Previous Next
During a two-week motorcycle journey across Cambodia, Matador contributor Allen Burt experiences the contrasts of a country steeped in beauty and ancient grandeur, yet overshadowed by a recent bloody past.

THE ROAD IS NARROW and the traffic is…interesting? Cows wander aimlessly, playing a perpetual game of Frogger with each passing bus and farm tractor. Locals scream by on scooters hauling everything from live chickens and hogs to dressers and bed frames.

I’m stuck in the middle of the madness — clinging to the seat of a rusty dirt bike I learned to ride yesterday. My companions and I have set out to pierce the heart of this misunderstood country, and it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Our journey begins in Phnom Penh…

Photo Essay


About The Author

Allen Burt

Allen Burt is a social entrepreneur and intrepid traveler. Follow his travels and non-profit ventures on Twitter @allenburt and at

  • panoptican

    Fantastic photo essay! Would’ve loved to seen more on the road between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap? What route did you end up taking (i.e. north or south of the lake)?

    • Allen Burt

      We took the route above the lake if I remember correctly. It is a beautiful route!

      • Michael

        We tool the road to the south of the lake, actually. Awesome

  • Hal

    Great job, Allen. Your photos brought me right back to my brief passage through the country 3 years ago.

  • Michelle

    Gorgeous photos! Number 8 is my favorite- how strangely beautiful.

  • Esha Samajpati

    Awesome collection of photos, Allen. Loved it!

  • Carlo Alcos

    I love that one with the guy washing the elephant.

  • Candice

    Loved the elephant washing one too!

  • alan

    Thanks for the awesome pictures. Cambodia looks like an amazing country.

  • Allen Burt

    Thanks for all the compliments! It was an amazing journey in a fantastic country. (I think the elephant shots are my favorites too!)

  • Nitza

    I love everything about your picture’s and I hope someday I can return back to Cambodia.


  • rita moreno

    Great pictures. I’ve just returned rom SE Asia and this essay took me back to Cambodia. did you go to Battambang? I loved it!

    • Allen Burt

      Glad you liked them. We didn’t make it to Battambang . . . guess I need to go back!

  • Tim Patterson

    Awesome photos, Cambodia is a very special place.

I had to hand in my phone. From that moment on, we were always accompanied.
It's a beautiful life on the far southern edge of the world.
Cambodia's beauty is in the little moments and details.
The full experience of Angkor Wat is not just about the temples, but also the people...
Where water meets gravity, it's hard to look away. Come see for yourself.
Photographer Allison Heiliczer makes a pilgrimage to India and captures insight with the...
It’s all one big story and it’s fascinating to explore the different ways of telling...
Australia’s largest national park island and part of the Great Barrier Reef World...
The trip had a significance for me that was harder to quantify but impossible to ignore.