We have learned that many people who don’t speak much at the beginning, often have a lot to say at the end, and this was exactly the case with our horseback riding guide at Happy Ranch Horse Farm in Siem Reap in Cambodia.

This 28 year old young man has a great passion for his work that he’s been doing for more than two years. Before that he was studying as a Buddhist monk in a monastery in a village near Siem Reap, where Mr. Sary Penn – the owner of the horse farm – found him whilst recruiting young and passionate people for his ranch.

Horseriding in Cambodia

Chey riding his horse

Chey, who didn’t want to end up working on rice fields as his family have done before him, agreed to be trained as a guide.

Chey speaks English very well and with a rather cute American accent that – according to his words – he picked up from the customers of the ranch! When you consider that he works from dawn to dusk and the majority of customers speak English, it makes a lot of sense.

Horseback riding in Cambodia.

Riding with Chey in Cambodia.

From the moment we jumped on the backs of our horses, Mexico and Ahang, Chey made sure we were comfortable, safe, and entertained too. He is an intelligent and talkative guy and we couldn’t be happier having him as our guide for our first horseback ride ever!

For three hours we chatted about life spent living in a Cambodian village, about Buddhist temples, religion, the traditions; but also about his big dreams. Although he loves his current job a lot, he dreams of getting a license as a professional tour guide for Angkor Wat so that he may lead tours in English and Spanish, which can bring him $60 per day.

Horseback riding in Cambodia.

Chey in front of the Happy Ranch.

Although Chey is a very cheerful and curious guy, we could see a slight shadow on his expression when he spoke about his family. He has lost his brother, sister and father – and knowing the history of the country – we didn’t feel comfortable asking for more details.

Meeting Chey was a big bonus on our great experience at the Happy Ranch and we wish from the bottom of our hearts that he follows his dreams, just as he has been doing till now!

14 Responses

  1. Franca

    I’m not a fan of horseback riding myself, but Chey has a very touching story, I really hope he can make his dream of getting the licence for becoming a professional guide comes true.

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      That’s so kind of you, Franca… We wish him all the best, too. He is really ambitious, so there is a big chance he can do it. Fingers crossed!

      Reply
  2. Marta Kulesza

    I met once a guide in Bolivia who was doing the trip down into the Cerro Potosi showing the travellers the mines. He once also worked as a miner, but one day decided to change his life and do something different. Can’t blame him, the life expectancy of the miners is 35-40 years. He learned english and became a tour guide…and he was really good at it. I love hearing stories of ordinary people and I like to see that in the end life turns out great for them!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Aww, Marta, now you story just made a big smile on my face :) Am very glad for the braveness and luckiness of your guide!
      Happy travels and wish you to meet more and more ordinary people with extraordinary stories!

      Reply
  3. Agness

    I’ve heard about elephant riding, but horse riding in Cambodia. That must have been an amazing experience. I spent in Cambodia over 2 months and have never seen a single horse there… :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Oh, we saw those poor elephants, they were doing trekking with tourists up the hill for a sunset! Really sad view :(
      The horse ranch and farm where we took a ride was about 25 min walking from Siem Reap, and you go for a ride to the villages around, rice fields, too. It looks like a hidden path, indeed, since there are no tourists, only kids playing on the road or farmers :)
      Cheers to China!

      Reply
  4. Maya

    I’m glad he can do what he loves. Love your weekly stories, very touching and inspiring. Pozdravujem do Thajska :-)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks so much, Maya :) We are very glad you like reading them! A srdecne pozdravujeme cerstvo z Londyna :)

      Reply
  5. David

    Seems like a upstanding young man … hope he has success in his future endeavours!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks, Shikha, Chey’s story is still very touching for us, too. Happy travels!

      Reply
  6. Jim George

    I have a Cambodian wife and live about 5 months every year in a small village there. Beautiful people in the villages and small towns. Many young Cambodians have great dreams andgoals like many of us. But the chances of their being able to fullfill them are sadly poor! I have been going to Cambodia every year for 10 years now and I love the people!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks for reading, Jim! Looks like you can experience Cambodian life from a very first hand. Yes, maybe the chances they improve their lives are poorer compared to other SE Asia countries, but from what we saw in Siem Reap, a lot of young people see hope and put a lot of effort to change their lives. Hopefully they will manage to keep doing what they do now!

      Reply

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