The Fall Of Victory Hill

A few years ago, Victory Hill was the backpacking hub of Sihanoukville with enough customers to fill the sea with gold. But since then gravity has definitely moved down the hill to Ochheuteal Beach and the now-thriving Otres Beach area. Now it’s so forsaken and run-down that even the local…

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Here Be Dragons: Navigating Battambang

An old term used to denote areas of the sea that hadn’t been navigated, ‘here be dragons’ is an apt metaphor for exploring the sleepy backwater that is also Cambodia’s second largest city. Quaint. Charming. Old colonial architecture. Those are fitting descriptors for Battambang, a lovely if quiet escape from…

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Phnom Penh: It’s All About The River

Phnom Penh is no gigantic metropolis, no sprawling mega-city, no endless urban expanse. Yet still it manages to be an incomprehensible orderly riot of humanity: ugly surprises, elegant demises, fitting fates for all sizes. No easy answers, no succinct demography, just a weird collage – slowly creeping out from the…

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A Public Flogging In Sihanoukville

It happened when I was drinking in a bar one night in Sihanoukville. Seats emptied and expats, tourists, and Khmer staff descended into the street, attracted by the primordial sound of someone or something in pain. There were screams and boozy shrieks all the time on that road. But this…

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Tight-Fisted Backpackers In Mondulkiri

I was sitting in a restaurant in Mondulkiri, listening to backpackers haggling over elephant rides – “That one’s a very bullshit operation for the elephants…Yeah, but we got offered two bucks cheaper from the other guy” – when Brendan finally called. “Hey, So Pheakj forgot to wake me again. Do…

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