In July 2015 I was approached by a friend who was building a resort on the island of Koh Rong Samloem (also called Koh Rong Sanloem) – who needed some help in setting up the bar at his resort. The island is a 30 to 40-minute ferry trip from the coastal town of Sihanoukville.
I flew over to Cambodia for the first time for a week and spent the time working on designing drinks and cocktail menus and pricing, meeting liquor suppliers and purchasing what was needed in a bar to function efficiently. It was an interesting and constructive week and was to have far-reaching repercussions in my life!
I fell in love with Cambodia – and Koh Rong Samloem in particular. So much so that five weeks later I was back in Cambodia on holiday and this time I visited Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Koh Rong Samloem again.
Cambodia is a beautiful country and, despite its past, is populated by the friendliest of people. Nothing is too much trouble and one feels totally safe and at home there almost immediately. It is hard to imagine the atrocities that touched virtually every family in Cambodia under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.
Cambodia is probably akin to Thailand of around 20 years ago – before it became as commercialised as it now is. It is unspoilt and in many ways “old-fashioned”, yet has all the modern amenities and comforts one could want – at very reasonable prices. This, of course, won’t remain forever as there is a lot of development going on all over the place.
Armed now with a much better knowledge of the country – having seen the Royal Palace, Toul Sleng (Museum of Genocide Crimes) and the Killing Fields (Choeung Ek) in Phnom Penh, the temples in Siem Reap and the seaside town of Sihanoukville – I was hooked on Cambodia.
At the beginning of 2017, I decided that it was time South Africans (and others!) got to experience the Cambodia that I love so much and I took the decision to set up a company specialising in travel to Cambodia. 80 000 South Africans visited Thailand in 2016 and only 4 500 went to Cambodia. It is time to begin redressing that imbalance!!
Helped by my resort-owning friend, who by now had established a very useful network of contacts in Cambodia, I returned to the country in early 2017 and set up a partnership with the top local travel agency to do all my buying and hosting of my clients in Cambodia, as well as meeting with senior people at the Ministry of Tourism and enlisting their support.
The culmination of all of that is “Cambodia & Beyond” – a company specialising in travel to Cambodia and its neighbouring countries.
Why Choose Us?
So there is the internet and you can go online and book everything cheaper on your own – right!!
What are the advantages of choosing to plan, book and experience your travels through us at Cambodia & Beyond? Just a couple of reasons?
- Our partner has been operating in Southeast Asia for the last 24 years. They are considered one of the top travel companies in the countries which they operate. We, therefore, have significant buying power and the ability to negotiate top rates with suppliers due to the volumes purchased.
- Our agents regularly inspect the hotels and other service providers that we use to ensure that there will be no nasty surprises for our customers from a service provider whose reality does not match up to their brochure or website.
- With this experience we are able to custom design holidays that perfectly fit your needs and requirements. For example, we will ensure that your hotel is near where you want to be and not a half hour drive each time from where the action is, or alternatively is not right in the middle of the action when you want a relaxing and peaceful time. We know the pitfalls and won’t be pennywise and pound foolish!
- Getting around Cambodia can be a challenge and it is important to have reliable and trustworthy suppliers. To get the most out of your visit it helps enormously to have a knowledgeable guide and we ensure that we use only qualified and licensed guides with established track records.
- We have 24-hour support in each city you visit which means that you have a local representative if there are any issue with which you need immediate help.