When the management of Rainbow Lodge contacted me to discuss the possibility of running a long weekend photography workshop on their premises I was immediately interested. Not only because anything away from Angkor is a very welcome change for me but also because I had never visited that particular corner of Cambodia.
I now have some order in my formerly messy thoughts - it’s finally clear to me that Koh Kong is a province as well as the main town in the province and just off the coast nearby there is also the Koh Kong island. Tatai is the name of a small town from where boats carry passengers upstream the Tatai river all the way to Rainbow Lodge. Simple! The Rainbow Lodge is a charming property just a few steps off the Tatai river bank and a short boat ride from the Tatai settlement.
life along the quiet river...
Having flown to Phnom Penh and then continued by road, the views start to get interesting roughly from where the national road #4 forks off to Sihanoukville. We veer off to the right and follow the newly resurfaced road #48. Although secondary in ranking, it beats the main communication in the country, the road #6, by a long shot. A very long shot. Leaving the populated areas of Phnom Penh and surroundings behind with plastic littered everywhere the views are now starting to reveal elevation, misty mountains in the distance and an absolute lack of human presence. How very lovely. And from then on it just keeps getting better. The clouds are gently rolling in with a faint promise of rain and we do get a few teasing drops here and there, the light is soft and golden, the tarmac is smooth under our wheels and I am humming (in my head) to my favourite tunes.
Tatai valley unravels its beauty to us just as we reach the Tatai settlement and the bridge which marks our disembarkation point and the last stage of the journey - a short boat ride upstream the Tatai river. Some ten minutes later the boat engine is suddenly quiet and when I finally put my bags down at the bar/check in area at the Rainbow Lodge it seems that somebody turned off the volume to everything and even my breathing and thinking are way too loud for this scenery.
peaceful views and rolling hills...
There is so much to do at the Rainbow Lodge! Making friends and being social is just part of it but if you seek solitude and your own company, your retreat can be just that. There are kayaks which you can take up and down the river, you may want to take advantage of the many interesting tours on offer or just indulge in extreme hammocking with emerald green views of the jungle.
My June and September photography workshops will consist of several exciting components. We will travel by boat, venture to the waterfall which, by the time June comes, will be full of roaring waters and become the perfect place to learn the “milky water” tricks and give your tripod the workout it needs. Alfresco breakfast in the waterfall vicinity is planned for later in the morning. We will visit the spooky mangrove forests and the surrounding colourful fishing villages, set our foot in the jungle and watch it come alive with all its vibrant sights, smells and sounds of the green season. Just across the river there are settlements nestled among emerald rice fields and fringed off by the mountains behind. You name it, we have it: birds, water buffaloes, rice planting and harvest in different stages, friendly hellos from local inhabitants, orange flashes of monk robes, everything that spells Cambodia - minus the temples. And that’s a bonus, right?
waterfalls, jungle and photography...
The beauty of this place, to me, is in its remoteness, peace and quiet and the comfort of the accommodation along with friendly approach of the owners, tasty meals and - surprisingly - a comprehensive selection of wines! The owners are attentive, knowledgeable and happy to help with just about anything. All three daily meals are included in the price of the accommodation and very very tasty!
This time my trip was pretty intense exploring all the sites suitable for photography and the verdict is that they all are! It will be a great break for all the busy city folk who have called Cambodia their home for some time and for first time visitors alike.
mangroves, villages, fishing and jungle...
Watch this space - all will be revealed soon.
Perhaps the most important thing to mention is that the Rainbow Lodge Photo Workshop will be open to all photography enthusiasts regardless of their level of skill or the gear they bring. With maximum of 8 participating photographers I will ensure that all get my personal attention and together we will prove that the best camera is the one that you have with you!
The Rainbow Lodge team have an array of exciting, affordable day trips available for non participating partners and friends so nobody will get bored!
Save the date - the first workshop dates are 12th to the 15th June 2015 inclusive and more details will follow soon.
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For those who just can't wait, inquiries can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org
and finally... some more reflections...
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.