Advice 4 page

WHAT’S THE GUESTS SAY ABOUT THEIR TRIP WITH US

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Excellent tours; genuinely improving community life in Cambodia (Feb, 2019 , TripAdvisor, Guest: “MelanieLux”)

Hoksan is amazing; my friends and I have so much admiration for how he uses this organization to contribute and build up his community.

Not only do his tours give you a very valuable insight in Cambodian floating villages, the best part is that your tourist dollars are put to a genuinely good use. I can only encourage supporting such a wonderful initiative. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Great couple of days at Prek Toal with Hoksan and his family (Feb, 2019 , TripAdvisor, Guest: “Hackneyal”)

Hoksan put together a custom birdwatching itinerary for us at very short notice.

He normally operates from siem reap but we wanted to travel from Battambang. He organised a private boat from Battambang to Prek toal where we stayed at his families homestay. Sunset, sunrise boat rides and a morning in the bird sanctuary plus onward travel to siem reap by boat and taxi.

We contacted him on Friday morning and left Battambang on Monday first thing. We used the cambodian Wing mobile payments system to get money to him (you need a local SIM card to do this). so it was all jacked up in double quick time.

All this wasn’t cheap but proved to be one of the highlights of our holiday.

Our private boat was a huge luxury - two hours on one of the narrow speed boats Whizzing past the packed public boats followed by 3 hours on a bigger slower Comfortable “VIP” boat. We were in Prek toal for lunch.

Staying in the homestay was great it’s a normal home and while not five star it’s all you need and you muck in. The food was good - prepared by his sister. The insight into Cambodian and floating life was brilliant. In the evening we spend time in the kitchen with the family and friends with a few beers. Lily the family dog was a delight and the crocodile farm out back was an eye opener.

All the boats going by are noisy so ear plugs are a good idea.

The sunset was good (with beer in hand) and the birdwatching started on the sunrise boat. After breakfast we headed to the bird sanctuary in a smaller boat.

Hoksan had binoculars for both of us and a range of books and charts with all the birds we were seeing and worked really hard to show us as much as possible. Of course what you see is a bit pot luck but we saw loads. The platform is an experience and you need a head for heights so that’s not for everyone. There was some high powered sights at the hide to look at the vast amount of birds which were quite some distance away.

Hoksan was a great host, easy to do business with and communication was good. He obviously knew his onions when it came to the birds. His seems to be a small operation so it all felt very personal, well organised and for the community rather than a big profit making operation.

Thanks Hoksan we had a great time. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Great non-touristy day (Feb, 2019 , TripAdvisor, Guest: “fracto”)

Three of us recently went on the 1 day Bird Viewing and Cultural Experience. Overall it was a great day and we felt good to get out of the busy tourist areas.

None of us are serious birders – but we still enjoyed seeing the variety of birds. HokSan provides binoculars – so we could have avoided carrying our heavy pair for our entire trip to only use this one day. It was the afternoon that was the highlight for us.

Lunch was really good. Afterwards we got to paddle with a local to view more areas of the floating village – the pagoda, school, fish sauce factory , etc. Be advised that given the distance to the river and village, it is a pretty rigorous day.

It is a bumpy, dusty hour long drive to the first boat, primitive toilet conditions, then no back support in the smaller boats while viewing birds. We were chicken and only one in our party climbed the rickety ladders to the viewing platform.

We felt it was certainly worth it - but just be aware of what it entails to participate in this great experience. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Brilliant overnight stay and bird watching (Feb, 2019 , TripAdvisor, Guest: “kerryg960”)

We did the overnight home stay and early morning bird sanctuary and thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. It is a real eye opener to see life on the water. Everything goes by boat - the food, batteries, clothing shop, hardware shop…anything.

The homestay is right beside and part of Hoksans’ family house and is simple but comfortable. Food is cooked by his older sister and delicious. The boat “boys” were a laugh and quite cheeky.

The birdwatching was all along the way to the village and the bird sanctuary. The water is low, so the makeshift viewing platform is a fair way from the birds. However, we managed to see plenty al8ng the way in, including Adjutant and Painted Storks and Kingfishers.

Along the road back to Siem Reap, the driver spotted a Pied Kingfisher and we got fab photos as it tried to deal with a fish almost half its size !

Hoksan is passionate about helping his village and his project to build houses for poor families to get ahead by raising ducks or chickens and making sure their children go to school is truly humbling. He has a GoFundMe page for the project. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Great wildlife & local culture experience (January 25, 2019 , TripAdvisor, Guest: “David v”)

We went with Hoksan on a one day bird watching & village tour. In the morning we made our way by boat to the bird sanctuary near Prek Toal.

The sanctuary is very impressive with a huge number of nesting birds and there was also a lot of great birding from the boat on the way there. Hoksan’s knowledge is impressive and he is obviously a very passionate birder and wildlife lover.

Afterwards we had lunch in his house in the village which was very good. We then went around the floating village with Hoksan on paddle boats, learning about the local lifestyle.

I would recommend this tour to anyone who is interested in wildlife and local culture. It’s great that the whole tour is organized and conducted by locals so that all the money goes to the local community. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Hoksan is passionate about his community and the environment (January 20, 2019 , TripAdvisor, Guest: “Davjos63”)

Our experience with Hoksan was a highlight of our trip to Cambodia - of which there were many! His knowledge and passion for the birds of the Tonle Sap Prek Toal sanctuary are vast and genuine, but it is his work with his community that is the real deal breaker.

All of the profits, you’re tourist dollars, go straight to community members either directly through the various parts of the tour or via Hoksan’s great work helping poorer families in his community.

He is a dedicated, professional and generous young man working from the heart and I believe he deserves the support of relatively wealthy travellers like us. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Our best memory from Cambodia (January 16, 2019, Trip Advisor, Guest: “OleFA”)

Our homestay with Hoksan has been the best memory from our travels in Cambodia.

We lived with his friendly family for two days and his description of the village and our tour around was an eye-opening insight into how life can be on a floating village on the river both for us and for our two kids aged 10 and 12.

Highly recommended for everyone who wants to see what life is like for a Cambodian family. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A True Highlight and Special Experience (Dec 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “ErinB3106”)

We had a wonderful day on the Prek Toal Bird Watching and Village tour. With so many activities in the Siem Reap area, it is hard to choose what to do but I am glad we picked this eco friendly tour. It is unique and special. It stood out as a highlight over our two week trip in Cambodia and Vietnam. My only regret is that we did not have the time to do the homestay.

Sophal was our amazing guide. He is a remarkable young gentleman who volunteers his time on top of his regular his job. He is very dedicated to conservation and cares a lot about the work that Mr. Hoksan does. I noted how he wants to do similar work himself and has great respect for Mr. Hoksan. I felt fortunate in having him as our guide. His friendliness is infectious and we really enjoyed our day with him. He knew a lot about birds and showed us pictures of them on the way so we could try spotting the various species on our own.

The tour itself was incredible. The journey to and from the reserve was fun with beautiful scenery. Seeing that many birds in one place was amazing and the tour supplied really good binoculars so we could see them up close. The floating village was fascinating. Sophal gave us a really good tour which included visiting a temple, classroom, and a viewpoint. We learned a lot about the village and how the people live.

We also really enjoyed meeting Mr. Hoksan. It was easy to book with him. We arranged to leave the fee with our hotel ahead of time and he stayed in close communication to assure us that everything was taken care of. He is incredibly generous and accommodating. I was nervous to explore the village via paddle boat because I am prone to sea sickness and he arranged last minute for me to see the village by motorboat instead free of charge. He accommodated our vegetarian diet and we had for lunch the best food on our entire trip.

This tour is a great way to give a little back. Mr. Hoksan uses the profits from these tours to invest in his community. We visited a house he built for a local family and Sophal told us about the other projects Mr. Hoksan is involved with to improve conditions in the village. If you are considering a Prek Toal tour look no further - this tour has it all.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

One of our best experiences in Cambodia (Dec 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “Tontiloni”)

This was a great tour and definitely worth the money. We just had a one day tour, but would probably opt for the Homestay the next time. Our guide, Va, was amazing.

His English was really good, he had a lot of knowledge and we simply had a great time. We brought our own binoculars but were provided bigger ones when we got to the viewing point.

One thing, that was strange to us (only in the beginning) was that Hoksan came to our hotel beforehand to collect the money in cash. That just seemed weird to us but when we met him everything was very professional and we were sure to be in good hands.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

5 star service on an ecologically responsible tour (10th Jan 2019, Trip Advisor, Guest: “LiTianzhi”)

If you were thinking of a tour to the Tonle Sap biosphere nature reserve your search should stop here. Mr Hoksan was more than just a guide. He is a passionate birder, eco warrior, community caretaker and an excellent baby sitter rolled into one. On top of an excellent tour it is fantastic to know that the proceeds of the tour is channeled back both to the community and to the nature reserve.

Went for the tour with my husband and 10 month old baby and have so many good things to say I hardly know when to start.

Honest and accommodating - booked very last minute and didn’t have time to transfer the payment before leaving for Cambodia. Mr Hoksan took the bother to travel all the way to the hotel to collect it saving us the inconvenience of arranging a transfer there and transfer fees. Initially had concerns about handing over the complete payment but such worry was groundless.

The transaction was professional with a prepared invoice and clearly there were no issues with the tour later.

Punctuality - in all our dealing with Mr Hoksan he was not just on time but usually 10 minutes early. No need to worry about missed times or wrong dates that I hear happens for alot of other Cambodian guides.

Professional birder - for the serious twitchers (birders) no worries. Mr Hoksan is one of the best guides I have met (and I am an amateur nature guide myself). He knows his birds is familar with their habits and knows the best spots to bring you tp.

In fact at the bird hide he was there answering the questions of other tourists even whose guides did not accompany them up. You can practically feel his enthusiasm as he hunts for the elusive Milky storks. For the casual birders he is armed with books, pictoral guides and binoculars. Tou are in excellant hands.

PROFESSIONAL baby sitter - Did you know Mr Hoksan previously looked after the village children before this job? My baby was fussing abit in the heat and during the long boat ride and he expertly peek-a-booed her into smiles (and she loved his singing).

As if that wasnt enough he is armed with two wonderful sisters who even babysat at his house so that I could eat in peace. If there are any parents looking for a child friendly tour - this is it.

Socially responsible - Mr Hoksan does not just reuse the funds from the tour to help his village he also runs various projects to help poor villagers/reforestation. Rather than pay a middleman/tour company I am very happy to hear that the money we are paying for the tour is also being used to help the Prek Toal company.

Long story short - Responsible, trustworthy and extremely enjoyable this tour has something for everyone and Mr Hoksan will make it the highlight of your holiday!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Prek Toal Village tours is THE BEST!! (29th Oct 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “amandaemays”)

Mr. Hoksan was the best host we could have ever asked for.

Him and his staff fetched us from our hotel, sharing with us conversation, culture, and a few laughs along the way to the river. Once there, we boarded a boat outfitted with a speaker for music and refreshments. During every step of the journey, our group was so well cared for.

Mr. Hoksan even offered to help us take photos. We arrived at his home to enjoy a homemade lunch by his family. I was blown away by their generosity and hospitality in opening their home to us.

After that, we took their boats over to the floating pagoda where Mr. Hoksan and staff even taught each of us how to conduct a Buddhist prayer/blessing.

We made some other stops, getting the chance to fully emerge into village life. Every single moment of the day was so well thought out and considerate of making our experience the most special.

I would recommend this tour to anyone and will only bring my group back to Mr. Hoksan in the future! Thank you so much!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A genuine, ethical tour experience sustainable supporting the local community (Sep 29, 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “ Renee C”)

Hoksan is a young entrepreneur who established Prek Toal Tours and Travel as part of his broader initiatives to promote and support the community that he’s from.

I was part of a local NGO group that engaged Hoksan to take us around the floating villages and to see the local sights. Hoksan was an extremely knowledgeable, personable and professional guide who genuinely seeks to provide his guests an insight into the life and beauty of his community.

For people who are after sustainable and genuine experiences of Cambodia - that is, an opportunity to engage meaningfully and ethically with the people of Prek Toal, share a meal with them and learn about life in Cambodia, then Prek Toal Tours & Travel (and Homestay) is highly recommended.

Hoksan will take you to his home where you will share a meal with his family. Not only will you be giving back to the community you will be visiting, but you’ll also be supporting a very genuine and bright individual committed to improving the lives of people in Prek Toal.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Authentic homestay in floating village (1st Aug 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “Hans073”)

We stayed with the family of Mr Hoksan for one night in their floating house in the floating village of Prek Toal.

It was a very special experience to stay in this remote village where it feels like time has stopped. We really enjoyed visiting the local school and the fishermen working on the lake.

Also the food that was prepared by a local family was great. To be short, can really, recommend!!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Eye Opening Experience (11st April 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “Steppin-owt”)

To visit something so different to what you’ve ever experienced before leaves you slightly lost for words.

It is difficult to comprehend how people can live their lives in such a manor but they certainly seem to be thriving, not sure how the rainy season would be for them however.

It is surreal to see boats delivering goods and supplies to both individual homes and shops.

We enjoyed a meal in a community restaurant where the hospitality was fantastic and the food to a high standard. An excellent and enjoyable experience.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A truly authentic and unique experience in Siem Reap! (10th April 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “linderlou6”)

I booked this trip for my husband’s birthday because birdwatching is one of his favorite pastimes, but little did I know that the day in Prek Toal would give us so much more.

Sopol (not sure I spelled that right), Mr. Hoksan’s brother-in-law was our phenomenal tour guide and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend the day with him in his wife’s village.

The first part of the day consisted of visiting the bird sanctuary, we visited during the dry season, but I think my husband was able to identify at least 9 new species of birds.

The drive/boat rides out to the sanctuary are an experience in and of themselves. We loved strolling past the floating villages and watching the fisherman along the river.

While the stairs up to the lookout, especially in the dry season, are not for the faint of heart, we never felt unsafe and even our 9 year old was able to climb up and down with no problem. Once up there, we’d never seen so many birds in one place! Literally thousands.

Once back in the village we were welcomed to Mr. Hoksan’s home and ate a delicious lunch and enjoyed a visit and blessing from a local monk.

We then toured around Prek Toul, a floating village with a poplulation of over 7,000! We saw the school, the pagoda, and made a few other stops in the village.

Mr. Sopol escorted us back to our hotel where we were greeted by Mr. Hoksan.

The day was a truly eye opening and unique experience and will stay with us forever.

Mr. Hoksan also uses a large portion of the money earned from these tours to give back to his community, we were able to visit a new home that was gifted by Mr. Hoksan to a man who was living on a boat with his wife and five children.

It was a wonderful day for our entire family.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Fabulous experience (19th March 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “billdwhizz”)

We had a day tour to the bird sanctuary and floating village. Hoksan was the perfect guide and host helping us to see many different birds and explaining all that is happening in the village. He described how the local people live and the projects he is involved with to sustain and improve life for the villagers. Meeting his family for lunch was a pleasure. The whole day was a highlight of our holiday.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Great experience! (27th Feb 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “Karlis B”)

We did the bird watching and floating village tour and it was fantastic! Mr Hoksan is a local and knows this area very well. He told us a lot about the birds, nature, village and the people who live there. It was a real insight in the locals life.

Mr Hoksan has a great eye for the birds. He found even the smallest birds in a far distance. He even gave us his own camera because we just had our phone-cameras and we could get the pictures via Dropbox.

After a good meal in his own house we had a small trip to a tower so we could see the whole floating village.

Just a tip: Ask Mr Hoksan to show you whats inside the wooden boxes next to the tower ;) It is also mentionable that Mr Hoksan does a lot of work for the community. He helps the poor and does a lot of charity work. During the tour you could see that the money you spend does not go to a big company but to the local projects that help the village.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Interesting bird watching trip with home stay (24th Feb 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “Thomas K”)

We participated on a two days’ trip with Mr Hoksan. The experience was interesting because of the many birds that we observed, but also because of the insight in the daily activities in Hoksan’s floating village and in his parents’ home on the river.

Mr Hoksan was an enthusiastic guide, and he was also very patient with people like us, who didn’t know too much about these birds and their English names.

This is a local enterprise, and not a big company, so the local community will benefit.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Prek Toal bird watching and floating village tour (3rd Feb 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “Mike P”)

This was an amazing day out. The bird watching was fantastic, the number of birds overwhelming and several species new to us.

We very much enjoyed our meal with the family and the tour of the floating village, it was great to get close to the real Cambodia.

We would encourage any one who wishes to go on this tour to go with Hoksan, his tour is the best value and he uses so much of his time and money supporting projects in his village.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Spettacolare visita alla riserva avifaunistica di Prek Toal e alla sua comunità! (January 2, 2018, Trip Advisor, Guest: “ibiscus81”)

La riserva avifaunistica di Prek Toal è una delle più importanti per la sua biodiversità di tutto il sud est asiatico. Un’escursione di grande fascino anche per i non appassionati di birdwatching.

Ma ciò che ha dato un valore unico a questa giornata è stata la nostra guida, Mr. Hoksan, un giovane ragazzo che mosso da un profondo amore per la sua comunità, gestisce questo tour operator volto a far conoscere la reale Cambogia e l’unicità dei villaggi galleggianti.

Ci ha ospitato nella sua casa, spiegandoci gli usi e costumi del popolo, mentre la sua famiglia ha preparato per noi un pranzo delizioso condito da un’ospitalità singolare.

La sua professionalità, cortesia, e desiderio di condivisione ci ha consentito di conoscere uno spaccato di realtà molto distante dalla nostra e ci spingerà a supportarlo in tutti suoi progetti volti a migliorare le condizioni di vita della sua comunità. Un’esperienza che consigliamo vivamente soprattutto per la sua carica emotiva!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Great experience with birding and floating village! (November 9, 2017, Trip Advisor, Guest: “Shummie”)

My wife and I booked a tour with Prek Toal tours and travel for late October 2017. Mr. Hoksan was our guide. We had a wonderful experience - basically, this was one of the key highlights of our Cambodia trip. Here I would like to share some details.

When we went for this tour, we have two main matters in mind: 1. birding (I am an amateur birdwatcher) and 2. floating village.

To start with birding - Prek Toal is a globally significant bird sanctuary and offers unparalleled opportunities to see some of the beautiful and rare birds. We went in October, which a wet season and not all birds were present. Still we managed to see 24 different kinds of birds on the trip, including some of the rare birds like Grey-headed fish-eagle, Spot-billed pelican and the Oriental Darter plus two kind of kingfishers (which is always a highlight for me). Hoksan made every effort to show us as many birds as we could see. I really liked his attitude.

The tour of the floating village was also very nice (if maybe a bit too long). My wife and I were really impressed with the work Hoksan is doing to help the local community. Needless to say, the very visit to a village where houses rest on water is a unique experience for us, coming from a different continent with different realities.

We had a DEET mosquito sprey with us, but we did not notice any mosquitoes on our way.

While we really loved the trip, I would advise all people to manage their expectations before they go on this trip. This is basically a journey into a remote corner of Cambodia, where the conditions are pretty basic as are the boats you will be riding. Also, in case one has absolutely no interest in seeing wild birds, this trip might not be as interesting as it was for us (to be clear - my wife is not a birder but she enjoyed the trip).

Have fun at Prek Toal!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Don’t miss this amazing trip - our best day in Cambodia! (October 29, 2017, Trip Advisor, Guest: “amyduffin”)

We found ourselves in Siem Reap after finishing a tour of Cambodia, and came across Prek Toal Tours & Travel by chance. We are so glad we did, as we had an amazing day and loved meeting Mr. Hoksan and his family and learning about the village.

The bird watching was amazing and the whole experience was so peaceful compared to visiting the temples, which are completely full of people. This was definitely one of the best days we had in Cambodia.

I highly recommend this tour!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………