The Rainbow Pride Flag caught in a breeze with the sun behind it.

Rainbow Pride Flag photo by Kevin Wong, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Cambodia is a gay-friendly country. That’s not to say that homosexuality is celebrated in this conservative Buddhist nation, but with former King Sihanouk commenting positively about gay rights, gay and lesbian visitors are generally welcome. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have several gay hangouts.

Whether you’re gay or straight, public displays of affection might be offensive to some.

A number of bars and hotels in Phnom Penh openly welcome gays and lesbians but tend not to be exclusively gay. Among them are the Manor House Hotel (21 Street 262, tel. 023/992-566); 2 Colours (225 Street 13), opposite the National Museum, a gay- and lesbian-friendly bar; the Blue Chili (36 Street 178), which puts on cabaret shows on weekends; and the incredible Space Hair Salon and Bar (Street 136), both hair salon and bar. The infamous Heart of Darkness Bar (26 Street 51) is a gay-friendly place, too.

In Siem Reap, La Residence d’Angkor is a family-friendly hotel, spa and restaurant complete with child-minding facilities that welcomes gay and lesbian travelers. Arthur & Paul (27 Street 71, tel. 023/212/814) in Phnom Penh is an upscale exclusive men-only boutique hotel and spa located near the Central Market.

A current list of gay- and lesbian-friendly businesses in Cambodia (and around the world) is maintained online by International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA; tel. 954/630-1637).