The Kingdom of Cambodia sits at the heart of the Southeast Asia loop, boasting a thread of pristine white coastline and an interior of elephant trodden trails, straw hut villages and emerald jungles – all of which can be explored for a very reasonable price.
In South-East Asia, the process of steaming a curry in banana leaves is referred to as mok, amok or ho mok. Classic ingredients include thick coconut cream and galangal (similar to ginger), with a whole heap of other deliciousness added.
Ask travellers what we love most about exploring new places and the majority of us will tell you it’s meeting local people.
We are curious to know more about their lives, we want to share a laugh or two and enjoy authentic experiences. This isn’t easy to do when your stuck in touristy hotels, so the best way to make this happen is to spend the night with someone.
“Lest we forget” is our heartfelt pledge to all the people who have paid the highest price in defense of their country’s borders or beliefs.
Historic sites around the world are important reminders of what took place at less peaceful times. These war memorials help us understand what people were forced to endure and bring to life the tragic events of our past.
One of the best things about moving to Singapore seven years ago was having the opportunity to travel around South East Asia.
My husband and I first visited the Temples of Angkor in 2008 and were immediately hooked. For the intrepid explorer and keen travel photographer, the place is a visual feast. In fact, I had so much fun photographing not only the temples, but also daily life in Cambodia (the markets, the lovely Khmer people and the fascinating floating communities on Ton Le Sap), that I now lead a yearly Photography Tour to Angkor from Singapore with the land arrangements provided by Intrepid Travel.
There are great rewards to be had in Cambodia for the more adventurous travel photographer. People are warm and friendly (having a guide who can translate definitely helps if you’re into travel portrait photography and/or want to learn more from the locals), plus visiting local villages is a fascinating glimpse into times gone by and exploring temples, both forgotten and famous, is so exciting.
Here are a few tips for taking your own great photos of the Temples of Angkor:
“How did people build a temple as big as Angkor Wat 1,000 years ago before machines?”
“Why does $1USD buy so much of the local money?”
“Why were Americans fighting in Vietnam?”
These were some of the many questions my children asked during our two weeks travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia with Intrepid. They also asked more unanswerable ones, like “Why would Pol Pot kill people just for being educated?” Or less perplexing, but equally tough to answer, “Why is everyone always beeping their horns?”
“The world is book and those who do not travel read only a page.” Several years ago, Michelle Di Rocco was in Costa Rica when she first saw this St. Augustine quote…
“This phrase was painted in one of the hallways in eclectic form true of so many hostels around the world. It resonated enough that I took a photo to remember it always. Education through travel has been a big part of my life. If I think back to when I started realizing its impact on me, I would have been about 12 years old and in Acapulco with my parents. I vividly remember being struck by the young children milling about the city’s busy streets, selling Chiclets for whatever change they could inspire. Older women found their place on sidewalks accompanied by signs as testimony to their need for food and money.
Someone once said, “it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” That was certainly the case for Gemma Urban, who had no idea of the rules and couldn’t work out which team was in front, but had so much fun matching it with local kids in Cambodia…
“After weaving through the streets on a long hot day in Siem Reap, we (being the fabulous four Swedish, English and Australian gang) wandered into our haven. This was a little refuge on the main road, where they offer ice-cold refresher towels that are actually kept in the freezer for our comfort and pleasure.
Our most vivid travel memories can come from iconic sights or famous locations, but so often it’s the less likely experiences that sneak up on you. For Sheryll Stapleton her ‘mmm moment’ was enjoyed on the longest river in Southeast Asia…
“I never dreamed I would experience something like this. Years later and I still think of this mightiest of rivers in my dreams. The magnificent Mekong with its eddies and swirls. The peacefulness of the long boat broken only by the gradually increasing and then decreasing roar of a faster vessel.
When your visit coincides with a festival, not only do you get to join in the fun, but as Intrepid’s Paul Chea explains, it’s a special opportunity to enjoy a real taste of local life…
“I would like to invite you to my home – Cambodia – in October for one of the most important festivals in the Khmer calendar. We call this celebration Pchum Ben, and its literal translation is “gathering and offering of food”.