‘Snookyville’ and Koh Rong Sanloem

‘Snookyville’ and Koh Rong Sanloem

Whilst we’ve been travelling, accommodation and food are probably our single largest bills. Finding cheap accommodation big enough for two adults and two young children isn’t always easy. The less we spend the longer we can extend our travels. We easily spend $5-1000 per month in most places.

‘Great!’, we have a house-sit for 2 months in Sihanoukville, saving us $500 USD per month (by Cambodian standards). How wrong could we be!

It was essentially a disaster. From the end of June to end of September is the rainy season in southern Cambodia and it’s not unusual for the rain to pour down for four to five days on end. It also doesn’t help that the property we were in had no A/C and flooded three times including the ceiling collapsing in two of the rooms we didn’t use. Yes, it was that bad!

While spending 2 months there we were constantly on the search for child-friendly places, such as ‘King Fried Chicken’ and ‘Café Awaken’.

I honestly don’t know why people live in such a place, other than to escape civilization because of some secret they have. Many of the people we met had some very interesting story to tell :‑X

We became experts in many different cafes & would recommend the following:

Starfish bakery – they even do free Khmer lessons every Saturday afternoon.

Enocafe – Best coffee & pizza in Sihanoukville

The Bavarian – Best German food in Sihanoukville.

Hugo – I loved this place, run by a couple of Czech gents – the beer & food is cheap & wholesome!

You and Me restaurant – great local food & expat hangout

The Sandan – part of a non-profit charity chain. Expensive but nice for a special occasion

Waterhouse café (Otres)

There are some Vegan options, but I really don’t do cardboard food so can’t recommend them. I’m sure others have a better opinion than I. These were:

The Dao of Life

Yellow breakfast

As a treat get to Sokha beach resort, where you will be spoilt, but at $20 each for a day pass it is expensive. You can sit in and use the restaurant for afternoon tea and dinner for free though.

Otres beach is the main attraction, but the build-up of rubbish, which isn’t helped by the fact that the refuse company stopped removing waste whilst we were there, is making it worse. I believe it has been rectified, but it’s easy to throw rubbish over a wall, hoping n-one will notice.

Living in a basic hut with a fan can be great fun, as you can see from our Koh Rong trip, but some of the places on Otres are far too small.

Otres 1 is plagued by the poor road surface, which means you can’t even get a scooter to many of the places.

Koh Rong & Koh Rong Sanloem

The main attraction for Sihanoukville must be the islands of Koh Rong and its baby sister, Koh Rong Sanloem.

We only stayed on Sanloem for four days & it more than made up for the remainder of the time spent in ‘Snooky’.

I managed to get a couple of dives in Koh Rong Sanloem, but it’s not recommended as the visibility is so poor you can hardly see anything. Even when visibility is good, there’s not much to see as it’s been overfished, like so many places in Asia.

It’s definitely worth staying there for longer to explore the island and the many bars.

One of the highlights is the bio-luminescent algae in the water. As you swim, the trails of your arms and legs light up. One of those rare activities that a photo is almost impossible to capture.

Housesitting:

We will still look for housesits but be more careful about the conditions we are prepared to accept.

Next stop – Kuala Lumpur

What electronics we take…. Photography

What electronics we take…. Photography

When we started out our kit consisted of 2 suitcases, 2 backpacks, a baby changing bag, a small roller for Amelie and a buggy (stroller).

We have broken this down into various types of kit. This post covers our photography electronics kit.

We’re attempting to travel relatively light, only because we can’t carry that much as 2 adults & last time I looked child labour was banned! We’re travelling slowly and hoping to take in the local sights, sounds & general culture wherever we stay. We’re not in a race to become ‘minimalist’ superstars, but just want to be comfortable.

This post covers some of the tools we use as well as the hardware and software whilst on the move:

  •  Camera equipment
  •  Other hardware
  •  Software
  •  Storage

All of the above will likely travel with us ‘on person’ contained within a backpack each designed for the job.

 Although this page has affiliate links, where you can click through to purchase the products, we own & have thoroughly tested each of these, so they do come with a review. 

Camera Equipment

First & foremost this is what brings the good (and sometimes bad!) photos to the newsletters & this website. We decided against going for a separate lens & camera body combo. Camera lenses & inquisitive kids (especially Soraya) don’t mix. We opted for a new Panasonic Lumix LX15 because of the F1.4 aperture for those Macro shots of the flora and some ‘critters’ and the depth of field ability provided by such a large sensor. I’m still reacquainting myself with all the functions, after relying on my phone camera too much but I’m pleased with it so far. I’ll possibly do another post in the future after I’ve got used to it more.

We have Jacqui’s older Panasonic Lumix TZ60 (as a point and shoot) plus the GoPro hero 4 Silver. The GoPro is for my underwater shots, which I’m still playing with as I purchased it whilst doing my Divemaster course & only used it for a couple of dives. The course was pretty intensive meaning I couldn’t concentrate on getting any decent shots.

Phone cameras: They do say the best camera is the one you have on you & this is very true, but I can’t ever see myself relying on the limitations of a phone camera & know we’d get frustrated with the lack of control provided. We have three phones: a 64GB / 4GB Oneplus 2, which is pretty good for camera shots. Jacqui has a 128GB / 6GB Lenovo ZUK Z2. We have an additional phone which has been great as a budget ‘indestructible’: A Doogee T5S. I use this as a backup & for taking with me to the beach/diving etc.

Other hardware

GoPro attachments

Some accessories we take are of course the Go-Pro attachments, such as the floating handle, battery charger, remote & selfie stick – I aim to start taking more photos with all of us in rather than one of us always missing (the photographer). I was tempted to purchase the Karma drone when it was initially released but delayed due to undertaking more research on such a major investment (fortunately, for those of you in the know, it was subject to a massive recall and (at the time of writing) hasn’t been re-released). I’m not an expert in this field, but it looks promising as it has the detachable Karma grip stabiliser (or gimbal) included as well as the drone, which comes in cheaper than a dedicated camera drone where the gimbal or camera cannot be separated. Watch this space.

I swear by my Gorilla pod as it seems to attach to anything and I was tempted to bring along the Manfrotto Monopod but it’s weight & size just meant pushing the weight limit even more. I’d recommend the Monopod any day over a tripod due to the saving in weight & size.

INTUOS Photo tablet

I recently acquired a small WACOM Intuos Photo tablet, which came bundled with Paintshop Pro X8 & Aftershot Pro, which almost pays for the tablet itself, if you had to purchase the software independently. 

This is great for photo editing & the fine control you need over a mouse. I’m not yet brave enough to do away with the mouse yet, but various video trainers suggest doing the ‘3-day challenge’, where you only use the tablet & nothing else for 3 consecutive days.

I use both tools because of the writing I do, but believe it would be relatively easy to switch 100 percent to a Wacom tablet. There are cheaper alternatives, so why did I choose a Wacom? The online support & free video training is readily available, which I didn’t believe would be available for an unknown brand.

Software

These are the essential tools I believe are needed for a blog/web design. Bear in mind we are travelling & don’t really have the luxury of a 32″ UHD screen. Some of the tools are already installed on your PC, such as Paint & Photos. All you need to do is look them up in your programs folder by clicking on the windows icon. I work in a Windows OS, so these are heavily biased towards Windows formats.

Personally Corel Paintshop has been great, especially as I got this free as a result of purchasing the Wacom tablet. I used to use Adobe software, but since they started charging monthly I’ve turned away from them, as I’m not a fan of monthly subscriptions. They are now unaffordable for what I need them for & didn’t mind having the tools available 2-3 years out of date.

Phone editing tools

Apart from the GoPro quick-edit tools for the phone, which are proprietary to the GoPro hardware, the following Apps I find are useful:

These are ideal tools when you’re on the move & want to edit something more intense than what FB or Instagram can do, without having to open the PC.

 

Some of our photos on instagram….

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Storage & Security Solutions

We utilise both hardware & cloud-based storage as follows:

We have 2 WD My Passport Ultra hard drives, one with 1 TB & a more recent purchase with 3TB. We have numerous memory sticks (don’t we all!), which we use as emergency backups with copies of important documents, such as passports, bank cards.

We keep various smaller camera mounted SDXC cards, such as 64GB. This sounds crazy, as the last time I purchased a camera SD card it was 8GB for a 12MP camera, which is more than adequate for most purposes. Memory has come down so much in price in 3 -4 years. However the upload speed is critical with SD cards otherwise the card can’t keep up with the faster shutter speeds of a lot of modern cameras.

I have had a Dropbox account with over 1 TB of storage, but since subscribing to MS Office, I now get the same 1TB as a Onedrive account. However, I would rather have some things separate.

Prey Project

This is an added peace of mind, as tracking software for security across your electronic equipment such as tablets, phone & notebook. It is available for free on Android: https://www.preyproject.com/

What do you use or recommend?

I’m constantly scouring facebook nomad & twitter feeds for suggestions for travelling light, of which some I’ve adopted. Feel free to comment or tweet on what you recommend for photography as a traveller.

Stuart 'Abu Mathew'

Stuart ‘Abu Matthew’