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  Cambodian gay and lesbian scene guide  
CAMBODIA After some decades of terror and a genocide which killed between 2 and 3 million people, Cambodia, a small nation squeezed between Thailand and Vietnam, with only 14 million people, has recovered stability and is becoming a spotlight tourist destination. You will discover about 300 Temples near Siem Reap, one of the greatest wonders of the world, Angkor Wat, a quiet and authentic asian capital, Phnom Penh, and unspoiled nature near Batambang or on the coast side near Sihanoukville. Moreover, you will meet very friendly people who are proud of their identity and are happy to live in peace.
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IN SHORT Entering Cambodia by air is relatively simple and international connections are proposed by numerous companies. And domestic flights exist between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. You probably need a visa (The simplest mean to apply is on arrival in the Airport, the cost is 20 $ and you need two passport-size photographs). The local currency is the Riel (1US$ = 4000 Riels), but in fact everybody uses US$. Even ATMs carry US$. Credit cards are more and more accepted for purchases. Accommodation and infrastructure are correct, standard of health and cleanliness improved a lot in recent years, but the usual rules for healthy living in a tropical environment apply.
GAY Homosexuality is legal in Cambodia. And Gays are welcomed in more and more bars, restaurants and hotels dedicated to them. You will find all addresses of gay owned and gay friendly establishments in Cambodia in this website.
FACTS To try to imagine the rights of the Gays in Cambodia, some events should be known :
  • The first LGBT Pride Parade was held in 2004 in Phnom Penh, it is now a yearly event.
  • King Sihanouk who is highly respected in his country, showed support for gay marriage in 2004. Nevertheless, the monarch has no executive powers, and no marriage laws have been enacted.
  • In October 2007, Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, explained his adopted daughter is lesbian, and disowned her.
We can notice homosexuality is not seen as a normal development, but rather an oddity. Because the culture is predominantly Buddhist, there is not the kind of aggressive reaction against gays as we can see in Christian or Muslim cultures. Family value is also important. Pressure is strong for sons and daughters to marry and have children.
WARNING The Ministry of Health estimates that 123 100 people were living with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia in 2003. Cambodia has a generalized epidemic and one of the highest prevalence rates in Asia.

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