Lights out in Siem Reap


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This chalkboard greeted me at my hostel when I arrived in Siem Reap — and three days later the power still wasn’t back on!

It was so damn hot the week I was there too! Plus my room was up four flights of stairs. One night it was so hot I slept on the tiled floor and woke up covered in bruises and bites.

There were rolling blackouts, so certain parts of town had power at certain times only – Pub Street, for example, was obviously powered by night. Though sometimes it would just conk out. A handful of places had generators (unfortunately not my hostel) so it was all pretty sweaty all over town. The Blue Pumpkin cafe, which had a generator, was totally packed out. I squeezed in there a couple of times for icecream and air con — it was absolutely necessary for survival (and delicious).

There was something quite ambient about it though – a town running by candlelight – and it did remind me of the numerous blackouts we had in Timor-Leste.

It was certainly a memorable part of my Cambodia trip.

There’s some media coverage of the great Siem Reap blackout of 2013 here, here and elsewhere.



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