Phnom Penh Nightlife

The nightlife is Phnom Penh has picked up in recent years, with several good quality clubs and bars emerging to join the list of enduring classics like The Heart of Darkness and The Foreign Correspondents Club. The upmarket Elephant Bar at the Hotel Royal and the Riverhouse Lounge are both stylish places to start an evening in the city. The area around the lake has many bars, although many are still of the go-go girl variety and are rather seedy. Still, they can make for an interesting cultural experience and are worth checking out at least once during a stay in the city. For live music try Memphis Pub which has nightly rock and blues gigs, and Miles Jazz Café which has jazz every Friday. Equinox Bar also has jam sessions on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Most of Cambodia's artists and musicians were killed during Pol Pots' reign, as part of a deliberate attempt to eradicate the country's cultural and artistic traditions. This tragedy provides extra motivation to support institutions and events that help with the rebirth of these areas of Khmer life. The Royal University of Fine Arts hosts Khmer royal ballet, although training and performance sessions are irregular. The Aspara Arts Association holds classical and folk dance sessions every Saturday at 7pm. The Souvanna Phum Theatre has traditional puppetry shows on weekends. And Chatomuk Theatre on Sisowath Quay hosts traditional music and dance on special occasions.

Although Phnom Penh is getting safer it remains a fairly dangerous city, hence walking around alone at night is best avoided. Using motorcycle taxis is a cheap and fairly safe way to get between venues.

For details of what's hot and happening in the city get a copy of the Friday edition of the Cambodia Daily, the fortnightly The Phnom Penh Post and the free and always interesting Bayon Pearnik, which comes out monthly.

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