Children’s Book Zoe the Zebra Now on Sale!


I’m proud to announce that my children’s picture book, Zoe the Zebra, is now available to purchase as an e-book for just $0.99!

Book three of the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Zoe the Zebra is an illustrated picture book that teaches children about bullying. A young zebra named Zoe who lives in the African bush joins forces with her friends Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon, and other animals to protect their friend Wally the Warthog from a pack of bullying hyenas. Can they help him and stop the bullying?

Inspired by my safari adventures in Africa, the story features Zoe, Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon and a host of animals, including giraffes, hippos, and lions. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will take children to the African savanna and teach them how to handle school bullies.

Zoe Cover (small)Zoe the Zebra features 22 full-color illustrations. It is now available to purchase as an e-book for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Amazon.com for Kindle ($0.99)

Amazon UK for Kindle (£0,77)

Amazon Canada for Kindle ($1.02)

Amazon Germany for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon France for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Italy for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Spain for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Brazil for Kindle (R$2.09)

Amazon Japan for Kindle (¥100)

Apple iTunes for iPad ($0.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Barnes & Noble for Nook ($0.99)

Barnes & Noble UK for Nook (£0,66)

Kobo Books for Kobo Reader ($0.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Smashwords for multiple e-readers ($0.99)

Visit Zoe the Zebra’s web page for a full list of booksellers. Coming soon to Google Play, Sony ReaderStore and other booksellers.

You may also want to buy the first two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant.

Alexander the Salamander

Alexander Cover (small)The first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure.

Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

Ellie the Elephant

Ellie the Elephant Cover (small)The second book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie living in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing polo?

Inspired by the author’s adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie the Elephant and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

Pick up your copy of Zoe the Zebra or any of the World Adventurers for Kids books today!

Zoe (eyes cartoon small 2)

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

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Khao Takiap Village in Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the fourth article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. This post is about Khao Takiap Village in Hua Hin Town. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this fascinating area of Thailand.

At the base of Khao Takiap (Chopsticks Hill) in Hua Hin opposite the Gulf of Thailand lies a colorful and messy fishing village nestled in a small waterway. The organic place looks out of place, and yet, right where it belongs in this area east of Hua Hin Town.

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2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (4)

Suburban Hua Hin has expanded around it, filling the former wetlands with contemporary high rises and neighborhoods, but this timeless village stands out amidst the surrounding modernity.

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Hundreds of wooden fishing vessels clutter the waterway with a chaotic order that looks artistic but tricky to decipher. Boats with hulls of varying bright colors create a multi-colored menagerie intertwined with a spider’s web of stout wooden masts and booms.

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (8)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (9)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (10)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (11)

2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (12)

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On the rickety wooden walkway that follows the water channel and sways with every movement, villagers prepare daily catches for the market, from fish gutting to drying squid and gathering seashells. It’s quite the sight for seafood lovers to behold. The smell is not overpowering as fresh hauls come in and the remnants are washed into the coffee brown channel. I glanced down into the thick water and shuddered to think what must have been lurking in its bowels.

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2012_09_16 Thailand Hua Hin Fishing Village (21)

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Many villagers live on the boats while a few own freestanding homes that strike an interesting contrast to the high-rise resort rising just to the south. Some own seafood markets, restaurants, and souvenir shops just across the street in the shadow of Chopsticks Hill.

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The coin-fed washer and dryer machines in a kiosk along the road indicated that the villagers have ready access to basic necessities. In spite of what looked like poor living conditions when I visited Khao Takiap Village, the villagers seemed to live well with an ocean of seafood waiting to be caught on the leeward side, and to starboard, a sea of tourists waiting to consume whatever they could catch. While a fisherman’s life didn’t look easy, Khao Takiap Village seemed to be a good place to give it a go.

If Ellie the Elephant wanted to be a fisherelephant, she would live in Khao Takiap Village!

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More about Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin Town

Hua Hin Night Market

The Countryside near Hua Hin

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clip_image002322M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Remembering the Diplomats on Memorial Day


“Remembering the Diplomats on Memorial Day,” a piece I wrote last year. This is dedicated to the Foreign Service officers we lost in the past year – Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, and Anne Smedinghoff. This year, please remember the diplomats and all civilians who serve their country on the front lines of freedom.

World Adventurers

Every year on Memorial Day, American flags are flown to honor members of the U.S. Armed Forces who died or were wounded in the line of duty. Their service is noble, and I appreciate that our country publicly acknowledges their sacrifices.

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Scant attention, however, is paid to the civilians who serve courageously in the line of fire. Diplomats and other civilians who work for the U.S. government are often placed in dangerous and unstable locales around the world. They have participated in every war and conflict since the Revolutionary War alongside their military colleagues. In some cases, the civilians stayed behind after the troops withdrew, as happened last year in Iraq. They were also stationed in places without the benefit of U.S. military support when unrest occurred, as happened in Libya, Syria, and in other countries that experienced upheaval during the Arab Spring.

Hundreds of American diplomats…

View original post 708 more words

The Countryside near Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the third article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. This post is about the countryside near Hua Hin. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this fascinating area of Thailand.

The drive from Bangkok to Hua Hin takes about two and a half hours as a drunken crow flies and when traffic is light. The scenery on southwest-bound Highway 35 is forgettably suburban Thailand with more and more rice fields and orchards as the cities thin. At little more than the halfway point near the city of Samut Songkhram, the highway merges with Highway 4 and heads south on the Malay Peninsula. Here lies the beautiful countryside of Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces between the Gulf of Thailand and Myanmar (Burma).

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Most of the drive to Hua Hin Town passes through Phetchaburi, one of three western Thai provinces that are popular weekend getaways for Bangkok residents looking to escape from the sweltering lowlands of the Chao Phraya River delta. (The other two are Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi.) The highlands of the Tenasserim Mountains offer cooler weather that blows in from the Andaman Sea. Phetchaburi is worth a stop to explore its scenic wonders, but for those on the way to Hua Hin, the province will still reward them with opportunities to enjoy picture-perfect scenery. Rice fields in the lowlands, including one farmed by Ellie the Elephant’s parents, share the land with rolling hills and craggy mountains.

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You never know what you’ll discover in the countryside on the way to Hua Hin. During our drive to Hua Hin in November 2012, we spotted a thatched roof lodge at the foot of a mountain reminiscent of a traditional Thai bamboo house with some indigenous elements.

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Accustomed to seeing rotund statues of the Buddha, I stopped to examine some statues of a malnourished one. The “Fasting” or “Starving” Buddha depicted a time in the life of Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.), the Indian prince who founded Buddhism, when he wandered in the countryside for six years in search of spiritual enlightenment and practiced such an austere lifestyle that it left him skin and bones. Realizing that his asceticism would lead to death, not enlightenment, Siddhartha adopted a middle path between the luxury of his youth and his austerity. The statues on the way to Hua Hin recalled this period in the Buddha’s life.

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2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside (10)

Ellie the Elephant calls the countryside near Hua Hin home. Along with her parents and brother, she works in the fields when she’s not in class or playing at Pachyderm School. While she doesn’t mind helping out with chores around the farm, what she really wants to do is play elephant polo. Read Ellie the Elephant, her incredible story about following her dream – to play in the Elephant Cup tournament!

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2012_09_15 Thailand Hua Hin Countryside

Ellie the Elephant is now available as an e-book or in print from Amazon and other booksellers!

More about Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin Town

Hua Hin Night Market

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Maps courtesy of Google and Bing.

clip_image00232M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Night Market in Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the second article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. This post is about the Night Market in Hua Hin Town. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this interesting area of Thailand.

Thailand has many night markets, and the one in Hua Hin is excellent. Located in the center of Hua Hin Town just off Phetkasem Road (Petchkasem or Highway 4), it’s open nightly from 6 p.m. to about 11 p.m. or whenever the vendors close up shop. Most stalls sell food, clothing, or souvenirs. It’s touristy but also frequented by locals. The Hua Hin Night Market covers a four block area packed with vendors. When we visited on a Saturday night in November 2012, it was bustling with shoppers.

Why does Thailand have so many night markets? The average temperature in Thailand is so hot that many people try to avoid doing anything outside until the sun sets and the air cools down. Evenings in Thailand can be hot but are generally cooler than daytimes. Thai markets are known for selling many of the same things – you can find the same souvenirs in stall after stall – but each market has a different flavor. Hua Hin Night Market is no exception. It’s perhaps best known for its good selection of fresh food, especially seafood, and wide range of local products for sale.

The iconic Hua Hin sign at the market’s entrance is a good place to take a photo to tell friends back home that you’re shopping in Thailand.

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Makeshift stalls crowd the pedestrian street that stretches for two blocks between two-story buildings with even more businesses.

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The delicious foods – raw, cooked, or fried – taste as delicious as they look.

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A vendor gave my son a balloon that he enjoyed while my wife and I browsed a stall selling grilled chicken and local wines and spirits.

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The market’s many restaurants and bars offer a mix of Thai and international cuisine. Hua Hin’s location on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand makes it a great place to enjoy fresh seafood.

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We didn’t see Ellie the Elephant shopping at the Hua Hin Night Market. Then again, she probably wouldn’t have fit! She might have enjoyed the some of the yummy tropical fruits on display, but the vendors would not have been happy if she accidentally knocked over their stalls!

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Ellie the Elephant is now available as an e-book or in print from Amazon and other booksellers!

More about Hua Hin, Thailand

Hua Hin Town

map-ddaf71d935e4

clip_image0023M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Hua Hin, Thailand


This is the first article in a six-part series about Hua Hin, Thailand, a coastal city near Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand. Hua Hin hosts the annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, a fun and unique sporting event. The 2012 tournament inspired me to write the children’s picture book Ellie the Elephant about an elephant that dreams of playing in the tournament. Enjoy these travelogues about this diverse area of Thailand.

Hua Hin is a town in Prachuap Khiri Khan province on the northern edge of the Malay Peninsula that stretches from Thailand to Singapore. Situated on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand, Hua Hin is located about 2.5 hours by car southwest of Bangkok. Best known as the site of Wang Klai Kang Won royal palace, Hua Hin is a convenient getaway for city dwellers who want to get out of town or hit the beach. It’s not as touristy, and the beaches aren’t as nice, as more popular destinations such as Phuket or Ko Samui, but Hua Hin has steadily developed as a tourist magnet in its own right. The Venezia, an Italian-style shopping center and Santorini Park, a Greek-themed shopping and entertainment complex in nearby Cha Am, opened recently and have helped put Hua Hin on the map.

Below is a sweeping view of the Hua Hin waterfront from Wat Khao Takiap, one of the city’s prominent Buddhist temples atop Chopsticks Hill (Khao Takiap).

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This is a view of the Gulf of Thailand from the waterfront.

The city’s main street, Phetkasem Road (Highway 4), runs north-south through town past shopping malls, hotels, and a night market. It looks like many busy business districts in Thailand.

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A stone building near the rocky beach below the temple offers great views of the Gulf of Thailand and the city.

The foothills of the Tenasserim Range straddling Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand crowd Hua Hin with worn hills that serve as pedestals for Buddhist sites such as the Wat Khao Krailas temple.

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The traditional architecture contrast with the modern high-rise hotels and condos hugging the Hua Hin waterfront.

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Although the sky was overcast when we visited Hua Hin in November 2012, the air was warm enough to enjoy the beach. Our son enjoyed making sand castles and sculptures. Vendors flocked to this little boy on an almost-empty beach, begging him to go on horse rides and buy souvenirs. He was having too much fun in the sand to pay much attention to them.

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You never know what you’ll find when you visit Hua Hin. You might stumble upon some delicious Thai food like we did near the waterfront or see a cute cat sleeping on the beach without a care in the world, or…

…Ellie the Elephant playing elephant polo!

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Ellie the Elephant is now available as an e-book or in print from Amazon and other booksellers!

Map picture

 

clip_image002M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

The Cambodian Coast–Koh Kong


This is the final article in a four-part series about the Cambodian Coast. This one is about Koh Kong, a coastal city in western Cambodia on the Cambodian-Thai border. Previous articles featured National Highway 4 heading from Phnom Penh to the coast, National Highway 48 along the coast, and the coastal wilderness. This series is intended as a resource for those interested in exploring this intriguing area of Cambodia.

After a long day driving from Phnom Penh through the Cambodian wilderness on New Year’s Eve 2012, we arrived in Koh Kong City at nightfall.

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I wished that we could have stayed in town but had to settle for a rural lodge several kilometers up the road. We stopped for a quick sunset photo on the Koh Kong City waterfront and headed to our hotel. I suddenly fell ill and celebrated the New Year in bed with a fever. What I thought were symptoms of dengue fever turned into a 24-hour flu, and thankfully I felt better in the morning.

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The next day we drove the 7-kilometer long Koh Kong Bridge back to town. Built in 2002, the bridge spans the mouth of the wide but shallow Prek Kaoh (Kah Bpow) River.

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The capital of Koh Kong Province and largest city in Cambodia’s western coastal region, Koh Kong City has a population of more than 35,000 but looks smaller with its residents scattered across a large area. With no stoplights and little traffic, the city streets resembled a ghost town when we visited. The city has long had a reputation as a “Wild West” frontier town and a haven for smugglers, but recent efforts to improve access via Highway 48 has helped integrate it with the rest of the country. It’s now more of a convenient stopover on the way from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, Thailand than a remote outpost.

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The regional branch of the National Bank of Cambodia, also known as the “Red House,” is one of the more recognizable landmarks in town. It’s more pink than red, but who’s quibbling?

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This lodge in the town center had a uniquely Kampuchean (former Khmer Rouge Cambodia) look to it with an odd melding of Cambodia architecture and communist symbolism.

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Canals and boat moorings crisscrossed the city center, creating picturesque views and great photo opportunities.

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When we visited, the city was in the process of sprucing up the waterfront, paving roads, and laying sidewalks in what looked like a half-hearted attempt to attract tourists, but it seemed like local officials were in no hurry to finish any projects. The place had an unkempt charm and organic look that centralized planning couldn’t duplicate. The tropical scenery just past the city center that gave the town a wild vibe.

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Koh Kong City has both Buddhist and Muslim communities served by the Neang Kok Temple and Al-Mubarak Dubai Mosque. We saw Buddhist statues in a local park and two monks asking a local store for alms.

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After our brief tour of Koh Kong City, we crossed the Koh Kong Bridge again and drove to the Cambodian-Thai border. The Prek Kaoh River looked more like a lake than a river.

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On the way to the Cambodia-Thailand border, we passed a hodgepodge of eclectic architecture, including a Thai-style Buddhist shrine, Khmer-style gate, and the gaudy entrance to the Koh Kong Safari World Resort.

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The drive from Koh Kong City to the border is about ten kilometers through some pretty countryside punctuated by a few beach resorts and homes. It’s one of the more organized, orderly, and uncrowded border crossings I’ve seen.

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Although crossing into Thailand was somewhat confusing with few English speakers in the Customs and Immigration offices on both sides of the border, we made it through and entered Thailand after sorting out paperwork and communicating in hand signals.

For more information about driving in Cambodia, contact me at me@mgedwards.com.

More About the Cambodian Coast

Heading to the Coast (National Highway 4)

Driving the Coast (National Highway 48)

The Cambodian Wilderness

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M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.