We went to visit Ankor Wat and we discovered Cambodia. It was one of the rare cases when you receive more than you expected.
We were dreaming of a journey to Cambodia for several years and finally we had the opportunity for doing it. We could either choose an Italian travel agency offering package tours or participate to a tour guided by some archaeologist, focused essentially to the discovery of ancient Khmer civilization. We were not really happy with these two choices.
While surfing the web, I came across this organisation. At the beginning I was very sceptical, still I sent a mail asking for some information . I received an immediate answer with suggestions and proposals and in a few weeks, confidence was built up through exchange of mails, comments, and adjustments to the programme ….. I felt a strong commitment by Andy to satisfy our wishes , sharing with us his knowledge of the country . What convinced us was the fact that we could tailor the programme to our needs, we had a car and a guide only for us , we could include in the programme the visit of places that could give us a deeper knowledge of the country, and we could choose the accommodation suitable to us, ranging from the top la Résidence to the guest house near Koh ker. And all this within a reasonable budget.
The first part of our journey was mainly dedicated to the Khmer art and to Siem Reap area. Phallika, the Italian speaking guide that was with us during 9 days , introduced us not only to the history and art of Khmer civilization, but also to the various aspects of the present khmer life, without hiding the problems that Cambodia is still facing. We visited village markets where you could not find tourist stuff , we visited Takeo area by boat, hardly meeting other tourists, we slept one night in a village near Koh Ker where by chance we assisted to a wedding party. We had a few organization problem and the staff were very helpful in assisting both in extending hotel reservation and in changing the programme due to the cancellation of internal flights.
During the second part of our journey we were in Mondalkiri where we could visit the wonderful surroundings, the waterfalls and meet minority people in their villages . Sambor, our local guide, made us feel part of the community, and invited us for dining with her wife showing us the photos of his recent wedding party and explaining the ceremony. Maybe other tour operators could organize the same visit , but we had the feeling of spending a long week end with friends .
What can we recommend to future visitors to Cambodia?
- Dedicate enough time to plan your travel with Andy.
- Do not rush . Avoid doing something like “ Venice Florence, Rome Naple”
- Allocate part of your time to non tourist activities ; cooking lessons, visit to NGO initiatives, their school.. Idle time is essential to understand the country.
After this experience it will be hard for us to select a packaged tour for our next destination.
Many thanks to Andy and to our friendly guides and drivers.
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Cambodia travel information and Angkor Wat tour specialists ABOUTAsia are based in Siem Reap just 4km from Angkor Wat. At the heart of the organisation is a guiding research centre providing Cambodia vacation advice and industry leading tours planning.
Peerless service standards and local positioning have made us the tour operator of choice by international luxury travel groups and discerning independent travellers to Angkor Wat, Cambodia and Southeast Asia.