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Cambodia – Southeast Asia’s New Tourism Hotspot

Koh Russey by Alila

What Makes a Complete Tourism Destination?

Unless we are talking pure beach holiday packages, most travel itineraries in Southeast Asia contain four key elements:

 Cityscape
An urban transportation hub with shopping, dining experiences, museums, architecture, and nightlife.

Historical and Cultural Attractions
Temples, ruins, religious relics, customs and traditions.

Natural Wonders
Wildlife, national parks, mountains, waterfalls, rice fields, and jungles.

Beaches
Beach destinations with a variety of accommodation options and facilities, activities, dining, and nightlife.

 

If these four elements are surrounded by a good travel infrastructure and a stable and safe political environment, you have what it takes to nurture a mature tourism destination that can stand on its own feet.

Cambodia Has Finally Arrived

For many years Cambodia fulfilled three of the four key elements as a travel destination. A lot of backpackers went to Cambodia as part of their Southeast Asia experience, but rarely as a part of a pre-booked itinerary from a travel agency. For mainstream tourism, Cambodia was an add-on, always playing second fiddle to Thailand and Vietnam. Mostly, Cambodia was a two or three day itinerary to Siem Reap and the Khmer temples. In some cases Phnom Penh was included in the itinerary, but the beach holiday would almost without exception lead tourists to one of the Thai islands.

In Cambodia, the history is there in abundance, the beautiful tropical nature is there, and Phnom Penh has the markets, museums, and the city vibes to attract some city break time. The beach holiday options for the 3-5 star market were very limited, and it was hard for travel agencies to work with the small offline resorts. Still, there are not that many options, but that is changing fast. This means that you can get your cultural and historical fix, satisfy your dining, shopping, and nightlife desire, and you can top it off with relaxing beach stays.

Cambodia Emerging as a Beach Holiday Destination

Sihanoukville is the local hub for Cambodian island hopping and beach holidays. The resort town itself mostly caters to backpackers and party lovers with cheap accommodation and no shortage of bars and activities around the beaches.

If you are looking for serene beaches, relaxation, or family bonding the Cambodian islands in the Gulf of Thailand are stunning. And these years, they are becoming more developed and “comfortable” for the bigger tourism markets to explore. A rarity a few years ago, today it is rather easy to find Cambodian resorts with 24-hour electricity, wifi, and hot water. Moreover, some of the big hotel players in barefoot luxury are moving in…

Alila Villas Koh Russey

Krabey Island. Photo credits: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

On Koh Russey, the Alila group is opening a new luxury villa resort. On Koh Krabey, Six Senses are opening their first Cambodian property Six Senses Krabey Island. Both are scheduled to open during 2017. Couple these to openings with the already famous Song Saa Private Island, and you have the up-market beach holiday options that travel agencies have been looking for in order to finalise their Cambodia roundtrip packages.

Expect a big boost in Cambodian tourist arrivals and revenue during the coming years. It’s the new tropical tourism hotspot in Southeast Asia.

Learn more about Cambodia in our Cambodia Travel Guide.

Feature photo: Koh Russey. Photo credits: Alila Villas Koh Russey.

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New Bali Infographic & Destination Page

Bali rice field terraces

Bali Infographic

Great news! We have our new Bali and surrounding islands page up an running. But before we get into the details, let’s have a look at our homemade Bali infographic.

Bali travel guide and infographic with tourism stats to Bali, price index, top beaches, travel seasons, and unique selling points for Bali and surrounding islands. Made by Beachmeter.com.

The Iconic Island of Bali

Bali ranks among the absolute top beach destinations in the world. The beaches and the thriving surfing culture is part of the reason, but equally important is Bali’s atmosphere, spiritualism, her welcoming residents, the awe inspiring rice fields and natural parks, and top notch tourism infrastructure.

On our new Bali travel guide page, you can find useful information about Bali and the surrounding islands such as Lombok and the Gili Islands. Among other things, we touch on Balinese regional cuisine, Balinese beaches, and accommodation options in the area. Don’t forget to check back on the page, as we continue to add details and helpful information.

Check out our new Bali Page

Good Resources for your trip to Bali, Lombok, and Gili Islands

If you want to learn more about the region and its beaches, here are some handpicked links for you that will give you a realistic picture of what you will find:

 Bugbog’s Best Bali Beaches
 Not Without My Passport’s Where Are the Dream Beaches in Bali?
Honeycombers´15 Best Beaches in Bali
 All about Gili Islands from Ingili
Your Guide to Lombok and the Gili’s from LombokIndonesia

5 Top Beaches to Find Serenity

Serene Beaches, Grand Anse, Seychelles.

Guest post by Jared Alster, Stride Travel.

Serene Beaches

Sometimes you just need an escape. To hear the lapping waves, enjoy the calm and feel soft warm sand beneath your feet. Beaches are beacons of serenity, offering another world of relaxation – but some are better than others.

Bondi Beach in Sydney for example may not exactly be what you had in mind for a calm afternoon, with its infamous crowds and busy boardwalk. Or the many beaches in Phuket, with their propensity for raucous nightlife, don’t inspire a serene beach day either.

True serenity requires a combination of tropical bliss, luxurious tones, and solitude – without extra noise or distraction. In some cases this means a bit of effort to get there – but once you do the reward is well worth it.

Get away from it all with the 5 most serene beaches around the world:

1. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays Australia

A lonely beach with fine white sand, turquoise waters, and a beautiful sky. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia.

With a name that sounds like a mystical land rather than a real place, how could this beach not be something special? The sand here is some of the purest in the world, almost 98% silica, and doesn’t retain heat – making it comfortable to stand and walk on throughout the day.

The waters are an incredibly bright and happy blue, and they create stunning colors and patterns when combined with the sand, especially when viewed from above. This is the place to come for active days of sea kayaking or enjoying a cocktail aboard a sunlit yacht.

Perhaps one of the only downfalls to Whitehaven is the jellyfish, which are so prominent throughout half the year (October through May), that protective swim gear is highly advised.

2. Koh Kradan, Thailand

Lonely boat lying in the blue sea of Koh Kradan Island in Thailand, an island with stunning serene beaches.

Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and as such it may seem impossible to find true serenity given their popularity. By traveling to some of the more far-reaching islands in Thailand, away from Phuket, you can still find pockets of true calm and quiet.

Consider Koh Kradan. This small island sits just off Thailand’s southwest coast and provides stunning views across the water of other larger islands dotting the sea in the distance. There are only a couple well spaced out resorts on the island, including one major luxury resort – very popular among honeymooners.

The crowds are very minimal along the Koh Kradan beaches, and the waters provide some of the best snorkeling and sea kayaking in all of Thailand.

3. Cable Beach, Western Australia

Camels walking in the beach sunset on the serene beach of Cable Beach, Western Australia. One of the world's best serene beaches.

The lands of Western Australia are still remote for tourists, a good indication for travelers seeking serenity. This beach is enormous, offering a lot of space for lounging in the warm sun and enjoying the wonderful water. One of the more unique activities available to travelers at Cable Beach is the opportunity to ride camels along the surf at low tide.

As the string of camels methodically make their way, they create stunning and timeless silhouettes in the orange sunset. There are numerous hotel options around Cable Beach, or if you want a bit more choice in other activities you can stay in nearby Broome.

4. Holbox Island, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Beach setting with palms and loungers on Holbox Island Beach, Yucatan Peninsula Mexico. One of the world's best serene beaches.

Hammocks strung between palm trees, thatch roofed bungalows, lovely blue waters, and of course stretches of pristine white sand make it a sure thing that this hidden secret won’t stay hidden for long. Fantasies of walking barefoot everywhere (the streets are paved with sand), cocktails in hand, and warm sea breezes are realized on this small island in the Yucatan Peninsula, near Cancun, just off Mexico’s southeast shore.

As of yet, no major development projects have managed to make headway on Holbox, to the delight of the locals – which is a unique community of European and American tourists who came and never left, as well as native Mexicans and those of Mayan descent. This does mean the options for luxury accommodation and meals are limited but not impossible to find. Plus, part of the charm of Holbox is in its offbeat culture.

If you go between June and September, keep an eye out for the whale sharks that gather just off shore at this time of year.

5. Anse Source D’Argent, Seychelles

Grand Anse Beach Seychelles with boulders, white sand, and turquoise water. One of the world's best serene beaches.

Honestly pretty much any beach in the idyllic Seychelles is going to be serene, picturesque, and possess an otherworldly beauty. Pink sands and rock formations rising up create hidden corners where you can capture amazing photos and feel like the only person in the world. The snorkeling here is top notch and the water is clear, shallow and safe – perfect for families.

The Seychelles lie in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa. There are multiple resort options available on the main islands and it’s a classic destination for honeymooners and travelers looking for a luxurious getaway.

Spend your days island hopping among the entire archipelago, where spectacular beauty and unbelievable ocean landscapes await, and enjoy the peace and quiet along serene quiet soft sand beaches.


Jared Alster is the co-founder of Stride Travel, a new marketplace connecting world travelers with tour operators, adventure outfitters, & professionally planned trips.

New Cambodia Infographic & Destination Page

Cambodian sunset with Cambodian-style beach chair in the foreground. By Beachmeter.com.

Cambodia Infographic

We are happy to present the brand new Cambodia destination guide on Beachmeter.com. But first, check out our homemade Cambodia infographic, giving you a quick overview of traveling to the country and exploring the islands and beaches.

Cambodia infographic. Infographic of Cambodia's Islands and beaches including tourism information, price index, best beaches, travel seasons, and Unique Selling Points for Cambodia. Made by Beachmeter.com.

The Cambodia infographic gives you a quick idea of when to go, how much you can expect to spend, which beach to go to, and much more.

More information on Cambodia

Included on the page is also a look at Cambodia’s tourism potential, the beautiful beaches, Khmer food, when to go, and the what type of accommodation you can find. We will continue to update the page with more information, so stay tuned.

Check out our new Cambodia Page

Good Resources for Your Cambodia Trip

Lastly, here are some valuable links if you want more recommendations and do’s and don’ts about travel to Cambodia:

Cambodian Islands
Nomadic Matt’s Cambodia Travel Guide
Travelfish’ Cambodia Guide
 Responsible Travel’s Cambodia Guide

Kampot Zipline Adventure

Kampot Zipline River Park in Cambodia offering cheap ziplining adventures

A New Adventure in Town

zipline instructor with rope, harness, and carabiners

Alexis

We met up with French native Alexis to try his all new zipline adventure on the Kampot River in Cambodia. Kampot Zipline River Park officially opened on the 16th of March 2016, and contrary to what you may think, this action-packed experience receives most of its customers among Cambodian thrill-seekers. So far, 80 percent of the customers have been Cambodians, while the remains 20 percent have been expats living in Cambodia and foreign travelers visiting Kampot.

KAMPOT ZIPLINE
Area:
  Kampot River, Cambodia
Opened: March 2016
Price: USD 5$ (super cheap, right!)
Price includes: Safety equipment, instructions, tree walk, ziplining, and return boat
Duration: Approx. 30 minutes
Conditions: Minimum height 120 cm, maximum weight 110 kg 

As Alexis says, the River Park gives Cambodians a unique opportunity to try out ziplining in a fun and safe environment while not having to empty their pockets. The experience currently costs only 5 USD and includes safety equipment and instructions, an exciting walk up the spiralling bamboo stairway to the zipline platform at the top of a tall tree, ziplining over the Kampot river, and a pleasant rowing trip back across the river.

Zipline Gallery from Kampot Zipline River Park

Alexis worked on the project for 6 months before the grand opening. He has constructed the setup himself to ensure that every single step in the experience is smooth and secure, and every morning he conducts safety checks. Kampot Zipline has received local publicity through newspapers, TV, and a good dose of social media sharing by Cambodians who are eager to share their exhilarating adventure over the Kampot River.

The plan is to expand the experience with a return zipline journey along with new fun trials on the riverside.

If you are in the Kampot area in southern Cambodia, don’t miss your chance to try out this new and exciting experience at the River Park.

Kampot Ziplining – Practical Information

Since the Kampot Zipline adventure requires a bit of climbing and balancing it is advised only for persons in a good physical condition. The experience will not boost your adrenaline level to a maximum like a bungyjump, but you will challenge yourself if you have a mild fear of heights. The minimum height of participants is 120 cm, while the zipline is suitable for people weighing up to 110 kg. Do note that the more you weigh, the more speed you will gain on the journey over the river, and the closer your feet will be to reaching the river water.

More About Kampot Zipline River Park

If you like more information, images, and videos from this zipline adventure, check out their facebook page.

Beach Poetry – Sentiments from the Shore

Examples of beach poetry and quotes

That Special Place where Sea meets Land

The beach always seems to bring out the poet in people. The beach is a symbol of transitions. It is a place of goodbye’s and welcome’s, dangers and safety, and vast opportunities stretching as far as the horizon. It is a place of contemplation, meditation, rhythm, and serenity. It is a place of activity, entertainment, and play.

99 Problems, But a Beach Ain’t One…

Throughout the centuries, whatever people have associated with the beach, it has brought them inspiration and sentiments. It is no surprise that the sea, the waves, the sand, and the breeze have been the subject of countless songs, poems, and quotes.

An Easy Catch

We have gathered the most beautiful, fun, and tacky examples of beach poetry. In fact, it did not take us long to find them all represented by doing a few searches. If you are in need of a little beach poetry to express your feelings or let your mind wander to the shore, take a look at our new Beach Quotes and Poetry section.

We guarantee that there is a quote for you! Or even better, share your greatest beach poem with the rest of us in the comment section. Happy daydreaming.

Travel Journalists – The Black Sheep of the Travel Industry

Hotel review of travel journalists with notebook and pen. Image by http://Beachmeter.com.

The Travel Journalists are Coming

The lodge manager gave me a smile and a small nod, as I said good morning to him. His face immediately went back to the worried expression he had had before I entered. His mind was somewhere else, and the slight discomfort was surrounding all the lodge.

He saw my questioning look and said: “We have a group of travel journalists coming today.” He smiled sheepishly. He didn’t have to say more. We both knew.

The Fear of Contamination

Hotels and tour agencies fear travel journalists. Everyone in the tourism industry knows it – at least everyone but the journalists themselves. But why?

Their standards are higher than most ordinary tourists’ and they are much harder to impress!

Travel journalists are used to receiving a little extra attention when they are invited to try out travel products and services. They get room upgrades, extra wide smiles, requests are met, names and titles are remembered. They are used to receiving special treatment, and perhaps begin to expect that as their journalism careers progress. Put simply, their standards are higher than most ordinary tourists’ and they are much harder to impress.

If hotels have a slight fear of travel journalists, they are terrified by the thought of hosting a group of them. One comment about a dusty spot on the floor, squeaky noises from the aircondition, or an under-cooked carrot can contaminate the conversations, and soon everyone is adding up on the pile of things that could be improved at the hotel. A group of guests with negative impressions of the hotel is bad enough. Now imagine what a group of journalists who spread these sentiments can do to your travel business.

The Pen of Truth

When the travel journalists put pen to paper and publish their reviews in public media, that’s when their tourism hosts learn their fate. It’s a bit like that moment when you receive your exam score and learn whether or not you dodged a bullet; that is, until the next time you’ll be put on trial.

As the travel journalist writes his or her review, it will guide readers’ impression of the hotel or tourism service, and be a big influencer in their travel decision-making. This is why the tourism industry needs travel journalists. They present an opportunity for them to showcase what they are about and to communicate this to a much bigger crowd of potential guests. Engaging with travel journalists presents risks and rewards.

A Moment of Phew!

The travel journalists hurried on to their next item on their busy travel itinerary. This group had been forgiving, nature had shown them extraordinary wildlife to write about, the guide’s jokes had caught on, and the mood had been pleasant throughout. The lodge returned to equilibrium and once again smiles were warm and the atmosphere was jovial. The reviews would surely be good.

This time!

A New Era of Travel Experts

We are in a new era of travel reviewers and experts. The judgements of fellow travelers have become monumental in our travel choices. We perceive fellow travelers as honest and unbiased in their reviews of hotels and travel destinations. As reviewers and travel bloggers have taken over much of the functions of traditional travel journalists, the power once held by the latter is diminishing.

However, instead of pampering a group of travel journalists once a while, hotels are now being weighed, reviewed, and evaluated by everyone all the time.

Maybe the travel journalists were not so bad after all?

How to Deal With Travel Writers?

There is not much information on the actual perception of travel journalists within the travel industry. There is however a very interesting talk about travel writers by Mark Chesnut where he examines the evolution of travel journalism, the increasingly blurred lines between travel journalists and travel bloggers, and how to find good travel writers.

Have you encountered travel journalists or bloggers? Feel free to share your experiences below.