Exploring Gay Cambodia

Published Date Author: , March 19th, 2010

IT was 10 p.m. in Siem Reap, and while most tourists were tucked in after a long, hot day exploring the temples of Angkor, things were just getting going at a bar called Linga. Pairs of European men in their 30s and 40s wearing unbuttoned collared shirts and checkered krama scarves sipped fruity cocktails and jostled for space with the young Khmer crowd, who huddled around small tables in anticipation of the main event: the Saturday night drag show.

A statuesque Khmer performer who went by the name BeyoncĂ© took to the stage draped in a black, body-skimming floor-length gown and wearing a blond Afro wig. Soon, everyone was on his feet, belting out a song from “Dreamgirls.” The traffic outside literally stopped. Curious travelers, Khmer families and little girls peddling red roses craned their necks to get a better view as the song’s syrupy melody wafted into the jasmine-scented evening air.

Homosexual acts are not outlawed in Cambodia, as they are in a few Southeast Asian countries, but outward displays of affection and untraditional lifestyles are rare. Yet in Siem Reap, a small town that gets about a million tourists a year, gay visitors and locals are carving out a little haven. In the last few years, a small flurry of gay-friendly bars, restaurants and hotels has opened up in the city’s center and beyond, with wink-wink names like the Golden Banana and Cockatoo.

Full Story from the New York Times

Click here for gay travel resources in Cambodia.

Comments reader  One Reader Comment

Geoffrey THE Great - Gravatar

Geoffrey THE Great said on April 19, 2010, 6:24 am:

Appreciated and endorse comments by Scott –
Have visited Cambodia twice now and enjoyed all the sights -both the old ruins and those on two legs! Will be back in Nov. to ‘do’ the top end around Battambang near Thai biorder – any suggestions welcome.
Main reason for travel this time is to make first visit to Laos – from North to South over around 15 days.
Debating whether , as a sole traveller, to join a tour or go it alone?

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