Lately, I have been getting emails asking for Cambodia travel tips – especially about Siem Reap where the Temple of Angkor Wat is located, and Angkor Thom, where the Bayon Temple is located.
Here is a recent example:
“Hi, my friend sent me your blog since we are traveling to Siem Reap soon. WOW, what are you doing in Cambodia?! Can you give me some ideas of how we can really see and connect with the “real” Cambodia – the culture, Khmer people and Cambodian food? We will be there for 3-4 days.”
The reality is that when you travel to a foreign country for 3-4 days to see one of the UNESCO World heritage sites, where you do not know the culture and language, it is difficult (read impossible) to know all the places to go, the best times to go etc. Going to the places that everybody else goes to and flipping through the guidebook in the crowds, dust, and heat of Siem Reap is simply not satisfying. It’s also unsatisfying to follow along on a touristy circuit as this route will not give you a feel for the people and vibe of the place.
When I am asked about how to see Siem Reap, I recommend participating in a photography tour with Regis Binard, a professional humanitarian and travel photographer. He runs private tours in Siem Reap for 1-6 people (for families, group of friends or couples) from half a day to 4 days. His tours focus on discovering Cambodia through a photographer’s eye.
The tour is adaptable to different levels of photography skills, and allows tourists to avoid crowds and see a different Cambodia. Regis and his Cambodian driver take care of everything. They know where to go (all the secret spots), when to go (to avoid the heat and the crowds) and during the tour, you can eat some of the best local Cambodian foods!
Of course, the tours include visiting the famous temples: Temple of Angkor Wat and the Bayon Temple, as well as places to see in Siem Reap beyond the temples. Regis takes his tours to more secluded locations. Options include visiting local markets, Tonle Sap Lake, Kulen Mountain, food and night photography.
These tours support the local Cambodian community. Regis use local vendors and drivers, and takes care and time to educate tour participants on the ethics of travel photography and Cambodian customs. Participants come away not only with some amazing memories and photos, but also with a better understanding of how they can make a positive impact on Cambodia.
If you are interested in a more intensive photography experience with Regis, look at this 10-day Cambodia photography workshop, offered 3-4 times per year. During this workshop you do four things: “photograph, travel, eat and sleep” while you tour Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Battambang. The workshop is open to all photography levels.
(Photos by Regis Binard. This post is sponsored by Regis Binard, whose mission is to connect tourists to Cambodia in a positive way through photography. Regis’s work supports sustainable and ethical tourism by ensuring that his photography tours give back to the Cambodian community. Thank you so much for supporting the businesses that support Jewish Food Hero.)