Cambodian Leaders’ Historic Handshake

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I wanted to make my 200th entry special and nothing is more special than this. Since the last election, Cambodia has been in a state of tension. Compared with other flashpoints around the world, it hasn’t been serious, but there has been violence. Once violence takes hold, it usually escalates. In my last post, I reported that the CPP and CNRP came to an agreement to hold a 2018 election in exchange for a new … Continue reading

Some encouraging news about political tension in Cambodia

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I’m happy to report some encouraging news about the political tension in Cambodia for a change. Although other news has justifiably dominated and been distorted by the world headlines, Cambodia had a minor crisis recently when some demonstrators attacked guards in Phnom Penh. The government arrested CNRP leaders in response. The CNRP focused on this “transgression” rather than condemning the violence by its supporters, but that’s to be expected from any opposition group. Some CNRP … Continue reading

How to be a tourist in Sihanoukville in the rainy season

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I was a tourist in Sihanoukville today. I didn’t just feel like a tourist. For a couple of hours, it totally slipped my mind that I was in a familiar place. The fact that I went some place new probably had something to do with it. I was heading towards Papa Pippo’s or Mushroom Point, but when I came to the bend in the road at Otres, decided to turn right instead and check out … Continue reading

What is Fuelling Growth in Sihanoukville?

What is fuelling growth in Sihanoukville? Is it tourism? That’s what most visitors guess, but it’s only one answer. True enough, there’s been an explosion of tourism here, but step away from the tourist areas and you’ll see where most of the growth is coming from. A couple of weeks ago, we took our evening motorbike ride in the opposite direction we usually travel. Instead of heading towards Ochheuteal beach, we went straight up Ekareach … Continue reading

What we did in Sihanoukville between rains

nature republic in sihanoukville cambodia

I like the rainy season in Sihanoukville, but you have to learn how to take advantage of breaks in the rain or you’ll either be stuck indoors all day or find yourself trapped in a sudden downpour. I’d like to say I was an expert at predicting when rains will or won’t come, but it’s really unpredictable. There are some signs you can sort of count on, though. For example, this morning was cloudy, but … Continue reading

A balanced article about Cambodian politics at last

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Update 26 June 2014: Please read insightful comment by CA below. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m not a big fan of mainstream media. That includes publications like the Phnom Penh Post, whose journalists don’t know how to write balanced articles about Cambodian politics. I only quote them when something appears that is too annoying or misleading to ignore. I’m usually dubious about articles I read on human rights websites, too, unless they … Continue reading

My first days in Sihanoukville

far end of ochheuteal beach, sihanoukville, cambodia, 2006

I’ve been cleaning out my drawers in anticipation of the arrival of a new and much-needed desk and office chair. I’ve collected an astonishing amount of unneeded papers over the years and was tempted to simply turn the drawers over and dispose of everything. Luckily, I didn’t, because I stumbled across some real gems amongst the rubbish. One of them was a diary I started in Ho Chi Minh City in September of 2006 and … Continue reading

Low Season in Sihanoukville?

So restaurant, sihanoukville cambodia

It’s the 6th of June and the rainy season has begun. Usually, we start to see tourist numbers tapering off in April and May. By June, they are a fraction of their high season numbers, with the exception of European summer holiday makers who keep some of our more popular guesthouses busy. While I don’t have statistics to go on, I do go out for dinner regularly and have noticed that this year’s low season … Continue reading

International Restaurants in Sihanoukville

kama sutra indian restaurant, sihanoukville cambodia

A more diverse range of cultures live in Sihanoukville than in any other country I’ve lived in before. The fascinating thing for me is that it’s not a melting pot: people from different countries tend to gravitate towards others who share the same language and culture, but don’t exclude “outsiders” entirely, sometimes purely for the sake of business, but just as often because they are accustomed to hearing different languages and seeing people of different … Continue reading

Sam Rainsy in Sihanoukville

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Sam Rainsy, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and his entourage paid a visit to Sihanoukville yesterday. When word got out that he was coming hundreds of residents rode their motorbikes out to Virh Rieng to meet him and accompany his motorcade to Sihanoukville. Sophie got an urgent call from the police in the early afternoon. They needed her to meet the motorcade in the outskirts of town, join them in leading the … Continue reading