Weekend photography tour in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Date
Price
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10 Dec 2016
US $ 350
excluding flights
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Weekend photography tour in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Environment

Whilst touring around Phnom Penh for the most part we use Tuks Tuks which are perfect for us as photographers. And have natural air-conditioning. In Phnom we sponsor the Tuk Tuks owned by our regular drivers.
For trips outside of the city we tailor the mode of transport used to the size of the group. If it is a small group of up to three people we travel by car. Our regular driver has had his car modified to use LPG, which is recognized as having lower carbon emissions.
Electricity is an expensive commodity here in Cambodia and is sometimes prone to failure. So as to minimize its use and so not put too much pressure on the supply we ask that our guests use it sparingly, making sure that lights, air-conditioning etc., is switched off when they are not in their hotel rooms. We do have to have a balance between comfort and the use of electricity but feel that a gentle reminder will help to ensure that our guests are mindful of how precious this resource is in a developing country.
On all our tours we either ask our clients to bring water bottles or we provide them so that water can be dispensed from larger bottles or other potable sources.

Community

Our mission statement on responsible travel is to:
‘Offer the enthusiastic photographer the opportunity to improve their photographic skills and take memorable pictures whilst getting a privileged insight into the country that they are visiting’.
Nathan has been running tours in Cambodia since 2006 and has built up strong links with the community. All of our team has made Cambodia their home and because of this we are able to give our clients insights into the local way of life and customs.
We start every tour with a brief on the ethics of travel photography and ask that our clients step away from the notion that we ‘take’ or ‘ capture’ photographs. Rather we encourage the concept of ‘creating’ photographs and engaging with local people in a positive ways. We also take prints back to the villages and people we visit. This never fails to delight and further build the relationships with people we are likely to visit again in the future. We also hope that the style of photographs we take will enhance a positive representation of a country that rarely gets good press.
An important element of our photography tour is that our clients get out and about amongst the people, Our itinerary not only visits the iconic sites but also goes out of the way to stop at markets and small wats who may not usually benefit from visiting tourists. We buy the local products and we encourage our clients to bring materials suitable for the schools we regularly visit. We find that we are warmly welcomed by the people who do not normally benefit from the tourist dollar
Nathan believes in supporting the people he meets on his tours around Cambodia and over the years has donated and encourages donations to those people. Sometimes our clients more than just donate on their visit. Here is an example. On Silk Island, Nathan has become friendly with a family who have a beautiful daughter in all respects apart from the fact she was born with virtually no nose. Although a french NGO plays a significant part in providing plastic surgery every year to rebuild her nose Nathan makes an annual donation to see that her mother can afford to stay at her bed side whilst she has her operations which usually necessitate her being in hospital at least a week at a time.
We encourage our clients to buy handicrafts directly from the villagers and handicraft makers. On Silk Island, located in the Mekong River just outside Phnom Penh, we make regular visits to the village where they weave silk into scarves. Over the years they have been very generous to us by allowing us into their homes to photograph them spinning and weaving. Most of our clients leave the island with a bagful of goodies for themselves or to give away as gifts. This income goes directly to those who make the products rather than a middle man.
Accommodation is chosen carefully to give a reasonable degree of comfort and is, where possible, locally owned. Similarly local restaurants are the preference for eating. This again puts money into the local economy and gives the client a taste of the local cuisine.
At the end of the tour it is hoped that the clients go away with a greater knowledge of travel photography, a set of fantastic photos and have had a sympathetic experience of the country they have visited on the way.

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