12 Sep Cambodia Revisited

Source: Fujifilm Insider

One of the nice things about revisiting a location you have particularly enjoyed in the past is that you tend to look forward to a great many activities and places without worrying about the tedium of doing it all over again. But sometimes inevitable change, however small, comes in the way of your historical perspective, impacting it in ways that you could never imagine.
Such was the case with my second visit to Siem Reap. I had first visited 6 years ago. At that time, a little over a decade had passed since the end of the civil war and the beginning of proper reconstruction in Cambodia. Siem reap looked like a somewhat mouldy, colonial town where the old and the new had settled their differences with a grudging amicability. Today Siem Reap looks like a town that has understood the requirements of the budget and the leisure tourist. There are large hostels that cater to the teeming crowds from China and Thailand. There are the five and (if I may be permitted the term) seven star luxury hotels and spas that have sprung up like desert roses after a short shower. There are chic restaurants, a plethora of quality street food kiosks, night markets where you bargain just to pass the time, and more sit-down and mobile bars than you would care to count. Day-time activities for the more eclectic tourist including pottery, jewellery-making, carving and cooking classes are now par for the course. In fact Siem Reap resembles nothing more closely than Hue or Chiang Mai now, with its broad streets, branded stores and restaurant clusters. In a few years it may very well outdo Hoi An for quaintness and homogeneity.…

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