Lost ground

Chris Taylor

July 2011, Boeung Kak Lake, Phnom Penh. Photograph: Nicolas Axelrod/Transitioning Cambodia

When W Somerset Maugham passed through Burma, Siam and Indochina in 1923 — a journey documented in The Gentleman in the Parlour — he described Phnom Penh’s riverside Grand Hotel as “large, dirty and pretentious.”

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