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MY PHNOM PENH: Blogger Keo Kounila

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Keo Kounila. 27, has long been recognised as one of the leading lights of Cambodia’s young, tech-savvy generation. Harriet Fitch Little

MY PHNOM PENH: Blogger Keo Kounila

Colors Vintage

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Colors is run by a young Khmer woman called Chum Sovandalis. Every time I’m in Cambodia, I go to her shop, because it’s got a really great collection of vintage clothes.

They don’t look ancient and the prices are affordable – the highest is perhaps $10 dollars. Chum told me she gets her clothes from lots of places: from Korea, sometimes from Europe and the US, or even here in markets like BKK and O’Russey.

There’s not much of a trend here towards vintage clothing yet, but perhaps it’s starting. Back in 2009, I helped to organise an exhibition showcasing clothing from the 1960s and 1970s.

We were interviewed by a few TV stations at the time, and – I don’t have any study that proves it – but after that, I started seeing people wearing vintage clothes at parties, or making their hair up in 1960s or ’70s hairdos.

Kiriya Cafe

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I know that Brown Cafe is really popular among young Cambodians, and I do like their brownies and everything, but I find it too noisy.

It’s impossible to get anything done there if you’re serious about your work – some of the kids who go there just want to show off. Kiriya cafe near BKK market is a great alternative.

It’s really spacious and they provide electricity sockets in every corner.

The prices are quite affordable: fresh juice is $2, which isn’t bad. They used to cooperate with a Thai restaurant nearby to serve food, but now they make their own menu.

The owners are Japanese and some of their dishes are Japanese and are really tasty.

CamboFarm Rabbitry

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My little sister is 25 and has been raising rabbits for the past four years. Now she has 500 or 600 rabbits on a farm off National Road 2.

It all started because she wanted to stay at home and look after her son, who has a disability that means he needs intensive care. In 2010, she got a couple of rabbits, and within a month, she had tens to look after.

You know how the saying goes in English: “breeding like rabbits”. Her Facebook page has a lot of interest, and people (like me) like to go out there and cuddle them, but they also take them home as pets.

Now she’s started farming some breeds for meat as well.

She wants to convince restaurants here to take rabbit meat because it’s far healthier than beef or pork.

Spring Valley Resort

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Recently, I started following a guy on Instagram by chance who was always posting pictures from Kep that made me jealous.

He’s a young guy with two kids who runs a place called Spring Valley resort. I saw his photos of it and fell completely in love with it.

That’s where I want to go the next time I’m in Cambodia, probably in December. Even the name sounds so enticing, like a tropical forest.

He also grows passion fruit there and bananas. I was invited by the owner to go and experience the hospitality there but I couldn’t go, so I sent one of my friends instead and she came back and told me how amazing it was.

She said it’s so green, so friendly and the service is awesome.

Street 172

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When I’m in Cambodia, my favourite area to hang out is on Street 172. It’s an area that’s really growing: they have a kebab restaurant, an Indian restaurant and Blue Dolphin restaurant, which is one of my favourites.

It stays open until about 3am and sells Asian and Western cuisine. Their breakfast menu is amazing, they do really nice pizza, and they have great hot dogs – not like Khmer hot dogs, real ones.

There are also good hostels and guest houses there.

I organised a tech event in January 2014 that had a few hundred participants, and I took a group of about 20 young Indians to Street 172 and they loved it, especially Blue Dolphin.

The prices in that area are still really good – not high like along riverside. I think it must be because the pagoda blocks the view onto Sisowath Quay.

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