Author: Cormac McCreesh

The Sangkae river (Stung Sangkae) river fronts the city of Battambang in Cambodia Young boys jump into the Sangkae river (Stung Sangkae) in Battambang, Cambodia

Banging around Battambang

Posted by on Jan 27, 2013 in Cambodia, Featured, Travel
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The sun, a great big red ball, clawed its way through the haze and early morning mist painting the sky a pastel shade of orange, and visually bringing warmth to the chilly early morning city of Battambang. The sun’s rays cast orange tendrils of light down the shadowy streets, bringing the city to life.

Somewhere, far off, a bell rang while nearer sounds were of roller shutter doors being opened, chairs and tables being unstacked and laid out and scooters and tuk-tuk’s being throttled into life.


View from Kim Hout's tuk tuk in Battambang, Cambodia Kim Hout, our designated Tuk-Tuk driver, rescued us from the melee of pushing, bawling drivers and plonked us, baggage and all, in the sanctity of his neatly covered, sparklingly clean Tuk-Tuk. In Battambang, Cambodia.

Battambang … somewhere in north west Cambodia

Posted by on Jan 24, 2013 in Cambodia, Travel
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It seemed like a good idea to travel to Battambang from Phnom Penh by local bus, after all, it was cheap ($7) and our bussing experiences in Vietnam had been positive. Little did we know.

Battambang, or Bah dembong, is the capital of Battambang province and is tucked away in the north west corner of Cambodia. It is, according to the guidebooks, well known as the leading rice-producing region of Cambodia.


The Royal Palace is ornate, gilded and with classic Khmer roof structures. Phnom Penh, Cambodia On Sothearos Boulevard, near Sisowath Quay, is the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

More on Phnom Penh

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in Cambodia, Travel
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On Sothearos Boulevard, near Sisowath Quay, is the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Ornate, gilded and with classic Khmer roof structures (I’m told), it is a striking contrast to the stark, austere monuments to the Khmer Rouge atrocities and bears a resemblance to its counterpart in Bangkok.


Officially known as Security Prison 21, or S-21 for short, during the Khmer Rouge reign it was previously the Tual Sleng Primary and High school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Torture room at S-21or Sleng Genocide Museum in central Phnom Penn, Cambodia

The Killing Fields and Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh

Posted by on Jan 19, 2013 in Cambodia, Travel
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No visit to Cambodia would be complete without a visit to, and appreciation of, the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum (aka S-21) in Phnom Penh. It may seem unnecessary to do so, maybe even morbid, but as I was to find out it really gave me an appreciation of, and empathy for, the people and their spirit here in Cambodia.


Two monks walk Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh – first impressions

Posted by on Jan 17, 2013 in Cambodia, Travel
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Once known as the Pearl of Asia, today’s Phnom Penh is vibrant. A city filled with young people embracing a modern lifestyle. They’re slick, chic and technologically up-to-date. Mobile phones are de riguer. They have smart buzz bikes and dress beautifully and trendily. Much new construction is afoot – new malls, high-rise apartment blocks … the Pearl of Asia resurrects.


House boats on the move at dawn on the Mekong River, Vietnam Dawn on the Mekong river, Vietnam

Onward to Cambodia – Chau Doc to Phnom Penh, more Mekong Meanderings.

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Cambodia, Travel, Vietnam
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There are two ferry options when leaving Chau Doc for Phnom Penh. There’s the “slow boat” which takes eight hours and the “fast boat” taking five. Of course, these time frames are approximations and either boat generally takes longer than the marketed time. We choose the “fast boat” in case the other ends up in China.


Lady selling fish at the Chau Doc market in Vietnam Fish stall in the market at Chau Doc, Vietnam

More from the Mekong delta – Can Tho to Chau Doc

Posted by on Jan 14, 2013 in Travel, Vietnam
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If Can Tho is the gateway to the Mekong, then Chau Doc is its pulsating heart. With an estimated population of one hundred and twenty thousand it is a giddy blend of Cham, Vietnamese, Khmer and Chinese communities. Situated on the banks of the Bassac river it is a frontier town bordering Cambodia and a popular river crossing between Vietnam and Cambodia.


Going by ferry is a fantastic way to get to Siem Reap from Battambang, Cambodia On board the Battambang to Siem Reap ferry, Cambodia

Planes, busses, ferries, rick shaws, tuk-tuks and sampans

Posted by on Jan 13, 2013 in Travel
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“Sightseeing is one of the more doubtful aspects of travel … It has all the boredom and ritual of a pilgrimage and none of the spiritual benefits.” Paul Theroux

If you, like me, travel regularly for images, stories and that something different then endurance is your goal. And sightseeing is part and parcel of the exercise, well for freelance photographers it is. Both travel and sightseeing (or tourism if you wish) involve prodigious amounts of walking but equally significant use being made of man-made means of transport. And therein lies the need for an ability to endure lest you lose your mind and commit mass-murder or some equally heinous crime.


Woman on long tail boat, Mekong Delta, Vietnam Long tail boat on the Mekong river, Vietnam

Of floating markets and mellow meanderings on the Mekong

Posted by on Jan 13, 2013 in Travel, Vietnam

Despite the effort of getting up early to be collected from the hotel at 515am, “mellow” is the theme for the day. At the Can Tho waterfront we’re greeted by a chunky, pudgy, squat, strong women with a hugely disarming smile that she flashes with regularity displaying a healthy set of gums and teeth. Her round face is open, charming and delightful. The supposed wife of the little man who sold us the boat tickets she is purported to speak “50% English”. Turns out it is more like 5% with “hello, taxi, toilet and coffee” being her repertoire. Good enough for me.


Parcels of food wrapped in banana leaves, Can Tho, Vietnam Street food in Can Tho, Vietnam

Can do to Can Tho

Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in Travel, Vietnam
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The mighty Mekong river separates Laos from north and central Vietnam, wanders through Cambodia and spills out in the South China sea via the Mekong delta in southern Vietnam.

The city of Can Tho is the political, economic, cultural and transportation centre of the Mekong Delta. Like many cities in the Mekong delta it is a waterfront town with a couple of wide boulevards and a warren of narrow backstreets. With a population of some 1.1 million people it is the perfect place to experience some of the Mekong delta’s delights including the floating markets of Cai Rang and Pgong Dien. It is also the perfect beginning staging point for our journey to Phnom Penh along the Mekong river.