Akim is the founder and main owner of Vespa Adventures Siem Reap. She was born in Siem Reap province during the time Pol Pot was in power and life was tough and schools were not available. Throughout history of Cambodia the Angkor complex in Siem Reap has been the most important sanctuary for the Khmers and Akim’s grandfather, Loung Sake, was the Head Monk (Grand Abbot) of the entire complex, as was his father and his father before him. During the times of extreme hardship after the Pol Pot regime, Grandfather took it upon him to raise Akim at the monastery of Angkor Wat.
It is not the custom for a girl to be raised by monks, so it was decided to shave her head and pretend that she was a boy. Through this very unusual approach she enjoyed the privilege to live in the Wat Angkor Kang Chuong (Angkor Wat Pagoda). Under the guidance of her Grandfather and other monks at Angkor, Akim learned to read and speak the sacred Pali language and recite the bamboo scroll scriptures, hold elaborate prayers and follow sacred rites. After around 5 years, gradually schools became available, but far away in town and therefore Akim had to cycle the many miles every day to get as much education as they could afford at the time.
While growing up and thereafter, the life of Akim and her family always centered around Angkor, but in 2000 she left Cambodia to join her Dutch husband Chris in Vietnam, who lived and worked there since 1990. In 2013 the couple and their two children moved to Siem Reap and founded the Vespa Adventures Siem Reap tour company.
Akim wanted to offer something different than the usual Angkor Wat Tours and other typical Siem Reap attractions. The mission soon became to introduce the Cambodia as she knows it and the heritage of which she is proud. It is important to her that people on holiday in Cambodia experience it a way that is not only fun and fresh, but also authentic, responsible and always with mutual respect. Many say she has achieved her goal in an exemplary way.
True to her background Akim’s team offers the best way to see Angkor Wat and the other temples, but the Countryside Life Tour and After Dark Foodie Tour are equally unique Siem Reap attractions in their own right. The goal is always to showcase the country in a personal, truly instructive and above all exciting way whereby genuine engagement with the local people, their environment and culture is what it is all about. The Vespa Adventures Siem Reap tours were developed on that basis and no matter what the weather in Siem Reap is like, these Siem Reap activities will always be fascinating, exciting and fun.
The young people that make up the Vespa Adventures Siem Reap team all have an enthusiastic ‘can do’ attitude in common. Their overriding motivation is making the experience of our guests exciting, fun, instructive, comfortable and safe. Training in all areas is an important part of the preparations of every team member and include driving and keen safety skills, as well as guest relations and some English. Growing up as a woman in poor and challenging circumstances, Akim feels strongly about equal opportunities and therefore promotion of female employment, including drivers, is an important part of the Vespa Adventures Siem Reap way. Today about 60% of our employees are women.
Vespa Adventures Siem Reap is a family company that has adopted the principle of being a responsible player in our society. The founders and the team are part of the local community in a positive way and proud that the opportunities we create are now shared by a growing number of staff and all our suppliers. These relationships are best characterized as respectful win-win associations whereby Vespa Adventures Siem Reap is the catalyst for the results all enjoy.
These principles are integral part of a long-term company vision for our successful participation in Cambodia by Vespa Adventures Siem Reap.
We also realize we are limited in what we can do on our own and therefore support carefully selected local initiatives. Some incidental and others on a more regular basis, when we can, such as:
Akim is the main founder and owner of Vespa Adventures, mother of two children and a great guide in her own right and. She is passionate about her country and its people and wants to share that with you.
Chris is the fortunate husband of Akim, father of their two children and of mixed Dutch / British origin. He has traveled and lived in South Asia for about 30 years and supports Akim in her quest.
The support staff members of Vespa Adventures Siem Reap are: