My First Ever Trip to Laos

May 11th– 15th, 2017–I have been to a few countries in Europe and Asia, but Laos is very special.

It was a long-hour- traveling, but worth to experience. We are a group of five people travelling from Phnom Penh to Vientiane, Laos, by bus.  It took us one day and night to reach Vientiane.

May 12, 2017

At Vientiane,  we were happen to stay in a hotel located in rue Phanum Penh, pronounced almost the same as Phnom Penh—the capital city our Cambodia.

Our morning at Vientiane started at 6 AM.  It’s such a peaceful city. There are very fewer people travelling around. They are speaking very quietly. It’s not too noisy.

The first destination of visit is Patuxai Victory Monument. It’s similar to the independent monument in Phnom Penh, Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and maybe the Brandenburg Gate in Germany. We take a few photos there. One of the most favorite photos is the shooting of ourselves from the floor to ceiling of Pouxay.

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Tuk Tuk was one of our transportation here as tourists. We can negotiate the price before taking any  Tuk Tuk. After Patuxai Victory Monument, we went to That Luang, the great stupa at Vientiane. It’s a giant golden stupa. My friends and I did pay respect to the Buddha offering the flower, incense sticks, and candle. We prayed for all the bests.  Aside from that, there are many good souvenirs such a sinh, traditional costume for lady in Laos, and jewelries. They are on sale at very good price. Still, we did ask for lower price.

Our afternoon session was at Buddha Park where various statues were built to illustrate the story of Buddha. It took us just around 40 minutes from the downtown.

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May 13, 2017

Our next morning is the trip to Vang Vieng, a city with mountains, waterfall, and caves. It took us more than four hours to reach there by bus from Vientiane due to heavy rain and curving roads.


Our first activity is cycling around the city. There are many mountains nearby and we can reach by cycling. Some people who prefer to go further may use motorcycles, Tuk Tuk, or other means of transportations. Some even used hot-air balloon or delta wing to get the 360 degree view of Vang Vieng.



May 14, 2017

The Blue Lagoon  and Tham Jang are very famous here. At Blue Langoon, the water is said to turn into blue in the afternoon. I was there very early in morning before 10 AM. The water had yet to turn to blue. Close to the water, there is cave that took us just a few minute to reach. Inside the cave, statues of Buddha are there. We can see many people climbing to the cave with some offering to pray for good luck.

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Then, we took Tuk-Tuk to Tham Jang. For us, Tham Jang is a good place for picnic or something. It’s comprised of river, Green Park, mountain, and caves. We went there through the yellow bridge. I think it’s a swing bridge.


Eating at Vientiane and Vang Vieng is not a problem for us. The foods here are very similar to those in Cambodia and Thailand. The most preferred one for us is rice noodle with soups, and then maybe papaya salad. If you order a papaya salad and do not want  too spicy, please ask the vendor not to make a spicy one. It will come with a fairly spicy one. If you can speak some Thai or English, the communication here is really at ease.

Vientiane and Vang Vieng are really a good place for those who want to escape the busy life and want to relax in a peaceful environment. My next destination in Laos is Luang Prabang.


PS: Thanks Leak for organizing this trip and being our interpreter from Thai to Khmer, Pheanin for the transportation arrangement, Sok Heng for booking the hotel, and Veng Sea for being our photographer.

“At the Former French Residence”

The road is whirlwind. The mountain looks very high. Rain is falling. Our car is moving slowly around the mountain. We are heading to the top of forestry mountain which is the former residence of French during the colonization. Recently this mount is in the spotlight. You can see in the TV, and social media that Bokor has been renovated and opened again.

Along the road, the trees, rock, and flowers are standing on one side while the forest and sea are lying on another side, as far as the eyes can see. Many waterways were built to let the water flow from the top of Bokor mount. Some of them look like small valley with water falling near the paved road.

My colleagues and I are impressed by the workers who had broken these giant rock to make way for the visitors. They must have been working very hard days and nighs in very cold weather to complete this job.

After a while, our car passes by a statute of a lady wearing white shirt and sitting on a hill. Many cars are parking around. The passengers drop by and pay respect to her. The statute is named “Yeay Mao” –the spiritual lady that takes care this mountain. I prayed for happiness and prosperity in my life.

Along the way, there are a few signage pinpointing the pagoda, tea farm, water fall, church, casino, and many others. Now, my friend and I are at the park with flowers blooming. We could not see very clear the thing at the front. Through the flash of the car, a shadow of man waving his hands appear gradually. He is navigating us to the entrance of the hotel.

People are wearing jean, sweater, and other thick dress to protect themselves from the cold weather. Children are playing hide and seek in the fog and the showering. People could see nothing away, just a meter farther.

There are many thing in my itinerary starting from the nearby pagoda and valley to the rest of the mountain. People  tells me that the best time go out is the afternoon when there are lesser fog. The following photographs could tell you what I experience.

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Strength and Weakness

“Strengths Finder” is a tittle of the book that I was introduced so as to test my personal strengths, not my weakness. My boss told me that everyone is genius in his own way. Fish can live in the water. Bird can flight. Don’t be upset if you cannot do one thing good. You may find your strengths in many other things.


People may call this book “Strengths Finder” as stated by the authors. However, I call it “talents finder”. As mentioned, the author said that everyone has his own talent. He might be at good singing, playing football and etc. But, it does mean that he is the best singer, or football player. He need training, time, and commitment to convert his talent into his strengths. It’s easy to improve your talent because when you are good at one thing, you always like to do it and want to be the best. That’s why you should focus on your strengths rather than your weakness.


However, in some cases, you might need to improve some areas that you are not good too because of they are in the checklist of your need.  The strength finder  claimed  that I am good at planning and speaking, but not activating the plan. So, I need to either to improve my activating talent or to work with the activator. I cannot count on other persons  all the time. Hence, I choose both of them. I find someone  very active to keep me on the right track and alert me  when I go off the track.  This is some thought about the “Strengths Finder ” by Tom Rath. You will enjoy more if you experience it.



Some Cambodian students fear losing job opportunities to expats

Chan Soratha
Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Thanks to the ease of modern technology, people are moving and communicating with one another across the world more than ever before.

Some trot the globe for the sake of travel and to see new things, while others relocate to pursue

new career opportunities. In Cambodia, economic growth is attracting an increasing number of expatriates (“expats”).

The demand for new jobs is bringing in skilled businesspeople from developed countries who arelooking to earn a lot of money.

Cambodians from all walks of life share differing views when it comes to this flow of outsiders entering the country’s job market.

Keo Sopheareth, a student of the International Study Program at the Institute of Foreign Language, shared her views on the surge of business expats.

“Highly educated foreigners from developed countries make it difficult for Cambodian workers to compete for these jobs, and Cambodians may lose opportunities.

“It’s difficult for us to compete with foreigners because the majority of Cambodian labourers are not as qualified. Therefore, it causes low pay, or even unemployment, for locals,” she said.

Another student, Kim Sour, 23, studying applied linguistics also at the Institute of Foreign Language, had a similar outlook.

He said the rising number of foreigners in Cambodia could provide jobs for locals in some areas, but there is a significant inequality between the opportunities available for Cambodians and the opportun-ities available for foreigners.

“The priority will go to the foreigners first, who are considered to be more qualified candidates, even though they are not native speakers [of Cambodian],” he added.

Svay Serey Somprathna, 19, an international-relations major at the Royal University of Law and Economics, voiced his concern over the prospect of too many outsiders moving to Cambodia for jobs.

“Cambodia’s economy will soon by led by foreigners, rather than by Cambodian citizens, and we don’t know what’s coming next,” he said.

On the other hand, letting more expats into the Cambodian job market might strengthen the country’s international relations and lead to a positive exchange of knowledge and skills, he reflected.

Mey Vannak, a bank manager in Phnom Penh, sees both good and bad in the increase of expats.

“Cambodia’s labour market is still in its infancy stage. Having [business] expats is good in the way that they can share leadership experience and technical expertise. However, too many expats could be bad, as they’d take up all the jobs – especially in the service industry,” he said.

In contrast to the negative views of expats and their effect on the Cambodian economy, Pin Pechdara, 20, an information technology major at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, is “not worried about expatriates working here”.

He added: “I’m ready to compete in the job markets – local and international. If we are qualified and confident, there is nothing to be afraid of.”

Suzuki Hiroshi, chief economist at the Business Research Institute of Cambodia, said it was important for Cambodia to invite foreign experts to the country. “For Cambodia, which is in the development stage now, foreign experts are indispensible for its development,” he said.

“Young people in Cambodia should compete with the world, not with the small numbers of [local] rivals.”

The Cambodia Immigration Department was unable to provide stat-istics on the number of expats currently in Cambodia.


Cambodian American Fashion Designer is in the Spot light of Holly Wood

Being a fashion designer is not what Remy Hou, a Cambodian American, expected after his graduation. It’s thing appearing while he is working as VIP Technical Supporter for Helio in the United States and lead him to the hottest club of Hollywood.

“If you believe in something, the only thing left to do is create it. I’m inspired because I believe in change,” said Remy Hou whose works in fashion have draped on by celebrities such as Lady gaga, Justin Bieber.

His parent was filled with curiosity when he changed his job suddenly. “It’s not normal for Cambodian to be a fashion designer. Your parents train you to become successful person—a lawyer, doctor, or the owner of donut shop. It’s very common for Cambodian to run a donut shop,” said Remy.

Because Remy did not attend any formal education in fashion and design, he need to learn everything on his own. “For the past five years, I trained myself to run a fashion show, to coordinate model, to coordinate photographer, fashion suite. All the thing I am doing I learn from the previous job with Helio. It’s the point that helps me become better,” said Remy.

The fashion and design appealed Remy when he was working VIP Technical Supporter for Helio and making custom its sweater in 2007. The positive feedback from employers and clients motivate him to keep his work going on. “Anyway I feel now I am fully aware of what I am doing with the branch. I can finally get it out into the marketing,” he added.


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Photos Supplied

When Remy’s family arrived in Long Beach in 1990, his mother need to sew many clothes everyday to earn for living because his family was so poor then. As a high school student, Remy always helped her work at home during the break. “It’s maybe a catalyst that put me in a better position in learning fashion designing on my own,” said Remy.

“To be a fashion designer is not something easy. You need to put a lot of time and effort. You have to be passionate, focus, and back up plan. And education is one of the back up plan,” said Remy studying Bachelor of Science in Telecommunications Management in 2002 and Masters in Business Administration 2004.

Blue and red stripes appear in all of his works—bag, robe, shirt, and many more. “I use the color skin of Cambodia flag as my logo. People know my design but they do not know it’s by Cambodia designer.”

Remy Hu is visiting his homeland, Cambodia, this month as a part of his work in Fashion Week. “My vision is to have a store or boutique here. I am a Cambodian fashion designer. I would be wonderful to have some support from my people,” said Remy Hu.

“They can invest money in Cambodian designer where they know the money to will come back to Cambodia. This is my philosophy of helping people,” added Remy Hu who experiences the aftermath life at the evacuee camp in Thailand after the collapse of Khmer Rouge Regime.

Memory about Cambodia

Different from many other Cambodians earning their fortune in other countries after the falling down of Khmer Rouge, Remy is very appreciated with his childhood here. “I remember the Khmer new year here. Everywhere you went; people were having fun on the street. There was no street light: the light lit from the moon. That’s something I remember as a happy time for me as a kid.”

What are the impacts of expatriate tourists in Cambodia?

Wednesday, 05 October 2011 12:01

By Chan Soratha

Long Sovanndara, 20, Norton University

“THE presence of foreign tourists in Cambodia will contribute to poverty reduction and development of the tourism sector, as well as economic growth. However, we need to focus on environmental issues, as well as the price of products sold to tourists. A healthy environment will make everyone happy, and they will visit Cambodia again. And tourists should not be overcharged for goods and services, for two reasons: to avoid Cambodia gaining a bad reputation, and to allow tourists to enjoy themselves and not be constantly distracted by worrying whether they are being charged too much. “

Him Sothearoth, 20, Institute of Foreign Languages, international studies

“EXPATRIATE tourists have generated a lot of job opportunities and income for Cambodian people,  particularly in destinations such as Angkor Wat and Sihanoukville. And, as the number of foreign tourists has risen, many foreign investors have begun to recognise business opportunities in the Cambodian tourism market, investing billions of dollars in hotels and restaurants.”

Sambath Amarak Vipasiny, 19, Institute of Foreign Languages, international studies

“IT’S undeniable that some people come to Cambodia not just for leisure; a small number of them consider Cambodia a safe haven for child trafficking and other forms of sexual abuse. More attention is being focused on this issue, and many of the culprits have been punished by the courts, but the problem has not gone away and we cannot  ignore it.”

Sokhema Nara, 19, University of Cambodia

“IT’S noticeable that in areas where there are more expatriate tourists, our people can speak good English, which will help them in their future careers and further education. Overseas visitors also bring new ideas that help to modernise our society, as well as spreading the word about their time in Cambodia, which helps attract more tourists to our country. But this can be bad for our traditions, as some young Cambodians follow foreign styles of dressing and behaviour too slavishly.”

Khoun Theara, 21, University of Cambodia

“IT raises awareness nationwide about national cultural and environmental conservation in the sense that by preserving these cultural and natural heritage sites, traditional arts and the like, all stakeholders in this sector will continue to reap benefits from foreign tourists. But there are some side-effects from tourism as well. If not appropriately controlled, it will lead to a loss of cultural identity through inappropriate foreign cultural influences and lifestyles. Another concern is the proliferation of trans-national crimes such as prostitution and drug trafficking, transmitted fatal diseases and other non-traditional security threats tourists bring with them.”


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How young Cambodian entrepreneurs are paving the way for economic growth

Written by Chan Soratha

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 15:01

The “animal fun phone”. The “progress laptop”. The “baby discovery mirror”. “My first clock”. These and other educational toys for children line the shelves of Toys and Me, a store founded four years ago by a young Cambodian entre-preneur just after he graduated from university. Customers browse the toys as several saleswomen try to help them decide which are best for their children.

“I am really happy with my business because I get to help Cambod-ians find educational toys here in Phnom Penh so they don’t have to order them from abroad,” Sok Piseth, the store’s general manager, says. “At the moment, I employ 20 staff, and 60 per cent of them are university students.”

“In many countries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can employ young people from rural areas,” says Hiroshi Suzuki, the chief economist at the Business Research Institute forCambodia.

Ken Chanthan, president of the Cambodian Young Entrepreneur Association, which brings together adolescent entrepreneurs for networking and information-sharing events, says those between the ages of 15 and 30 account for a third of the Cambodian population.

He says this demographic must be encouraged to create their own jobs through SMEs because the public sector alone cannot provide enough employment.

Ken Chanthan also notes that the development of many countries has been based on SMEs, which provide for local demand and invite investment from overseas.

Hiroshi Suzuki says: “Young entrepreneurs can learn from the histories and experiences of neighbouring countries, includingJapan.

“Sony, Honda and Suzuki were SMEs 50 or 60 years ago. They were very careful to study lessons from businesses overseas.”

Sok Piseth, of Toys and Me, took third place in the 2007 Small Business Plan Competition. With the support of his friends and family, he implemented the award-winning plan, creatingCambodia’s first toy store. Today, he own three toy stores inPhnom Penh.

“Running a business, even a family one, is not easy,” Sok Piseth told Lift.

“I had to manage everything meticulously and save what I could to avoid failure, because I didn’t have much business experience or many resources.”

Ken Chanthan acknowledges the difficulty of founding one’s own business, especially as a young person. “I observe that many Cambodian youth are thinking about creating their own businesses and fostering a support network for their own improvement,” he says.

“However, they will still need some support from relevant institutions in terms of finance and business management.”

Hiroshi Suzuki comments: “The SME sector inCambodiais still weak. However, I believe there are many potentially very strong entrepreneurs who have the tools to succeed.”

According to Suzuki, there are two important steps that can be taken to promote young entrepreneurs. The first is increasing access to finance. It can be difficult for entrepreneurs to get loans from commercial banks but, luckily, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has completed a feasibility study for an SME finance system inCambodia. The second is to encourage human development, which will entail providing the specialized education necessary to produce entrepreneurs.

“Although it may be challenging to garner direct foreign investment during the early stages, young entrepreneurs can get good ideas and vital know-how from potential foreign investors,” Suzuki says. “I hope domestic entrepreneurs have the opportunity to start SMEs and find great success.”