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Report - - Cambodia – Colonial and Olympian relics, Battambang & Phnom Penh – Feb 2015 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Cambodia – Colonial and Olympian relics, Battambang & Phnom Penh – Feb 2015

elliot5200

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#1
There are two types of derps in Cambodia: old French colonial ones (1860-1940s) and strangely enough, Olympian ones. There isn’t much info on the latter but here’s what I found on the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh– quite fascinating stuff:

The stadium might have been built to host the 1963 Southeast Asian Peninsular Games, but the games were cancelled due to political problems in Cambodia.

The stadium played a small part in the 1966 FIFA World Cup. Unexpectedly, North Korea faced Australia in a qualifier. Because North Korea lacked diplomatic relations with most countries, finding a suitable venue for the match proved difficult, until Head of State Norodom Sihanouk, an ally of Kim Il-sung, said the matches could be held in Phnom Penh. The matches attracted 40,000 fans, with Sihounouk decreeing half would cheer for Australia, while the other half cheered the Koreans. The matches were held on 21 November 1965 and on 24 November 1965 with North Korea winning both (6–1 and 3–1). Because South Korea and all African teams had withdrawn in protests against FIFA, North Korea were thus directly qualified to the final tournament, where they reached the quarter-final.

Among the facilities are Olympic-size pools for swimming and diving[2] and an indoor volleyball court with a capacity of up to 8,000, now known as the Olympic Stadium Indoor Arena.


During the Khmer Rouge era, the stadium was used as an execution site where officials of the Khmer Republic formerly led by Lon Nol were killed.[6]

In the decades following the Khmer Rouge era, the stadium facilities fell into disrepair. In 2000 the stadium complex was redeveloped by a Taiwanese firm, the Yuanta Group, which refurbished the stadium but also redeveloped parcels of the complex into condominiums and commercial properties.[7][8]

As of 2007, the stadium has come to be a popular attraction for Phnom Penh residents, who attend daily exercise sessions, as well as football games and other activities.

So good old North Korea, winning the World Cup. The running track was buzzing with people doing their evening aerobics sessions but the buildings inside were empty, reeking of art deco. The basketball court in particular, was really eerie, you could just hear the high-pitch wails of bats flying around but it was too dark to get any photos with my phone camera. Oh well.

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Aerobic frolics:

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Anyway, there are Olympian/colonial ruins scattered around the whole country and Battambang has some of my favourite:

The old railway – the old sheds are now inhabited by squatters:

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This art deco station blew in the middle of Cambodia blew me away.

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The ticket hall

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An old colonial cinema. Believe it or not, it still opens every so often to screen Khumer horror films:

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Looks like a new cult classic

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The old Olympian boxing complex:

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The Olympian pool, now refurbished for kids’ swimming lessons:

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Not sure what this arch was over the pool, must have been a diving board:

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Last edited:

Bertie Bollockbrains

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#2
Really enjoying the series of reports that coming up today from you. I have accumulated years in this part of the world and its good to see these off the tourist trail places.