The rise and fall of Cambodia’s Pub Street, the most notorious party strip in the country

Pub Street, in Cambodia’s north-western city of Siem Reap, is still almost empty of revellers despite the area having reopened in June following pandemic closures

It’s midnight on a Friday in what should be the peak summer season on Cambodia’s most renowned nightlife strip, in the north-western city of Siem Reap. Garish red signs overhead proclaim “Pub Street” but elsewhere the road is in near-total darkness. The atmosphere is ghostly, with barely a soul visible save for a few shadowy figures making their way home. The lights of the occasional tuk-tuk pierce the gloom, the drivers emerging from the half-light to offer rides to uninterested passers-by.

Closed is a row of establishments that includes the recently burgled Angkor What? Bar – Pub Street’s first bar and Siem Reap’s most infamous backpacker haunt – and The Red Piano, a classier affair that was patronised by Angelina Jolie in 2001, during the filming of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

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