Helping Cambodia to banish ghosts and release its creativity

Lina opened her restaurant two weeks ago in a fishing village in Kep, in the south of Cambodia, close to the Vietnamese border. Fifty years ago this coastal resort was known as Cambodia’s Cote d’Azure, and when you wander around in the back of a tuk-tuk you can’t help but notice the wide avenues and walled gardens.

These villas once hosted extravagant cocktail parties with stars such as Jackie Kennedy and Catherine Deneuve on the guest list. There were casinos and a zoo.

But Kep has changed: the walled gardens have overgrown and the Le Corbusier–inspired mansions that once looked out over the Gulf of Thailand are in ruins, pockmarked with bullet holes and blackened by mildew and mould.

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