Readers' Submissions

Cambodia

  • Written by Anonymous
  • January 4th, 2003
  • 4 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

By Jobe


I am writing this to clear up some of the previous information regarding Cambodia, in particular the description of nightlife in PP and Kompong Som (Sihinoukville). In general the nightlife scene is more relaxed than in BKK and more centred around bars and discos than the Thai a gogo.

Martini’s is a large establishment on a main thru fare entrance is free and a short drink is about $2 either at the bar or by table service in the main seating area/cinema/food hall. While you sit and enjoy the movie watch the world pass by, working girls, normally in pairs, will approach your table, very nice it is too for the first ten minutes or so, but it becomes tiring after a while. My solution to this was simple and very effective if you tip the barman who serves your table a modest amount, and explain to him you want to sit alone he will keep the girls at bay. This means you can drink in peace and do your own selecting either at the bar or in the disco. Generally I found I got the best treatment in the place as a farang as I was always smartly dressed, I guess even freelance bar ladies like a well turned out client. Finally when I was in Martinis in the first half of the year there was a very disabled guy used to sit in the entrance area, the poor fellow moves on a skate, I used to make a point of greeting him like I would anybody else and not avoiding seeing him as so many of the farang entering did. His smile was one of the things I treasure from my stay in PP and you can help so easily. A dollar pressed into his hand discreetly at least gives him the chance to eat decently so if you do visit and the little guy is there don’t look away.

Other places of interest are the Walkabout hotel and the Heart of Darkness. These are just down from the central market on Rue Pasteur. The Walkabout is an Australian owned hotel cum 24hr bar/pick up joint. Its ok for a game of pool but the girls are pretty average and not much of a selection. The hotel asks no questions who you take to your room so if you want an easy going base its got a lot to say for it.

Heart of Darkness is a noisy dark club popular with the Danger Mine T-shirt brigade ticking off Cambodia on the gap year break. Sharkies is just a loud rock music bar not so good on the girl front and very American.

Worth seeing in PP is the Russian Market and the Museum, a great place to chill is the Foreign Correspondents club where a great view and top quality service and food await you. Not a place to pick up local girls but a nice place to meet European women.

Sihinoukville is a pretty chilled place but is dangerous after dark in the more remote areas. I made the mistake of giving a girl a ride home on my moped only to be robbed at gun point after taking a wrong turn down a dark road. This was not the only robbery during my stay. I met a German who was robbed the same way a few days later. Also the lady who ran a gold shop in the market was gunned down during my stay in the course of a robbery. The place is ok in daylight but after dark use a good moto dop or hire a big trail bike so you travel faster than the mopeds. This sounds a bit doom and gloom but its not all bad generally the place is chilled. The main place to avoid late at night is the road to Victory Hill from the town known locally as "robbery hill" and the road past the blue mountain bordello. If you keep to these places either in company or in daylight then everything is ok. As a final point Cambodian people are very poor but friendly. Most people you meet will reward your few words of Khmer with a huge smile and much respect for your attempt to try to communicate in their language. Buy a book and learn a few basics. It really pays.

PS. Khmer new year is amazing but also the crime rate rockets, indeed some of the bars get machine gun toting guards at this time of year. If all the above is putting you off the Cambodia is probably not for you but if you are keen to seen a beautiful country emerge from a tragic history and live albeit poorly freely and without fear go soon it wont stay like this forever.

Stickman says:

I used to go to Woodstock Bar on a Friday night and enjoyed chatting with the ecletcic mix of exapts, teachers, misfits, sex tourists and so forth who casually assembled there to shoot the breeze and discuss life in this part of the world. I will never forget a certain fellow a couple of years ago who proudly pulled out a stack of photos of Vietnamese girls from Cambodia who had shared his bed there over the previous weeks. This fellow went on to admit that most of the girls were underage. It really turned my stomach, so much so that I had to leave, unable to remain in the company of this paedophile. Ever since then, whenever people talk about naughty nightlife in Cambodia, I remember this fellow. Cambodia is not Thailand and in many ways, what goes on over there really makes Thailand look pure and innocent.