Cambodians on a "bamboo" train in the countryside.
Working in Bangkok as a freelance photojournalist has its up and downs. I work on stories I enjoy and I think are important, but there aren't very many assignments so I've looked at other ways of making money. One of the things I'm doing, something I really enjoy, is teaching workshops.
My neighbor and friend, Gavin Gough, an excellent photographer, has asked me to help him with workshops he leads in Bangkok and it's been a real treat to meet aspiring photographers in Bangkok, which is one of the best cities in the world to learn photography.
Now Gavin has put together a program which is a great opportunity for photographers who want to explore a seldom seen part of Cambodia. And he's asked me to help him with the workshop.
(This a slide show photos from a story I worked on about Cambodian trains, back when Cambodia had trains.)
We're taking a small group of photographers from Phnom Penh to Battambang and then to Seam Reap.
In Battambang we're going to work on photo stories about the "Bamboo Trains," a Cambodian innovation. Entrepreneurs in the Cambodian countryside have put small lawn mower type engines on bamboo mats and then run the contraptions up and down the abandoned railroad tracks around Battambang. It's a great example of the resourcefulness of the Cambodian people, a model of sustainable development and a lot of fun.
A bamboo train driver zips down a railroad track in the countryside.
The workshop is June 28 - July 3. We'll start in Phnom Penh with a visit to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, then go on to Battambang for the trains and end up in Seam Reap to explore some parts of the breathtaking Angkor Wat complex. The fee for the workshop is only $1,900. For almost everything.
The fee includes all hotels (and he's lined up some very nice hotels), all meals, all transfers and transportation in Cambodia (including the trains), service fees and tips. The hotels rooms are singles - there's none of the "single supplement" scam and no one will be forced into a room mate situation with a stranger.
It's easier to list what's not included. Airfare to and from Cambodia (into Phnom Penh and out of Cambodia from Seam Reap), alcoholic beverages, laundry, minibar and misc hotel bills. It also doesn't include a Cambodian visa. We strongly encourage using Cambodia's easy to navigate e-visa program.
Cambodian women on the bamboo train.
I rode the bamboo trains a few years ago. To this day, they're a highlight of my many memories of Cambodia. I've also traveled a lot in Cambodia and can tell you that for the hotels Gavin has booked and the arrangements he's made (private vans from Phnom Penh to Battambang and Seam Reap) solo travelers would be hard pressed to make the same arrangements at a lower price by themselves.
In the evenings Gavin and I will talk about workflow (using Adobe's Lightroom, version 5 if it's out, version 4 if it's not), and show pictures and talk about from other stories we've worked on. It promises to be a great six days in Cambodia. Join us!
Here's a slideshow of my work in Cambodia.