Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Phnom Penh Paramour: No. 7

Phnom Penh Paramour: No. 7

Phnom Penh Paramour: No. 7


It's easy to forget that the tenor and the lifestyle of Cambodia’s other expat communities is profoundly different from that of the capital.

Kep has the feel of six French restaurateurs obsessing over where they sit on an outwardly invisible social hierarchy in relation to the other five. Kampot seems to be the nesting ground for the languid wake and bakers that were left bereft after the slow death of Boeung Kak had run its course.

On a superficial level, Siem Reap can feel like Phnom Penh’s smaller cousin, with the same mix of NGO workers, restaurateurs and English teachers. All the same, being there felt faintly suffocating after months confined within the Phnom Penh city limits.

It’s easy to believe while living in a city where vices are easily indulged that bad behaviour will go unnoticed, but up there people don’t have the same luxury.

My most recent trip there coincided with the opening of The Doghouse, which operates from the same playbook as the Street 51 nightclubs and with the same patronage from older men and taxigirls sipping Royal D. But its clientele seemed not to behave with the same aggressive abandon as you’d find in Pontoon after three in the morning.

While I was there, I was amazed how versed everyone was in the private lives of other expats. Anyone who has been there more than a little while knows who hangs out at Angkor What every night to pick up backpackers, who’s boofing whom, whose perpetual money problems are wearing thin with everybody else.

That parochial air of a place too small to be too aggressively cliquey, seems to give Siem Reap expats an air of civility often lacking among their brethren in Phnom Penh. There’s a much greater awareness of what behaviour will be poorly judged in the eyes of their peers when people have no choice but to bump into each other during breakfast at Café Central three times a week.

Of the friends I have there, most have been in relationships lasting a year or more, only coming to an end when it’s time for someone to move away. I always got the impression that it was easier to pursue some kind of decent romance there in a way that the abrupt beginnings, the sudden intensity and the equally abrupt endings of expat relationships in the capital rarely allows.

But without the urge or the means to share your time there with someone in some substantial way, perhaps it would be a very lonely place. More than anything, it’s a reflection of that underappreciated cliché: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

In Phnom Penh, it’s easy to let a false impression of anonymity turn into a philosophy of impunity and still enjoy all the trappings of a rich social life regardless.

Up in Siem Reap, there is never any shortage of reminders as to what sort of person you are, and, for a paramour, that can be a lonely place indeed.

Read more from the Phnom Penh Paramour:
Paramour No. 1
Paramour No. 2
Paramour No. 3
Paramour No. 4
Paramour No. 5
Paramour No. 6


  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh