For news on what’s happening here while you are in town, check the back page of the Friday edition of the Cambodia Daily, or look at the latest issue of the Phnom Penh Post or the monthly Bayon Pearnik.
There aren’t many out and out nightclubs in Phnom Penh and the few there are tend to be playgrounds of the privileged, attracting children of the country’s political elite who aren’t the nicest people to hang out with. Among the many bars listed previously, the best dance spots are the Heart of Darkness on any night of the week, the River house Lounge on weekends and the Newcomer Cambodia Club.
Tel: 427402 Add: Ph 84 – Admission free – Open until daylight
Manhattan is Cambodia’s longest running full-on club with banging techno tunes, and is usually heaving most nights. Drinks are pretty pricey (US$5 a beer), so if you are feeling thirsty, pop across the road to the drink stalls where beer is available for just US$1 a can.
There has been a renaissance of the cinema scene in Phnom Penh, following an appeal for the reopening of certain historic cinemas by King Sihanouk in 2001. However, then are almost no English-language films on offer, just a steady diet of low-budget Khmer films about zombies, vampires and ghosts.
Tel: 012913899 – Add: 116 Sihanouk Blvd – ticket US$10-12 – Open: 9am – 1am
This video shop near the Independence Monument offers private rooms with large TVs for that personal cinema experience. It pretty much has all the latest titles from Hollywood, the UK and Europe.
French Cultural Centre
Add: Ph 184
The cultural centre has frequent movie screenings in French during the week, usually kicking off at 6pm. Check at the centre, where a monthly programme is available.
Classical Dance & Arts
Check the latest information on performances at the Chatomuk Theatre (Sisowath Quay), just north of Hotel Cambodian Officially, it has been turned into a government conference centre, but it’s occasional the venue for displays of traditional dance as is the Royal University of Fine Arts campus on Ph 70 in the north of the city
Apsara Arts Aisodation
Tel: 990621 – Add: 71 Ph 598
Alternate performances of classical dance and folk dance (US$3) are held here every Saturday at 7pm. Visitors are also welcome from 7.30am to 10.30am and from 5pm Monday to Saturday to watch the students in training (admission by donation).
Sovanna Phum Arts Assodation
Add: Ph 360
Impressive traditional shadow puppet performances are held here at 7pm on Friday nights. Tickets are usually US$5 depending on the story being told. On alternate Fridays there are classical performance costing US$5.
It is possible to watch students training I Royal University of Fine Arts. However, it is important to remember that this is a school of learning – noise and flash photography should be kept to a minimum.
Live music is pretty limited in Phnom Penh compared with the bigger Asian capitals. Several of the larger hotels have lobby bands from the Philippines, including the continental Hotel and Hotel Cambodian, but it is often more muzac than music.
Add: 3 Ph 118 – Open 5pm-1am
This place often looks closed due to the soundproof doors, but it is best live music venue in town right now. They have live rock’n'roll from Tuesday to Saturday nights, including a Wednesday jam session.
Riverside Bistro is another reliable venue for live music.