Gay Travel in Cambodia: From Temples to Drag Queens

Published Date Author: , December 29th, 2010

CambodiaThe air is heavy with heat and the lingering smells of the day. It is nearly midnight when my partner and I walk down the dusty road, hopping on and off the pavement to avoid open sewers, discarded food and parked tuk-tuks. As we get to the end of the street we hear the unmistakable thumping of techno music, the trademark of Blue Chili – one of Phnom Penh’s oldest gay bars.

It is the Mr Blue Chilli competition and slender Cambodian men are strutting their stuff down a makeshift catwalk erected in the middle of the street. They swagger, smile and preen to the cheers of people crammed inside the bar while dozens of Cambodian and foreign onlookers on the street peer over the fence to get a good look.

We join the street gawkers, watching the boys, then the drag queens perform before making our way back down the street. It is our second week in the city, and once again we are struck by what a country of anomalies Cambodia is.

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