Gateway to Angkor

The motivation

Since 2010 I’ve been living in Singapore, the fascinating island city. To me it’s living the high life.

Singapore has a lot to offer, in this context a great place to be based in to travel Southeast Asia. There were so many places I could visit living in this city. I couldn’t decide where to go on my first Solo trip because of the myriad of options.

Siem Reap was on the cards for sometime. The Angkor Wat was something worth going to. But I didn’t want my Solo trip to be another touristy holiday. It had to be more. Now what could that be. I have always been keen in the culture of the locals in a country. Cambodia is a poor country but encouraging the arts in different forms. That’s it! I found my motivation to visit Siem Reap. Explore the culture of art in the local form and also work on my own artistic interests.

During the Cambodian Civil War the rise to power of the Khmer Rouge, under Pol Pot’s brutal regime Cambodia lost over 90% of its artists and intellectuals. In the last few years a number of charitable organizations are working on reviving the countries decimated arts scene. Despite poverty the art scene is reviving and gaining international recognititon.

While I was researching about Siem Reap, I came across ‘Phare’ the Cambodian circus, it’s tagline ‘Uniquely Cambodian, daringly modern’ caught my attention. The circus was not the usual one with jugglers, jokers and elephants Phare is about dance, theater, original live music and high energy enthusiastic circus arts combined in one to tell Cambodian stories, both traditional and modern. They have a unique social enterprise model supporting the programmes of the NGO schools and professional arts training centre. Many of the circus artists are disabled, I will find out more about them at Siem Reap.

Entertaining tourist with a conscious mind was what really interested me. I decided Siem Reap is where I want to go, for Angkor Wat and PHARE.