Never since the beginning of Selective Asia have we felt so physically far from our teams on the ground; life during the pandemic is moving at a different pace for all of us, and we’ve been curious to find out what everyone’s experiences have been like. During this series, we’ll share stories of resilience, innovation and day-to-day life straight from our friends in Asia. Today's story comes to us from our Valit, our partner in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
"Cambodia never experienced any lockdowns, and only a few restrictions, but life here isn’t easy. People have lost their jobs, businesses have closed down, international tourism has paused, and many employees and small business owners are financially struggling. However, the luckier ones, who have more stable incomes, have been enjoying luxurious stays in super deluxe hotels thanks to some very special deals. Mondulkiri has become quite popular with locals - it seems that people are falling in love with adventure trips, camping and mountain climbing.
Life for myself is, of course, quite stressful, as I never expected tourism could be this badly affected, so I haven’t kept any other skills. I try to keep myself busy by looking after the land that I bought a long time ago and never spent too much time on or did much with. I’ve also bought some more land in the countryside, at Veal Veaeng in the Pursat Province, over 300 km west of Phnom Penh.
I’m currently spending most of my time clearing the land and growing more crops on top of the existing ones, such as cashews, durians and rambutans. Farming makes no money, but land is a good investment, although risky too at this point; you might lose the money and waste your efforts, but it’s worth a try.
My wife, Thary, is super busy. She’s a ‘mother of a hundred hands’, as she has so many roles. She’s in charge of the French market when tourism is happening, she works for the government, is a great cook, and takes care of our 3 boys (plus me!) She also runs a small enterprise supplying goods to Aeon supermarkets and she’s the president of the Millionaire Chapter of Cambodia BNI (Business Network International).
Recently, she came up with the idea of launching a weekend cookery course for expat families. We would set it up on our land across the Mekong River, to the east of Phnom Penh - about 700 sqm with gardens, vegetation and many trees which is great for families with children. Thary has a team of family-friendly guides and her lovely friend who owns CCC (Cambodia Catering Company)."
If you'd like to discuss a future holiday to Cambodia with our Destination Specialists, just get in touch.