Over the last 10 years (actually 6), Cambodia has seen unbelievable growth. The buildings, roads, infrastructure and the growing pains that go along with it such as traffic and inflation is happening fast. We put together a few then and now pictures as most first time visitors have a different view of what they think Cambodia should be. Dates are given for the before shots. Unless specified the dates for the after are 2011.
The Independence Monument in Phnom Penh in 2003. Gold Tower 42 underconstruction has become a back drop for many of the sites through out the city.
What once was an out of the way place in 2000, the Prek Kadddam by pass to Kampong Cham has seen houses spring up along the route, a ferry replaced by a bridge and now road widening for increased vehicle traffic.
1999 Siem Reap was a sleepy town. By 2002 Lonely Planet gave the OK for visitors to come and it has been taking off ever since. Pub Street entrance in 2005
A beautiful French Building that used to house the tourism department conveniently on the riverfront was destroyed for development. The picture in 2000, building destroyed around 2005 and other buildings adjacent destroyed early 2008. This corner plagued by ownership issues has remained vacant for over 3 years now. The tourist building could have generated plenty of revenue over the years.
The tower overlooking the Mekong in Kampong Cham had a lot of character up until 2005. It was refurbished and now shows signs of needing maintenance.
Right in the heart of Kep, this buiding has received some tender loving care. Cambodia has many structures like this, and the more unfortunate ones are torn down.
A view across the river from Phnom Penh.
A view across the river from Phnom Penh. What was once fishing villages and trees is being replaced by high rises.
Phnom Penh Riverfront in 2000. There was a small wat and riverside restaurants. Open concrete areas replace wider green areas. Trees have been planted so in a few years it will take on a nice feel. Phnom Penh residents come out in the early evening to enjoy the riverfront and in the early am to excercise.
One constant in Phnom Penh and that is change. Riverfront in 2000 and what became a popular "Snows" the red roof on the left center, became surrounded by growth and in 2010 was taken apart and moved to Kampot. Plans are to make a riverfront promenade on the other side of the river. .
A view of Sotheros. In 2000 there were cheap massage parlors lining the street. A fire in the area cleared out the residents in 2000 and then it was a park for a while. Now it's cheap massage parlors again, but with nicer rooms.
The route between Kandal Province and Prey Veng Province was a dirt track in 2004. Now Highway 8 shortens travel times to Prey Veng, Kracheh and Mondolkiri (note bridge left of highway).
As recent as 2004 most of the side streets in the capital were dirt pot holed roads. The main streets such as Monivong, Norodom, Sihanouk, and Sisowath on the riverfront were a few of the only paved roads. As more autos arrived, improvements to the city streets had begun. As a result of the improved city works....one didn't have to change clothes 3 times a day, beauty shops sprang up in the markets and the girls were able to let their hair down. Pictured is Street 136 facing west from Street 13, 2004 and 2011.
Phnom Penh landmark the Central Market (P'sar Thmei - New Market) just recently had a face lift. Makeshift stalls surrounding the market have been replaced with more modern permant structures.
The Lions Circle in Sihanoukville in 2000 has been cleaned up with a nice manicured park around the lions.
To be continued.......
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All text and photographs © 1999 - 2012 James M. Heston -Cafe California 2 Hotel - Guesthouse Phnom Penh Cambodia. Commercial or editorial usage without written permission of the copyright holder is prohibited.