A holiday in Siem Reap

river garden hotel siem reap

Jan Cornall’s Writer’s Journey workshops have been included in a list of the world’s best writers’ retreats. When she invited me to attend her Siem Reap workshop, I jumped at the chance. I went to one of her Bali retreats about 10 years ago and also attended her Sydney workshops and looked forward to the opportunity to re-connect. Fate was on my side and I managed to get a special deal on Angkor Sky Airline … Continue reading

The Cambodia Success Story

Nothing like jumping straight into a subject that’s sure to be controversial, so I’ll start by admitting that my pro-Cambodia stance is partly in response to all the negative press this country gets. There’s always another side of the story and a couple of articles I read recently tell that story. Yes, there is a Cambodia success story. You just have to see it in its historical context. “When a developing country loses a quarter … Continue reading

Email to an old Sihanoukville friend

Looking back towards the stoplight on Victory Hill

When I came to Sihanoukville to stay in 2007, I felt out of my depth and did what most newcomers do — asked those who had been here longer than I for their advice. One of those people was a guy who had only been here a few months longer, but he helped me more than most, not because he had all the answers, but because he admitted he didn’t. What he had to offer … Continue reading

Valentine’s Day in Sihanoukville 2015

The Valentine baby

I wasn’t going to write about Valentine’s Day in Sihanoukville this year because I wrote about it last year, but a couple of things changed my mind. First the good news. Valentine’s Day is always an expensive day here. It goes way beyond buying flowers for your “valentine.” As Sophie says, “This one day for love.” Therefore, everybody you feel affection for gets at least a token gift. That means family and friends. Added up … Continue reading

Coffee houses in Sihanoukville

del mar

I can’t write about bars because I don’t go to them, but I’m almost an expert when it comes to coffee houses in Sihanoukville. I qualify that with an “almost” because new ones spring up all the time, but I tend to stick with the ones I know. When Douceur du Cambodge opened, it took up half the space it takes up now. Even though it has doubled in size, it’s harder than ever to … Continue reading

Victory Hill Gets a Facelift!

hill - paved

A good friend of mine lives on a hill above Victory Hill. I always enjoy visiting him, but never enjoyed dodging the potholes on Ekareach Street after the stoplights on the Hill. A couple of months ago, it was even worse because they were laying pipes on the side of the road. When I went up to see him a few days ago, everything had changed. The road is wide and smooth now. Glancing to … Continue reading

Reflections on Hun Sen’s 30 Years in Power

hun sen

Back in 1985, I was preparing to move to Australia. The Vietnam War was behind us and I was oblivious to what was happening in Cambodia. I’m not proud of it, but I was still living in the American information bubble and Hun Sen’s rise to power wasn’t in the mainstream news. Here I am in Cambodia 30 years later and I seem to be one of Hun Sen’s few supporters. I may kick myself … Continue reading

Christmas in Sihanoukville 2014

sailing off otres beach, sihanoukville cambodia

On Christmas day, Sophie and I were in Psar Leu fighting the crowds. “Go Otres now,” Sophie said out of the blue. “Justin come now.” I wasn’t expecting him for at least another hour, but I’ve learned to listen to her when she says something like that. She can be amazingly intuitive. Sure enough, Justin and Annameeka were checking in at the beautiful new Sahaa Beach Resort when we rolled up on our motorbike. Because … Continue reading

A few tips for backpackers visiting Sihanoukville

naked barang arrested in sihanoukville

I’ve taken a hiatus from writing here because I’ve been flat-out with pre-Christmas freelance writing work. I have been thinking about what to write next, though. Would it be about the out of the way places to go to the beach, like the wonderful Sunset Lounge at the end of Ochheuteal? Would it be about Otres village, where I went yesterday because I didn’t want to go to the beach? I love to promote Sihanoukville, … Continue reading

Sihanoukville a hot travel destination

Sophie at Sihanoukville Airport prior to flight to Siem Reap

When I came here in 2007, it was a big deal when a cruise ship came to town. Now we get 30 every year. A couple of weeks ago, Sophie got a nice job taking a family from one of them for a tour around Sihanoukville. They had a great time because she hand picked the sights. Others aren’t so lucky. They hop on a tour bus after trudging off the docks, take a spin … Continue reading