PHNOM Penh may be expecting a skate park soon, but the kids in Siem Reap have been zipping around on wheels for a few weeks now. At the Green Spot, behind Angkor High School, up to 100 kids a day are enjoying a new sensation – rollerblading.
This is the brainchild of newly emerged entrepreneur, 27-year-old Dy Samphoas, who said: “I got the idea to open it from what I saw on the internet.”
He declared his rollerblading centre as one of the most unique kids’ leisure activities to open in Siem Reap for some time. For 3000 riel an hour, kids (and adults) can rent a pair of rollerblades and let rip on the special 24x11-metre arena, complete with a runway, ramps and bumps.
Samphoas has also cleared an area for playing badminton, plus there are swings, a seating area and a food and drinks outlet for anyone who works up a mean appetite. Considering the high attendance and the shouts and laughter coming from the arena, the kids clearly love it.
Samphoas said: “It takes them about two days to learn how to do it, sometimes three, depending on the kid. My wife and I do it too.”
The arena is covered by green netting to keep the sun out (though not the rain, as I discovered during a mega-thunderstorm) and there are bamboo railings all around it to stop anyone whizzing off into the dust.
Samphoas came to Siem Reap from Sisophon 10 years to study and with a long-term plan to set up his own internet café. “But it’s not good any more for internet cafés,” he said. “Too many of the hotels and guesthouses have free internet now so I changed to this.”