Cambodia – The Happiest Country in Asia

August 27th, 2005

Given the recent history of Cambodia, you might wonder why I refer to it as the happiest place on earth. Well, there is a real reason if you understand what happy means in Cambodian slang.

Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos to the north and Vietnam to the east. As you may know, some very nasty things happened in Cambodia in the 1970s and 1980s. During this period, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge ruled the country or were fighting to do so.

Reign of terror is a phrase often over used, but not when it comes to the Khmer Rouge. The group implemented what can only be called bizarre policies and managed to starve and murder roughly twenty percent of the total population of Cambodia. The reign of terror was eventually ended when the Vietnamese invaded and pushed the Khmer into a small, isolated pocket of land in the far north.

A few years back, I had the urge to travel. I get it every two or three years. I get it bad. I usually sell off whatever I have and travel for as long as I can. In this case, I flew into Thailand because I didn’t have a lot of money and the flight from Los Angeles was cheap, cheap, cheap! Thailand was pretty touristy, so off to the wilds of Cambodia I went.

To be honest, Cambodia is not as wild a place as you might think given its recent history. These are some seriously strong people from a mental perspective. If you walk around the major city, Phnom Phen, it looks like nothing happened. In fact, you keep seeing signs for happy this and happy that just about everywhere. I am not kidding. The signs literally say “happy dinner”, “happy pizza” and so on. Gee, these people are happy.

As you might imagine, happy has a particular connotation in Cambodia. Do I even need to tell you? Yep, it refers to that funny tobacco that so many in the hippie generation liked to enjoy. Simply put, the Cambodians mix marijuana with just about any type of food stuff – pizza, cake, shakes, tacos. It is used like a spice, to wit, it isn’t obvious it is in the food. If you don’t know what happy means, you can be in for a BIG surprise an hour or so after eating! It was not uncommon to see tourists giggling and staggering around the sidewalks.

At the end of the day, I found Cambodia to be a great place to enjoy notwithstanding its past and the happy food. Angkar Wat and the surrounding Khmer structures are stunning and definitely should be on your list of things to see. So go ahead and take off to Cambodia, but make a mental note regarding the happy food!

Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of journals that are great travel gifts.

Scuba Diving In Bahamas

August 15th, 2005

One of the most fun and luxurious thing you can do when going to a scuba diving holiday is to find a well furnished live aboard diving cruise ship near your dive destination. This will make your scuba diving experience much more comfortable because you don’t have to wake up early in morning to be transferred to your dive boat by your dive operator.

You will also save the hassle of traveling back to your accommodation after your dive. This pattern of a conventional scuba diving vacation activities repeated over and over again the next few days of your diving holiday is not only time consuming, it is a needless activity and can be solved by liveaboard scuba diving ships.
Furthermore, you can only dive locations near you and will be unable to go further out to sea to other better dive spots located further away. On top of that, there is the time taken to take you to the dive location and then coming back to shore again. You will be wasting a lot of your holiday time doing all these traveling.

With liveaboard scuba diving cruises, you will save all the time and the inconvenience. You can now go island hopping and explore new dive sites everyday. Oh, did I hear you say that live on board scuba diving ship vacations are expensive?

Well, I have good news for you. Liveaboard scuba diving ships vacations need not be expensive. On the contrary, this type of vacation may even be even be cheaper because you need not stay in a hotel, engage a dive operator and get more savings from hiring transportation.

One of the best and least expensive liveaboard dive cruise ship operator I have found in the Bahamas is Black Beard’s Cruises . Black Beard’s Cruises offers liveaboard scuba diving vacations in the Bahamas and the Caribbean Seas. They will take you scuba diving which will include an exotic wreck dive, beautiful wall diving, night dive, drift dive and even shark dives.

Black Beard’s liveaboard ships are not real ships as they are a fleet of three luxurious sailboats named Sea Explorer, Morning Star and Pirate’s Lady, which can also take you diving in the Caribbean seas in Western Bahamas.

Shark Diving

The most popular dive in Black Beard’s diving itinery is the sharks dive. Caribbean reef tip sharks, huge nurse sharks even the elegant but ferocious tiger sharks are seen frequently. Colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life sit in depths of 15-100 feet, so divers of all levels of competency can get to enjoy the scuba diving experience in their Bahamas diving holiday.

The western part of the Bahamas was hideout of pirates in ancient times. Without the fear of pirates in these days, the Bahamas islands offer spectacular diving in warm, crystal clear tropical waters teeming with colorful coral reefs and marine creatures.

After your diving trip, you can also visit Bahamas Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Theme Park. The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort is one of the world’s most beautiful and elegant resort with a casino operated by Kerzner International.

If you are going for a diving holiday anytime soon, why not try a liveaboard scuba diving vacation in Bahamas?

Chris Chew is the author of Exotic Travel Tales. Read more articles at his sites at Hawaiian Caribbean cruise and Scenic Lijiang China

African Adventure Tours

August 4th, 2005

We usually associate wild animals like giraffes, lions and tigers with Africa. We also think of a blazing sun and a baking-hot desert when we hear its name. But Africa is much more than this. It’s a very diverse continent, with many different riches: its fantastic wildlife, its massive desserts, and its beautiful beaches are just a few of them. If you’re looking for an adventure, then this vast continent should be at the top of your list of places to go.

You can have your African adventure in many different flavors; there are wildlife tours of all kinds, relaxing vacations around the campfire, as well as a host of top-notch hotels in Africa’s beach paradises to choose from. The African wildlife expeditions, such as the popular African Safari Tours, remain very popular with adventurers from around the world. On these escapades you’ll be able to explore some of Africa’s famous wildlife reserves and national parks, get up close and personal with the wild, and discover some of nature’s wonders. Here is a list of some amazing adventure tours you can consider:

Getaway Africa – Walking Safari Kruger National Park

It’s a tour that will give you the mind-blowing experience that only Kruger National Park can offer. Comprising four days and three nights, this walking safari takes you through Nqala’s spectacular wilderness, which boasts African’s most interesting wildlife. You’ll get to see some amazing sights on this tour, whether you’re observing herds of elephants at a comfortable distance, or looking for rhinos. There’s no end to the excitement and thrills this tour can offer you. You’ll have delicious feasts in front of a campfire and enjoy the protection of highly skilled rangers that offer a high standard of service. It’s a safari that you’ll accomplish on foot, through the thick of the bush, but you’ll be also be comfortable throughout the journey in modern tents in a fully-equipped camp.

Getaway Africa – Garden Route Tour (South Africa)

Want something a bit different than desert sands? Try Africa’s beautiful mountain panorama. On this tour, you’ll embark on an adventure through the magnificent Garden Route of South Africa, in the Western Cape. In this beautiful place, you can further explore the Little Karoo semi-arid region via Route 62. And don’t forget the enchanting rain forests, of course. This African tour lasts for four days, and goes through the Garden Route, a path that will let you see the most well-known region of South Africa.

Getaway Africa – Kayak Tour on Lake Malawi

If you want to experience your own `castaway fantasy,’ then this African adventure is for you. You’ll relax in the tranquil, idyllic camps on the islands of Domwe and Mumbo in Lake Malawi’s southern part. Swim and paddle a kayak alongside schools of colorful fish, go snorkeling, and do a bit of beachcombing. This beautiful lake provides the perfect mix of comfort and relaxation. The tour lasts eight days and takes place in Lake Malawi National Park, one of the first World Heritage sites in Africa.

There are plenty of other African adventures as well. There are some great safari vacations, some for the whole family, as well as spas, guided tours, climbs up Kilimanjaro, and much more.

Anne Morris writes articles about travel. Discover more information about travel at and