The Magic of Cambodia

- a celebration of Cambodia, its people and its culture

was held on Saturday 17 August 2002

at The George Pickering Postgraduate Centre, John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford, England

"His Majesty the King expresses His deep gratitude to you for taking a great interest in Cambodia and its people, and His best wishes for the success of your noble endeavour."

The Cabinet Office of His Majesty Norodom Sihanouk, King of Cambodia

Thank you to our supporters

The following companies, charities and individuals generously supported 'The Magic of Cambodia' event. All profits from the event will be split between two charities, The Cambodia Trust and the Cambodian Arts & Scholarship Foundation, both very worthwhile causes. Read more about them on the Stop Press page.

The Imaginative Traveller

Covering Asia and the Middle East, The Imaginative Traveller are a team of travel enthusiasts who are passionate about travel, they've recently celebrated their 10th anniversary and are proud to be the UK's leading adventure travel operator. They want to share their passion for travel with you and online at you'll find an amazing collection of adventure travel trips to more countries than ever before. Their style of travel allows you to choose what's best for you and their prices are unbeatable! Forget any ideas you might have about group travel. If you think it’s about being herded around like sheep in a large group made up of people who are unwilling or unable to make their own travel arrangements, think again. That's not The Imaginative Traveller style. Groups have a maximum of 15 people and their highly experienced tour leaders have never been taught to herd. Trips are not designed to shield you from the realities of life in these destinations but, rather, to give you a genuine experience of a country and its people. In fact, you could call their style of travel the perfect solution. You’ll have all the flexibility, freedom and excitement of adventure travel combined with the benefit of their know-how and organisation. You’ll have like minded travelling companions from around the globe and, if you’re a single traveller, you’ll be able to benefit from the security and cost savings that group travel brings. You’ll be able to spend time in villages and meet local people but, in their small groups, instead of arriving as an intrusive stranger, you'll be welcomed as a guest. The Imaginative Traveller operate from their offices in Martlesham Heath in Suffolk.

Carpe Diem Travel

A travel company offering small group and customised discovery tours to Cambodia, run by Debbie Watkins and Marc Lansu, with offices in Purton, Wiltshire, UK. "From the beginning, Carpe Diem's aim has been to provide our customers with a complete picture of the wealth of beauty, tradition and adventure that is Cambodia. By avoiding sanitised, impersonal 'tourist traps'; choosing friendly, locally-run hotels and guesthouses; organising overland travel that takes you through the deepest countryside; and employing trusted local people we bring you the kind of experience normally only available to the seasoned traveller. The company's owners, an English and Dutch couple, are both resident in Cambodia, and one of them will accompany you at all stages of the trip. Small groups of no more than eight people on any one trip, the use of boats, trains and motorcycles, and the knowledge of our local guides combine to bring you much closer to the country. Our journeys not only provide you with Cambodia's 'highlights' such as Angkor Wat and the Royal Palace, but take you well away from the tourist trail, meeting the country's people and understanding more about their culture and way of life." Visit their website at Debbie Watkins was one of the speakers at our event.

Gecko Travel

Portsmouth-based company running scheduled small group and tailor-made tours to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. Their extensive knowledge of the region enables them to offer original itineraries, including places far removed from the well trodden tourist trails. They'll share with you some of SEAsia's best kept secrets and give you a real insight into its fascinating cultures, history, landscapes and natural world. Your holiday adventure will combine fabulous destinations and 'hidden places' with a wide range of activities, whilst still allowing ample time to relax and unwind. All kinds of people join their tours; young and old, singles, couples and groups, experienced travellers or first-time adventurers. Visit their website at

Silk Steps

Long-established company taking tailor-made and group travellers throughout Asia and Africa. They have offices in Chipping Sodbury, near Bristol, UK, where they have a team of people who have acquired first hand knowledge having travelled regularly to all the areas, keeping up with the ever-changing faces of those developing countries. They are confident that they can provide the individual attention and service you need, all you need do is let them know your preferences and they will design an itinerary, however elaborate, to suit your interest, budget and schedule.Visit their website at

Rough Guide to Cambodia

The first-ever Rough Guide to Cambodia has just been released (July 2002) and is excellent. Rough Guide let us have some of their brand new guidebooks to be sold at a discounted price at our event. The guidebook was written by Beverley Palmer from the UK-based tour company, Same Same but Different and one of our event speakers. Rough Guide say that the guidebook " the most comprehensive guide to this most spectacuular destination. Features include: full-colour section introducing Cambodia's highlights; evocative coverage of all the attractions, from the atmospheric temples of Angkor and vibrant capital of Phnom Penh to the laidback coastal resort of Sihanoukville and the mountain scenery of Rattanakiri; practical advice on places to stay and eat, for all budgets plus an in-depth guide to Cambodia's underrated cuisine; detailed background on Cambodian history, religion, and temple art and architecture; maps and plans for every region." Visit the Rough Guide - who's mission is to provide the most reliable, up-to-date and entertaining information to independent-minded travellers of all ages and on all budgets - website at

Lonely Planet - Cambodia

Lonely Planet's Cambodia 4 hits the bookshops in mid-August 2002. Their first Cambodia guide was published in September 1992 and they have been at the forefront of adventure travel guidebooks for countries like Cambodia and around the globe since the early 70s. Author Nick Ray, a Brit, lives in Siem Reap and has also penned the Cycling Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia guide. We had specially discounted copies of the brand new Cambodia 4 on sale. The Lonely Planet website at states: "An essential, practical guide for travellers wanting to delve into the majesty of Angkor, experience bustling Phnom Penh, discover wild and remote countryside or simply soak up Cambodian charm and culture - includes a special feature on the extraordinary temples of Angkor and detailed, user-friendly maps."

Cambodian Society in the United Kingdom (CASUNIK)

CASUNIK is a non-political organisation whose aim is to advance the education of the public in the UK about any aspects of Cambodia, including the people, history, culture and tradition. CASUNIK was formed in October 1979, during the Buddhist Phchum Ben festival, from the ashes of the Student’s Association of the Khmer Republic (SAKR) and some of the Cambodian Embassy staff, and their families who were left stranded in the United Kingdom due to the political upheaval in 1975.

Following discussions with the British Council for Refugees (BCR) and with the help of the National Council for Voluntary Organisation (NCVO), CASUNIK took a step further to become a full Charity Organisation in 1984. CASUNIK remains as a registered charity organisation to the present day. With the elected members of the Executive Committee, CASUNIK has worked extremely hard among the Cambodian and British communities at large, in preserving and exchanging cultural and other mutual interests amongst its members in the UK. The main events, organised by CASUNIK, are the Cambodian New Year in mid-April and the Pchum Ben ceremony in September/October. Both events are social and religious (Buddhist) occasions. They've also arranged Khmer language and classical dance classes for Cambodian youths in this country. Amongst the CASUNIK guests at our event were vice-president Moeng Phok and treasurer Dr Heng Phalla Sambath, their family and friends.

Fly Travel

66 St Clements, Oxford, OX4 1AH. Telpehone 01865 202038. e-mail

We'd also like to thank the following: Carpenter Catering, contact, who provided refreshments and snacks throughout the day. Wings Cambodian Restaurant of 94 Cowley Road, Oxford (Tel. 01865 243028) who were responsible for Cambodian buffet lunch. Chris Simpson (Promus Event Management. Tel +44 1628 762693. e-mail was responsible for our audio-visual presentations on the day. In addition, thank you to Derek Bybee and Chantha Chum for their kind donations.

A review and photographs of the event are here

Event organizers:

Andy Brouwer

Caroline Nixon

Andy BrouwerCaroline Nixon

Andy Brouwer & Caroline Nixon

Main website: Andy Brouwer's Cambodia Tales

Magic2002 :: Cambodia Tales :: Stop Press

The contents of this website cannot be reproduced or copied without permission of the site author. Andy Brouwer 2005