We first visited Cambodia in 2011 and it instantly became one of our favourite countries. Kia returned this year and fell in love all over again. This time, she took a Mekong River cruise and watched the country drift past from a different perspective. She also revisited the iconic sites of Angkor Wat and S21 prison, two destinations that highlight two deeply contrasting pasts: one of glory and opulence, the other of degradation and cruelty.
It’s become something of a mantra among travel experts, this call to “mix with the locals”. It urges us to learn the local language, to dress in local dress, to “do as the Romans do”.
It’s true that local interaction offers a more authentic experience, but how many of us truly engage beyond haggling at a market or talking to a taxi driver? With western pressures on our time, most travellers are lucky to even leave the tourist hotspots. With a little thought, however, it can be done.
We share on the G Adventures blog five local experiences that offer a slice of real life in Cambodia: https://www.gadventures.com.au/blog/khmer-chameleon-blending-locals-cambodia.
S21 prison processed over 17,000 people for extermination. Today, it is one of Cambodia’s most popular destinations. Is visiting distasteful or important?
Other sights are seen once because once is enough; places like Dachau concentration camp in Germany or S21 prison in Cambodia.
It was discomfiting then to find myself at the gates of S21 prison for the second time in five years. My first visit in 2011 had been harrowing enough. We had evaded an overzealous tour guide and journeyed through the former prison alone – a sobering experience I wasn’t sure I wanted to repeat.
As Cambodia emerges onto the global platform and tourism increases at a rapid pace, the best time to visit Angkor Wat is right now
Years ago, when our trip around the world was still a twinkle in my eye, I met a travel writer called ‘John’ at an industry party. For the first 30 minutes of conversation, John was fascinating as he regaled me with tales of Namibia, Mongolia and Timor-Leste. As the hour wore on, however, and his two drinks became three, he descended into a rant about tourism and how the world’s most precious sights were being destroyed.
“Kia,” he snapped, stressing my name into a single syllable. “The best time to see the world is now. You say you want to travel? Go! Go and see the world before it’s destroyed by the hordes.”
Flags and loudspeakers or authentic local experiences? We weren’t sure what to expect on G Adventures’ Mekong river cruise from Saigon to Siem Reap
I didn’t know what to expect of my Mekong river cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia. Firstly, I was travelling without Peter for the first time in four years. Secondly, I’d read mixed reviews of Vietnam and, thirdly, I was embarking on a tour with a pre-planned itinerary.
I won’t pretend that my ‘indie’ travel has been all hostels and roaches. My commissions outside of Atlas & Boots have taken me to numerous luxury resorts around the world, but I’d never before joined a scheduled group tour.
After visiting all of the New 7 Wonders of the World Christ the Redeemer in Rio was distinctly underwhelming
Kia and I have visited all of the New 7 Wonders of the World but only Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro failed to leave us awestruck. Here, we examine whether Cristo Redentor really deserves a place alongside the other “new” wonders of the world.
We take a look at the biggest buildings in the world, from airplane factories to royal palaces
Modern architecture has made relentless and remarkable progress over the past century, and with construction of the world’s tallest and first one 1km high building beginning this week in Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t look to be slowing any time soon.
Beng Mealea is an otherworldly set of ruins far from the crowds that flock to Cambodia’s most famous sight, Angkor Wat
I love playing Indiana Jones on my travels and regularly get into character whenever the location seems right. I’ve done The Temple of Doom in India, The Last Crusade in Jordan, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull on Nevis Peak.
Even though Cambodia was never a location for the films, Beng Mealea seemed just so right for Raiders of the Lost Ark.