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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Cambodia Part III: Koh Rong

After finishing a three year contract, and before subjecting myself to the notoriously intensive Cambridge CELTA course a couple of weeks later, we thought we’d find a nice remote island to hang around. The previous month we’d been been lucky to visit Koh Chang in Thailand, an island in the eastern Gulf of Thailand.

While Koh Chang was less overrun with tourists than the Phuket side of the gulf, we thought we could go even more remote if we traveled further south to visit Koh Rong in Cambodia.

We headed a down the coast a short distance, but found Koh Rong to be worlds away. Few tourists, limited electricity and no internet. We weren’t even near another set of bungalows. We were pretty much off the grid.

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I had a bunch of teaching toys and props from three years in Korea. I gave them to these kids.
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After doing very little for a few days, we decided to wander around. Not far from our bungalow we found a local school, and behind that, a small fishing village.

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Posted by on April 18, 2013 in Life Abroad

 

Cambodia Part II: The Floating Village

The floating village is sold as some sort of tour that is one of the things “to do” around Siem Reap.
We took a tuk-tuk an hour out there, then found the fee to hire a boat was about $30 USD. We might have figured there was a fee, but for Cambodia this is a complete rip off. But when you’ve made your way all the way there, you’re a captive audience that’s not likely to say ‘forget it’ and go home.

We should have.

We spent an hour cruising through floating slums. We were told that most of the people who lived there couldn’t afford land, so made a life on the water. Sometimes for generations. He told us the villagers “didn’t mind” the tourists coming through on boats, but as I observed faces through my telephoto lens, it didn’t seem at all like they wanted another camera pointing at them. No one wants to live like zoo animals.

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The guides brought us to a “crocodile farm”, which was nothing more than a leather bag breeding pool that had been built into the floor of a floating shop. As we ‘took our break’ there, children carrying snakes floated up beside us, trying to sell photo ops.

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The guides had been going on about donating to the local school. Then he brought us to a rice shop where we were given the option of handing over $60 USD or $30 USD to donate rice to the orphans. Just hand over the money, they’ll take care of it. I laughed and got back in the boat. First of all, it’s absurd to think that rice costs that much in Cambodia. That was the giveaway. Subsequent internet searches have found frequent postings about this scam. It’s said the orphanage will even use children who have parents to try and part tourists with ‘donations’.

If you visit Cambodia, beware of these and other hustles. If you want to give to charity, make sure to give  through valid agencies.

Next- Cambodia Part III: Koh Rong

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Life Abroad

 

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Cambodia Part I: Siem Reap

We arrived in Cambodia at the end of February.

First we went to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat. Loved Sieam Reap. Loved Angkor Wat. Loved the people.

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“Those tourists there, they have a lot of money.”

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Next- Cambodia Part II: The Floating Village

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Life Abroad

 

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