Posts Tagged ‘Cambodia travel guide’

traditional costume of Khmer

traditional costume of Khmer

I am pretty sure that travelers to Cambodia have a dozen of reasons to explain why they immediately fell in love with this country. Apart from spectacular Angkor temples, amazing beaches, lush jungles or crazy nightlife out of the sleepy towns, what will you do to relax for half a leisure day? If you have no plans yet for this question, taking a traditional Cambodian photo shoot will be not a bad idea.

traditional costume of Khmer

traditional costume of Khmer

Why the traditional Khmer photo shoot is the traditional one in Cambodia?

Normally, the traditional Khmer photo shoots taking is a serious pre-wedding part for bride and groom as they will display these beautiful Khmer portraits at their special ceremony. Cambodians also take these shots for children in small-sized costumes of Khmer people. For foreigners, this is the best souvenir anyone can get from Cambodia after visiting this memorable country. Recently, this activity become widely known for expats in their honeymoon to save the joyful memory together.

A lovely couple photo prewedding

A lovely couple photo prewedding

How can I do my lovely Khmer photos?

Anywhere in big cities like  Phnom Penh & Siem Reap and also in many of the smaller town, you can easily find a studio for Khmer photos shoot. The way to recognize them is to see the huge prints advertised outside with the images of Khmer couples in their sparkly costumes and historical sites as the theme.

Upon entering the studio, you may find it a bit challenging to choose from many types of costumes and postures in the sample book. But do not worry, the friendly staff may be very supportive in choosing the best costume for you. After this, do not forget to negotiate about the price to avoid the surprise after finishing your shoot. It can cost about 15 – 25 USD for a set of printed photos of at least 4-5 photos depending on number of people join and includes rental fee for clothes, hair & make-up for women and usually sets of fake eyelashes to transform you to a real Khmer women. As men will not have make up and hair, they will pay less.

When you and the studio both agree about everything, you will be ready to the next step: hair & make-up. Within only 15 minutes, the makeup artists will change you into a masterpiece of stripper eyelid and fake lash. Followed with the work of hairdresser to apply a lot of hairspray to stablize  your carefully combed and twisted hair.

Based on your own interest in colors or styles, you then will get dressed in Cambodian traditional outfits named Khmer Boran.  After around 90 mintues, this process finishes then you may find you a totally new person and will be very eager to start your Khmer photos.

While taking your photos, if you can not find the best position, the photographer may help to look exactly like Khmer people do. Most of the photos will be for your free style and in the end you will have chance to choose the themes that you love then you are done.

The next day or so you can come back the studio and see how you look in a Khmer manner.

Are there any tips for the best Khmer photos?

The answer is surely YES. In this part, I think it is mainly useful for women as they need to be applied too much for a readiness.

Ladies should wear your own makeup if you do not want your sensitive skin to be affected by cheap communal makeup. Moreover, the color intension is suitable for Khmer-colored skin, you may look quite funny in the bold and heavy make up if you are paler than that or just get used to having a light and natural makeup.

One more thing, most of women hate the fake eyelashes as it seem to cover all the sun light and the thick and dark eye shadow that may make your eyes huge and a little frightening.

Be prepared for any shoots as the camera man will give you only 90 seconds in front of the camera. All you should do is to choose your favorite posture before getting dressed and remember the loveliest ones then have a smile always.

If you do not like anything, do not need to follow their requirement as this activity is actually so much fun.

Now do you think this Khmer culture is actually a unique experience while traveling to Cambodia?

Do you like your Khmer portrait?

Do you like your Khmer portrait? 

Happy portraiture and share with me your stunning shoots.



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We had our tour to the Toul Sleng prison and the Killing Fields in a summer afternoon of July. The car drove on the crowded streets of Phnom Penh, get through markets, residential area and the clutter constructions. After about 20 minutes driving on a route of 20km, we got the Toul Sleng, also known as the S21 concentration camp. You can join our trip with Indochina tours Cambodia

At the entrance, tourists can borrow the portable radio and headset with the guidance leaflets – the fee is included in the entrance ticket. There are many languages available to choose – English, France, Spanish, Vietnamese, etc.

While waiting for our tour guide to buy the entrance tickets, I looked around the area and noticed that the camp was surrounded by the high, old walls with barbed wire. S21 used to be a school before it was occupied by the Pol Pot’s Government as a concentration camp. Passing the souvenir shop selling T-shirts & canvas bags, we reached the main campus. The atmosphere was weird, it was so quiet and gloomy. A concrete courtyard with a row of white graves, the perpendicular gray blocks, in stark contrast to the bustle and noisy scenes in the outside of the walls.

Although the weather in July was full of sunshine and temperature in  35 degrees Celsius, when I put the headphone in, the abyss sad music from the radio made me tingle. The time run back 40 years ago, told us about the darkest history of Cambodia.

Follow the instruction on the leaflets, I visited each place – the room for confining prisoners, the torture camps, the buildings dedicated to chain people, where innocent and miserable were not supplied by any foods or drinks for a long time, barely naked, chained by the leash like animals, suffered and pained by the ferocious torture, deprived all rights as a human. How sad to know all of these actions just to satisfy the morbid thoughts of a small group to build a dictatorial authority.

The past was recreated truly and vivid like it just happened yesterday. We even can see the dry blood stains scattered on the floor. Some special tools for torturing still there, and the black and white photos of the victims with many different expression obsessed me so much.

We continued to move to the Killing Fields – where there are mass graves of genocide victims. Here comes a high tower with numerous skulls and bones and other body parts were found in the graves after the battle. The skulls are arranged in different area – women, men and children. We followed a small trail, winding the public graves. The notes on the signboard showed us each grave, where the people were buried alive, where the Pol Pot’s army killed women and children, the death tree where people were hanged.  A lot of scraps of cloth can be seen. Even some bones can be seen on the ground. Nobody knows who they are, names, hometowns or what did they do.

We got on our car to back to the downtown. None speak or laughter, no selfie pics like when we visited the Royal Palace in the morning. We follow own thoughts, the plaintive music from the audio seems like ringing in our ears. Behind the car window, naive Cambodian were hustled back home after a hard working day. The frangipani swinging in the wind, ending an emotional day in Phnom Penh.

Although this site is a must see in Phnom Penh, should consider for children and people who are having psychological problems.

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Cambodia is widely known as the home country of majestic Angkor temples with must-see Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, ‘Citadel of the Women’ – Banteay Srei with very nice architecture or the famous Ta Phrom temple with its giant trees where Angelina Jolie filmed the movie Tomb Raider. For those who are interested in history – the capital city of Phnom Penh with Royal Palace and historic sites of Tuol Sleng Museum (S-21 prison) and the “Killing Fields” of Choeng Ek is definitely an attractive destination as well. More than that, Cambodia also has Battambang – an totally different place which its uniqueness, yet often ignored by tourists.

If you interest, please follow our relevant the topics at:  Indochina tours Cambodia


With almost 3 hours driving from Siem Reap or around 5 hours travelling on coach from Phnom Penh, you will reach Battambang – the Cambodia’s second largest city which is located on the Sangkae River. From the very first moment, Battambang attracts me by unique French colonial architecture, Wat Ek Phnom pagoda with giant budda statue and impressive carvings – reachable from city centre within 20 mnitues by car and Kamping Pouy basin with fresh air and lotus flowers, etc


Especially, bamboo train is also a unique experience here. A short ride on this simple vehicle is a fun experience even in light rain. Especially, it is very interesting when your driver needs to dismantle and reassemble the trolley and runners when another trains is in the rail. If Battambang is on your list then bamboo train is absolutely a not to be missed activity. A small note, if you are very sensitive to mosquitos and other insects, it is better to do the bamboo train before late afternoon. Else, when it is getting dark, you may get trouble with these “friends”


For travellers who are big fans of street food and prefer eating outside at small vendors instead of fancy restaurants, there are plenty choices near the river at night. You may see some small local kids come and beg for food – a different aspect of the country that will hardly be seen in Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.

If you are wondering where to stay when visiting Battambang, here are some suggestions for accommodation in this city:

  • Bambu Hotel Battambang – address: Phum Romchek 5, Sangkat Rottanak, KO Street, Battambang, Kingdom of Cambodia. This is a lovely boutique hotel with combination local Khmer and French colonial architecture. The hotel offers 16 clean and comfortable rooms and a salt water swimming pool available exclusively to staying guests only.
  • Battambang Resort – address: Wat Kor Village, Cambodia. If you are seeking for a more luxurious place, Battambang Resort will be a nice choice, especially for those who enjoy quiet atmosphere and prefer to escape from the centre of town activity in Battambang.

All in all, with its own charms which are hardy to be found in any other places, Battambang is a special destination that worths a visit if you have time in Cambodia.

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