Every Sunday afternoon, the small cluster of public spaces in Phnom Penh give themselves over to crowds of kids from around the city. Some groups of teenagers play football in the bricked over parks by the Independence Monument and Wat Botum, others wander around the concrete expanse and arcades of Koh Pich. And then there is Dream Land, a popular weekend destination for both families and young people on their tentative first dates. Chanvetey Vann spoke to four couples at Phnom Penh’s biggest theme park.
Him Vannak & Hun Monika
“We really like the rides and fun activities, like taking photos at the garden and visiting the Ghost House. People living in the city might be able to afford to spend their money here, but those who come from the provinces might think twice before visiting. The stereotype against entertainment places in Phnom Penh ought to be eliminated. Parents are now changing their perspective about the place, and advise us to visit only once a week to relax and enjoy. As a couple, we feel no pressure visiting Dream Land. Compared to other countries, Dream Land might not be the best theme park, but it is very popular among young Cambodians.
Hong Sothy & Thung Jhiva
“This is our first time visiting Dream Land. We’re impressed by the various activities provided here including the rides, beautiful garden, and food stores. The price of the entrance fee and the rides’ ticket does not cost much, except for when they increase on weekends. Dream Land is neither too simple nor too fancy. It’s just a perfect place for us as a couple to chill out. Parents should not be disapproving of our visit to Dream Land. They know that this place is for entertainment. We can’t do any inappropriate things here; we just want to go where people at our age go.”
Kim San & Sour Sreyroth
“Dream Land impresses us the most with its exciting rides, which we don’t dare to try! It’s not that the rides are not safe, but our health is not good enough to stand the thrills and heights. We just sit down, eat snacks nearby and watch people enjoying the rides. Somehow we also share their excitement. For those who never experienced theme parks in other countries, Dream Land is the best place in the city. The amount of money we have to spend here might be a little too much for those with a limited living standard. However, for young couples, Dream Land can be a starting place to build memories together.”
Bo Sovanara & Leng Socheata
“It’s not like a theme park. The size and the number of activities we can do here are far different from the real theme parks in other countries. However, we appreciate the services available as these can’t be found at other places in the city. It’s not only young couples like us visiting Dream Land, but also a lot of people quite a lot older that come in as a family. The place is for all ages to visit and seek excitement. However, young couples should not spend most of their time here. Visiting on weekends or holidays only is highly recommended.”
Photos: Alexander Crook