Runcation – A different holidaying experienceKishen Prasad
I have been a full marathoner for the last 5 years and I picked up running in my forties. However, I realized that while I enjoyed participating in the marathon events at various cities, I also liked the early morning practice sessions at various cities, soaking up the scenic beauty, the changing landscape and once in a while looking at people passing by. In Fact, I was able to discover my own city, Bengaluru in a different manner through these early mornings running sessions. The explorer in me was trying to combine these two to make it a more joyful experience.
Beyonder runcation was an opportunity for me to explore Cambodia at my pace (not slow though) …
I was in Cambodia in late Oct and November 2019 with a bunch of enthusiastic runcationers from different parts of India. Seeing the majestic Angkor Wat is definitely the primary highlight when one visits Siem Reap – but to me, running around the moat that surrounds the Angkor Wat was a greater experience.
The sight of lotuses in the lake and the run through the woods was enough reason to stop by to take pictures! The loop around the Angkor Wat is 6 kms in case you want to do the same -but do note, you need to have approvals in place before you do so!
If running around Angkor Wat was special, cycling on the walls of the Angkor Thom was even more special! This was my second cycling experience on a wall, the first being on the cobble stones of the city wall at Xian, China, which was built to protect the city within.
Cycling on the walls of the Angkor Thom was a completely different experience as the ride is on a mud path under the shade of gigantic trees. The views of the moat surrounding the Angkor Thom area and the corner temples are a sight to behold.
A complete loop on the walls of the Angkor Thom is 12 kms – you will need to climb up a mud path to get to the top of the wall. Cycling is quite easy on the walls but one needs to stay alert as there is no guard rail when you get to the top!
Now how about adding a moderate trek to the mix? ☺ We did just that by taking a moderate trek to the 1000 Linga valley also known as Kbal Spean. Although I am not a trekking enthusiast, it was a quite an experience that everyone in the group completed.
The numerous lingas on the river bed atop Kbal Spean justify the reason why it is called as the 1000 linga valley. There are many more interesting carvings of the Hindu gods – Brahma, Vishnu, and Lakshmi on the rocks which you can’t miss.
Yes, the trek can be tiring; there is every opportunity to refresh under a waterfall too ☺
Now compound the above with exploring the 12th century temples that of Banteay Srei which has exquisite carvings of Hindu mythology depicted, the 4 faced towers of Bayon, the gigantic trees that have engulfed the Ta Prohm Temple, the majestic Angkor Wat Temple, understanding what a floating village is, witnessing an Apsara dance performance and last but not the least pub crawls in the aptly named Pub Street – all put together is what I define a Runcation!
If you think this was interesting, come along with me as I head for one such in Vietnam in March 2020 – we will explore the heritage city of Hoi An and Da Nang while experiencing the joy of running.