Cambodia Travel Photography Gallery
Cambodia is a country that has fascinated me for decades.
Growing up, all I remember about the country was the well documented genocide by the Khmer Rouge (K.R.) and its leader - Pol Pot.
I knew one day my curiosity for world events would culminate in a visit to see for myself the remnants of a disaster that would destroy a generation (or more). Now I'm not saying I'm a dark traveller with a fascination for disasters, but I knew there that for as long as I lived, there would be a story to tell, and the news photographer in me wanted to see (and show) a country that had been to hell and back, and yet one which just got on with life, and somehow managed to put the devastation behind them.
I wanted to see how the people lived, where they lived and worked, and how they managed to move on. As I subsequently found out first hand, Cambodia is still struggling with an ever widening gap between the "have" and the "have nots", with the "have's" being the Chinese businesses making the capital city - Phnom Penh - a hub for their business activities and their new found mega wealth.
Slums are everywhere, in cemeteries, river banks and farmland... it's just a way of life now... My wife and I were supporting an NGO called Flame (www.flamecambodia.org) who take kids out of the slums and turn them into successful leaders by putting them through their own education system and helping them to help others. Education is not a priority for the poor, but Flame makes it available to them with support from donors.
I needed to see and try to understand the genocide, so we headed to the S21 memorial, which was an interrogation and slaughter facility for the K.R. in central Phnom Penh. Originally a school, S21 was turned into cells, torture chambers, and a processing branch for prisoners who were destined to be killed for the crime of being educated.
From Phnom Penh, we jumped on a river boat and headed to remote Battambang during rainy season, to see how the subsistence farmers fared when they did not have access to land. What we found was that farmers turned into fishermen, and their houses floated! US AID has been set up for fresh water, market stores (which we would call shops) have been set up to trade goods, and the people are generally... well... happy and smiling!
Although very rural and a long way from cities, most floating shacks had power from solar panels, communications via cellphone towers, and of course a family boat. Villages were established that floated in rivers in the rainy season, and settled back onto roads in the dry season. Goods were either mobilised by boat, or cart - depending on the season.
Finally we headed to Siem Reap to see some history, meet the locals, and see some ruins. Getting well off the beaten track was a priority, and we managed to find some less popular temples to explore away from the crowds, as well as some friendly local villages.
There's so much more to write about, I could fill a book, but for now, enjoy a selection of some of my favourite images...
Click an image and use the left / right arrows to view the gallery. Enjoy :)