Long the armpit of Cambodia, notorious for its squalor, scams and sleaze, Poipet (pronounced poi-peh in Khmer) has recently applied some deodorant, at least in the casino zone adjacent to the Poipet–Aranya Prathet border crossing with Thailand. Based mainly on the custom of Thais, whose own country bans gambling, eight casino resorts with names like Tropicana and Grand Diamond City are helping turn the town into the Las Vegas of Cambodia, though outside the casino zone it’s still a trash-strewn strip mall sprinkled with dodgy massage parlours. In a sign that Poipet is starting to attract Khmers, it has begun hosting outdoor concerts of Khmer pop music.
Poipet offers a lively, chaotic welcome to Cambodia, the Khmers’ gentle side little in evidence, but don’t worry – the rest of the country does not carry on like this.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009