Ten tips on visiting Angkor’s temples

•July 6, 2011 • 3 Comments

One of the things our guests really appreciate is Savuth’s skills in itinerary planning. We get so many comments about how Savuth knows the best times to see which temples and in which order to maximize one’s time and pleasure in avoiding the crowds to the extent possible. Unfortunately, not everyone uses Savuth as their tuk tuk driver. Here’s a great recent article with ten tips on how to get the most out of visiting the temples. An excerpt:

1  High season runs from November to March, when the weather is usually fair. Late October and November, the country is still lush after the rains and there are fewer tourists.

2  Wear comfortable shoes with good soles; the paving at the temples is uneven and slippery when wet. Take an umbrella against the rain/sun. A torch is useful for windowless rooms.

3  Have a basic understanding of Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism. Most guidebooks have a section on this subject. A good map is available at local bookshops in Siem Reap (they do not have one at the ticket office).

You can read the full article here at The Telegraph.

(Thinking of visiting the temples of Angkor Wat? Don’t forget to check out my friend Savuth’s tuk tuk services and all the handy information available on Angkortuktuk.)


Cambodia: A good primer for first-time travelers

•July 5, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Credits: The Telegraph

I recently came across this good article in the UK’s Telegraph newspaper:

Cambodia: a country with its eye on the past: Clover Stroud revels in the colour, energy and optimism of modern Cambodia, but also discovers a country where few people remain unaffected by its recent history. 

“Children are playing basketball in the water. In a caged court on a lake, they dance with the ball, slamming it into the wire walls encasing them. A boat bobs alongside, its driver shouting to the children. They thrust hands out for cartons of mango juice which he exchanges for sweaty coins. I’ve never seen a basketball court on water, but this is Cambodia and it’s one of many things in the country that opens my eyes…”

You can read the full article here.

(Thinking of visiting the temples of Angkor Wat? Don’t forget to check out my friend Savuth’s tuk tuk services and all the handy information available on Angkortuktuk.)

The Visual Genius of the Anjali Kids

•November 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

One of the highlights of this year's Angkor Photo Festival will be the launch of Anjali House's "Cambodia, Our Vision" collection of stunning pictures from kids

One of the highlights of this year’s Angkor Photo Festival is the official launch of the beautifully executed photo book “Cambodia – Our Vision” from the kids at Anjali House. Anjali provides refuge, care and education for nearly 80 under-privileged children between the ages of 4 and 16 years old.

I have always been a strong believer in the curative and developmental power of art, creativity and imagination for anyone but especially for children. Seeing the world through children’s eyes is always a fascinating journey and these photographs from the Anjali kids will not disappoint. They are powerful and emotive images of their lives.

Check out Anjali’s website for more information or download Anjali House’s “Cambodia, Our Vision” – the brochure about the book. Anjali’s website has a great store section where you can order prints from the book, post card sets from the various young photographer’s and some other kit for yourself or vital stuff for the kids at the house.

I was lucky enough this morning to run into some of Anjali’s

This promises to be a fun event at next week's Angkor Photo Festival

youngsters this morning at the Blue Pumpkin Cafe here in Siem Reap. What a great bunch of kids who have come so far from such difficult circumstances. They deserve your support. If you are in town from November 20 – 27 check out all the great stuff, including the Anjali book, at this year’s Angkor Photo Festival. If you can’t be there, check out the Anjali stuff and maybe order something for yourself, for some lucky child in your life or help out the house itself in fulfilling its mission. You’ll be glad you did!

(Thinking of visiting the temples of Angkor Wat? Don’t forget to check out my friend Savuth’s tuk tuk services and all the handy information available on Angkortuktuk!)

Angkor Photo Festival About to Kick-Off

•November 16, 2010 • 3 Comments

6th Annual Angkor Photo Festival kicks off this weekend!

The folks are busy with final preparations and everything is coming together beautifully

If you are in Siem Reap for the next few days, or about to come, don’t forget that this coming weekend is really a special time in town. There’s the boat festival (more on that on a second post a bit later today) and the annual Angkor Photo Festival. The folks at the festival are putting the final touches on all the preparations and it really promises to be another exciting program.

The festival kicks of on Saturday, November 20 at continues with a very varied daily program until the event’s closing one week later on Saturday evening, November 27. You can see the program on the organization’s website.

While talking to some of the organizers this morning at Angkor Gallery, I noticed this flyer about a cool event on November 23 which I wanted to draw some extra attention to. It’s a preview night slideshow highlighting the amazing photographs of some of the kids from Anjali House. It’s being held, as you can see, at the Siem Reap Hostel where a lot of the tutors for the Anjali photo workshops and other students participating in the festival’s workshops will be staying. They wanted to put together a preview event for the following day’s children’s program at the nearby Wat Damnak. Something tells me that the energy of these folks along with the subject matter will make this evening a really rocking affair.

You gotta check out the work of these kids! It is really stunning and moving!

Sadly after extending my stay here once already for six days I really have to head off tomorrow so I will miss the festival. I stopped by one of the main venues this morning – Angkor Gallery along the river road – and got to see some of the stuff. Make sure you check it out if you are lucky enough to be here!

(Thinking of visiting the temples of Angkor Wat? Don’t forget to check out my friend Savuth’s tuk tuk services and all the handy information available on Angkortuktuk!)

Siem Reap Fun Fair

•November 9, 2010 • 1 Comment

For 'smile-view' click to enlarge 🙂

Last night after hanging out a bit at Savuth’s house we decided to head out to the local Siem Reap fun fair. Seeing the pure joy of a kid during a rare visit to a fun fair has got to be one of life’s better and more simple pleasures.

Siem Reap fun fair

The picture doesn’t do it justice as it was a pretty major affair. Lots of rides, plenty of food stalls and dozens if not hundreds of stalls selling everything from shoes to handbags to household accessories and more.

Let's do it again!

The rides are  quite simple, unsophisticated and would never qualify for liability insurance in the west but that does not have any negative impact on the joy and fun-factor for the kids. In some ways, the simple nature of it all creates a powerful back to basics type of pure fun that we no longer experience or perhaps appreciate with our high-tech, high-polish, super-sized lifestyle.

It was also a bit funny watching them initially struggle to eat their first-ever pizza slices with a plastic fork and knife which I think they associate with western food as a matter of fact. After a few minutes of observing their most valiant efforts, I decided

Continue reading ‘Siem Reap Fun Fair’

Ponheary Ly Foundation and Koh Ker – Part 1

•November 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Whenever I come visit Cambodia, some of my friends back home collect a bit of money to support one of the projects here that is near and dear to my heart. This year I used the money to help a small, independent and fantastic charity I have known here since 2007 called the Ponheary Ly Foundation. For some more info about them you can check out the bit I wrote last year when visiting: “Education is the Sweetest Revenge.”

We earmarked the money to provide a hot lunch to the nearly 200 primary school students of the very rural and very poor Koh Ker community. This is a school that is pretty much run by the Ponheary Ly Foundation since 2006. Koh Ker is the site of the ruins of one of the capital cities of the ancient Angkor empire. Due to its 100 km distance from Siem Reap, the tourist town serving the main temples of Angkor Wat, it gets almost no tourists and enjoys no development.

Koh Ker village was established in 1979 after the Vietnamese drove the Khmer Rouge from power. This part of northern Cambodia was one of the Khmer Rouge’s last holdouts. When established, the village became home to transient war victims: returning refugees who had fled to the northern border with Thailand, those who had survived wandering in the area’s jungles for several years or people who were lucky enough to outlive their torturous Khmer Rouge servitude.

Continue reading ‘Ponheary Ly Foundation and Koh Ker – Part 1’

Here we go again!

•October 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Getting really psyched for my next trip to the places and people I love so much!

The initial itinerary looks like this:

Oct 24 fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; overnight at airport
Oct 26 fly to Vientiane, Laos; overnight there
Oct 27 fly to Luang Prabang, Laos
Nov 1 fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia
Nov 12 ten – twelve hours by road to Kep, Cambodia
Nov 17 fly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Nov 21 fly to Amsterdam

(Thinking of visiting the temples of Angkor Wat? Don’t forget to check out my friend Savuth’s tuk tuk services and all the handy information available on our website Angkortuktuk).