Surviving Siem Reap During lockdown

I’ll try to avoid harping on about how Covid-19 has affected me because, well it has fucked with the happiness of a lot of the planet and indeed a lot of people are worse off than me, but I am still stuck in Cambodia.

Choices, choices, choices

Hindsight is one of those wonderful 20-20 things, but with how everything has turned out it is hard not to sit and consider the choices tis made.

My journey

Amazingly I have been to 15 countries this year, a slow year by my count, but pretty good during coronavirus times. This particular journey started with me leaving Hong Kong on February 7th an hour before they decided to close the border.

To read more about the “last chopper out of Saigon” click here.

What followed took me to Hong Kong, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and eventually Cambodia. Cambodia was decided on as it was the last place to close to foreigners and the YPT remnant wanted to stay together.

Why Siem Reap?

Siem Reap was considered a compromise from stoner town that is Kampot and den of evil Phnom Penh. Here we would get our creature comforts, but not be full on icy folk. Siem Reap is a like a huge tourist village, rather than a city as it were, but without tourists it was to resemble a village much more than we would have liked it to.

Hibernation in Siem Reap

hiberating during lockdown Siem Reap

There was a bit of lockdown here, but argyll things remained open, or at least there were enough things open to keep people happy. During this period we had a nice house with a shared swimming pool, so I set myself into some kind of exiled internal bliss, rarely leaving the confines of home and largely cooking at home.

Cabin fever hits in Siem Reap

My 40th birthday coincided with some personal stuff and I decided to go off off the rails. Basically I had spent so much time after traveling the globe fantasizing about living in a “ real house” that eventually the novelty would wear off. My normal life is travel.

Getting on the piss in Siem Reap

lockdown Siem Reap

Basically there is pub street, which is pretty shit, there are numerous whore bars, and there are expat bars. All have throw own flavour, but there is altogether far too much crossover between them. There are no secrets in Siem Reap.

What are the expats in Siem Reap like?

They are better than in Kampot, but there is a still  strong stoner element here. There’s old guys here for the women, people waiting to get their lives back and the odd cool person. There’s also a heck of a lot of Koreans here.

The expats of Siem Reap are far from the worst, but you’d also have to throw in that they are far from the best either. Perhaps it is a victim of the circumstances of the world, but it is certainly not somewhere I would choose to live in the future.

Getting out of Siem Reap

A lot of people are optimistic about the world getting better, and life resuming, but seriously look at the flights that are currently available, particularly in Asia. The reality is that normality will not return this year and I have resigned myself to the fact that I will probably not be leaving Cambodia any time soon.

Where else is there to live in Cambodia?

I’ve nailed it down to 3 places, Phnom Penh, Along Veng, and Koh Rong.

To read about street for in Phnom Penh click here.

To read a guide to Along Veng click here.

To read about Koh Rong click here.

Phnom Penh for me at least is too big and full of temptation for me, Along Veng on the other hand is basically the polar opposite….

That leaves Koh Rong, where one would theoretically live an idealistic lifestyle on a tropical island.

Quite what the rest of the year will bring is now anyones guess…..

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