“Laughter is the best medicine”, according to the old adage. If that’s the case, then check out Comedy in Cambodia’s Facebook page for a dose of happiness. Since the onset of Covid-19, the comedy collective has predominantly switched from hosting monthly live shows to virtual events. Each ‘Lockdown Clowns’ edition is live-streamed through the Facebook page and features a string of acts from Cambodia and other parts of the world, all hosted by Sam Thomas from his Phnom Penh base. While waiting for the next instalment – organisers say they are trying to organise events every Tuesday at 8.30pm, with the next one set for April 20th – pack in some laughs and binge watch Lockdown Clowns’ repeats online.
Inter-provincial travel bans mean there’s no chance of escaping the city this Khmer New Year. However, there are ways to immerse yourself in nature without leaving the house. Siem Reap-based Sam Veasna Conservation Tours (SCV) is whetting the appetite of future visitors with a series of videos that introduce the wealth of wildlife found across the Kingdom. Marvel at critically-endangered white-shouldered ibis at Koh Samseb in Kratie, admire endangered black-shanked doucs dozing in treetops at Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary that stretches across Mondulkiri and Kratie provinces, and meet SCV’s expert guides who lead wildlife tours across Cambodia.
You can also get a glimpse into the daily lives of Cambodia’s rescue elephants in our brand new mini-documentary, A Day to Never Forget: The Rescue Elephants of Mondulkiri. Watch it online here:
Find Your Inner Zen
Naturally, for many, stress levels are currently at an all-time high. This makes it the perfect time to seek some peace. French expat Marylaure Dufrenne is a trained and certified sound healer offering private sound healing sessions at people’s homes. The ancient practice sees her use 16 Himalayan singing bowls and Tingshyas bells that create sound vibrations to sooth the mind, body and soul. While restrictions are in place, get a taster at Marylaure’s SoundCloud channel, Good Vibration Club, and prepare to enter a state of deep relaxation to chakra healing singing bowl sessions.
While the capital’s gyms and yoga and fitness studios are off limits for now, this doesn’t mean keeping up with your fitness regime is impossible. Make the space at home, roll out your mat and log-in online. Yogis can sign up to Azahar Yoga and Arts Studio’s weekly sessions that take in daily classes held via Zoom. The Shape Lab is also running a series of promotions on its power yoga, Pilates, stretch and flex, abs and booty, stronger and full body Zoom classes until gyms reopen. If the times don’t fit in with your schedule, private sessions are also available.
Get Green Fingers
Gardening is good for the soul, so why not get creative with any available outdoor space and create your own mini tropical oasis to relax in? Fancy adding some fiddle leaf figs or monstera Peru to your balcony, or bring a splash of colour with pretty poinsettias or red anthuriums? Plants Phnom Penh offers a delightful range of plants that are delivered straight to your door. For those of us who aren’t so great at keeping them alive, experts are on hand to dish out survival tips. Pretty Green Plants is another great option, also selling a range of hand-crafted pots and vegetables.
Rotanak Ros – known as Chef Nak – has made it her mission to preserve and promote Cambodian cuisine. She spent years scouring the country’s villages and towns to collect age-old recipes that have been passed down generations. Many have been recreated in her cook book, Nhum, and budding chefs can try them at home through her online cooking sessions. On Facebook, tune into Chef Nak’s Cooking Show and learn how to create delicious Khmer dishes, such as fragrant teuk mahek fish soup that hails from Kampot.
Catch Some Theatre
Sadly, the Phnom Penh Players’ production of Eve Ensler’s modern classic play The Vagina Monologues had to be pulled from the stage this month (thanks, Covid). But luckily for you, they’ve made the show available to stream online until the 18th April. Even better, it’s free! Although do consider making a donation, as the money goes to Early Years Behind Bars, an excellent project that supports incarcerated mothers and their children, who are growing up in prison.
And one for the Barang… Learn Khmer!
Put the extra free time forced on us by lockdown to good use and start learning Khmer, or brush up on your skills. Sinet Mon, founder of Cambodia Expat Services, has been teaching scores of expats the local language since his first client 12 years ago. Under usual circumstances, he offers face-to-face private ($12/ hour) and classes of two ($15/hour) that cater to all levels, but to stay safe he has switched to Zoom sessions instead. As well as teaching conversational Khmer, students can learn to read and write. Sinet also teaches English to Cambodians wanting to improve their skills.
Contact Sinet Mon through Facebook or on 085 540 450 (WhatsApp)
Stay safe, stay strong and we’ll see you on the other side!