Cambodia’s Ream National Park transformed from wildlife haven to development zone

As development hits the national park, decades-old concessions are revving into action, while developers use sand to build into a natural bay.

San recalls how she used to earn much more before the wide new roads were built by the Cambodian government along Sihanoukville’s beaches. Her job, selling papaya salad and seafood fried noodles along the seashore, has not changed. But she’s been forced to move along the coast, from just outside Sihanoukville to within Ream National Park.

“A lot of people don’t really like to come here because on the way it’s a bit quiet and the forest is a bit thick,” she says.

About four years ago, San had to leave her steady business running a shop in Ong village, Ream commune, to make way for a road along the beach. This was as neighbouring Sihanoukville exploded with casinos and expansive resorts targeting mainly Chinese holidaymakers.

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