travel story

The Dirt Road

Cambodia travel story

There was one long dirt road in Siem Reap that truly opened my eyes to the grim reality of the outside world. Until then, I had just looked at as a stamp in my passport for good times and travel. It was this road that, the hookers, ladyboys, thieves, tuk-tuk drivers, and all sorts of other crazy bastards took home each night beside me. I walked it every day to get to Pub Street (the party street for those of you who know it).

The dirt road

seemed to tell its own story of the city. It was just far enough from the tourist hot spots that you could really see into the true nature of the people, their lifestyle, and the chaos that carried it. 

The first day

I walked down it I watched one dog kill another dog. It dragged it about fifteen feet while two other dogs fucked behind the murderous scene about ten paces away. I wondered if I could stop it. However, the fear of the rabid dog attacking me next stepped me back from playing the hero card. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a Cambodian hospital getting rabies shots and stitches across my body. 

I had heard somebody tell me before that some theoretical physicists believe that the world doesn’t exist when you aren’t looking at it. I wondered about this as I walked past the old dying dog. It wasn’t so much the sight, it was the noises I heard after I passed them. That world was no longer in my vision but the awful noises and squeals of agony rang eerily behind me. I couldn’t understand how a world disappears when you don’t look at it. The sounds of suffering followed me with each step until I was far away. Even then, the memory of the croaking old dog drained my thoughts until I was drunk enough to crush it behind the new chaos of the evening.

I ended up drinking heavily

with an older French man and his Russian wife for the evening. I followed the two of them around through the crowds of hippie tourists with their elephant-printed pants. All around were sexually depraved old geezers looking for young Cambodian meat. We eventually found ourselves in some kind of weed bar. Three joints were getting passed around in all different directions and jager bombs somehow got tossed into the mix.

I can’t remember the exact moment I started feeling sick but what I do remember is leaning forward and puking loads on the floor between my legs. It seemed like a movie after that. I don’t know if this is accurate but my brain remembers it as the music literally stopping and every head just turns and stares at me. I started looking back at each set of eyes one by one to make sure that it was me they were looking at and after I don’t know how long, it was pretty much confirmed. Everybody was indeed staring at me and the puke dribbling down my chin. 

 I stood up and did the sneak walk to the door as if everyone wasn’t staring at me and walked out without saying anything. I heard voices behind me and eventually laughter but I couldn’t pull myself to turn around and see the reality of it. 

Out front

was a sixty or seventy-year-old man with a big beer gut that hung down past his cock. He was sitting at a little metal table with a very young girl. Now sometimes it’s hard to tell their ages in many Asian countries. It’s like they’re immortal and never age but this girl couldn’t have been more than thirteen years old. The old fat bastard had those eyes. We have all seen them. It could have been the alcohol making me think he was an old pedophile. It also could have been something innocent but around that area, that kind of wishful thinking was usually never more than just wishful thinking. My hostel door even had a sign taped to it basically pleading the tourists to not buy the children if they are offered.  

I walked back on the dirt road.

On the first corner, the first of many hookers tried her magic. She was in a skimpy little blue dress that hugged her body showing nothing but legs and a rack of silicone. She latched onto my arm like a suck-fish and all I could hear was, “Where we go? Huh? Where we go? Your home? Huh? Huh? Your home? Where we go?”

It took me a while to shake her off and I had to run a few circles around a phone pole before I somehow, in my drunken stupor, was able to get some sort of distance from her. I kept on and swindled through the endless barrage of tuk-tuk drivers trying to offer me everything under the sun. 

“Suckie Suckie, you want? Yeah?”

“Coke, Coke.” One shouted as he pretended snorting lines from the air. 

“Weed, mushrooms, massage?”

It was then that I saw

a little naked baby showering under a grimy, broken pipeline along the gutter of the road. He was smiling and splashing the water on himself and giggling. That gave me some kind of grisly hope that under all the pain and suffering of the community there was still hope for another generation. But…then again maybe the baby would inevitably be doomed to a life of cheap tricks and shady tourist money. Who knows?

I was almost back at the hostel when a skinny, Cambodian man stopped me. He seemed a little nervous and couldn’t stand still when he was talking. He wanted me to come behind the metal fence to look at something and see if I wanted it. Now, I’ve seen enough horror movies to know this was a bad idea, so I did it anyway and of course, it was fucked. 

I essentially walked into what looked like a sex trafficking scandal. It was a big scrap metal barn with curtain walls lining either side. There were ramshackle beds stained and ripped and an odor that permeated every inch of the place. Even though I was pretty much stupid drunk, the smell still seemed rancid. It’s what I imagined a truckload of dead chickens to smell like for some reason. 

There were women

on each bed but they didn’t look enticing or content or even capable of feeling basic human emotions. The only things they were missing were shackles and chains around their ankles. I’m sure in some fucked up kind of way they were shackled to that life even without the chains though. All I could do was give the skinny guy a disappointed look and walk out back to my dirt road and buy another beer on the way home. 


I hope you enjoyed the story! If you would like to submit your own wild travel story, please write me in the comments and we can make it happen. 🙂 Maybe you have your own wild Cambodia travel story. I’d love to read it!

If you want to plan a trip through Cambodia, check out the backpacking guide for Cambodia here. You can make your own Cambodia travel story for the ages.

Also, If you want to read more, you can try Too much LSD on a sky scraper in China or Welcome to Bangkok. Both are incredibly wild travel stories that will give you a good sense of some of the craziness you will experience while traveling the world.


Like and share if you are a wild traveler also! 🙂

(Cambodia Travel Story)

The Dirt Road (Cambodia Travel Story)

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8 thoughts on “The Dirt Road (Cambodia Travel Story)

  1. I discovered your blog site on google and check just a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the superb operate. I just further up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Searching for ahead to studying more from you later on!?

  2. This one was really sad but really well written. I’m going to read the rest now. You got me hooked haha

  3. This story breaks my heart.. It does have that strange yin and yang vibe throughout the road. I can imagine that little child bathing in the street feeling free and happy not knowing that that road would be so troubling when he/she grows up. Awww good read, amigo.

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