Day 4 - Cool Cambodia Village Tour Review

After spending half an hour checking email, making sure my online business is still generating income and not imploding on itself, I left my laptop in my hotel room and embarked on a village experience called Cool Cambodia.  I didn't really know what to expect, but after a few days of seeing temples, I was in the mood to experience something else...little did I realize how different this day was truly going to be.

Our guide Sambo picked us up and drove us to the village he grew up in.  It was in reality only a 25 minute drive outside of the busy touristy city of Siem Reap, but it felt like we were in not only a different place but also a different time.

The majority of the day was spent hanging out with Sambo and his extended family, walking through their family farm, picking vegetables fresh from the ground and catching fish to prepare for lunch.  It was a true authentic experience and throughout the day we did not see a single other tourist or person trying to sell us anything which was a nice change of pace.

Lunch was fresh fish with home grown rice and raw vegetables as a wrap.  Sambo used to kill a fresh chicken for every guest but tourists were squeamish so he switched to fish.  I would have preferred the chicken, especially since killing two live fish isn't any different from killing one chicken in the grand scope of things.  The chickens around the farm run around happy, eating bugs and live a great, natural life which is the way they are supposed to be raised.  

Five years ago I would have lost my appetite seeing a chicken killed in front of me, but now I'd rather eat what has been raised naturally as opposed to turning a blind eye to it happening in a factory farm somewhere.  

A lot of the day was sitting around and playing with the various animals, and the children.  It was a bit of a lazy morning, watching the locals cook, looking around, nothing too exciting but everything was local, fresh and authentic.  The only sad part was how excited Cambodian farmers are for western farming practices including pesticides, tractors and other nontraditional methods of producing crops.  USAid has come in and taught farmers how to use gloves, protective eyewear and suits when spraying chemical pesticides.  Instead, I wish that effort and money went to teaching the locals how to farm organically instead.

One of the funnest parts of the lunch was watching Sambo's nephew cut us down some fresh coconuts.  Here's a video of him climbing a tree and of our lunch.

After lunch however, is when the excitement really started.  We went down to the river and fished local style, as in we jumped in to the muddy murky waters and catch fish with our hands.  It was crazy and I wasn't planning on jumping in, but within minutes I had stripped down, and was crawling around in the mud on my knees throwing fish back up to the bank.

Here's a video of one of the random adventures we had along the way down to the lake.

Overall I had an extremely authentic day and would recommend it if you want to see real Cambodian village life.  Don't expect to see something from 1872 but it's still pretty rural even with the city 25 minutes away.  The cost was $35-$40 per person for the day depending on which vehicle he picks you up in, including all of your drinks, lunch, dinner and transport.  We both gave him $40 and told to keep the change.  
You can book the tour at 

Have fun in our journeys, Cambodia so far reminds me of what I imagine Thailand to have been like 10 years ago but things are constantly changing, so don't wait until you're old to start traveling.  Let your adventure begin today.
Warm Regards,

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  1. Looks like a great adventure! Thanks again for the cooking supplies. I'm putting them to good use here.


  2. haha I completely forgot I gave you that backpack full of cooking supplies, I'm glad it's working out!

  3. Your writing is impressive, the rustic home cooking that frugal, I like this place.


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