When you take the time to explore Cambodia by bike, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the realism in the lifestyle patterns that locals follow day to day. With our hair blowing in the wind and the smell of petrol mixing in with freshly-cooked food, we saw street corners become an improvised stage of conversation, be it with friendly neighbours or between a shoeshiner and their passing customer. A common ritual we saw that embodied a quiet energy amongst the noise and commotion of street life in Cambodia was the ‘kat sak‘, the Khmer expression for haircut.
Whilst getting a ‘kat sak‘ in Cambodia can be seen as a singular experience between the barber and the customer, we saw this as an opportunity to capture the many faces and personalities of the local community as they indulge in a fleeting moment of comfort and familiarity. These moments could happen anywhere out on the streets, from the next alleyway to under the shade of a tree.
We came across many of these local barber shops, and each time we spoke they shared a unique story with us and we would all laugh. We may never speak the same language but that was never a problem.
Like other parts of the world, there is an intimate relationship between the barber and their customer as they entrust them to cut and style their hair or shave their beard.
Walking into one of these barber shops offers a chance to relax in the authenticity of this safe, almost sacred, place.
Cambodia has a turbulent past but the unbreakable spirit and joy for life that the locals embody won our hearts. Travelling around the world lets us discover differences between cultures but, above everything else, the commonalities that are uniquely lived in each place, even through a humble barber shop.