One Month in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam

This is an itinerary for Southeast Asia for work-traveling. It suggests spending longer in each city to have time for work and seeing the sights. I'll recommend co-working soon!

Day 1flight to Phnom Penh depart at 1am PST

Day 2: arrive Phnom Penh 11:20AM. Stay in Phnom Penh.

Day 3: day in Phnom Penh

Day 4: day in Phnom Penh. Bus to Siem Reap in the afternoon.

Day 5: day in Siem Reap - explore Angkor Wat

Day 6: day in Siem Reap, flight to Bangkok in the afternoon. Stay in Bangkok

Day 7: Bangkok

Day 8: Bangkok

Day 9: Bangkok

Day 10: Bangkok in the day. Overnight train to Chiang Mai leaves at 19:35 arrives 08:40 next day

Day 11: Chiang Mai, then pick up to Tree house near Chiang Mai! This place 

Day 12: Treehouse near Chiang Mai

Day 13: Treehouse near Chiang Mai. Bus back to Chiang Mai

Day 14: Chiang Mai

Day 15: Chiang Mai

Day 16: Chiang Mai

Day 17: Chiang Mai

Day 18: Chiang Mai. Flight to Krabi in the afternoon

Day 19: Koh Lanta - day trips to Phuket/Krabi

Day 20: Koh Lanta

Day 21: Koh Lanta

Day 22: Koh Lanta

Day 23: Koh Lanta

Day 24: Koh Lanta

Day 25: Koh Lanta. Fly to Bangkok.

Day 26Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam at 5am. Stay in Hanoi.

Day 27: Hanoi

Day 28Fly to Bangkok. Stay in Bangkok.

Day 29: Fly home.

Finding Surgery in Cambodia

I’m lucky to not be in search of surgery in the country of Cambodia, but a lot of people are. After the Khmer Rouge regime killed or exiled nearly all of the country’s doctors in the 1970’s, it’s hard to find decent medical treatment, let alone surgery, in the country. There are a growing number of young doctors, but because the older generation of doctors wasn’t present, they aren’t able to get the training necessary to complete complex surgeries. That’s where Childrens’ Surgical Centre (CSC) has become a lifeline.

 

Free of charge, CSC treats around 100 patients a day from all parts of the country. Patients register in the morning and are given a consult to determine if they need surgery. Generally around 1 in 5 patients requires surgery, and the rest are treated with medicine. Most of the treatments are for deformities, like club foot or cleft lip. These conditions occur in developed countries but aren’t frequently visible because treatment is easy to find and immediate.

CSC specializes in eye surgery. Cataract removal takes only a few minutes, so doctors are able to perform 20–30 surgeries a day and patients gain the ability to see and work again. For children, this is especially drastic because many have congenital cataracts and have never seen before.

As CSC is one of few surgical centers, and performs more complex surgeries than the government hospitals, patients come from all around the country to be treated here. Usually they come with at least one family member. Patients are provided beds while family members make beds on the floor or sleep in hammocks outside. CSC provides 3 meals a day, so no one goes hungry for seeking treatment.

Surgery is a unique problem in developing countries. Most global health approaches require the most cost-effective solution. When you’re looking at the whole world, cost-effective things look like paying for 500K shots at $1 a piece, or mosquito nets for 25 cents. They don’t look like $400 to fix one broken leg for a 45-year-old women in rural Cambodia. However, the impact of that one surgery is huge for that woman as she can now go back to work. The impact doesn’t stop there. She can now feed her children, who can go to school because they don’t need to work to support the family. She can contribute to the community. Her kids can become the doctors needed to fill the gaps in the current medical system.

CSC provides the some of the best surgical care because they don’t let the quality of their doctors be determined by the medical training available only within their own schools. Visiting doctors frequently come to the hospital not only to perform surgeries but to teach local doctors and leave a lasting impact.

CSC provides every surgery free of charge. However, there are real costs associated with these surgeries. CSC’s budget is around 1.5 million per year. The main source of funding comes from “White Collar Boxing”where two people with white collar jobs, i.e. a doctor and a lawyer, meet to box. Watsi, a healthcare crowdfunding non-profit, helps to fund patient care through sharing patient stories. If you’re interested in helping CSC pay for surgeries, consider donating to individual patients on Watsi , where you can see patient stories and get updates when they are better.

Thanks to the wonderful Hannah Callas for giving me a tour of CSC and explaining how the day-to-day works!

Ashley

A dip into Remote Work

Hello from Taipei! This month my company (of 4) and I will be working remotely from Southeast Asia. Our first destination is Phnom Penh, Cambodia, so this is just a layover in Taipei. So far - we survived a 13 hour flight and I highly recommend EVA airlines. We arrived here at 4:50am, so there's nothing to do yet but work and wait to taste Taiwanese airport food.

More on remote work: I work in tech which means almost everything I do is on the computer, and computers work from anywhere! I've been interested in the remote work movement for a while, but this is a unique opportunity for the whole company to go. Our office lease expired in San Francisco, and because SF is so expensive, we put that money into flights. We'll be going to Cambodia and Thailand together, and I'll be going to Vietnam on my own for a weekend.

More info on the planning, and how this whole thing is going, to come!

- Ashley