>> Nostalgia


A restaurant in the Boeung Kak area, the interior looking exactly as it did ten years ago.

Veteran backpackers will remember Phnom Penh’s lakeside, a cluster of ramshackle guesthouses and restaurants on the south shore of Boeung Kak. Many of these had lounge docks built over the water with great views of the lake. The favourite pass time here used to be watching the sunset from a hammock or lounge chair, while drinking chilled Angkor Beer with Bob Marley stuck on repeat. I’ve stayed in Boeung Kak myself a few times, during my Wander Year ten years ago and also on my first trip with An in 2008. Not long after that, the lake has been drained and the area slated for redevelopment.

Although this time we were staying in a boutique hotel in central Phnom Penh, we went to have a look at what has become of the city’s former backpacker hangout. Obviously, many businesses have disappeared or moved to another location, including the popular Number 9 Guesthouse. Number 10 Guesthouse is still around, but the view of the lake has been replaced by a wall. Accomodation is dirt-cheap, as the few remaining guesthouses are trying to attract customers in order to survive. A handful of nostalgic travelers still hang around, but the once so lively lakeside has become depressingly run-down and quiet these days…

Boeung Kak before

Watching the sunset from the now gone Number 9 Guesthouse. This picture was taken ten years ago, during my first visit, and appeared in my City of Sin blog post if someone still remembers. (Sorry for the low resolution, I don’t have the original image with me.)

Boeung Kak now

Today, the view of Boeung Kak looks like this. In the next few years, a whole new neighbourhood will rise here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *