HUNTING AND FISHING LIKE A CAMBODIAN LOCAL –
Safe to say we are absolutely in love with the Backstreet Academy experiences here in South East Asia.
Knowing that so far, every single experience has been so unique and special to us, we had to do something a little closer to home. Hunting and fishing is something we LOVE doing back in New Zealand.
Our tuk-tuk driver pulled up around 9 am to pick us up and drive us along the usual bumpy dirt tracks out in the country to our destination in the local Cambodian Village, Kouk Dong. This is where we were warmly greeted by the lovely Sophean Heng. After introducing ourselves, Sophean kindly gave us the opportunity to explore the school he runs for the children in the local community.
As he guided us through each of the areas, he gave us detailed insight into the great things they are doing at this school to help the children and set them up for a better future. Knowing that English is crucial to a child's success in Cambodia in regards to a well-paid job, Sophean puts a lot of his time and effort, along with the other teachers there to ensure the children are given quality English education.
Nick almost had to drag me away from each classroom, I was so excited to be around these gorgeous wee kids asking question after question.
After the grand tour, we proceeded out the school gates to gear up for the hunting and fishing. Hats, a bag of rocks, slingshot, fishing net, basket, and water was all we needed to set off on our journey! After saying goodbye to his sweet wife and the new baby we set off with our gear through the dried up rice fields further than the eye could see, and let me tell you, that sun was absolutely scorching hot! Thank goodness for the woven hat he provided and the t-shirt we chose rather than a singlet.
Once we had walked a fair way, we began searching for crab holes, they are pretty noticeable so it wasn’t too hard. By this time Sopheans friend had arrived with two hoe like gardening tools to dig the crabs out. They had a bit of a laugh watching our first attempt and grabbing them out of their holes without being pinched, but we managed to get the hang of it in the end. Within the hour we had collected at least 10 big enough crabs into the woven basket and could have kept going!
Back in New Zealand, we would never even think of killing a bird using a slingshot, but today we were doing it their way. Here in Laos, if it moves then you kill it and eat it. (We were even on the hunt for rats and snakes! Let’s just say I’m glad they were good at hiding on this particular day!)
So Nick geared up his slingshot with a small rock, aimed at the tree, and boom!
And again.. He missed.
Although it did make us feel a little better when Sophean said it is extremely hard to learn this skill, we did see his friend take one shot from afar and hit the bird, but he has been doing this since he was a kid.
Time for our favorite part. Fishing!
Back home we love to go fishing, but here it sure is done differently. We watched as Sophean and his friend organised the equipment and made sure there was no tangle before throwing it out as a demonstration. Easy-peasy right? Just throw the net?
It’s always harder than it looks haha!
Luckily Sophean was a wonderful guide and spent time explaining how to hold it and throw as well as helping me wade my way through the deep mud into the middle of the pond to avoid an unwanted swim. His encouragement and support was consistent throughout our whole experience, but what I loved most was how he was never afraid to laugh and joke with us. His English was fantastic so we quickly made a strong relationship with him.
Although the fish were scarce, we had enough to head back and fill our bellies with our fresh catch of the day accompanied with delicious veggies, egg, and rice. After a delicious meal, we went on to hang out with the children and play hangman, weave baskets with one of the elder local ladies, and take a walk through the local village nearby. He went above and beyond to give us true insights to the community he spoke so passionately about.
As travelers, we always say we want to spend time getting to know the locals properly, learn about their history, the way they live on a day to day basis, how they perceive the rest of the world, and really see it through their eyes. But it can be so hard to find someone who is willing to share something so personal or find someone who genuinely wants to share their knowledge as well as learn about you, I think that’s why we enjoyed our day so much. Not only did we have a blast teaching, hunting, and fishing, but we really appreciated Sopheans honestly, enthusiasm and genuine curiosity throughout our experience. He took the time to share his story and listen to ours, to introduce us into his world. To us, that was something really special.
We can’t stress enough how much Backstreet has impacted our travels. Just like this story, we have experienced such genuine and incredible encounters with real locals who are so passionate about what they do.
We can't wait to see what our next experience brings!
INFORMATION ABOUT THE CLASS
DURATION: 5 hours
MIN/MAX GUESTS PER GROUP: 1-10 people
If you're looking for an adventure in a local Cambodian village where you get to go hunting, set traps, and have great fun to Khmer rural life with a whole village of passionate Khmers.
About 30 km away from the bustle of Angkor city you will be in a village called Kouk Dong which is surrounded by peace, serenity and loads of greenery!
- Jungle trekking with our local guide
- Making slingshots and go hunting
- Making traps the traditional way to charge wildlife
- Fishing in the river, lake or pond
- Catching crabs in the rice fields
- Enjoy a lunch with local
Note: Price includes pick up and drop off to and from the hotel to the village center.
Kuok Doung Community team is the young group of students from Kouk Doung village. We have an idea to help our community to get more income from our natural resources by creating the idea for tourists to visit our commune. By the way, we are very skillful at farming and hunting (rats and crabs) which is fun so we want to share the experience with tourists to not miss out of it. Spend a short time with us to get the unforgettable memory of Cambodia's countryside.
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