Phnom Penh has one of the most bizarre and interesting nightlife in Asia. In terms of development, the city is still far behind Bangkok, Saigon, Jakarta or Manila: There are almost no skyscrapers, few modern malls, fewer cars, etc. This also translates into more poverty, poor public services (bad road maintenance, garbage) and average infrastructure (bumpy roads, slow internet, occasional power cuts).

These characteristics reflect onto the nightlife. In the absence of a large middle class, you'll find it rare to meet normal girls in clubs. The most popular ones are packed with prostitutes, but many will play the girlfriend card if you are willing to take care of them. The rules are relaxed: Several clubs close late in the morning and a few bars stay open 24/7. Hotels are generally girl-friendly. You can get around without a helmet on a rented motorbike. Drugs are everywhere.

Alcohol prices are low: 4$ will get you a cocktail and 2$ a draught beer in most venues (and half that price during Happy Hours). The level of English is good so you can communicate easily with most people unlike in Vietnam.

Phnom Penh is also a pleasant city to visit as long as you can handle the rats going through the garbage in the streets. You have a relaxed riverfront where you can stroll in the evening, several authentic markets, colonial architecture, great palaces and pagodas, good food and a genuinely nice population.

As a result of all this, the city attracts a mix of tourists (mostly backpackers but also many older people on group tours), low-budget expats (from guys on retirement to English teachers and NGO workers), small business owners and probably a few sex offenders. I noticed it is particularly easy to meet other foreigners in Phnom Penh. It seems people are used to talking to each other and mingle.

I only spent a week there so this review will only scratch the surface of the things to do at night. Still, I managed to visit all the most popular bars and nightclubs, and discover a few that aren't on everyone's map. If you feel I forgot something, please share your own experience by leaving a comment.

Few Things to Know
Best Time to Visit
The ideal time would be from November to March but be careful to avoid Christmas, New Year and Khmer New Year.

Avoid in April. When I was there, the temperature reached 40°C (104°F) several times. May and October are hot as well. June to September is the rainy season which is both hot and humid.

Visa for Cambodia
As of 2016, almost everyone can get a visa on arrival. The cost is 30$ but you may have to pay 35$ if you cross by land (it's a scam but hard to avoid). If you arrive by plane, you won't have any issues. Bring 2 ID photos or pay 2$ extra.

You can get the visa in advance with the e-visa procedure, which costs 7$ extra. I don't really see the benefits of doing so though.

To make sure this information is up-to-date, check Visa Requirements to Cambodia before your trip.

Cambodia uses two currencies, the US dollar and the riel. As of today, 1$ = 4,100 riels. You will end up with riels when your change is under a dollar. If you don't have any, it's ok. I used dollars for 99% of transactions, except small payments.

Internet Access and Mobile Phone
For just $5 you can get a local phone number and internet access from your mobile. Don't spare this expense. You need internet for so many things including to help you get around.

Recommended providers are Cellcard and Smart. Both have special 30-day tourist packages.

Getting around
I always use Google Maps to estimate the time I need to get to my destination. Then I negotiate the price based on this estimate.

Tuk Tuk: 2$ for 10 minutes ride.
Motorbike: 2$ for 20 minutes ride
Taxis: I tried to get the meter but it's not always possible. If not, I give the same price as Tuk Tuk. A taxi from the airport to the city center costs from $8 to 12$.

Renting a motorbike is convenient but dangerous. Beware of dishonest renters. You can rent one here starting $6 per day.

Apps like Uber or Grab were not available during my visit but I'm sure this is just a matter of time before they enter the market. 

A great site for preparing a trip to Asia
If you are only staying in Cambodia for a short time, it can be challenging to find normal girls. In tourist clubs, expect 95% of pros and semi-pros. Some may stay with you for free if they expect a relationship. In upscale clubs, girls won't be very interested if you are not an expat living in Cambodia. It is better to use dating apps like AsianDating, Badoo, Tinder and Skout.

If you are a fan of elephant pants and sun-burnt white skin, you have plenty of Western girls in Phnom Penh as well.

Recommended hotels near the nightlife
If you want to be walking distance from the main bars/clubs AND from most tourist attractions (riverside, Royal Palace), I recommend you to stay near Street 136 or Street 130. You can also stay in Street 51 to be closer from Pontoon (the major nightclub in Phnom Penh).

Another area you might consider is Boeung Keng Kang 1 (BKK1) which is south of Sihanouk Boulevard. This is where most expats live and it is more clean and less dodgy. Most "normal" bars are there, particularly in Street 278.

The hotels listed below are girl-friendly. If you plan on bringing back a girl to your room, always avoid family-run guesthouses, backpacker hostels and upscale boutique hotel/charming villas that target 50+ years old rich European couples.

Near Street 136 and 130
You can choose between 136 and 104 street which are 300m apart from each other. 136 is much nicer I think as it is closer from the riverside. Pontoon is less than a kilometer from there.

Around 25$ per night: City Centre HotelLance Court Hotel
Around 35$: Ohana Hotel

Near Pontoon nightclub
This is the second best area in Phnom Penh for nightlife as you can walk to several bars, clubs and restaurants that stay open late (Street 51) The area is not the most pretty though and you will be about 500-1000m from the Royal Palace, the riverside and the Gogo Bars streets (136 and 104).

Around 25$ per night: Richly Boutique Hotel or Hotel Zing
Around 40$ per night: Town View Hotel
Around 70$ per night: Cardamom Hotel and Apartments

For more suggestions of hotels with good location in Phnom Penh, see Hotels Near the Royal Palace. 

Westernized Nightclubs in Phnom Penh
There are not that many Western nightclubs in Phnom Penh, but the ones available are really fun and they are open (and busy) almost every night.

Each of them caters to a different type of clientele. Read carefully the description of each to make sure you're not in the wrong place.

It is the Phnom Penh equivalent to SkyGarden in Bali. It consists of 3 separate areas: Pontoon Club, Pontoon Pulse and the new Pontoon Vibe.

Pontoon Club is the main room and where most people go to. It is a large square with a bar in the middle and a decent dancefloor. Music is commercial, including R&B, House, EDM, Top 40. The crowd is really mixed, mostly freelance prostitutes and tons of random western guys aged between 20 and 60. Closes at 4am (5am on weekends).

Pontoon Pulse has a smaller room with non-commercial music and more grown-ups and expats.

Pontoon Vibe is an after-hour club closing at 7am every night. As any after club, the crowd is an odd mix of both splendid clubbers and human trash.

Overall, a really fun place to go, especially if it is your first time in Phnom Penh. It is easy to find, Western-friendly and rather cheap. No dress code.

The second most famous nightclub in Phnom Penh among tourists after Pontoon (which is across the street), it is also mostly crowded with freelance prostitutes, gays and ladyboys. Open every day until 5am. Music is commercial, sometimes retro. Similar to Apocalypse in Saigon.

The happening disco for rich Cambodians and younger expats trying to hook-up with upper-class girls. It was recommended to me by an expat friend working for Phnom Penh Media. Sleek design, luxury feel, attentive service. The music is good though mostly commercial. You'll enjoy it if you don't mind partying with spoilt teenagers. Most busy on weekends. Open every day from 9pm to 5am. 50% discount for girls on their lady's night on Thursday. Dress code is enforced: Wear shoes, pants and at least a polo. 

Nova used to be the most popular nightclub for rich Cambodians before Epic opened. You still have beautiful people inside though, including some expats. You have a tiny chance of getting a normal Khmer girl there if you play your cards right (it happened to my friend). In general, the crowd is older than the one in Epic. Hip-Hop and R&B music. Modern design, lighting and sound system. Don't wear shorts and sandals. Ladies night on Wednesday (1 free cocktail). Open every day from 9pm to 4am.

These two venues are in the same building in the expat area of BKK1. Duplex is a live music bar and vegetarian restaurant. Kind of hippy crowd who likes to discover new cultures, read books and listen to alternative music. Large choice of Belgian beers available. Salsa. Open every day until 2am.

Upstairs Club Love has a DJ which plays not-too-commercial music. The crowd is very Western (Backpackers, volunteers, NGOs), including girls. Ladies night on Wednesday (1 free shot when you arrive + buy 2 get 1 free). Open every day from 11pm to 4am.

Meta House is not a club per se (it is the German Cultural Center) but they organize DJ parties every Thursday with German electronic. Great music. Expat crowd. The entrance is free and it's cheap (1$ for beer).

Darlin' Darlin' is your typical luxury hotel prostitute bar. It is located within Naga World Hotel and Casino and features live Top 40 music and DJ every night. Usually crowded with mostly Asians, including Japanese, Koreans, Singaporeans and some rich Cambodians as well. Avoid flip-flops and shorts. 6$ for a beer.

They have pretty and well-groomed Vietnamese, Cambodian and PRC freelance prostitutes who ask 100$ for a short time and 200$ for a long time. No lady's drink, direct to business. The luxurious club 88 KTV is also located in Naga World.

This is an alternative to Pontoon or Heart of Darkness if you need a more laid-back nightclub without the dozens of freelancers. The crowd is more sparse, especially during the week.

Not really my style but if you are a fan of music from the 70s and 80s, you might enjoy. It is mostly crowded with French.

Cambodian/Chinese-style Nightclubs and KTV
There is a huge segment of Phnom Penh nightlife that few foreigners know about. Those places are generally outside of the immediate city center and take the form of KTVs and Chinese-style nightclubs.

Older Cambodian men are big party-goers but they do things differently. Most of the times it involves sitting with a group, ordering bottles, singing, flirting with lady companions, and claiming the expenses as a part of "entertainment". The party may also end in a nearby hotel with one of the girls.

KTVs are open and crowded in the afternoon since many of their customers are married men with a family life. 

Rock Entertainment is a big one-stop entertainment complex with a club (Zeus), a KTV, a hotel, a restaurant and a massage parlor. You probably guessed it: It's a hidden bordello.

This is a luxury local club, with a heavy "Chinese" influence, meaning over-the-top luxury setting, glitters, loud house music, no dance-floor (replaced with tables and sofas), a karaoke and sexy companions everywhere. Lady's night on Tuesday (1 free cocktail). Open every day from 8.30pm to 3am. Not a pick-up place unless you have $$$.

Casa Club, KTV and Hotel
Casa is another upscale local club and karaoke. Mostly for finding high-class freelance prostitutes, particularly Vietnamese. The main lounge has a lot of pretty girls, a live band then house music. Similar to Boss: Chinese oriented. Luxury karaoke rooms start $70.

Full review here: Casa Nightclub Phnom Penh.

This is the only Thai nightclub in Phnom Penh. Sexy Thai dancers and models.

Popular middle-class Cambodian disco. Friendly and cheap.

There are dozens more local nightclubs and KTV. These are a few of the most famous ones: MIP (Midnight in Phnom Penh), True Face Club, Beliza Club, Tonite LoungeGL, Holiday Club and the brand new 55 Club and RCA.

Cocktail Lounges and Stylish Bars

Rehabb (closed)
One of the upmarket and trendy bars in Phnom Penh, catering to a more sophisticated expat crowd. 

The Phnom Penh branch of Oskar Bangkok on Sukhumvit 11, it is the new favorite hangout place for trendy expats and locals. Stylish with excellent food and cocktails. They have a live DJ playing progressive house.

Speakeasy lounge/cocktail bar recently opened. Next to Nova nightclub. Tapas and live music on Wednesday and Friday.

Considered the best wine bar in the city with live jazz every Wednesday.

The Foreign Correspondent Club is mentioned in every guidebook but it is really average and expensive. Ok for first-time visitors.

Bars and Restaurants in Bassac Lane (Street 308)
This small street in the expat area of Phnom Penh has several hipster-like micro-bars and eateries. I think they are all owned by two Kiwi brothers. The current line-up consists of Cicada, Seibur, Hangar 44, The Library Daiquiri Bar, Meat and Drink and Harrys. The owners of these bars are also behind the popular Sito (on Street 240).

Other bars worth checking are Chez Rina, Che Culo and Doors.

Backpacker Bars

Open-air backpacker bar on top of the Top Banana Guest House . Very cheap (0.75$ for beer during happy hour). In front of Club Love. For those who are alone and want to meet other travelers. Nightly events (live music, DJ).

Live Music Bars

One of the famous live music bars in Phnom Penh. Older crowd of regulars and freelancers. Unsophisticated but popular.

Taiwanese-owned. The new location is on Street 278. Live classic rock.

I'm not sure if the customers here are low budget expats or backpackers. Next to the S21 museum, this punk dive bar is cheap, serves good food and it has live "alternative" music. Free beer every day from 6.30pm to 7pm. 1$ after that. Hipsters would say it's rad.

Expat Bars/Sports Bars

Cadillac Bar
Perfect choice if you are looking for a sports bar/restaurant by the riverfront. They serve excellent American and Western food for a reasonable price.

Garage Bar
Self-proclaimed "Rock'n'Roll Dive Bar". Small, near the riverside, with a regular crowd of expats over 40. Good burgers. Simon the owner is usually inside.

A bar popular with American expats. Far West/saloon theme. Good Tex-Mex food and burgers. NFL/NBA/MLB on screens.

Tamed hostess bar on Street 51 (near Pontoon). Pretty, numerous girls but you cannot take them home with you (no barfines allowed). Live music. Family friendly on Sundays for their weekly roast.

A bit more upmarket compared to other expat bars. American-owned, famous for its pizzas. Pool tables. Hot waitresses will play against you to try to get a ladies' drink.

For watching sports, you can also try The Gym Sports Bar (Rugby), Score and Pickled Parrot.

Rooftop Bars and Lounges
Highest rooftop bar in Phnom Penh with 360° view (only 23rd floor though). Modern, classy, always busy for sunset. 6$ for a cocktail.

On top of Amanjaya hotel (which is not part of the Aman Resort group). If you are looking for a nice view of the riverside, this is where you'll get the best one. Cocktails start at 4$.

In spite of their name, the upstairs terrace has DJs playing electronic music. Monthly underground nights.

After Hour and 24/7 Bars
As I mentioned before, after 5am you can go to Pontoon Vibe. Once it is closed, you have several options, none of which are really ideal.

One of the most famous freelancer bars in Phnom Penh, it is quite a dump when you compare to the other options available. Old prostitutes who may or may not be meth addicts. The only reason to go there is if you stay in the Walkabout Guest House or if you are desperate for a shag at 8am.

Golden Sorya Mall Beer Garden (GSM) - G Pub
24/7 open-air bar, next door to Pontoon. Old prostitutes and not really safe. It's only OK to go there after hours when you are too drunk to move away from Street 51.

You can also go to Street 136 to Candy Bar, Butterfly and Corner Bar (see below) which are open 24 hours.

Best Hostess Bars in Phnom Penh
There must be at least 50 hostess bars in Phnom Penh, with most located on Street 136, 104, 51 and 130 (starting from the best). There are isolated ones too in Street 102, 108, 110, 118, 172 (and more!). It's fun to just walk around and hit them randomly. Most places open at 7pm and have happy hours until 9pm.

Unlike in Thailand, a girl you meet in a hostess bar in Phnom Penh may not go home with you, even if you bought her several lady drinks and offer her money. This can cause some frustration if you are not used to it. Naturally, young, friendly, polite and good-looking guys have a higher success rate. If you want certainty, it is better to go to the freelancer bars in Street 51, in Cyrcee or in Darlin' Darlin'.

The upside is that when a girl says yes, you can expect a nice girlfriend experience. Cambodian girls may not be as gorgeous as Thai or Vietnamese women, but they are fun and sweet. The fact that they come from a poor background with little perspective can make soft-hearted guys melt.

The prices in all Western-oriented hostess bars in Phnom Penh are similar from one place to another. Beer: 2-3$. Hard liquor: 3-5$. Expect to pay between $20 and $30 for ST, 50$ for LT. Some places are more expensive (like Cyrcee). There is also a 10-15$ bar fine in most bars (a compensation you pay to the bar for taking one of their staff). Many girls are only interested in ladies drinks (3,5$ almost everywhere), on which they get a 1,5$ commission.

Many bars have games (Connect Four, cards), if not a pool table. So even if the girls don't speak English well, you have something to do with them. The music is often from a YouTube playlist and you can make requests as you wish as long as it's commercial and upbeat. On TV screens you'll have either sports or music video clips.

On weekdays,  it is not rare to be the only customer in a bar. While it gives you an ample choice of girls to choose from, it can be intimidating too. To avoid that, I recommend one of these popular ones:

Owned by a French man, it has girls that are prettier than average. It is special because most girls are straight to business and not really looking for ladies drinks. You can have a short time with them in a nearby room (5$) for 30-40$ + 10$ bar fine. Many will also accept to go home with you all night for 100$. Threesome possible.

Hostess Bars on Street 136
As I mentioned before, this is the most interesting street. In particular, you can go to Candy Bar, Butterfly and Corner Bar which are open 24/7 and have plenty of girls, including some freelancers. Corner Bar has sexy dancer shows on Fridays and Saturdays. This is the closest you'll get from a Gogo bar in Phnom Penh.

Another nice bar is 69. Flora Bar has a discreet couch in the back if you want to fool around.

Hostess Bars on Street 104
The nicest one on this street is Rose. There are 30-40 girls in uniforms, but many are only interested in drinks.

Other recommended bars: Cheers, Soft Spot and Bunny (a bit kinky, you can take girls to the private billiard room, as in Bar 104 -One Zero Four)

Hostess Bars on Street 130
Loco and Angry Birds: Both are clean with good-looking girls who don't hustle clients.

More recommended hostess bars:
Street 110: Pretty Women (Japanese-run, clean, beautiful girls)
Street 102: Valhalla (ex Nay Nay Star: The bar has rooms for short time upstairs if you need fast and discreet action)
Street 172: BlackPearl

Massage Parlours and Spas in PP
Phnom Penh is not the best city for massage lovers. You either have cheap tourist massage parlors with quick handjob finishing, or larger brothels where girls have no massage skills.

One of the most famous venues is Soul Golden City, near the Sofitel Phnom Penh (exact location here), which features a fish tank on the 5th floor (for newcomers: it's an area where girls are standing behind a glass). You can take a Khmer or Vietnamese girl to the karaoke or to a room for 10$/20$. This is just for a regular massage. Full service is available if you tip the therapist directly. Prices range from 50$ to 150$.

A very similar place is Massa on Street 252. Fish tank with around 25 sexy Viet and Khmer girls. Room is 10$ with shower and AC. After negotiating, you should pay a tip between 25$ and 50$ for full service. If you only want a handjob, you can get it for 10$.

You can also go to the spa in Hotel Luxury World (Street 200) which is affordable (same as Massa) and has decent facilities. A cheaper one is on the second floor of the Mean Haur Hotel.

You can also try massage parlors aimed at tourists in the center and ask if they have a "private room". In that case, you may have a chance to get something at the end. Rattanakiri Spa and Nu Spa offer such services.

There are local 24-hour massage parlors north of the Wat Phnom roundabout, next to Casa Club (France Street). Casa Boutique Hotel may have a massage parlor but I'm not sure. You have one as well in The Rock Entertainment Complex with sauna, jacuzzi and steam.

19 comments to '' Phnom Penh Nightlife: Best Bars and Nightclubs "

  1. casa hotel dont have massage, they have karaoke (2F) and disco (GF), alot of young vietnamese girls inside casa hotel.

  2. great lengthy write up, definitely a place where pros are who you should expect to hook up with

  3. Hey Sir! Thanks for your write up. Do you have info on E Rock club? What kind of concept and its location? Thank you!!

    1. Hi sorry I haven't been there yet... If you go please leave a comment here...

    2. Thank you for your reply. Will update you when I visit. Thank you!!

  4. Which bar/corner is the photo just under 'After Hours and 24/7 bars taken'. I know PP a little bit but its really confused me? Thanks in advance

    1. That's the corner in Street 136 near Corner Bar/Candy if I remember correctly from last year...

  5. Walkabout is not existent anymore

  6. Bro thank you for your information i will visit to phnom penh in sep also any suggestion what to do and where to go in siem reap?

  7. Hey, thanks for the great article, quick question:
    Are there any hotels with Spas who offer massage services in your hotel room with happy ending? Just like quite a few in Jakarta and other asian cities?
    Im not big into party scene but do quite enjoy nice massages in comfort of my room.

  8. Hey man, very helpful write up. Planning my phnom penh trip keeping all this in mind.

  9. Most of the girls at Cyrcee have boyfriends. So they don't want to do long time. The name of the game there is short time. Every girl in the bar will do you for $30 short time. They use a hotel right around the corner.

  10. Thibaud, will b visiting cambo for the 1st time nxt wk staying in between sangkat phsar depou ti mouy/pir, any good safe recommended place to visit within walking distance. cheers

    1. You will need to walk to streets 136, 130 or 104... it's not so far, around 1km... a tuk tuk can get you there in less than 5 minutes...

  11. I am here new comer. I really confused to pick up beautiful girl! If i ask for one night stand how much i should pay? Thank You in advance.

  12. When I checked in April 2020 - Street 252 massa had closed and Hotel luxury world was under renovaton...
    Mean Haur hotel's fish tank is stil a hot one for 40$ last week.
    Does anyone have any latest fish tank options in PP.

  13. Hi there just a quick question me and my friend plan to travel to Phnom penh during Khmer new year ?will these facilities and clubs be opened during those days or will be it quite ?

  14. Just need you insight as me and my friend plan to travel to Phnom penh during Khmer new year. Will these facilities and clubs be opened during those days ?
    Thank you in advance