Welcome to the first ever Travel Begins at 40 podcast – Cambodia and the Coronavirus. I’m Mark Bibby Jackson, one of the founders of the website as well as a person who holds the Kingdom of Cambodia close to my heart having lived there for the best part of a decade.

Listen to the episode here:

With me for our inaugural podcast is Nick Ray, who has lived in Cambodia for far more years than his youthful looks would suggest – the wonders of podcasts – writing the Lonely Planet guides to the country, helping to run local travel company Hanuman with his wife, the talented film director Kulikar Sotho, and fixing film shoots from Tomb Raider to Top Gear.

But we are not here to talk about Angelina Jolie. Instead our little chat today is on a far more serious topic – Cambodia and the Coronavirus – and in line with government guidelines we are keeping at least two continents apart. For while I am in the wilds of Essex in England, Nick is joining us from the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

In our first Travel Begins at 40 podcast we will discuss:

  • the impact that COVID-19 has had on Cambodia, both in terms of the relatively low number of cases recorded in the kingdom, as well as upon the tourism industry;
  • how much faith we should place in official government figures;
  • what the West can learn from Cambodia’s response to COVID-19;
  • current travel restrictions to Cambodia; and
  • what is the future for tourism in the southeast Asian nation.

Nick has recently returned to the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh from Siem Reap, where he visited the now deserted temples of Angkor. His advice is, once it is safe to resume travelling, to visit Siem Reap yourself. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Prohm away from the tourist crowds.

Let’s hope the situation soon improves in both Cambodia and the rest of the word, and we will once more be able to explore this most wonderful Asian country. In the meantime, Keep Safe and Save Lives.

Background image c. Nathan Horton Photography