza 1 A Tour of Eight Worldwide Sacred Sites

Built in about 2530 BC by the pharaoh Khafre, the Great Sphinx is a colossal stone statue located next to the Pyramids of Giza. Carved out of limestone, the Sphinx has the facial features of a man and the body of a recumbent lion. To give you an idea of its impressive size: it is approximately 73 meters (240 feet) long and 20 meters (66 feet) high.

Primarily, the Sphinx was thought to have been a guardian figure, protecting the tomb of the Khafre by warding off evil spirits. It was also considered an oracle of sorts: within the structure’s paw is a 15th-century BC stone tablet recounting a vision given to a prince who slept in the shadow of the Sphinx (and perhaps sought its divine aid). It is believed he later became a pharaoh through its intercession.

A number of mysteries continue to surround the Sphinx, such as why the builders chose such heavy blocks for the temple or how they were able to move them. There is also some question about when the Sphinx was actually constructed, with many theorizing it was constructed as early as 7000 BC.


In the 6th century , king Yasovarmamn I ( 889-900) began work on the original dedicated to Shisa as result of spiritual development, increased political prestige and economic growth was naturally reflected in the Temple undergoing more than 300 years of consultation with deal of remodeling under subsequent King Suryavarman II ( 1113 – 1150) this increased prestige naturally changed the original small sanctuary into one of the greatest Khmer temples of all times. This ranking was the result of the finest in situ carving that depicted the highest standards of unique Khmer architecture.

Under the Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1904 and 1907, the line of frontier between Cambodia and Thai along the Dongrak Mountains followed justice at the Hague officially found that the Preah Vihear Temple situated inside the Cambodia territory.


Preah Vihear Temple is located in a pleasant environment with an attractive countryside slightly east of the mid section of the Dongrek Mountains.

It is perched on the edge of a giant cliff, about 625 meters above sea level in Preah Vihear Province, Northern part of Cambodia, 625km from the capital city of Phnom Penh. It is also situated close to the Cambodia-Thai border.

What can seen in Preah Vihear Temple

The temple has four levels and four courtyards which comprise of five Gopuras ( entrance pavilions some times surmounted by tower )

Palace Building or Gopuras on the third level.

This group of building was the King’s residence when he came to pay homage to the mighty God , and the two wings were the shelters for the pilgrims. The main temple are used for the high-ranking supreme divinities, this mighty group of building is considered as the center of the whole temple complex.

The front stone stairway : this main passage is on the North side. The stairway is 8 meters wide and 78 meters long,. The fist flight has 162 steps. At the first landing is a large stone singa statue on stone block. Another 54 flight of steps 4 meters wide and 27 meters long leads up to the second landing also decorated with stone signa statue.

The Nagaraj Courtyard : this stone-paved is 7 meters wide by 31.8 meters long. From here the stairway leads up to the first-level Gropura. The Stairheads are in the form of seven-headed snakes called "Ngu Suang " facing North towards the Prasat. The heads and tails of nagas on both sides look like ordinary snakes, characterizing and early example of this type of animal figures. The head portion of the naga on the west side looks very impressive because it is made from a single solid stone.

The first level Gopura : this is a pavilion in Greek architecture style with cross plan on an elevated, rebates angle base on each of the roof doorway . Stone lions are placed on each of the roofs dooeway.

Accessibility to the Temple

The temple can be reached by crossing the Cambodia-Thai gateway border from the Ubon Ratchantani Province of Thailand. Currently the visits are from 8.00 till 16.00 hours.

The Grandeur of its site

For all the grandeur of its site, perched on the edge of a giant cliff and with a commanding view over northern Cambodia, Preah Vihear is difficult to visualize as a whole. The experience is truly a memorable one – the series of ascents over the best part of a kilometer, the ornate Gopuras and the wealth of decorative detail truly staggers one’s imagination.

Cambodian pottery

I have a good friend from Singapore who is on a visit and yesterday we went to see how Khmer pottery and ceramics are made. The little workshop and retail outlet, called Khmer Ceramics is on the way to Siem Reap's airport and is run by a friendly couple, a Belgian man, Serge, and his Cambodian wife.

When you visit, a Cambodian guide will explain how Cambodian ceramics are made. The process starts with 3 different types of clay: red, white and yellow. After moulding the clay on a wheel, it is fired in a modern, gas-powered kiln from 850 to over a thousand degrees. There is also a replica of a traditional kiln on the site. Coloured glazing is sometimes added to the clay and the colouring is made from natural materials like rice husks and iron. The result is blue, green, or red ceramics.

Ceramic plates have been ordered by restaurants and small containers are used in hotels to hold shampoo etc. There are also larger pieces, one vase had Khmer writing all around, which was beautiful. You can get gifts for as little as a dollar. I also spotted a vase for USD250.

There was a group of small French children who were learning from an Irishman, himself a teacher of ceramics in Ireland. There was also another customer--the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong. Meeting him deserves an entry in itself.

I am interested in the classes and the cost goes down with the number of participants so if anyone wants to join me, do email me.

Feeding Siem Reap's rubbish collecting children

Thursday 10 June marked the day Mavis' Touch A Life (TAL) food programme opened at her house near Wat Po Lanka. Previously Mavis would cook food and deliver to residents at the very poor Mondul 3 district. She has since rented a house, for people to drop in for meals, so providing a soup-kitchen like service.

They were up since 6am to buy and prepare the food. The "ait-jai" children (rubbish collectors) around the area had been told to come today at noon. They were waiting outside the gate at 11. The children must have been hungry! Mavis' landlord is such a good guy and obviously believes in what she is doing. His whole family came to help out with the cooking.

The meals are vegetarian, with protein from eggs and toufu. The fried eggs with long beans would turn out to be a hit with the children!

Not so the morning glory fried with garlic, fish sauce, sugar and salt. Later, Kagna explained to me for poor people in Cambodia, morning glory (or kangkong as we call it in Singapore and Malaysia) is a staple dish because it is so cheap (500 riels to 1000 riels a kg). So that's why the children didn't eat it - they were probably sick of it! A lesson for us - no more tro-kun in the future!

There was also vegetable soup, with carrots, winter melon, potatoes and onions, flavoured with vegetable seasoning and salt. Some of the children really liked the soup - but no one liked the onions! Here is my father (he's here for a visit) helping to scoop soup into individual bowls for the children.

The children who were waiting outside are finally allowed in at noon. But what are they doing?

Washing their hands! Mavis would like them to learn and practise good hygiene habits and has provided clean water and soap.

A feast! A total of 17 kids turned up. Not bad for the first day! We told the children to spread the word. TAL hopes to provide meals for the ait-jai adults as well.

The beautiful TAL house

where the meals are served.

This boy is just 8 years old and is forced to collect rubbish. A warm meal at lunch time is much appreciated. Sometimes they get packed food from home which turns cold by the lunch time. Mostly, they will have to fend for themselves, perhaps buying snacks - so long as they bring home the amount of expected money every day.

This cute girl is the youngest of the lot - only 6 years old, wearing an over-sized T-shirt. She was so happy. The kids are so sweet and incredibly polite and helpful. Mavis says the children in our countries are different, not as sweet and obedient. I guess children in developed countries are used to having it easy and can be spoilt.

This 12 year old boy has barely finished swallowing his food and is going for seconds! He was so hungry. He ate the most!

After eating the children help clean up - they wash their individual plates, first in a bucket of rice water with dish washing liquid added (it is amazing - the rice water really helps remove grease!).

The second pail is clean water which they dip the plates in, and then finally in a third pail.

The weather is so hot, some of the boys took the opportunity to have a cool shower!

Helping my friend!

Thank you TAL! We will be back! (TAL serves food 3 times a week)

Off to work again! (The sacks on the side are to put the cans/bottles/cardboard the kids find which will then be sold on to a recycling centre).

Joom reap lia Mavis! Aw-koon chran!