Exporting pets from Cambodia explained

If you’ve picked up a dog or two in Cambodia (it’s hard to resist), be sure to plan in advance when it’s time to go home. The entire process of exporting a pet from Cambodia usually takes four to six months, so be prepared. The following instructions are for the US, EU, and UK, which have fairly similar procedures. In this post we’ll cover the procedure with our two of the more popular vets, VSL Veterinary Clinic in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap Veterinary Care in Siem Reap. However, you are free to use any registered vet in Cambodia.

exporting pet from Cambodia via Thailand

Don’t worry, it’s possible to take your furry friend home from Cambodia with you.

Steps to export a pet from Cambodia:

  • Microchip and registration
  • Rabies shot
  • Rabies Antibody Titration Test (not required for the US)
  • Export Permit
  • Third-country veterinary certificate and declaration (or health certificate for the US)
  • Tapeworm treatment (dogs only for select EU countries and UK)

Further information:

  • Thailand transit information
  • Special UK and Ireland information
  • Special US information
  • Microchip and registration

For the US, EU, and UK, your pet will need a 15-digit microchip that is registered online. The microchip must be implanted before their last rabies vaccination and their rabies titre test. The cost is $80 at VSL or $50 at Siem Reap Veterinary Care, and can be done as far in advance as you would like.

Rabies vaccination

Because Cambodia is classed as a ‘high rabies country’ all pets will need to have rabies vaccinations before they go. At least one of their shots needs to be given after they are microchipped (but it can be done at the same appointment). Rabies vaccinations done before the pet is microchipped are not valid for travel. Be sure to have a record of all of your vaccinations in a vaccination book or “pet passport.”

30 days after their rabies shot, you can proceed to the rabies antibody titre test.

Rabies antibody titration test

The rabies antibody titration test is a blood test that confirms that your pet has the correct amount of antibodies in response to the rabies vaccine in its bloodstream. The test cannot be given for 30 days after the last rabies vaccination. The test must be done from a EU-approved laboratory, and once your pet has received a passing grade, you must wait 3 calendar months to export.

Those in Phnom Penh can have the test done at VSL Veterinary Clinic. The cost is $200. If you’re in Siem Reap, you can get the test done at Siem Reap Veterinary Care for $220. The results take approximately 6 weeks to come back.

If you have multiple dogs you can send the blood samples directly to an approved lab yourself to save some money. This is also a good option if you need your results more quickly. Many expats have had great experiences with BioBest lab in the UK.

To do it yourself, you will need to go to VSL in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap Veterinary Care to get a blood sample and ask them to convert it into serum. The cost is $25 per animal at VSL or $55 at SRVC.

Then, following the very detailed instructions from the BioBest site, ship the samples to them using an reliable shipper such as DHL. The cost for shipping from Cambodia is around $85. BioBest charges £60/$80 to test each sample. They will email you your results within 2-7 business days, and include a scan of the certificate. You can choose to have the results shipped to you by regular airmail for free, with airmail with tracking for £10 ($14), or couriered for £80 ($110). Adding the tracking option infinitely increases the odds that your mail will be delivered in a reasonable amount of time (and be sure to include your phone number as part of your return address so the post office will call you to pick it up).

If your pet gets a passing grade, after 3 calendar months you are free to leave Cambodia after completing the following steps.

Exporting pet from Cambodia

Getting ready to leave Cambodia with a pet.

Cambodia export permit

All animals leaving Cambodia must be issued an export permit from the Ministry of Agriculture in Phnom Penh. The export permit can be issued in advance (exactly how long is not defined, but some have gotten theirs more than 30 days in advance) but the exact date of travel must be supplied at the time of application. Your pet does not need to be present.

The cost is $20 if you get the permit directly at the Department of Animal Health and Husbandry [map]. As usual, the official fee is unknown—in all likelihood it’s probably supposed to be free! You can usually get the permit the same day if you arrive in the morning. Bring a document detailing your flight information, pet’s name, vaccination records for both rabies and up-to-date annual vaccinations, and a copy of your passport.

You can also request an export permit from your vet. The cost at VSL in Phnom Penh is $60 and at Siem Reap Veterinary Care is $75. Going through a vet is much easier, but takes a little bit longer—usually 7 to 10 working days, but beware of Cambodian holidays as this can cause it to take even longer.

Cambodia export permit dog

Your dog will need more paperwork to leave Cambodia than you will.

Third-country veterinary health certificate and Declaration (or health certificate for the US)

If you’re headed to the EU or UK, you’ll need to get a third-country veterinary health certificate and Declaration for the Non-Commercial Movement of Animals issued within 10 days of you entry into Europe. Also known as the ‘Annex IV,’ these are complicated, multi-page documents that can be found on the official EU and UK pet-moving sites. You can find a sample form online.

The cost for these third-country vet health forms varies. VSL in Phnom Penh charges $60, Siem Reap Veterinary Clinic charges $65, and Angkor Pet Clinic in Siem Reap charges $40 for this and the Cambodia export permit. Be sure to check the document carefully when you receive it, because many Cambodia vets are not experienced with this paperwork and several expats have caught mistakes on theirs.

It is also important to note that at the time of writing, VSL in Phnom Penh is the only clinic that submits their Annex IV forms to the Ministry of Agriculture for endorsement (which means their forms take 10 days to business days to complete). It’s not entirely clear if this is necessary as many have entered Europe without it, but VSL is easily the most knowledgeable in Cambodia when it comes to pet importing and exporting, so their interpretation is probably the correct one, even if it is not being currently enforced. Other clinics offer same-day turnaround but no official endorsement.

Dogs who are going to the US just need a simple health certificate from their veterinarian, and a screwworm certificate that must be issued less than 5 days before they travel. Cats headed to the US do not need either, unless the airline requires it (and many do).

Tapeworm treatment

Dogs flying to Finland, Norway, Malta, Ireland or the UK will need a tapeworm treatment at least 24 hours before they leave. The treatment must be administered by a licensed veterinarian. Once the treatment is administered, it is good for 120 hours (5 days), so make sure you schedule your trip to arrive in your destination country in that time frame. The cost is $4 to $20 (depending on the weight of the dog) at either VSL in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap Veterinary Clinic and can be administered at the same time the veterinary health certificate is being completed, or immediately before you leave.

Airlines and airline regulations

Be sure to check with your airline in advance to make sure they do not have any additional regulations. Most require a certain type of carrier (which can be ordered from EAP House of Hounds in Phnom Penh and sent onwards to anywhere in Cambodia).

Some airlines also have restrictions on certain breeds of dog or weight limits. They will require the crate to be large enough for your pet to stand up without touching the ceiling and to be able to turn around comfortably. Others may require additional transit certificates for the transit city.

Different airlines have different pricing scales for traveling with pets in cabin or as baggage. The cost is usually around $100 for pets that travel in the cabin and $200 to $250 for those who travel as baggage, although some airlines charge by weight. Some may charge extra if you have a layover more than a few hours to cover the extra service of feeding or checking on your pet. For instance, KLM charges $200 for this service, but will take your pet for a walk.

Be sure to let the airline know in advance that you will be traveling with a pet as some have a limit on the total number of pets that can be on a flight.

Some airlines that fly from Cambodia and allow pets are: Vietnam Airlines, Qatar, Cathay Pacific, EVA, Bangkok Airways, Thai, Asiana, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines. Lufthansa and KLM also travel from Bangkok, but codeshare with Bangkok Airways to leave from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Note that Cambodia Angkor Air do not allow pets, and this includes flights that are code-shared with Vietnam Airlines.

Thailand pet export permit quarantine office

If you’re traveling through Thailand with a pet, there are additional requirements.

Traveling through Thailand?

If you are traveling to Bangkok overland, or are planning to leave the airport with your pet between your flights, you will need to go to a quarantine office for a transit permit for your pet. You should apply for your transit permit at least 7 days in advance by email, qsap_bkk@dld.go.th.

The procedure is designed for those transiting by plane, so if you are flying into Suvarnabhumi (BKK) Airport, head directly to the quarantine office and get your paperwork and have your pet’s microchip scanned, which you will need to board your next flight.

If you are traveling overland to Bangkok, the procedure is a bit unclear. Although technically you should get a transit permit, the quarantine office at the land borders add an extra complication to your journey and are not strictly necessary. If you’d like to do it by the book, head to the quarantine office at the border (for the Poipet/Aranyaprathat border the quarantine office is approximately 8km away) and be prepared to spend a fair amount of time there, as very little English is spoken and the staff are not familiar with the transit permit paperwork. Once you complete the process, you’ll still need to visit the office at Suvarnabhumi to get your pet’s microchip scanned.

The other option (because no one seems to ask to see any paperwork at the Cambodia border anyway) is to skip the quarantine office at the border and head straight to Suvarnabhumi and get an export permit instead. If you get an export permit rather than a transit permit in advance, your pet will need a health check at the airport. The cost for a transit permit is 260 Thai baht ($8) per animal.

They say you need to go 2 to 3 days in advance to get the transit permit, but as the health check and paperwork processing usually takes less than 4 hours, many expats only stop in Thailand for a day. Be warned, though, that the office is only open Monday through Friday until 4 or 4:30 p.m. and is closed on all of the many Thai holidays, so make sure to give yourself enough time before your flight. Also get there a little bit before they open at 8:30 a.m., because a line quickly forms and often includes pet store exporters with a dozen dogs, which can make for a long day of waiting.

The staff at Suvarnabhumi quarantine office are very well-versed with the forms you will need, so make sure your Annex IV and vaccinations are in order, otherwise you will not be able to leave Thailand. If you need any additional paperwork from a local vet, some expats have used Relo4Paws, a UK organization based in Bangkok that sends soi dogs abroad for adoption.

There are many pet-friendly hotels in Bangkok, including Ploykhumthong Boutique Resort and Villa Volpi Bed and Breakfast, which are both fairly close to the airport. There is also a cat-sitting service where you can leave your cat overnight.

You cannot import a pit bull or American Staffordshire terrier into Thailand, so these dogs cannot go overland or exit the airport, nor will Thailand issue an export permit for pets less than four months of age.

There are several official Thailand government sites about importing and exporting pets that you can check for additional information.

dog in pet friendly cabin on the Amsterdam Newcastle ferry

A pet-friendly cabin on the Amsterdam to Newcastle ferry.

Special note about exporting pets into the UK or Ireland

The requirements for importing a pet into the UK or Ireland is mostly the same as the rest of the EU listed above, although there is one major complication. Pets cannot come into the UK either in the cabin of the plane or as excess baggage. Instead, they must be shipped as cargo, which requires hiring an agent on either end to manage the process (you cannot do this yourself). This makes the process much more expensive, and costs approximately $2500 to $3000 per animal.

In Cambodia, Pet Services Cambodia and Animal Mama offer this service, but they only organize the shipment and do not move the pets themselves. To work with the shipper directly, AWG Trucking Service has a pet moving specialist, Ms. Him Socheata (operation@awglogistics.biz, 077 722 788, 016 581 757) who is very responsive by email and speaks excellent English.There are additional companies in Thailand and Malaysia that can be found online.

Note that while you do not need to be on the same flight as your pet if they are shipped as cargo, you must fly within 5 days of them.

Many expats who are going to the UK or Ireland circumvent this requirement by flying to somewhere in the EU, and then traveling onward to the UK by road or ferry. The most popular routes are flying to Paris and then driving through the Channel Tunnel (pets are not allowed on the Eurostar train) to Folkestone in the South of England, or flying to Amsterdam and going to the UK by ferry.

There are several ferry routes from Holland, including Amsterdam to Newcastle, Rotterdam to Hull, and the Hook of Holland to Harwich, some of which will allow you to bring your pet in the cabin with you, while others have a special kennel on board. If you are traveling by sea or rail, you must use one of the routes approved by the UK government, or you will not be allowed entry.

You will also need to have your pet given a tapeworm pill by a vet (and get a document certifying this) no less than 24 hours and no more than 120 hours (five days) before you enter the UK.

If you take more than 5 days to enter the UK from the time you leave Cambodia, your dog will need to get an additional tapeworm treatment (Dierenkliniek Duinwijklaan in Amsterdam was happy to do this). You also must enter the EU within 10 days of your official veterinary certificate being issued. When you arrive in the EU you will need to get it signed and stamped, and it is then valid for 4 months for additional travel with the EU (including to the UK). After that you will need to get a EU pet passport.

For more information about bringing a pet to the UK, see their official government site.

One added requirement for Ireland is your pet will need a compliance check on arrival. You can organize the compliance check in advance with Lissenhall Veterinary Hospital (lissenhallvet@eircom.net) or Vets Direct (info@vetsdirect.ie).

For more information about bringing a pet to Ireland, check their official government site.

Special note about exporting pets to the USA

You must bring a record of your pet’s vaccinations, and more specifically their rabies vaccinations to comply with US Department of Agriculture guidelines. But be aware that some states have additional guidelines, so be sure to check in advance. Hawaii has particularly stringent requirements. To find out more, visit the Department of Agriculture’s page about importing and exporting pets to the US and the CDC page on the same topic.

Special note about exporting pets to Australia

Australia’s regulations are considerably more stringent and complicated and are not covered in this guide. Pets cannot be imported to Australia directly from Cambodia and need to stay in a third country such as Malaysia to complete the necessary blood tests before they fly. The process can take between two and six months. For a good overview of the process there’s a very detailed blog by someone who has done it.

Still have questions?

The Expets Cambodia group on Facebook is dedicated solely to importing and exporting pets from Cambodia. If you have questions, check their first, and get up-to-date travel stories from those who have already done it to help calm your nerves.

VSL Veterinary Clinic
Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and 3 until 7 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
33 Street 334, BKK1, Phnom Penh
T: 023 986 640
vslveterinary.com

Siem Reap Veterinary Care
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Sala Lodge Rd, Siem Reap
T: 085 747 475
siemreapvet.com

* This post was written based on my own and the experiences of many other expats, and in consultation with Cambodia veterinarians.  That said, things change in Cambodia regularly, so it’s a good idea to do a sanity check on even the most thorough of blog posts. 

Things to do on the islands: Koh Rong boat trips

Our guide to what to do on Koh Rong got to be so long that we’ve had to split it up into sections. Enjoy!

Want to explore remote beaches, visit local villages and nearby islands, snorkel over coral reefs, and fish with the locals while getting the best value for your money? Koh Rong has boat trip options to cater for everyone, from budget travelers to adventure seekers.

BBQ dinner on budget boat trip

Budget travelers should go for the local longtail boat trips on Koh Rong, which include dinner.

Local Boat Trips

If you’re looking for an authentic local experience on a budget, the local boat trips cost only $10. While your boat captain may not speak English very well (or at all), life-jackets aren’t guaranteed and your experience may vary, these basic boat trips on longtail fishing boats (pictured above) offer a good budget option and run fairly well most of the time. Speak to your guest-house for advice on the most reputable companies to go with.

Price: $10
Schedule: Daily, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Activities: Snorkeling around Koh Toch Island, Fishing, BBQ, Sunset at Long Beach, Plankton Swim
What’s included: Fresh fruit snacks, BBQ on the boat, one beer, whiskey mixers, small bottles of fresh drinking water
Other things to know: Please bring sunscreen, towel, and a dry change of clothing. Additional beers available for purchase.

ankounamatata Koh Rong boat trip

Ankounamatata offers snorkeling trips to Koh Rong Sanloem from Koh Rong.

Ankounamatata Boat Trip

Enjoy snorkeling and want a taste of Koh Rong Sanloem, without the commitment of spending a night there? Ankounamatata has a Western English-speaking tour guide and a clean, freshly-painted white longtail boat leaving Koh Toch Village daily. As local waters have been over-fished and hold little satisfaction for the optimistic fisherman, Ankounamatata is the only company excluding fishing from their boat trip and helping to preserve native wildlife.

Price: $20
Schedule: Daily, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Activities: Snorkeling around Koh Toch and Koh Koun nature conservation island, two-course lunch at M’Pai Bay restaurant, exploring local village at M’Pai Bay on Koh Rong Samloem, optional beach games at Suns of Beaches or Coconut Beach, bonfire and sunset at Nature Beach, nighttime plankton swim

What’s included: Fresh fruit, lunch, two beers, (nearly) unlimited whiskey and mixers, fresh drinking water, cocktail at sunset

Other things to know: Please bring sunscreen, flip-flops, towel, and something to cover up in M’Pai village. Free seasickness tablets available if required. Must be taken 1 hour prior to departure. A small amount of money is recommended if you wish to have a cheap massage on Coconut Beach, or buy local snacks at M’Pai Bay, or additional beers. No refunds if cancelled after 10 a.m. on the day of the trip.

Adventure Adam Koh Rong boat trip

Go on a Koh Rong boating adventure with Adventure Adam!

Adventure Adam Boat Trip

Want to really see and experience Koh Rong Island? Adventure Adam runs three boat trips a week, with every trip a unique adventure. If conditions permit, you may get to go around the whole island. Each trip includes exploring a local village and spending time on remote beaches that the other boat trips do not usually visit and may also include unique experiences such as visiting other islands, waterfalls, and jungle areas.

Price: $25
Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Activities: Snorkeling, guidance and information, explore less-touristed locations, fishing, BBQ, explore Koh Rong beaches, beach games, visit local village on Koh Rong, sunset, plankton swim

What’s included:
Fresh fruit and snacks in morning and afternoon, free bottled water, two beers, four bottles whiskey and mixers, BBQ lunch

Other things to know: Please bring sunscreen, flip-flops, and towel. Guys will need a t-shirt and women need something to cover up shoulders and knees in the local Cambodian villages. Customers should have breakfast before meeting at 9 a.m.

Sandbank Boat Trip

New to the scene, Sandbank on Longset (4K) Beach is running 3 boat trips a week on alternate days to Adventure Adam, with each trip exploring different parts of Koh Rong and Koh Rong Sanloem, conditions permitting. The trip starts in front of the Sandbank Restaurant in the middle of Longset Beach, with pick up at other places on Longset or Koh Toch Main Village possible on demand. They publish on Facebook if they can’t go for any reason, and offer a full refund if they must cancel.

Price: $25
Schedule: Three days a week, each to a different location. All tours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays go around Koh Rong, Fridays go to eastern Koh Rong, and Sundays go around Koh Rong Sanloem.
Activities: Visit a local village, visit other beaches, fishing, snorkeling, BBQ sunset, nighttime plankton swim

What’s included: Fresh fruit, BBQ, 3 beers or soft drinks

Other things to know: Please bring sunscreen, flip-flops, and a towel. Guys will need a t-shirt and women need something to cover up shoulders and knees in the local Cambodian villages.

Koh Rong The Islander boat

If you’re more comfortable on a bigger boat, try The Islander.

Islander Boat Trip

If local longtail boats aren’t for you, then look no further than ‘The Islander’. Equipped with a bar, kitchen, DJ, washroom and even a slide, this triple-decker party boat has a capacity of 150 people and offers a more comfortable boat trip option.

Price: $25
Schedule: Daily, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Activities: Snorkeling around Koh Toch, fishing available, sunset at Long Beach (Sok San Beach), nighttime plankton swim

What’s included: Unlimited fresh water, tea, coffee, two alcoholic drinks, fresh fruit snacks, vegetarian meal on the boat and fried fish (if you catch them!)

Other things to know:
Please bring sunscreen, towel, and a dry change of clothing. Additional drinks available for purchase (so bring cash).

Phnom Penh movie theaters

Phnom Penh’s changing faster than I can keep up, so I’ve given this post a well-deserved update. Remembering a time when Phnom Penh didn’t have a “proper” movie theater makes me sound like an old-fogey, reminiscing about the days gone by when locals would watch movies in small shops with a dozen chairs and usually two or three screens loudly blaring different films at the same time. These days, there are a half-dozen places in town to see English-language movies in Phnom Penh, from giant theaters showing Hollywood blockbusters to smaller theaters that screen documentaries, independent and foreign films.

Major Cineplex Aeon Mall Phnom Penh

The Major Cineplex at Aeon Mall is a serious, big budget movie theater showing films in 4-D. Yes, 4-D.

Major Cineplex at Aeon Mall

Major Cineplex is the latest movie theater to hit Phnom Penh, and it’s a doozy. Located in the new Aeon Mall, it offers features not seen before in Cambodia. They have 3-D and 4-D theaters (think moving chairs and smoky air) as well as a VIP cinema, with first-class style leather seats. They show mainly English-language action blockbusters, with the occasionally Chinese action film and Khmer romance. Ticket prices range from $3 to $15 depending on the day of the week and the type of seat you opt for. Seniors, kids, and students can get tickets for $2.

Major Cineplex
Aeon Mall, 2nd Floor
#132 Sothearos Blvd, Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh
T: 023 901 111
majorcineplex.com.kh

The interior of Legend Cinema in Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh’s movie theater’s take security seriously. Talking during movies, less so.

Legend Cinema

Legend Cinema was the first movie theater in town to show licensed Hollywood films and offers a true movie theater experience in their three air-conditioned theaters. Legend screens Hollywood blockbusters, action, horror and kid’s films.

You’re not going to find any dramas or chick flicks here, but they do show 3-D films regularly. Ticket prices range from $3 to $18, the more expensive ones are for family seating that seats four people. Most films are in English with Khmer subtitles, although they do show the occasional Khmer-language film.

Legend Cinema
City Mall, top floor
Monireth Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 088 954 9857
legend.com.kh

Major Cineplex at Sorya Mall

At the top of Sorya Mall, is Major Cineplex, formerly Platinum Cineplex, formerly Sabay Cineplex, and the second big theater in town. Major has two regular screens and one 3-D screen. They screen Hollywood blockbusters, action films and a few local and Asian flicks.

They also have couple’s seats if you’re down to cuddle. Ticket prices start at $3 up to $15 for ‘4DX’ and VIPshowings. Check their site for current promotions.

Major Cineplex
Sorya Shopping Center, 5th Floor
St 63 at St 142, Phnom Penh
majorcineplex.com.kh

Outside of The Flicks 2

Get your movie on in Phnom Penh.

The Flicks Community Movie House

The Flicks has two locations in Phnom Penh, one in BKK3 (Flicks 1) and one near the Riverside (Flicks 2), all offering the latest releases, film festival winners, foreign films, documentaries, and kids films on their big screens. Their movie rooms are air-conditioned with sofas and futons (and reclining seats at Flicks 1) to relax on, and they serve food and drinks — including wine and beer — that you can enjoy during the movie.

The Flicks screens two to six movies every day, with the Big Flicks 1 offering screenings from the early afternoon. Tickets cost $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for children, and the ticket is good for the entire day. Check out their current movie schedule for each location on the website.

Big Flicks 1
Open from 12 p.m.
#39B Street 95, BKK3, Phnom Penh

11 Happy’s Flicks 2
Open from 4:30 p.m.
#90 Street 136 (inside the 11 Happy Backpacker Hotel), Daun Penh, Phnom Penh

Tarantino Movie House

Formerly the Flicks 3, Tarantino Movie House are now an independent, air-conditioned operation. Tickets cost $3.50 for an entire day, but they also have set prices for dinner plus movie and popcorn. True to their name, they show film classics from the 80s and 90s (and please, let’s not quibble about whether or not a movie from 1989 can be considered a classic. It can). In fact, they promise to never show movies from after 1999. It’s like Forever 21, but for movies. Or something.

Tarantino Movie House
Open from 6:30 p.m
8 Street 258, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: 012 345 6789
facebook.com/tarantinomovietheater

Meta House

Meta House at the German Cambodian Cultural Centre shows independent films and English-language documentaries at 7pm every night of the week except Monday.

They have a full bar and restaurant and often following screenings with talks and sometimes the night ends with a DJ playing some tunes. Many of their films are about Cambodia or the region. Screening is on the building’s rooftop so don’t forget to load up on some mosquito repellent. Tickets cost $2 for foreigners, Khmer students aren’t required to pay.

Meta House
#37 Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: 010 312 333
meta-house.com

Asian Street Food Smarts

By Robyn Eckhardt

Smoky chicken sate plucked from a grill and dipped in sweet-spicy peanut sauce in a Jakarta alley. Steamed ground rice and jaggery cakes eaten from a banana leaf on a street corner in Penang. A mound of sticky rice drizzled with coconut cream and topped with juicy mango slices spooned up at a stall in a Chiang Mai market. For the Asia-bound traveler keen to know the region’s diverse culinary cultures, these are essential experiences.

Siem Reap street food

Num krok, made from rice flour, coconut milk, and spring onions, being sold on the streets of Siem Reap.

In this part of the world the term “street food” (or “hawker food,” as it’s referred to in Malaysia and Singapore) denotes not just a cheap and quick way to fill one’s belly. It also describes a repertoire of dishes prepared by experienced specialists, dishes rarely duplicated successfully in restaurant kitchens. Eating on the Asian street offers the opportunity to observe cooking techniques up close and to engage with strangers over a meal in a way that would be difficult in a proper brick and mortar eatery. Continue reading

Cambodia Gay Pride 2018

This month the 2018 Cambodia Gay Pride week is set to be better than ever, with a weekend packed with events in Siem Reap leading into a week of celebrations in Phnom Penh.

The 2018 10-day event will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, increase local acceptance, and raise awareness of LGBTQ+ issues in Cambodia.

Gay pride Siem Reap

2018 Cambodia pride comes to Temple Town for 2018!

Friday, May 11th – Siem Reap

7 p.m.
To kick off Cambodia Pride 2018 The Hangout is hosting ‘Absolutely Dragulous’ a drag competition that promises a good time for all. All profits go to local NGO A Place To Be Yourself (APTBY) For more details, see the Facebook event page.

Saturday, May 12th – Siem Reap

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On Saturday morning head to Golden Gecko Villa for the ‘Hot Buns Sausage Sizzle.’ Entry costs $5 and includes lunch and a swim. Come and decorate your tuk tuk for the Gay-Mazing Tuk Tuk Race. More info on their Facebook event page.

2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Join the ‘Gay-mazing Tuk Tuk Race,’ a 2.5 hour scavenger hunt around Siem Reap. The cost is $15 per team. Register in advance online.

5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
If the Gay-mazing Race has gotten you all hot and bothered, head to the Lub D pool party for a cool down. Check the Facebook event for more info.

9:30 p.m. until late
Head straight to Barcode for the evening’s entertainment at the 1st Pink Party. Get the event info on Facebook.

Sunday, May 13th – Siem Reap

9 a.m. to noon; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
On Sunday drop by A Place To Be Yourself (APTBY) for their open house and find out how they are helping to support Siem Reap’s LBGTQ+ community.  Find out more.

1 p.m.
Head to Rambutan Resort for a lunch-time BBQ. Tickets cost $18 for all-you-can-eat poolside barbecue, and all proceeds go to APTBY. Details on their event page.

9 p.m.
To wrap up the weekend Barcode is hosting a Candyland party, where they suggest patrons will be able to ‘taste the Siem Reap rainbow.’

To find out more about the Siem Reap pride events, subscribe to the ‘I Am What I Am – Siem Reap page on Facebook.

cambodia gay pride

Blue Chilli cabaret show. The Cambodia LGBT community goes all out for pride week+ in Phnom Penh.

Wednesday, May 16th – Phnom Penh

10 p.m.
Street Party. PoC, (formerly PoPP) are known for their great parties. They’ve added an extra bar and are spilling out into the street with their yearly Cambodia pride party. Free food, lots of enthusiasm, and a diverse crowd make this an excellent way to start Phnom Penh’s pride week.

Thursday, May 17th – Phnom Penh

6:30 p.m.
Pride Popcorn Time aka Movie Night. Major Cineplex Soriya will be screening Love, Simon, a sweet, teenage gay coming of age story. $3 entry.

9 p.m.
Jungle Party at Space Hair Salon and Bar.  The undeniably handsome staff of the Space Hair Salon will be dressed like wild animals for the jungle party, and so should you! Head to Space for their yearly pride party that never fails to impress.

Friday, May 18th – Phnom Penh

7 p.m.
Heaven Party. Cambodia’s only lesbian bar invites the entire LGBTQ+ for the ‘heaven party.’ Unicorn Bar Cambodia have not released any information on what that entails, so go be surprised!

9 p.m. until late
Pride It Out Party at Blue Chilli. Head over to Blue Chilli where they’ll be having a “sexy muscle boy show” as well as a Cambodian drag, diva, and dancers performance, plus free condoms and HIV testing. This event is consistently excellent, taking over Street 178 in front of Blue Chilli and this year is sure to be just as good.

Saturday, May 19th – Phnom Penh

11:30 a.m.
Pride Brunch at Feel Good II Cafe & Coffee Roasters. Feel Good 2 is doing a special gay pride brunch with a gorgeous set menu for only $15. Bloody marys and mimosas will also be on offer and $1 from each drink sale will be donated to CCT for HIV outreach in Battambang. You must make a reservation in advance, as seating is limited. Call 078 866 651.

2 p.m.
The Amazingly Fabulous Race. Join this tuk tuk race around Phnom Penh which will be visiting various LGBT venues and organizations. This year promises to be bigger, better, and more fabulous than last year! Check the Facebook page for more details and to sign up for a team.

2 p.m.
Pool Party at Vehaa វេហា. Billing itself as “Phnom Penh’s most extravagant pool party,” Vehaa Sky Bar invites all comers to put on their hottest swimwear and go for a dip.

9 p.m.
It’s Raining Men! Party at Toolbox Bar. Featuring the best all-male dance show in Cambodia (or so they say, you be the judge!), Toolbox is having an ‘It’s Raining Men’-themed party, which means if you show up wet from the pool party, you’ll fit right in.

11:30 p.m. until late
Late Night Party at Heart of Darkness. Heart of Darkness, Phnom Penh’s preeminent gay club, hosts a pride night bash. Last year they featured a “bare-chested beauties” show, drag acts from Blue Chilli. $5 cover charge includes one free drink.

Sunday, May 20th – Phnom Penh

3 p.m.
Cooldown Pool PartyRambutan Resort and Arthur&Paul join forces again to host a pride closing party that will feature drinking, swimming, and sauna.

Monday, May 21st – Phnom Penh

7:50 p.m.
Nerd Night LGBT Special. The Factory Phnom Penh is hosting a special Nerd Night (for those who have never been, they are passionate presentations of 20 slides, 20 seconds each in the Pecha Kucha style) that is LGBTQ+ themed.

 If you know of additional events that should be listed here, please contact us.

Siem Reap’s LGBTQ+ Pride Weekend 2018

For the first year ever, Siem Reap will be hosting its own sensational pride line-up of events and festivities, kicking off the 10-day Cambodia Gay Pride 2018. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit Siem Reap, this is it.

Gay pride Siem Reap

Cambodia pride comes to Temple Town for 2018!

Friday, May 11th – Siem Reap

7 p.m.

To kick off Cambodia Pride 2018 The Hangout is hosting ‘Absolutely Dragulous’ which they bill as “Siem Reap’s first and only drag competition for the ‘common folk.’” They have a packed schedule that will culminate in six fearless drag queens and six fearless drag kings competing for the title of Siem Reap’s Next Drag Superstar.

There will also be mini audience competitions, a silent raffle, music, and lots of lip-syncing. Even if you aren’t the performance type, there’s a special prize for best-dressed guest, so be sure to get dolled up. All profits go to local NGO A Place To Be Yourself (APTBY) For more details, see the The Hangout’s Facebook event page.

Saturday, May 12th – Siem Reap

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On Saturday morning head to Golden Gecko Villa for the ‘Hot Buns Sausage Sizzle’ which we assume is the fabulous version of a barbecue. Entry costs $5 and includes a sausage and salad lunch, and, if you’d like, a swim. Vegetarian options available *if* you contact Golden Gecko Villa in advance.

The Hot Buns Sausage Sizzle is also acting as a Gay-Mazing Tuk Tuk Race pre-game event, so feel free to come and decorate your tuk tuk for the race at the Golden Gecko. There’s more information on their Facebook event page.

2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Sick of the yearly commute to Phnom Penh for the big gay tuk tuk race, Siem Reapers took it upon themselves to set one up in temple town, and it promises to be a hoot. Teams of 1 to 4 people will compete in a 2.5 hour scavenger hunt around Siem Reap, and unsurprisingly, looks are just as important as skill, so be sure to decorate your tuk tuk! The cost the enter the ‘Gay-mazing Tuk Tuk Race’ is $15 per team. You can reserve a tuk tuk for an additional $15, or bring your own. Register in advance online.

5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

If the Gay-mazing Race has gotten you all hot and bothered, head to the Lub D pool party for a cool down. Cocktails will be 50% off, there’s a street food-style buffet, games, prizes, and of course, swimming. Check the Facebook event for more info.

Barcode gay bar Siem Reap

The cabaret show at Barcode is one of Cambodia’s best.

9:30 p.m. until late

Towel off and head straight to Barcode for the evening’s entertainment at the 1st Pink Party. Don pink duds and you might win a prize! Details are still thin on this one, but if it’s anything like most nights at Barcode, there will be a fabulous drag performance, excellent cocktails, and lots of fun. Get the event info on Facebook.

Sunday, May 13th – Siem Reap

9 a.m. to noon; 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

On Sunday drop by A Place To Be Yourself (APTBY) for their open house and find out how they are helping to support Siem Reap’s LBGTQ+ community. Check their event listing because they have things going on all day long, including live music, speakers, free and confidential rapid HIV testing, nibbles, games, and a “dress the gender-queer mannequin competition.” Find out more.

1 p.m.

Head to Rambutan Resort for a lunch-time BBQ in support of A Place To Be Yourself. Tickets cost $18 for all-you-can-eat poolside barbecue, and all proceeds go to APTBY. Tickets include a glass of wine or beer and discounted tickets are available for Cambodians for $10. Details on their event page.

9 p.m.

To wrap up the weekend Barcode is hosting a Candyland party, where they suggest patrons will be able to ‘taste the Siem Reap rainbow.’ We’re hopeful that means exactly what it sounds like, but if not, there will probably be a drag show and lots of interesting people.

Siem Reap promises to put on a fantastic pride weekend, so we’d encourage you to grab a bus ticket and head to Temple Town. If you’re coming from out of town for the festivities, Lub D Hostel is offering special rates for pride-goers.

To find out more and stay up to date with what’s happening, subscribe to the ‘I Am What I Am – Siem Reap page on Facebook which is being regularly updated with new and and increasingly exciting information.