Crumbling Kampot (But What’s With The Pyjamas?)

It’s raining today in Kampot, the crumbling river-side town on Cambodia’s south coast. After visiting on a day trip from Kep, we decided to come and stay here for a bit. At first glance, Kampot is dusty and run-down, but after a few hours it starts to grow on you. Of course its riverside location is a plus (why do we humans LOVE water so much?!), but for me, it’s the french-colonial crumbling facades complete with wooden shutters that conjure an image of a bygone era.


Perhaps that’s it.

Kampot is nostalgic. Elderly women pulling carts peddling fresh eggs and vegetables, and hole-in-the-wall local eateries exist alongside modern cafés and mobile phone shops.

Whether you have a Honda, a Daelim (the popular choice for tuk-tuk drivers), a rickety bicycle, or just two feet, the streets of Kampot are yours to explore.

But, there’s just something I’m just not getting, and I’m really hoping someone can help me out on this one.

Why do so many women wear pyjamas, like, ALL DAY?!

At first I thought it was a one-off. A girl from our guest house on Koh Tonsay wore her bright red, mini mouse, silk PJs all day, and I thought oh, that’s cute, she’s staying her jam-jams today.


I started noticing a trend emerging. You know when you get a red car, and you see them everywhere? Suddenly I started noticing Cambodian women of all ages, in their pyjamas, morning, noon and night.

Was it me? Did I miss the latest Cambodian Vogue?

Sorry, but I don’t think this is traditional dress. I get that.

Saris in India, Kebayas in Bali, but silk and cotton PJs? Come on ladies, let me in on the secret!!!!

Okay, I’m not kidding when I tell you I just looked out the window of my guest house and saw a woman in pyjamas complete with helmet, riding a motorcycle down the street. It’s 5:04pm! Okay, maybe it is PJ time…

Now just so you know I’m not lying, I have some photographic evidence, which is by no means indicative of the huge number of pyjama sightings. I made at least twenty or thirty PID (Pyjamas In the Day) spottings before I thought it might be worth recording, and many, many since. I am not making this stuff up!

So, exhibit A:


Now, I’m not against this by any stretch of the imagination, I mean, I’m a girl who loves her PJs, and can completely appreciate wanting to wear them all day, every day. But actually doing it? I’m not there yet.

The truth is, as a backpacker with a 40 litre back-pack in which to stuff all my possessions, I’m a little jealous. Okay A LOT.

I don’t have pyjamas.

They didn’t make the cut.

And I’m missing them.

I want to get some. Cambodian ladies, please tell me WHERE A GIRL CAN GET HOOKED UP!

Do you think I can just walk up to a PJ-wearing lady and ask her where she got them? DO THEY EVEN KNOW THEY ARE WEARING PYJAMAS?

This is driving me crazy, I must have answers!

And I must, must get my hands on some of those PJs.






Crumbling Kampot (But What’s With The Pyjamas?) — 28 Comments

  1. Whahahaha. They wear them because they’re so damn comfy (I type, as i wear my pjs). Haha, this just cracked me up. Can’t blame ’em, I guess.

  2. funny but I have seen some elderly asian men walking around Maylands in their PJs. I dont think it is a women thing.See where are your mickey mouse PJs!!!!!!!!

    • I think they’re onto something – the outfit that transitions from day to evening, seemlessly… My Mickey Mouse ones were flannelette I think, a little too hot for this climate! Will have to look out for some cotton ones! Thanks Mum xxx

  3. It’s interesting that the locals of Kampot are in their PJs all day. All I can think of as a reason for them wearing them all the time is that they are cheap, versatile and easily replaceable. That said I still think it’s rather odd. I suppose it’s better than not wearing anything at all.

  4. Sarah this was so funny! Kampot sounds like my kind of town – I’m all for wearing PJs all day. I think we should get some matching ones for India :)

  5. Ha ha! I had a similar fascination with the pajama suit when we were there too! Loving reading about your experiences and brilliant moments of clarity! Can’t wait for the next installment x

  6. Funny – my pajamas also didn’t make the cut for our Southeast Asian travels – I couldn’t justify the weight. It’s funny to see someone else making note of them – my husband was unaware as we trekked through Cambodia. :-)

  7. Haha, hilarious! To be fair, if it was socially acceptable to walk around in my Pj’s in public…well, I would at least consider it. Hope you find some super cool ones!

    • Thanks Cherina, my thoughts exactly! I have actually found some, and they are super comfy, but I’m yet to wear them out in public, even though I could probably get away with it!!! Thanks for reading 😉

  8. Did you get some at the Kampot market?
    If you are still in Kampot, check out the other side of the river! There are some nice little guesthouses on that side and the river is most certainly swimmable upriver from town.

    • Hi Rux, yes I did!!!!! Absolutely LOVED the market. We rode over the old bridge on our way to Bokor, but didn’t stop for a swim! Just checked out your guest house, looks amazing!!! I have been doing my own yoga practice lately, your retreats sound awesome. Though my backpacker budget won’t allow it this time, who knows, I might be able to visit you some day… thanks for your comment :)

  9. haha – this is great! It’s like having ‘Pajama day’ in school! Those ladies are cute in their pi’s though with little flower prints. Maybe it adds a little cheer to their day – who knows?