I don’t make a habit of searching out drugs when I travel. That being said, after one of our guides in Phnom Penh mentioned getting high and visiting a temple, curiosity got the best of me. I asked where a traveler might get weed in Siem Reap, and to my surprise, the answer is really easily and safely.
The marijuana law loophole
Make no mistake about it. Smoking marijuana is illegal in Cambodia. If you do it publicly, you’re liable to get stopped by police, and probably be charged a hefty fine. I have no idea how seriously this is enforced, and I have no interest in finding out. But there is another way you can get high as a kite all over Cambodia: order a happy pizza! Happy pizza places are all over Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, and they serve up pizzas topped with marijuana.
That’s because though weed is illegal to smoke, you can use it legally as an herb for cooking. Despite the funny little euphemism, you can discuss the amount of marijuana you want on your pizza freely with your server, who might make a recommendation depending on your interest, experience, and tolerance. Sometimes, servers and restaurant owners will also offer you ingredients to buy – a bag of happy in different sizes. If you’re a big time smoker, this should probably be one of your first stops in the country.
What the happy pizza experience was like
We went to Happy Pizza on Sok San Rd. in Siem Reap. This wasn’t our first choice, but the tuk tuk driver saw happy pizza on my phone and went to the one he knew, I guess. If you have a specific one you want to try, I recommend finding another more unique landmark around it, because there are dozens of these. If you say happy pizza, they’ll take you anywhere.
Happy Pizza looked like a regular restaurant with many items on the menu. Note that none of the menus actually say that the pizza contains marijuana. You’ll see a standard series of pizzas, and you can discuss the marijuana content separately. If the information isn’t offered, you can always inquire.
Concerned that we would be bad tripping for 24-hours, like some people have claimed online, we asked our server to keep the happiness to a minimum, because we don’t smoke. I suspect that he took this to mean we wanted no marijuana on our pizza at all. Though he did ask if we wanted to buy it for smoking, and we declined. While we were there, another person definitely ordered a calzone and a bag of weed. “Big bag or small bag?” the server asked him.
The pizza was awesome, and it did have some seasoning on it that looked like a dark pesto, which could be powdered marijuana. But having ingested marijuana before, I feel like I would know if it was in food; the taste is pretty overpowering. The pizza tasted like nothing but onions, garlic, and cheese. It was yummy nonetheless.
Some places like Happy Siem Reap Pizza on Bugs Street are a little more explicit about the marijuana servings. They’ll ask you to specify how many scoops of “happy powder” you want on your pizza, and will make recommendations if you’re not sure. Other popular restaurants in Siem Reap include Happy Angkor Pizza I and II and Pandan Leaf Happy Pizza. And those are just the ones that are discoverable on Google Maps.
We most definitely didn’t get any high. I felt normal with a healthy helping of tired, which could be mostly due to the fact that I spent 9 hours visiting the Angkor Wat complex before indulging in a Happy Pizza lunch.
Words to the wise
If your server doesn’t ask you anything about marijuana or happy powder, you can easily broach the subject by asking if you can get your pizza happy.
If you want to inquire about buying marijuana, you can just ask if you can get a bag of happy or if they sell the ingredient. They get this question all the time, and the answer is probably yes. In fact, they’ll probably offer before you get a chance to ask.
Though happy pizza places are ubiquitous, you don’t want to make the mistake of assuming all places that sell pizza offer a sprinkle of marijuana on it. If ‘happy’ is not in the name, I wouldn’t ask about it. Unless the name is “Ecstatic Pizza.”
Avoid buying weed from random guys outside of happy pizza places, who know you’re probably there to get high. We didn’t see any ourselves, but a local gave us that tip, so I thought I’d pass it on.
A cursory look at online reviews shows that many people that ordered their pizza “extra happy” had a bad time. Some people suggest that the marijuana could be laced with other stuff. But a bad high with edibles can feel like being on acid or mushrooms. Don’t freak out. Just start with a small amount, especially if you don’t normally smoke weed.
Be careful with your valuables outside of happy pizza places. Pickpockets might assume you’re slightly incapacitated and have your guard down. Though I generally have felt at ease everywhere in Cambodia, it’s probably a good rule of thumb.
Since the effects of edibles can be long-lasting and unpredictable, I suggest you prioritize your things to do list. For instance, I wouldn’t do this the day before going on a tour of Angkor Wat. You might still be tripping or recovering from your happy pizza. And a pizza high is not worth missing the best of Cambodia.
Get the GPS-guided version of this and other Siem Reap guides on GPSmyCity here.