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Compared to many other Asian countries, Cambodia is surprisingly queer-friendly for visitors. There are no major pride events, and legal recognition of same-sex unions or even anti-discrimination laws are still far off. Still, LGBTQ+ travelers will feel welcome and safe everywhere they travel. There is a relatively large queer scene in the capital, Phnom Penh.
The country is known for its abysmal human rights record and gender inequality. Though there are no anti-LGBTQ+ laws, local authorities and police have reportedly used various laws to infringe on the local community's rights. However, while homosexuality is not celebrated culturally, LGBTQ+ locals enjoy a degree of visibility and acceptance in society (especially in larger cities) not seen in many other more conservative countries.
There is a small pride celebration that has taken place annually in Phnom Penh since 2003. The Cambodian government also announced it will introduce a new queer-friendly course in schools called "Life Skills" to teach students about LGBTQ+ issues, sexuality and gender.
You will see fellow LGBTQ+ travelers and locals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, especially in higher-end accommodation, and locals are used to seeing same-sex couples and groups. In remote areas, locals will not react with any hostility to LGBTQ+ travelers, though they may watch you with curiosity. If you request a single bed, your wishes will be respected without question. Tour guides will most certainly have seen many other queer visitors, and the tour operators mentioned below hire LGBTQ+-qualified guides when possible, vetting all their guides to ensure they are comfortable with queer guests.
The only caveats about traveling in southeast Asia as a LGBTQ+ traveler is to respect the local norms and customs. Open displays of affection (whether same-sex or opposite-sex) are very uncommon.
If you want to be meet other LGBTQ+ travelers, consider joining a tour. Check with your government travel advisory prior to travel for LGBTQ+ safety information.
The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) publishes an annual survey of sexual orientation laws.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) conducts top-notch reporting and advocacy including for LGBTQ+ people around the world.
While the following highly recommended tour companies cater primarily to gay men, most welcome lesbian travelers.
The following mainstream river cruise companies extend a warm welcome to LGBTQ+ guests.
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From clubs to dive bars, full-moon parties to Pub Street, Cambodia comes to life after dark. Here are our tips on how to stay safe.
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