If you like weed, more power to you, enjoy learning about how common marijuana is in Cambodia and even follow this step by step guide towards fun. However, if you’re not so into cannibals then let me send you a small warning. In Cambodia, and in many places in South East Asia, weed is very common. So common that many restaurants and bars sell it in one form or another. On pizza, with noodles, in fruit shakes, mixed with alcohol.
There are hundreds if not thousands of business around Cambodia that sell marijuana and other drugs. Sometimes these are in the city, sometimes in small towns, sometimes they target foreign tourists at other times they target locals. If you want something it’s easy to find, if you don’t want something then I hope you don’t find it.
Drug Rule 1: If something has the word “happy” in it, it is spiked with a marijuana.
A couchsurfer of mine told me her unforgettable experience. She was out at a bar in Phnom Penh, drinking with her friends. They were sampling different cocktails, ones with unusual names, a Bayan Margareta, an Angkor Sunrise, and a Happy Mojito full of diced swirling leaves. “I just thought they were silly names slapped onto the usual drinks. The Happy mojito was just like any other mojito, until about an hour later when everything changed.” She told me, her face red at remembering her stressful ordeal.
Alcohol and cannabis spun her world. She accused her friends of spiking her drinks and tried to walk the dark streets of PP herself. It took a staff intervention to explain that she had ordered a drink laced with weed and a self-proclaimed spiritual healer to help her escape her paranoia.
Drug Rule 2: Marijuana isn’t just for taste
I watched as Rachana bent over and snipped off vines, leaves and buds from his Cannabis plants. “No, no, this just isn’t acceptable” he shook his head and threw some into the pile of rice straw the cow was eating. The cow ate them as well. He finished and came over, his short skirt dancing in the soft breeze. He threw his harvest into the boiling pot. “For taste!”
I’ve met a lot of locals who eat weed “for the taste” at breakfast and then spend the rest of the day relaxing under the thick bars of shade, only moving as the shadow moves. If your up for this, enjoy, if not then just tell people you don’t eat it, they will understand.
Drug Rule 3: Drugs are deadly in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
With lakeside’s glory days in the past, some of the more unfortunate events are now becoming rarer. If you walk around lakeside today you can still find many who have been there for years, they will tell you the stories of the days where tourists packed the street and bodies packed the morgue.
“The touts would go aroun saying they got cocaine for sell, but nobody got cocaine aroun here” Simon told me as he sipped on his Phnom Penh beer. “No, they only sell heroin, really cheap heroin cut with whatever shit they can find. And they sell it like cocaine. So in come these tourists and they want to try everything. If they want to try heroin, fine with me. Fine with everyone. Nobody cares, this is Cambodia.” He raises his beer in the air “choin gao” Cambodian for cheers. “They just need to be safe and follow the rules.”
Simon’s fall to the ground and stay there, he falls silent. He looked back up at me, his eyes are not as energetic as before “It’s when they want to try cocaine that the problems come. See you can snort a 12 inch line of cocaine and you’re gonna have a bitchen time, but if you do that with heroin, well you’re not waking up in the morning. So once, maybe twice each month for years this kind of bull shit happened. Sometimes the kids had death wishes, they came here to die, but other times the kids where happy and just wanted to experiment when they experimented with the wrong thing.”
Rule 4: Don’t take a hit from her cigarette.
The smoke piled from her nose and a smile rose from her lips. All around, they all smiled. Women with the most difficult lives, women who charged $5 or less for a fuck, women who lived harsh lives, smiled. “Want a hit of my Ice cigarette” her eyes were glowing.
Methamphetamine laced cigarettes are common in many of the bigger cities, tuktuk drivers sell them on the streets and prostitutes tend to smoke them by the pack. “Two or three dollars and you’re smiling all night.” They tell me, their eyes lit up like fireworks.
Drug Rule 5: Valium, is 60 tablets for a dollar.
Valium relaxes you, and soothes your nerves like a few beers. In some of the smaller towns you can always find people abusing it, buying boxes of 60 ten milligram tablets for a dollar and taking 15-20 pills at once. Can you die from this? Yes. Is it relaxing? I’ve never tried it but the people who have become corpse-like for 4 to 5 hours. They just lie there, their eyes staring off into nothingness. It is creepy.
In the bigger towns you can find people selling overpriced Valium on the street, and people using it as a party drug. 2 tablets, 2 beers and your partying all night, well that is if you don’t black out. Be really careful if you try this because beer and Valium have side effects like amnesia, irritability and anger, and they interfere with your motor cortex (part of your brain) and can make it difficult to do things like walk, talk, pick things up.