THESE IMAGES date from two trips to the former capital of the Khmer kingdom of Angkor, during the 1993 United Nations transitional period, and 1995.
During that 1993 visit, there was really only one place for a sit down meal, and a handful of guesthouses in what became Pub Street. Daily visitor numbers? Dozens, at a guess.
Angkor had once been the biggest city in the world, home to what is still the biggest religious building in the world. By controlling water and building roads, Angkor’s reach extended deep into Siam, Vietnam and the Malay Peninsula.
Village life in the Angkor era and Siem Reap in the UNTAC era differed little, although the roads were probably better under Suryavarman II. Bullock carts rolled down muddy brown roads, past verdant fields abutting grand stone temples.
Once grubby and disfunctional, Siem Reap has become the country’s second biggest city, flush with fancy hotels, spas and cooking schools.