Little Clarity Over Loan Payment Waivers Puts Siem Reap Workers on the Brink

The last two months have seen the tourism sector, as well as informal workers and small family-run businesses, bear the brunt of this virus-induced economic distress.

Chak Pheap’s papaya salad and cold drinks stall is nestled near the Angkor Wat heritage site in the temple town of Siem Reap. With a strategic location near the ancient temple, Chak Pheap has been able to successfully attract tourists and locals to sample her salad offerings.

But in mid-March, Chak Pheap looked around her small stall, the five towers of the Angkorian temple not far away, and there was almost no one around. There was an eerie silence surrounding the temples.

There were almost no tourists at Angkor Wat nor were tuk tuks ferrying people around the various temples in the archaeological park. The makeshift bridge across the Angkor Wat moat, usually teeming with people taking selfies, was deserted.

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