Michael Batson

Travel Writer





The Road Most Travelled - The Expats Guide to Cambodia (Part II) - 20 August 2012

The road most travelled in Cambodia work wise for expats is the world of foreign language teaching mainly English, but also as a former colony French, and these days to a lesser extent Korean and no doubt, Chinese. But most plunge into the world of English language teaching in a plethora of institutions, some functional and some not so functional, attracting an equally diverse range of candidates some of who are qualified and may even be competent, but invariably a larger number of chancers, wannabees and has beens. Many of these probably should be somewhere else doing something else, and well away from students and their money. English language teaching in Cambodia is a murky world and seems entirely unregulated. This is due to Cambodia itself, having to drag itself out of the mire of years of civil war and eager to develop, it’s young population keen to learn as much as possible as fast as possible, which in itself is only to be admired. Unfortunately, this predicament lends itself to abuse in a country where if laws do exist, they are sometimes poorly enforced and easy to ignore. For the uninitiated, to be qualified as an English language teacher usually requires some sort of tertiary training, a class-based certificate; a CELTA or the more advanced DELTA, taught in accredited language schools the world over but not available in Cambodia. The alternatives are the university courses; Dip TESOL or various certificates, diplomas or degrees in linguistics, which are

In The Ghetto - 14 July 2012

Khao San Road (pronounced “Cow sarn”) is the main backpacker mecca for foreigners in Bangkok, Sukhumvit being another. The road itself is located in Banglamphu or Farang-Lam-Phu, as it’s jokingly referred to after the Thai word for foreigner.The more cynical call it “Khao Shit Road” and it has been described as the perfect example of a

Where The Streets Have No Names - 25 June 2012

Phnom Penh is a city where the streets have numbers rather than names save for the main thoroughfares, though some have both. As someone once commented, “the thing about Phnom Penh street names is that they are fun for every purpose except the obvious – identifying where you are or where you are going.”Some street names have changed over time

Great Walls of Glass - 9 June 2012

Changi International Airport at Singapore is much like the city itself; neat, ordered, clean almost sterile, and almost wholly without character, though to be fair the city has Little India and Chinatown.Changi is an airport like many others but run with all that efficiency synonymous with the island state. Singapore has two great qualities

The Bizarre Temple at Banglamung - 28 May 2012

About 100 kilometres southeast from Bangkok at Banglamung near Pattaya in Chonburi is the Sanctuary of Truth, one of the strangest sights in Thailand. Touted as “The Magnificence of Heaven Recreated on Earth”, the Sanctuary of Truth is a huge structure made entirely of carved wood and looks like a temple of the bizarre from some giant film

On Deadly Roads - 20 May 2012

Someone once said that nowhere is a good place to have a traffic accident but in Cambodia it can be worse than most other places.Travel in Cambodia can be wonderful and a real eye opener but it’s a fact that almost four people a day die on roads in Cambodia, and hundreds more are injured in thousands of crashes.For victims, foreigners and

Nahkon Ratchasima - The Gateway to Isaan - 7 May 2012

Northeast of Bangkok is Nahkon Ratchasima, capital city of the province of the same name, and lauded as the gateway to the great northeast of Thailand. This area is known as Isaan and home to 25 million people; a country within a country, the rice bowl of Thailand, and the poorest region in the land.The city, also called Korat (or Khorat) a