As Globalization grows with optimistic numbers in every human sector – from technologies to communication and from economic [including the crisis] to the disappearance of geographical borders -, tourism is becoming also more and more global. It is easier in our time to plan the next holidays at the other side of the planet, as it was planning the same some decades ago to the other site of the county. Plane tickets’ cost have gone down as much as high technologies and the frontiers of our tiny planet came to be at the walking distance. In 2014 only 1.1 billion persons traveled around the world, according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, with an increase of 4.5% over the previous year and it is estimated another jump of 4% in 2015. We are talking of numbers during an economic crisis period, so numbers will be much bigger in ‘better times’. Continue reading
At the edge of the Tourist High Season, we start with the E-Visa and the need to be more effective. In general, the Cambodian E-Visa is the best of the South East Asia and it is really an example. Just don’t use intermediate agencies that would overcharge you. Please use exclusively the Government website: https://www.evisa.gov.kh/
As in any system, there will be always mistakes, system failures and misunderstanding. But it is important to work all the time to avoid it. A perfect complement could be the skill training of officers dealing with international visitors in airports, sea ports and land gates. They must speak at least a good level of English, while having experience in dealing with foreigners, using the electronic technologies and being kind. It will give a good image to Cambodia.
I got the following complain from a couple with a not good experience in their E-Visa experience. By sure, most people are happy with the service, but it is important to heard also those who are not happy in order to improve it: Continue reading
- Taking photos of people on public areas without their consent, can be considered espionage.
If you come to Cambodia to take pictures of other foreigners to support campaigns such as the persecution of sexual offenders, you must know that it is considered espionage and thus it is a crime. Working in any organization to prevent or to persecute offenders, does not entitle you to take photos of persons without their consent. A good mission or a great ideal such as protecting children, does not give you the right to commit another crime that could be also abusive like defaming the name of a person that could be mostly innocent. Taking an illegal picture of a man would make him a suspect of a possible undergoing crime. Only the authorities are entitled to proceed in an investigation that includes the production of photographs, videos or audios of possible suspects. Even like that, authorities should respect the privacy of a possible suspect under the assumption that all persons are innocent until the contrary is not proven. It is especially delicate in Cambodia, because in our judicial system, every suspect is guilty until the contrary is not proven. In our Cambodian judicial system, judges and prosecutors keep as a goal to produce a jail sentence. Several Cambodian prosecution cases would not make a case in Japan, Europe and US, as they do in Cambodia and take any example.
- For Cambodians, nudity in public is indecency and it “damages public order”.
- Even to be topless is seen as irrespective.
- Indecent exposure or making naked photos can be criminalized as pornography and public disorder incitement in Cambodia.
Surely the three Frenchmen arrested for taking pictures of themselves completely naked at Banteay Kdei did not know exactly where they were. Westerns see a natural country like Cambodia and feel a fresh air of freedom, a place where they can do “whatever,” far from their strictly ruled nations. The reality is far from that. We live in a very rural and conservative culture that is actually very much intolerant of many things considered “natural” by others. Lastly we have three national scandals: three Europeans were expelled from Cambodia for ridding their bicycles completely naked at the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Then it came the mysterious publication of a naked woman at the very sacred temples of Angkor – the first to be investigated is Apsara Authority itself, because it creates too many questions: how the model and the photographer could follow their production without any notice in places where thousands of people use to visit? It is also probably a Photoshop creation. Then the arrest of three French young men showing up in front to the camera as they came to the world. This shows something special: Cambodia is meeting Globalization and all what it brings. Continue reading
- If you want to contemplate the Mekong Delta, it is the best option: Ha Tien – Saigon by bus.
- The Prek Chak Border Crossing is practical for going from Kampot and Kep provinces to Ha Tien and Koh Tral (Phu Quoc).
- It is under construction.
The Prek Chak International Gate is the best place to cross to Vietnam from the Cambodian provinces of Kep and Kampot. In Vietnam it is known as Xa Xien and it is the access to Ha Tien City in the Kien Gian Province and to Koh Tral Island (in Vietnamese Phu Quoc.) From Ha Tien there are regular public transport to Saigon with different bus companies, most of them with very comfortable vehicles to cross the Mekong Delta to reach the city. It is 322 kilometers far from Ha Tien by QL 80 road, including the crossing of a ferry at Vang Cong.
Here I am, on a real bus bed on my travel to Saigon from Ha Tien. There are also night buses that make the travel in 8 hours through the Mekong Delta. A stunning view. Continue reading
- Between December and April 2014 Cambodia welcomed 3.59 million foreign tourists.
- The Ministry of Tourism expects 5 million visitors in 2015.
- Vietnamese and Chinese citizens are the first foreign visitors to the Kingdom of Cambodia.
- Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and coastal provinces, main destinations.
If agencies are too hurry to prepare staff to speak English thinking in Westerns, it is the time to include Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Laotian and Japanese in their lists, because they are the languages of their main clients. Vietnam makes the 16%, China 12%, South Korea 12%, Laos 7%, Japan 5%, United States 4.7%, Thailand 4.4 %, Russia 4%, France 3.7 % and United Kingdom 3.3%. Continue reading
The traditional Water Festival is back this November with many expectations and a lot optimism. Actually the real translation of “Bon Om Tuk” in English must be “Festival of the Canoas”. After three years of absence, the government announced its celebration this monsoon season November 5, 6 and 7. The last one was in 2010 that ended with an unforgettable tragedy that cost the life of 347 persons, mostly young women, and several were injured in a stampeded on a bridge to Diamond Island (Koh Pich). The next year the passing away of King Norodom Sihanouk would prevent its realization and 2013 was also suspended due to flooding and political conflicts. Continue reading