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Man about town

REFERRING to the Angkor Photo Festival as the Angkor Hangover Photojournalism Festival might just be a mere reporting error or an incisive statement.

Either way, Pakistan’s The Express Tribune certainly played on the hangover aspect by running a story headlined “If only a hangover was this inspiring”.

The headline referred to the opening paragraph of the story which ran last Friday and said: “A slide-show of works from photographers who participated in the fifth and sixth workshops of the Angkor Hangover Photojournalism Festival was displayed today at Kuch Khaas Culture and Arts Centre, Islamabad.”

The article quoted several participants from the “Angkor Hangover” which, the newspaper explains, “is held annually in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and nurtures a wealth of talent from Asia, equipping young photojournalists with much needed technical skills and exposure through travel and active, subject-based interaction.”

Many in Siem Reap are now eagerly awaiting this year’s rerun of the Angkor Hangover.

CULINARY tourism is fast becoming the new vogue. Hot on the heels of last week’s item about tours being designed on the back of chef Gordon Ramsay’s foray into Cambodia, comes news from that “culinary vacations are an ideal way to immerse yourself in a nation’s culture and give you a lasting souvenir – the ability to reproduce delectable dishes in your own kitchen. To help foodies take a delicious journey around the world”.

Siem Reap seems set to capitalise on this trend, with local restaurant Sugar Palm being included on post-Ramsay tour itineraries. has also published a list of the world’s Top 10 Hotel Cooking Classes, and coming in at number five is Khmer cuisine as practiced at Raffles in Siem Reap.

The influential website states: “Distinctly Cambodian, Restaurant Le Grand in the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor teaches the steep traditions of Khmer cuisine. Executive chefs will be with you each step of the way – from picking out produce at the Siem Reap morning markets to tasting your own culinary creation.”

Meanwhile, ahead of the Mekong Tourism Forum to be held in Laos this weekend, Khiri Travel has compiled a list called “The 10 Big Tourism Issues That Need to be Addressed in the Greater Mekong Region.” Coming in at number four is “An end to aviation protectionism”.

The text reads: “This is particularly noticeable in Koh Samui and Siem Reap where Bangkok Airways has excessive market share. In these destinations, competition is marginalised, creating, in effect, a cartel that keeps ticket prices high and tourism growth slow.”

STAND by for a surge in conventions because finally, after a very long spell in the darkness, CEI, the leading regional magazine (and website) for the convention, exhibition and incentive travel industry, has deigned to give Siem Reap the nod.

This month it has declared that “stylish events” are headed to Siem Reap, noting that: “While MICE groups to Cambodia all include Angkor Wat at the top of their incentive list, Siem Reap’s hotels offer unique stays with an assortment of facilities to supplement a successful event.”

CEI lists five Siem Reap hotels as event worthy: Raffles, Sofitel, Le Méridien, Hôtel de la Paix, and Angkor Palace Resort.

Sokha Angkor Resort, which has held the mantle as the major meeting venue in town for many years, has surprisingly been left off the list.

Sokha, for a long time, had the only large, properly equipped meeting hall in Siem Reap, and has been the favoured host of UN, ASEAN and government chinwags. But the newly revamped Sofitel has upgraded its facilities, and has recently muscled in on some of Sokha’s meeting market.



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