Kun, café staff | Battambang, Cambodia | January 3, 2010
Kun works at a foreign-owned café that also sells souvenirs and rents scooters to tourists in Battambang.
Battambang is the second largest city in Cambodia and is considered the “heart of the Cambodian rice bowl” for its good harvests. It also boasts the country’s best preserved colonial architecture.
LPT: What do you think about tourism in Battambang?
Kun: Now it’s growing. Yes, it gets better from one year to another year.
LPT: Great, what are some good things about tourism in Battambang?
Kun: For foreigner or for..?
LPT: For local people.
Kun: For local people, I think it is better living. Yes, it’s better because like me, I can work at the shop for a foreigner.
LPT: And what are some bad things about tourism, you think?
Kun: Bad things…I think, like, some foreigners cannot ride a motorbike but they still do it so it makes it sometimes dangerous.
LPT: Like they fall over or something?
Kun: Yeah, yeah, yes. And sometimes they don’t understand…for example, they come to Cambodia but they don’t know anything about Khmer culture. Yes, like the culture and some say Khmers are always about “money, money, money”. They say everything in Cambodia is very expensive. Sometimes the prices at some provinces are cheaper and sometimes at other provinces it’s more expensive. So when they come from a province that’s cheaper than Battambang, they always say “oh, very expensive! Expensive!”
Like for a motorcycle in Sihanoukville, they can rent it for $5 a day but in Battambang, it’s $7 or $8 a day. So they say, “Expensive! Expensive!”. I think it’s a different way of living from province to province.
LPT: So when tourists say to you, “oh it’s too expensive!” how does that make you feel?
Kun: I think when they say that, it makes me feel that they think “oh, I love money.” So they think that me and the people in Battambang love money.
LPT: Does that make you feel good or bad?
LPT: Because they don’t understand?
LPT: So how can we make people understand, you think?
Kun: I don’t have any idea.