While the Temples of Angkor are the reason to come to Siem Reap, there are plenty of other things to do to avoid temple fatigue, and to see some of the countryside and rural ways of life that are just a few kilometres from the bustle of Angkor and Pub Street.
There are several professional photographers based in and around Siem Reap, from the imposing fine art photography of John McDermott (specialising in culturual and religious sites including Angkor and Bagan in Myanmar) to the photojournalist style of Carolyn O’Neill. These two, and others, can be booked for private shoots and masterclasses, but a less lauded alternative is available, particularly for those less proficient in the photographic arts – Mr Kimleng.
Kimleng is a local tuk-tuk driver, with an interest in photogrpahy, and takes many of our guests on half day tours through some of the villages surrounding Siem Reap. Appealing to photographers and those jsut interested in seeing somethign of life in Cambodia, Kimleng will wend a way through villages he knows well, pausing at markets, walking off along dirt tracks to farms and pagodas, seeing all sorts of village life. There is a danger of being followed by curious children, but you will see more of the real country in 4 hours, than most visitors ever see.
ATVs may be a little “red neck” to some, or cowboy to others (depending on your country of origin), but they are a surprisingly practical way of getting out along the dirt tracks to the villages. Quad Adventure Cambodia have long been involved in a community project in Chres Village, and take you into similar countryside to Mr Kimleng, although slightly faster, and with fewer detours on foot. While there are some great opportunities to take photos, particularly on the sunset tour, this is also a fun motorised way of getting around – without the hazard of having to ride a motorbike.
Walk and Talk…
Is the name given to a village tour, this time entirely on foot. A specialist guide will take you through one of the villages (such as Kompheim, near the fishing village of Mechrey on the Tonle Sap), explaining about village life, agriculture, and how that lifestyle is developing. Again, great photographic opportunities, and with the option of stopping for lunch or timing it for a drink at sunset.