Crossing the bridge into Koh Pich (“Diamond Island”), a new commercial district in the east of Phnom Penh, 27-year-old Saro Le felt alienated from the city that has been her home for over 10 years.
Once empty swampland, Koh Pich now glitters with luxurious condominiums and mixed-use development projects. The major property buyers and developers here are Chinese.
“One side of the city is a fancy district. The other side is slums with a lot of poor people. The city is kind of split into two unconnected worlds,” said Saro, a white-collar worker who was raised in a poor family. She looks at a giant replica of the Arc de Triomphe surrounded by new apartments, some with neo-classical themes.