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Trip Report Cambodia 2013- My 6th trip and I found something new.

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I have been going to Cambodia for several years now, helping out in a rural school outside of Siem Reap. Another school the Ponheary Ly Foundation has adopted is way up in Koh Ker in Northern Cambodia.

The temples in Koh Ker have recently been in the news, both because of scandals relating to looted items and to the discovery that the Koh Ker temples were even more extensive than the Angkor Wat complex. Many of these temples are partially in ruins, but they are quite beautiful, and they are pretty much empty of tourists at the moment.

Two of the PLF kids who just graduated from High school have begun a trekking business. The back story of the school and these budding entrepreneurs: http://theplf.org/wp/2013/09/advocate-blog-our-work-with-koh-ker-students-to-help-start-a-trekking-business/

This all takes place out in the middle of nowhere. There is a new road from Siem Reap, so the journey is only 2~3 hours, and there are several ways to get there (public taxi, car, motorcycle or even on the disco tuk tuk). There is a decent guesthouse in the village so you can spend the night comfortably, though not in luxury.

I know there are Siem Reap companies bringing ATV and biking tours out here, so it's possible you could set up activities with other companies if you wanted to do some adventurous stuff on the same trip.

I spent two days out with Dieb and Ty. The first day we went to a pepper farm and through the village. The next day we explored temples on motorbikes (with me on the back). There is a nice new (dirt) road that took us to the front of many of the temples. Others were reached with a short walk in the jungle. For those who love trekking and are there outside the rainy season, you can choose a half day trek into the forest with an optional tractor ride back. They were totally open to my desires, such as visiting the pepper farm.

These kids grew up in the area. They have been studying the temples, but I would think of them more as escorts than professional temple guides yet. Dieb told stories of his old job cutting grass for the Apsara Authority, herding cattle by a beautiful old stone reservoir, showed me the stilt house where he started school. He and Ty (pronounced "Tee) were able to identify many birds and edible plants. It was a nice peek into the kids lives. .

They have a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kohkertreks

I would highly recommend this for people who have visited the Angkor temples already or who would like to explore temples and ruins without the crowds. I love Siem Reap and temples too, but I get the feeling this is what Angkor was like before it was "discovered".

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