Long story short, Siem Reap is now a ghost town.
When it comes to tourism in Cambodia Siem Reap is the big kahuna, with Ankor Wat getting 2.6 million visitors per year, not bad for a big temple. OK it’s more than just a big the old temple, in fact I’m told it’s very nice. Or so I’m told.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Siem Reap, and aside from temples it’s a big hub for Chinese tourists, beatniks on the banana pancake travel, and even guys boozing their way around Cambodia. But then things changed, along with coronavirus, people naturally stopped coming, followed by borders officially closing.
Now a town can lid globally and a tourist hub is essentially not only closed to the world, but has rows and rows of empty bars, hotels and restaurants, but from a human level lots of scared people staring poverty in the face. It’s nice to see western governments doing stimulus packages and the like, but it’s in the third world where you see the real human angle to things.
From our point of view it meant initial cheap hotels (that were empty), and now cheap housing (in area that’s empty), and even a pool (largely empty). Overall though the weird emptiness that only coronavirus and it’s affects can give you.
We’re sticking up, we’re wearing masks, we’re social distancing, but it’s so weird watching the world fall apart from an empty paradise….
Whilst our refugee status is somewhat planned we’ve met many from all walks of life stuck without much recourse to do anything to either get home, or vaguely support themselves.
Is the begpacker now justified? No, he’s still a douchebag, and should ask mommy for money instead of trying to take from the mouths of those who need it most, but things can and probably will get worse.
For now just buckle in and do your best to enjoy the ride, coronavirus isn’t going anywhere soon….