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Welcome To The Boomtown

CAMBODIA | Thursday, 8 April 2010 | Views [227]

SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA – A lot can happen in five years. If I look at my own life, I can see so many changes within me that it’s hard for me to really believe that I went through them.

Imagine what five years can do to a town 12 kilometers from the largest religious building in the world, and possibly the greatest tourist attraction in Southeast Asia.

When I drove into Siem Reap under cover of darkness last night, I honestly thought I was in a different town. The street was lined with more five-star resorts than I’ve seen in a lifetime. If you can’t check your email or get a meal in Siem Reap, you’re really not trying because the main street seems to be solely taken up with Net access places and restaurants. And guesthouses, of course.

Not being able to find the night market would be difficult…

There are more money exchange kiosks and mobile phone stores per square kilometer than anywhere else in Indochina. Other than providing lodgings for those who wish to explore the ruins of Angkor, Siem Reap’s other major industry is the fish massage.

Fortunately, tourism has not transformed the town into a copy of Pattaya or Khao San Road. There is a nightlife here, but it’s restricted to about 300m along what’s known as Pub Street. Hence, if the whole party scene isn’t your bag, it’s pretty easy to avoid.

Tags: cambodia, changes, indochina, siem reap, southeast asia, tourism

 

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