Phnom Penh: For anyone terrified of an albino python, an orange corn snake or a scaly, bearded iguana, Chea Raty says getting up close and personal at Phnom Penh’s first reptile-themed cafe is the only remedy.
Taking off from the cat cafes already popular in the Cambodian capital, Chea Raty launched his business to revamp the skin-crawling reputation of lizards and snakes and convince haters that they are simply misunderstood.
The walls of his cafe are lined with lit-up glass tanks containing snakes of various lengths and colours, while a bright macaw screeches in the corner.
There’s no entry fee, so visitors can order a coffee and request a sit-down with a serpentine friend from one of the tanks. Business is still slow-going due to the common fears of snakes and lizards.
But women, Chea Raty says, are providing an unexpected boost. “They put the pythons around their neck, take selfies, and they are happy.”