Cambodia Alternative

13 - 23 Oct, 2017
Group Size: to 8 people
Photo leader:
11 days, from 2900 USD

Applications closed

  • Sunrise at Olympic Stadium
  • Phnom Penh’s biggest wholesale market
  • Monk’s lunch
  • Street photography in Riverside area
  • Phnom Chisor (hill top Angkorian Temple)
  • Kampot
  • Muslim fishing village and boats
  • Salt fields
  • Pepper plantation
  • Angkorian hermit caves
  • Kep’s famous crab market.
  • Phnom Da.
  • Kompong Cham
  • Bamboo bridge
  • Rural villages
  • Kompong Thom
  • Preah Vihear
Cambodia is a photographers dream and you should not be surprised that the iconic status of Angkor is the country’s main draw card for any keen photographer. However after running photography tours in the country for nearly 10 years I am also not surprised that most of my participants go home with an overwhelming feeling that it was their interactions with the local Cambodian people that made the biggest impression on them.

The famous Angkor temple site centered around Angkor Wat (in current day Siem Reap) certainly was not quiet with tourists when I first visited on a professional assignment back in 2005, and in the 10 years since I have been running photography tours, one of my biggest challenges has been avoiding the ever increasing (and less sensitive) crowds at the big name temples.
Luckily over the last 10 years it has also been my privilege to get to know the Cambodian countryside and it’s humble people intimately. During that time I have also been pleasantly surprised to find many other Angkorian sites spread out around the country that, in stark contrast to the capital site built around Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, often remain untouched by mainstream tourism.In celebration of my tenth anniversary I finally feel brave enough to run tours of Cambodia that practically avoid the main temples altogether and don’t feel like I am letting people down. It is my ambition on this tour to use the alternative Angkorian sites as destination points primarily as an excuse to see the ‘other side’ of Cambodia: the side of Cambodia that I would rather refer to as the ‘real’ Cambodia and more importantly as an excuse to meet the ‘real’ Cambodian people rather than other tourists.

It is hoped that this tour might appeal to 2 different types of photographers.
1) Those that have a hatred of big crowds and a burning desire to see something different.
2) Those who have already done a tour with me once and liked Cambodia so much they know they want to come back again to see more. If you are in the latter group then you also know it would be my advice to visit in a different season (to your first visit) as the seasonal changes alone throw up a completely different photographic experience.
Day 1: Phnom Penh
Arrive in Phnom Penh. You will be picked up from the airport

Day 2. Phnom Penh
If you haven’t done a tour with me already you will attend 3 well received workshops exploring my personal technical, aesthetic and ethical approach to travel photography.
If you have done a tour with me before you can walk with Naomi around some interesting corners of Phnom Penh.

Day 3. Phnom Penh
AM: Sunrise at Olympic Stadium and an early morning visit to Phnom Penh’s biggest wholesale market followed by a monk’s lunch at a local Wat.
Extended lunch break.

PM: Phnom Penh is a perfect city for simple straight up street photography. Your hotel will be located in the perfect place to take a guided walk in the main river side quarter where Nathan has lived for the last 10 yrs.

Day 4: Kampot
AM: Phnom Chisor (hill top Angkorian Temple) + local temple surrounded by vast Lotus ponds.

PM: Lunch in Kampot
Photo documentary project - visit a friendly Muslim fishing village preparing to go out to sea for all night fishing. Boats departing against sunset.

Day 5: Kep
AM: Up at sunrise to document the same Muslim fishermen returning with their catch at shore side market.
Mid-day: Visit the local salt fields, famous pepper plantations and local Angkorian hermit caves.

PM: Photograph local crab fishermen and female crab sellers making their last transactions of the day against the sunset in Kep’s famous crab market.

Day 6: Kep/Phnom Penh
AM: Relax around crab market and interesting pier for morning activity.
Lunch in local crayfish restaurant

PM: Take interesting boat ride to Cambodia’s earliest Angkorian site close to Vietnams border Phnom Da.
Late evening return to Phnom Pen

Day 7: Kompong Cham
AM: Better to travel than arrive. Slow drive with multiple stops to Kompong Cham
Lunch at KC riverside restaurant

PM: Cambodia’s own Ubein bridge. Over 800m of seasonally erected bamboo bridge takes us to relatively isolated village life on Mekong Island. Sunset take small local fishing boat back across river to photo silhouettes of locals returning home over bridge.

Day 8: Kompong Thom
AM: Relaxed morning with Lightroom Workshop

PM: Better to travel than arrive. Slow drive with multiple stops to Kompong Thom along road notorious for cow carts and cow herders returning across or through paddy fields at sunset.

Day 9: Preah Vihear
AM: After breakfast take a morning drive through the countryside to Preah Vihear. via Sambor Pre Kok, a site of early Angkorian temples deep in the forest. On the way we will be on the look out for buffaloes wallowing in the pools or working in the fields.

PM: Late afternoon visit to Preah Vihear, the only other UNESCO world heritage site in Cambodia. By visiting at this time of day and using local hotels (surprisingly good) we are unlikely to see other tourists.

Day 10: Siem Reap
AM:: Drive to an early Angkorian site called Koh Ker. This ancient Khmer city is in a distant jungle location with up to a hundred ruined temples including a huge stepped pyramid; the largest in the region. More ancient temples are being found in the jungle; so there is a true sense of discovery here. Many of the temples were built in brick using a mortar made from tree sap. It is quite remarkable how well they have stood up to the test of time

PM: Visit Kompong Khleang, the least visited floating village on the northern shore of Ton Le Sap.
Early evening drive to Siem Reap hotel.

Day 11: Siem Reap
AM: In the morning we beat the crowds to Preah Khan and then take jungle walk to already very quiet and isolated Ta Ne before meeting up with transport to visit an unusual Angkorian bridge with numerous trees growing out of it.

PM: Explore the relatively unvisited sections of Angkor Thom that most tour groups will ignore in favour of the big names. If we have time we will slot in a quick walk through Banteay Khedi before going to Angkor Wat at sunset. We will go to east side at the back in a cunning ploy to avoid the big crowds

Please Note:
Itinerary days may be subject to changes or variations.
Always Cambodian owned, we have gone out our way to find some fantastic 'boutique' hotels with real local character whenever possible. We include 11 nights' accommodation in the price of this 10 day tour and we do not charge a single supplement. Single travelers will get their own room. Although we are confident you will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of accommodation we have contracted at good rates for these tours you can always choose your own accommodation in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap and we will adjust the tour price accordingly. We are also happy to book you any additional hotel nights either side of the tour. Please indicate any such requests on the Tour Request Form which can be found under Contact page.
April to November 2016  ** Special Green Season Offer ***
10 days including 11 nights’ accommodation

10 days including 11 nights’ accommodation

  individual days without accommodation

As a fully licensed Cambodian tour operator we are required to charge 10% sales tax on all invoices.

Please note: All prices are quoted in US$. 

Payment and Cancellations:
25% deposit must be made at the time of confirmation. Full payment of the remaining 75% is due 45 days before the tour starts. Cancellation of services less than 60 days prior to the start date will result in the deposit being retained. However this may be transferred to another tour date (minus any costs incurred in arranging the changeover)
  • All teaching (including 3 workshops)
  • Photography guidance
  • All transport (A/C car or minibus)
  • All entrance fees
  • 11 nights accommodation (unless otherwise requested)
  • Free water
  • International travel to and from Cambodia (see itinerary for meeting point)
  • Any kind of insurance
  • Drinks and meals other than breakfast
  • Other personal expenses, e.g. laundry phone calls, gifts etc
  • Tips at your discretion
This tour is focused on improving an in-depth understanding of good travel photography. Nathan is especially keen to promote three aspects of travel photography; technical competence, creative observation and ethical responsibility. Introductory workshops cover all three and although they don't leave the novice out of their depth there's usually enough in these workshops to keep the most seasoned practitioner interested. After the workshops most of the teaching is done on location. Constantly unearthing interesting scenarios, Nathan will work alongside the group to help you understand particular technical challenges, give you artistic inspiration and most importantly, to lead by example, in approaching local people. This approach will both open doors and help you take better pictures. Time is also put aside to help develop your post-production skills so that you can 'up the wow factor' of your pictures and go home with a portfolio of the tour that anyone would be proud of. In fact many of our past participants have gone on to win awards or competitions.

Please understand that Nathan Horton is not an ‘above the line’ tour operator. Nathan Horton runs a guided photography tour with third party local service providers.
Your safety is always a top priority but all participation is at your own risk and you should not sign up without accepting that Nathan Horton can accept no liability for amage to equipment or personal injury

The Group:
On most of our tours we set a limit at 8 photographers. A group of this size is ideal for us and our regular local guides to give everyone the attention they may need. This intimate group size forms a stimulating dynamic where participants can share their experiences with like-minded people, and more often than not leave with new friends. Whether you are a single traveler, or you come with a partner you will find being in a small group who share a common interest a great way to get something extra out of your trip. No more worrying about keeping people waiting whilst you get your shot. There may be some occasions where we allow a non-photographer on tour which will raise the tour numbers. This is only possible where the transport size is appropriate. We reserve the right, in exceptional circumstances, to increase the group size.

Private Tours:
Nathan does not run private tours as he has a full calendar set up to two years in advance.
However we can run private tours in Cambodia on request. Cambodia is well covered with three photographers potentially available to run tours in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and other areas of the country. We welcome enquiries and will do our best to work with you to set up a tour to suit your needs.
We also have the potential to run private tours in Rajasthan, Bali and Vietnam. Subject to the availability of a photographic tour leader.

Running photography tours in S.E Asia for over 10 years now Nathan has always believed that his field trips should open up a country by presenting opportunities to engage with local people. One of our principal aims, going far beyond teaching good camera technique, is to show participants that instead of being a barrier between the photographer and subject, the camera could be used as the key to open doors. We aim to show how, when used sympathetically, the camera can help to establish a vital connection between the traveler and the locals they meet.

What to Bring
Your best camera, be it a DSLR, mirrorless or an advanced compact with some manual controls. Your lens(es) should cover at least a medium zoom range. If you have them, a wide-angle lens (useful in temples and pagodas) and a longer telephoto lens (good on boat trips) would be useful but not essential. A fast standard lens with aperture of f1.8 or f1.4 is another good option.
  • A torch
  • A polarising filter
  • A tripod
  • Plenty of memory cards and a spare battery
  • A laptop is not essential but is very useful for backing up the day’s shoot, and also for reviewing what you have taken and the post production wokshop. We also recommend a portable external hard drive - just in case!
  • A rain cover for your camera and one for yourself are recommended, and are essential during the rainy season
Nathan Horton Photography Tours cannot be held responsible for your entry/exit arrangements. Getting the required documentation is solely your responsibility. No refunds will be made in the event of you being refused entry into the country where travel is to take place.

As visa rules can vary according to your country of origin we strongly advise that you research the visa rules for the country before you travel. Please refer to the visa information in Essential Information Sheet given for each country. The PDF can be downloaded below.

Travel Insurance:
Travel insurance is compulsory for all Nathan Horton Photography travelers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US $200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on or before the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it.

“Perfect introduction to photography in Cambodia”
Reviewed January 21, 2015
First let me state that I am professional landscape and travel photographer comfortable with putting together my own itineraries. However I decided for my first trip to southeast Asia that I would connect up with a small group photo tour. After doing some web research, I chose Nathan Horton based on five things: his images are stunning, he clearly interacts with his subjects, his itinerary was perfect for what I wanted in a trip to Cambodia, the small group size, and his price was very reasonable. Having just returned from a ten-day trip with Nathan I was not disappointed.

“Inspiring, amazing, fabulous tour”
Reviewed January 13, 2015
There are only a few adjectives but there is more: without Nathan’s guiding I would never get such pictures. He knows what looks good for a photo, which times are best for the light and how to engage people. Thanks Nathan, I’ll return for more tours!

“5* photo trips with a man who knows...”
Reviewed May 14, 2013
I have done two trips with Nathan, one in February 2012 around Cambodia, and another in April 2013 to Burma. Both exceeded expectations in every respect: well organised, didn’t have to worry about transport or accommodations. We somehow arrived at the important places for photography at the right time of day, and often without any, or too many other tourists. I learnt so much, being pushed beyond my comfort zone, but in a very pleasant way. Top marks! Don’t hesitate, have a cool experience and try something
new. On top of the scheduled locations there was always something extra happening....

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