Cambodia is a country full of extraordinary visual treats. The large ancient temples of Angkor Wat and surroundings that are now overrun by even larger trees is just the beginning of the story. A population living in floating villages of Tonle Sap Lake, verdant rural landscape dominated by rice-fields and palm trees, traditional lifestyle in the countryside and its colourful monasteries welcome a traveller and photographer in search of rich experiences.
Tour DateNov 12 – 19, 2017
To register for this tour, please email us at email@example.com or call us at 9740083260 (Shreeram M V) / 9880006460 (Arun Bhat).[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]
You may also fill the form below.
Cambodia is dotted with an extraordinary number ancient temples of a size that can put an Olympic stadium to shame. What is even more fascinating than the temples is how nature has reclaimed some of these, with trees growing over the remnant walls and towers to create an eerie yet charming atmosphere. The tropical weather has also allowed dense jungles to grow around the temples, taking you to a past that appears isolated from the modern civilization. The same tropical wilderness has also allowed for abundance in water, resulting in a 1,000 square mile lake–Tonle Sap–where many-a-floating villages flourish. Beyond the lake, the countryside is dotted with tiny hamlets surrounded by lush-green paddy fields, where the population is predominantly agrarian and lifestyle is still far from modern.
This simple way of life has helped the country remain relatively contented despite a harrowing history of wars and atrocities as recently as three decades ago. Smiles come easy on Khmer (Cambodian) faces, and you are generally welcome and well-received in any corner of the country. The open-nature of these people is perhaps attributed to a predominantly Buddhist following. Buddhist monasteries are omnipresent as in rest of South East Asia, though the traditions and rituals are unique, having an influence from its Hindu past.
This photography tour is carefully designed to get you insights into every aspect of Cambodia’s visual treasures – the temples, rural landscapes, people, way of life and tradition. Join us to witness a Cambodia through your camera in a way that not every visitor gets to experience, mentored by our highly acclaimed travel photographer.
Dates & Itinerary
Tour Dates: November 12 – 19, 2017
- Day 01 – November 12, Sunday – Arrive in Siem Reap before 3pm.
- Day 02 – November 13, Monday – Photography in the well-known temples such as Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm and more.
- Day 03 – November 14, Tuesday – Visit a few less-visited temples away from Siem Reap. Visit floating villages of Tonle Sap and drive through countryside.
- Day 04 – November 15, Wednesday – Drive to Battambang (3 hours) after breakfast. Visit to the caves of Phnom Sampov after lunch. Overnight at Battambang.
- Day 05 – November 16, Thursday – Visit the countrysides around Battambang.
- Day 06 – November 17, Friday – Drive to Kompong Chhnang (3 hours); afternoon and evening at a pottery village and scenic hamlets surrounded by sugar-palm trees and rice-fields. Overnight at Kompong Chhnang.
- Day 07 – November 18, Saturday – Early morning at the floating village, drive to Phnom Penh and visit the Killing Fields. Overnight at Phnom Penh.
- Day 08 – November 19, Sunday – Tour ends after breakfast.
- Photographing the extraordinary temples of Angkor Wat and surroundings.
- Visit and photograph tropical life in rural Cambodia and their crafts, where the population is predominantly agrarian, living in small hamlets surrounded by lush paddy fields and palm trees.
- See and photograph the watery expanse of Tonle Sap Lake, where communities live on stilted or floating houses, with entire villages flourishing on the lake.
- Witness and photograph the Buddhist monastic traditions of Cambodia.
- Get a glimpse of Cambodia’s history of wars and horrors that can offer many lessons on life to every visitor and photograph some sights that remain a witness to atrocities of the past.
- Photography learning sessions during the tour that enable you to capture best images of Cambodia.
- Insights to nuances of travel and landscape photography during the tour.
- Constant interaction and assistance on field by your photography expert.
- Regular photo critique sessions to help improve your photography.
Learning Photography with Darter
Every Darter Photography Tour is led by an experienced professional photographer who has a good understanding of the region and photography opportunities. Throughout the tour, your photography expert will assist you to learn photography on and off the field and helps to improve your technique and composition skills. All our tours include several mentoring activities which include
- Detailed sessions on photographing the genre of subjects that we will encounter during the tour
- Introductory session for beginners to get a quick start to use their camera to its best potential
- On field assistance to make the best images at location, and to resolve any of your questions on field
- Regular critique and image reviews that help you improve your photography skills continuously through the tour
With these programs, every photography enthusiast on the tour will go back with beautiful images in their camera and a lot of experiential learning.
With limited number of participants on our tours, we will ensure that every participant gets individual time with the mentor. This ensures that no matter what is your expertise in photography – a beginner or a regular photographer – you will go back with plenty of learning from our tours.
This tour is intended for amateur as well as serious photography enthusiasts with an interest to visit and photograph the beauty of Cambodia. No prior expertise or experience in photography is necessary, as our photographers will be there to assist you at every level. You may carry any camera – a simple aim-and-shoot or a DSLR. Travel enthusiasts who are not photographers but keen to experience the multiple facets of Cambodia can also benefit from the tour.
Can I bring my non-photographer partner with me?
Yes, you can. We visit many beautiful places in Cambodia and having a good time during the trip is as much on the agenda as photography is. Your partner will enjoy the journey with the group.
I am not a keen photographer. But I want to visit Cambodia with your group. Can I still join?
Yes. The answer is exactly same as in the case of previous question. We visit many beautiful places in Cambodia and having a good time during the trip is as much on the agenda as photography is.
Also refer to our tours faq on how our tours are conducted and other relevant information.
Arrivals and Departures
Participants are suggested to arrive before 3pm on Day 01 to ensure that they do not miss out on the first day’s tour briefing and sessions. In the event you have difficulty in finding suitable flights to arrive before 3pm, it is suggested that you arrive a day early. Participants may depart on any time of their convenience on the last day.
Please note that hotel check-in times are generally at 2pm and check-out time is usually 12pm.
Please check with us if you have any questions on arrival and departure.
The best way to arrive in Siem Reap or depart from Phnom Penh from most parts of the world is through Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lampur. All these cities have direct connection with Siem Reap as well as Phnom Penh.
Cambodia visa can be procured through an online application at https://www.evisa.gov.kh/
US$1935 or ₹133,515 per person OR
US$1845 or ₹127,305 per person when you book for a couple
The cost includes
- Accommodation on twin sharing basis, with breakfast. Please add US$315 o ₹20,475 for single supplement.
- Airport pickup at Siem Reap on the day of your arrival.
- Airport drop at Phnom Penh on the last day
- Local transportation on all days of the tour.
- All entry fees
- Photography sessions, expert advice and assistance, image reviews and critiques on all days
The cost does not include
- Travel to Siem Reap and return journey from Phnom Penh to your location.
- Lunch, dinner and any other food and beverages ordered.
- Visa fees.
- Travel insurance
- All expenses of personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, etc
Your Photography Experts
Accomplished travel and landscape photographer Arun Bhat’s works have been used by publications across the world, all the way from Japan to USA. He is a professional photographer who has travelled extensively, creating some of the finest imagery of landscapes and cultural diversity.
Arun has explored Cambodia with photography in focus and understands well about the locations and activities that yield well for photography. His extensive knowledge in photographing landscapes, people, cultures helps in maximizing the photography opportunities along the way.
See more of his works at www.paintedstork.com
Day 01. Arrive in Siem Reap
The excitement begins today as you arrive in Siem Reap. Our photography mentor will brief you on the program details, take you through the photography opportunities available and making the best of them in the next few days. To ensure that you are in time for the briefing, please plan your arrival in Siem Reap before 3pm. In the event you are unable to find appropriate flights to reach before 3pm, we recommend that you arrive a day early.
Day 02. Temples of Angkor Wat and surroundings.
We start the day very early to watch the famous sunrise at Angkor Wat and catch the orange sky behind Angkor Wat reflecting in a temple pond. Perhaps millions of people have come and gone with an intent to watch this spectacle; but the charm never fades.
Later, other places we visit during the day include the temples of Ta Prohm, Bayon and a few other temples of Angkor Thom and around. Prepare to be awed by the growth of tall ficus and silk-cotton trees that have grown over the temple walls. Be amused by the unique and unusual architecture in Bayon and other temples that dot the Angkorian landscape.
We end the day with the sunset overlooking one of the temples or an interesting location as decided by your mentor.
Day 03. Faraway temples, rural life and floating villages.
If we miss a good sunrise yesterday in case the sun is held ransom by clouds, do not fret, we have a spare morning to catch the sunrise again. If not we head out after breakfast to explore some beautiful temples away from Siem Reap, visit a Buddhist Monastery, drive through the countryside and visit a floating village on the edge of Tonle Sap Lake. Prepare for a long day today.
One of our stops today is a Buddhist Monastery, where if we are lucky, may be able to see some prayers and rituals in progress. But the everyday life in the monastery is colourful enough, be warned, you may never want to leave!
Driving into Beng Melea Temple, you will be surprised at the power that nature has exuded on these carved stones. The temple’s walls are overrun with all kind of vegetation from tiny green moss to giant silk-cotton trees. We explore the temple is peace, enjoying its much-less crowded surroundings compared to the temples near Angkor Wat.
Later, we drive to a floating village, first by foot in a higher ground and walking amidst houses on stilts standing on shallow water, subsequently on a boat to see a small town entirely surrounded by water everywhere.
Much of our driving today happens in the countryside, where we often stop by to enjoy the green expanses of paddy fields dotted with small hamlets. We will keep our eyes open for photogenic bullock carts on the unmetalled road, people in the fields searching for fish and crab and stop by at the hamlets for friendly conversations. Expect a long, but very fruitful day in terms experiences as well as photography opportunities.
Day 04. Drive from Siem Reap to Battambang; Visit the caves of Phnom Sampov.
Our first stop for the day will be at Phsa Leu, the local market at Siem Reap, which is at best described with two words – chaotic and photogenic.
Later, we do the three hour drive after an easy breakfast to our next destination – Battambang. This small, charming and peaceful town feels like it is continents away from Siem Reap. Once a major town during the French Rule, it’s city-center still remains a neat grid comprising French-era buildings.
After we settle down and enjoy a lazy lunch, it is time to head to the cave at Phnom Sampov. Once a notorious place known for Khmer Rouge’s atrocities–KR threw people into the cave–now it is a peaceful memorial with a sleeping Buddha smiling at the visitors. Further up the hill, we visit a Pagoda that offers brilliant sunset over the surroundings hills and paddy fields.
Day 05. Countryside Battambang – Visit the villages and meet people at work.
The first thing we do today is to take a short, fancy yet interesting ride on what is called a Bamboo Train. This is essentially a diesel-motor powered cart, open on all sides, that races through very old tracks in the middle of rice fields. Wind in the hair, camera strapped, sit back and enjoy the ride and also take some time to shoot the world slipping behind you quickly.
Before you know it, the ride is over and you would be wishing for more. Not to worry, there is much to do that will keep you engaged for rest of the day. We are now on to small villages around Battambang, to see, understand, admire and photograph the traditional occupations of Cambodia. Expect some fruitful interaction with khmer people at work all through the day. Discover the making process of rice-paper for spring rolls, cooking process of sticky rice in bamboo, the family-run assembly line of making khmer noodles, complex workflow of making fish-paste and sparkling fires in a black-smith’s workshop. Your cameras are going to be very busy today; don’t forget to pack in plenty of memory!
Later, once back in Battambang, we will explore the vibrant street-food and markets with our camera before calling it a day.
Day 06. Battambang to Kampong Chhnang
Five days into the tour, take our word when we say you haven’t seen everything yet. Kampong Chhnang will completely change your outlook of Cambodia. We can fill you in with rosy descriptions of idyllic rural life in a green landscape, villages full of craftsmen and extraordinary sunsets. But wait till you see it yourself to believe it, no description is good enough to justify the beauty of Kampong Chhnag.
Day 07. Drive to Phnom Penh.
Once again we start the day early, with a post-sunrise boat-ride to visit a floating village on Tonle Sap River. The village we visit here is much different from the one we had visited near Siem Reap. While those were built on stilts, what we have here are houses floating on bamboo rafts. Don’t be surprised to come here in another season to see that the village has disappeared! The entire village drifts away and relocates with the change in water levels in the river! The hour-long ride will give you a good chance to understand how to live on water and still have access to everything – electricity, shops, schools, transport service,…
Later, after a good breakfast, we drive to Phnom Penh (2 hours) and directly head to Choeung Ek, the infamous killing fields of the Khmer Rouge era. An excellent audio guide takes you on a two-hour tour of the fields where you learn about a horrifying past of human atrocities, which is documented sufficiently as a lesson that humanity mustn’t forget. Subsequently, if time permits, we drive to Tuol Sleng, the Khmer Rouge prison that suppressed the Cambodian voices.
You have the afternoon free to explore the streets and markets of Phnom Penh and perhaps some souvenir hunting in the last day. For those who wish to, your photography mentor can take you for a visit to the busy Russian Market in the evening before it turns dark.
Day 08. Tour ends after breakfast
By now, you would have indulged completely in the brilliant and diverse experiences of Cambodia, exploring the Cambodia, experiencing and understanding the country like few travellers do, and of course with images that will be cherished. It’s time to call it goodbye, but memories will linger, in our minds and in the memory cards.
Contact us at the email/numbers below to book the tour.
Tel: 9880006460 (Arun) / 97400 83260 (Shreeram)
Alternately, fill in the contact form.