My Unforgettable Travel: Tonle Sap, Cambodia.

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“1 dollar!! 1 dollar! Please sir 1 dollar!” these voices echoed as my boat cruised into Tonle Sap.

I have been told beforehand that a visit to Tonle Sap, Cambodia would change my life. It did. Exactly the first moment the boat I took departed from it’s port. Little that I know the small boats I saw from distant racing to tourist boats were not the fishing or people trying to sell souvenirs boat as I thought it was. It was boats of family begging for a living.

It shattered my heart. 

Apparently these people are Vietnamese refuges who seek protection on Cambodia’s biggest lake- Tonle Sap. Desperate to feed growing family, leaving them with no choice but to beg for a living. I can only cry inside seeing how these young-poor-innocent children life’s being robbed by their own parents. These kids were forced to handle python, tortoise and other kind of creatures to capture tourists’ attention. They did got mine. 

 

 

For the next few hours, I was literally throwing money (Dollars and Ringgits of whatever I had) from my boat into their smaller boat; I wish I have had more money but I had only what I had. I hope that my measly donation could somehow eradicate their hunger and give them hope to come out from their poverty.

I have a sensitive spot for children, that mainly because I was a teacher teaching primary school children. I wish I have the wealth and power to make their life better.

If something that’s gonna scar me for life is that I saw a desperate mother who had to smack her baby to the boat, to make her cry, I believe to get our attention. It broke my heart. It was just…too much…That was my last straw before asking my boat guy to take me back to the port. I left Tonle Sap, Cambodia with a heavy heart, knowing that their life will go on everyday just exactly I saw it.

I will be back,- with a stronger heart and probably some help.Hopefully by giving them chance to a better life. 

  • This story was written in conjunction of Asian on Air Program 2013- a co-organized event between Korean Air and Korean Tourism Organization. A yearly event that collects bloggers from Southeast Asia to experience Korea. More information, check out their event page

Author: Rayyan Haries

A Malaysian boy's journey becoming a man through his journey travelling and volunteering around the world.

206 thoughts on “My Unforgettable Travel: Tonle Sap, Cambodia.”

  1. When I read this story,it remind me bout my life when I was 12..my dad only have RM 2 in wallet..jobless (97-98 economy crisis) and have to buy milk for my sis..and he ask me to follow him to get a money..lend RM 20, and start a new journey as a hawker..sell banana fritted(pisang goreng).. Alhamdulillah, I know how hard to get a money since I was 12 and lots of appreciation to my dad. That’s why I’m really touched when I read this entry. I know how they feel coz I’ve experienced it.

    1. Oh Lutfi! I didn’t know that u went through a lot in life.Im sure it has taught u something out of it. I understand how you feel, a year ago I lost everything I had but it give me hope to pursue and now am happy doing what I love. Keep being strong eh?

      You are gonna be somebody one fine day. And those kid’s life, am sure they too will strive

  2. wouw that is teally impressivee. Those kids don’t have a fair start. It is so inmuman to have to treat your kids like that. It akes us hunble and grateful but also sad bevause you just can help a few for a shott while. Angie

  3. What a moving story! Rayyan, you are obviously an extremely sensitive & emotional person. In sharing your experiences you are helping to give everyone a different perspective of the world – something that is incredibly valuable. Thank you for writing about your trip as it allows me an insight into a part of the world I’ve not seen myself and it helps me fully appreciate just how fortunate I am in my life. Understanding is key to harmony in the world – you are helping to achieve this as you paint a picture of other realities. Thank you rayyan! Keep up the good work – you are an inspiration.

    1. Thank you for such inspiring comment. I’m glad I’ve touched people’s life- that is what I hope to do everyday of my life, giving people chance to experience what the world has to offer.

  4. Hey guys, did you see some new cool App that will come soon? I think that will be very useful for us travelers, it is about connecting directly with people, with locals or somebody with same interests and lots of good things. I found that at http://www.funility.com

  5. I literally cried when I read this entry. I’m a mother myself and it breaks my heart to hear stories like this. Now I am wondering, what will happen to those children when they grow up with such huge scars on their souls?

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