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What to Expect at the new Angkor Temples Ticketing Office

The New Angkor Temples Ticket Booth – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

By Courtney Ridgel

As we’ve blogged about before, the ticket prices at Angkor Wat have increased this year, to ensure that Cambodia has the funds to preserve and protect the Angkor Complex.

At the new Angkor Temples Ticket Booth- Photo Credit: Narla Phay

Along with the new prices, comes a new (and much larger) ticketing office to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of visitors that Angkor Wat receives each year.  All foreigners are required to purchase a pass to visit the Angkor Temple Complex (or drive through on your way to something else).   Khmer people are free to come and go from the Complex as they please.

On a Journeys Within tour, your guide will take you to the Angkor Temples Ticket Booth before beginning your touring.

Dana and Chris testing out the new Ticketing Booth – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

You’ll pull up and park, and your guide will escort you to the ticket counter, where you’ll join the queue.  Be sure to read the information about the Angkor Complex Code of Conduct to make sure that you understand the regulations and expectations at these sacred monuments.

Dana, Chris and Journeys Within guide, Santhou, awaiting their turn at the ticketing counter – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

When it is your turn, you’ll need to pose for a photo.  Hats are ok, but you’ll need to remove your sunglasses.

Dana removing her sunglasses to have her photo taken – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

After you guide pays for your tickets, he’ll hand it over to you.  Be sure not to lose it as you tour as you’ll have to show it at various checkpoints!

Santhou handing Dana her temple pass – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

From here you’ll head out for an exciting day at the temples!

Dana, ready for a day of adventure with her temple pass! – Photo Credit: Narla Phay

Flights of fancy: 5 countries, 5 beautiful drone video tours

These days, with low-cost camera-ready drones available from a number of different manufacturers, and a bevy of amateur and professional videographers getting into the drone video game, we’re seeing more and more aerial video tours of the places we visit throughout Southeast Asia.

Take a moment (or five) and enjoy these unique perspectives on some of the monuments and destinations you may have already experienced first-hand or might have on a travel bucket list, from each of the five countries we offer tours in.

We suggest you make each of these videos full-screen to truly appreciate the stunning footage captured in these amazing places. Enjoy.

Cambodia

Tour the Angkor Wat temple complex in this video by 5Mars.com titled “Angkor – Visit from the sun.”

Thailand

See the Thai island of Koh Yao Noi in this video by Philip Bloom.

Vietnam

Enter the magical world of the Hang Son Doong cave system via drone in this video by Ryan Deboodt.

Myanmar

See the temples of Bagan from above in this video by YouTuber Clipper 707.

Laos

Enjoy a selection of aerial shots above the countryside of Laos in this video by YouTuber moodakdrone.

Ta Prohm Trees — Safe for Now

Ta Prohm was slated to loose some of its iconic trees for safety reasons. According to a source collaborating with the APSARA Authority, the cuts won’t be as drastic at the organization originally feared…

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Recently it was reported that Ta Prom, known as the Tomb Raider temple, was set to lose some of its picture perfect trees. After years of discussion, it seemed that the trees could no longer be maintained while insuring the structural integrity of the temple itself.

We, along with many others who count this gorgeous temple among their favourites, were gutted to learn that it could lose the trees that make it so recognizable. But now, 10 years after the original suggestion to lose the trees and a few months after the most recent call to cut it would seem authorities have found a compromise.

Angkor Tourism Management Plan secretary Marady Om has confirmed that after a UNESCO experts partnered with APSARA to assess Ta Prohm and found a solution that will leave most trees standing.

The team has removed a single tree which had toppled over, while the remainder of trees will be trimmed to ensure that they remain stable. Om said that plans to remove any more trees have been put on hold.

Good news for anyone who have the majestic foliage at Ta Prohm on their bucket list. That said we wouldn’t recommend that you leave seeing these amazing trees much longer!

Looking for more Treespiration in your life? Check out these pictures of ancient trees photographer Beth Moon who captures the beauty of not only the beauty Ta Prohm, but also of other magnificent trees from around the world.

Anna Bella Photography

Ever get tired of always having one person missing from your family holiday shots (someone’s got to take the photo right?)

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Always having to ask a stranger to take that shot of you and your partner, or worse still, finding a willing helper and then taking back your camera only to find a blurred shot or one with heads missing? Or do you look through your holiday snaps and wish you had some really professional pictures of you or your kids in that memorable location that you could frame or send to the relatives?

We think we have the perfect solution in the form of long-time Siem Reap resident Anna Bella Betts. An accomplished photographer and contributor to such prestigious publications as ‘National Geographic’ and ‘Travel and Leisure’, Anna knows the temples of Angkor inside out and can add a wonderful new dimension to your time there. Her approach can be totally tailor-made to your requirements; either to shadow you and your guide, taking pictures all the while with a mostly ‘fly-on-the-wall’ style or with directed posed shots (think kids star jumping on a beach but with an Angkorian backdrop). Or a mixture of both – it’s up to you, but whatever approach you prefer the result will be a wonderful portfolio of professionally rendered memories.

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Being so familiar with the area Anna Bella can also add valuable input to your itinerary, sharing with you the best viewpoints for photos or the best time of day to visit a certain spot. For those with an interest in photography themselves, she can also help you get the most out of your own images. Included in your package are between 50 – 150 high resolution images (depending on the length of the tour – half and full days are both offered), delivered in jpeg format to your hotel the following day on a USB flash drive.

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So smile for the camera!

Is Cambodia safe right now?

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Anyone following the news coming out of Southeast Asia right now may be wondering whether Cambodia is a safe place to visit right . Protests against Hun Sen’s government have been ongoing since since August, with the masses voicing their frustration with the country’s ongoing corruption and nepotism. Most recently things turned violent after the military opened fire on garment factory protesters who were demanding a higher wage of $160/month.  Five people were killed and dozens more wounded.

So what are the implications of this turmoil for travelers? The truth is, very little.

While it may seem like the country is coming to a boiling point, the reality on the ground is very different. Opposition protests are planned and announced in advance (they need to apply for a permit) and the recent violence in Phnom Penh was isolated in the garment district on the outskirts of the city. It didn’t directly affect those living and working in country’s capital.

It should be noted that while some of the protests have turned violent, that at no time were tourists targeted. Most Cambodians are well aware that tourism is a driving force behind the economy and are not interested in jeopardizing this source of income.

Currently, protests are concentrated in Phnom Penh, the country’s capital. Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kep, Kampot as well as the North remain largely unaffected.

None-the-less, all visitors are being advised to avoid protest areas and any large gatherings and to keep aware of their surroundings.

Like all fledgling democracies, it remains to be seen what course the country will take over the next few weeks, months and even years. Like visiting any major city in the world, it is impossible to say that there is absolutely no risk in visiting Phnom Penh or Cambodia, but the risk of incident remains extremely low.

Our team on the ground in Cambodia are watching the situation closely (they live there after all!) and are dedicated to keeping our guests updated. As of now, there is no reason to leave the Kingdom of Wonder off your itinerary.