[caption id="attachment_20675" align="alignnone" width="300"] Wat Ounalom in 2019 Daun Penh[/caption]
A personal reflection on Daun Penh and Riverside – from art gallery to market stall, $5 massages and 5-star hotels
Street 172 is punctuated with $3 massage joints and bars occupied by grey faces framed with light grey hair.
Yet, just around the corner, Street 178 is now arguably the rising art gallery district of Phnom Penh with the University of Fine Arts and National Museum only a stone’s throw away.
Friends Café has made a bold statement and the Mansion House seems to be waiting for reincarnation.
Now the Hyatt has opened its doors to the Jet set, it may well be a different designer-schmick precinct to what is currently now.
In fact, when you look up along 172, the standard of shophouses is somewhat ‘better’ than in other parts of the city: it could be the rising star of Daun Penh and Riverside.
In the surrounding streets in this part of Phnom Penh, there is a sense that there are too many hostess bars, each vying for a shifting slice of the tourist and expat pie.
Rents will rise with the inevitable escalation of land values and the ROI of each vendor’s patch will become more and more critical as the clock ticks.
Looking at Phsar Kandal and the open block where Prey Sar prison once sat, one can’t help but wonder what’s coming next.
Given its proximity to Riverside and the 172 and 178 ‘sweet spots’, maybe there is something special waiting in the sidelines, something for the inspired new generation of architects and artists.
As of last week, digging has started.
My guess is a shopping centre, possibly with apartments too!