Gay Cambodia News Circa 2016


 

For several years this was the site to visit if you were looking for gay friendly Cambodian information. In 2016 the site offered a plethora of the news on the parties and events surrounding LGBT Pride Cambodia 2016.
Content is from the site's 2016 archived pages providing a small glimpse of what this site offered its readership.

 

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Gay Cambodia

 

For the Tourist –

Cambodia is fun, famously friendly and extremely gay-friendly. Being gay in Cambodia isn’t an issue for the tourist and this country is a breath of fresh air for LGBT people. Men show affection with their male friends publicly, sitting with arms and legs draped across each other, heads in laps and walking with arms around each other is a common sight. This is the culture and doesn’t necessarily mean that this affection equals homosexuality and showing intimacy publicly is a no-no which you can read more about below. Whether you meet straight or gay people, you can make fantastic and genuine friends without prejudice regarding your orientation. Facebook is the chat forum of choice and is absolutely crammed with gay groups and pages; the more popular ones having enormous memberships. ‘Line’ is also a popular mobile app for chatting, but to meet people for dates etc. the most popular app is Grindr. If you prefer to meet people in real life, don’t forget that Cambodia has a vibrant gay scene with bars clubs and saunas everywhere!

About the Khmer –

The Khmer are a remarkably relaxed and enlightened people with a live and let live ideology and being gay only seems to be a real issue within the family. The families here tend to be extremely close and family loyalty and duties are expected. This makes the average Cambodian family very conservative and one of the most important expectations is that everyone should get married. This presents obvious problems for many LGBT Cambodians, creating many secret lives and a fear of being outed which prevents so many from being open about their orientation.

A Changing Culture –

That said, attitudes are changing fast, with the younger generations accepting gay people as “same, same” and same, and more and more families respecting and even celebrating their LGBT family members. Gay awareness and acceptance is now being taught in schools and universities and the reports back from these initiatives are extremely positive, with one teacher telling me that he has never met a generation, Western or Asian, that is so open-minded and free from prejudice.

Cultural Awareness and the Law

Cambodia at first sight may appear to be a very open country, but it is in fact rather reserved, especially regarding the family and public behavior. People here are tactile by nature, but there are boundaries, and publicly displayed affection is frowned upon. This is the same for gay and straight people whether they are Khmer or Western. Showing too much of your body in public can also be an issue and it has been known for people to have been arrested at nightclubs for taking their shirts off. This tough stance seems to have been relaxed in 2015 and we are not aware of anymore reports these types of arrests. You may also find this idea that the country is reserved as pretty hard to take as on the streets you will see girls wandering round in the shortest possible shorts, as well as many men with their shirts off or even walking about in their pants – usually within the boundaries of their house and front drive or course! Maybe the law used to be enforced because westerners are held in pretty high regard here and they don’t like to see us letting ourselves down. Who knows, but you’ll be pleased to know that western culture is fully understood at places like swimming pools and beaches. Also, affection shown publicly between men should not be confused as it is seen as a normal and natural show of affection between friends that you may think has been lost somewhere along the way in the west. Pink is not a gay color and is worn by many Khmer – some even spray their motorbikes pink. In Cambodia, smiles and politeness are a must. As long as you keep smiling, you can get your point across; show an angry face and you will be ignored. The people are generally reserved, but of course, people do argue, but when they do you will see a crowd quickly gather: it is unusual. Similar to the English saying, ‘Don’t do your washing in public’, the Khmer say, ‘To argue outside is to run naked’. I did meet a very grumpy Khmer mechanic once, and I must admit that my smile eventually fell from my face. He was quite an old man, and his wife smiled and said, “He doesn’t mean it. He has never been able to smile.” I smiled and I’m sure his lips rose a little . . . The Khmer also don’t like being humiliated in front of people. So, if you have an issue with someone, don’t react. If that someone is someone special and you don’t want them to leave you, then save the argument for when you are at home. The minimum age of consent in Cambodia is 15, but like Thailand, if a visitor takes someone home under the age of 18, they can expect arrest and prison. Offenders can spend up to 20 years in prison.

Money, Bartering and Tips

When it comes to money, like most developing countries, there is a visitor’s price and a local price. This is especially true with the tuk-tuk drivers who may try to charge you a $5 dollar fare which for a local may only be $1. If you have the money, then why not pay it? It will almost definitely be going towards the cost of education, and etc., for the driver’s hard-up family. However, not all travelers can afford to be so generous, and so here are some tips on bartering: 1: learn some language – Sok-sa-by means hello and is a good start (if someone says ‘Sok-sa-by’ to you, you can always say the same back, or for fun, say ‘By-sa-sok’. This is extremely funny for some reason!). “Pon Man” means ‘How much’ and will indirectly trick the driver into thinking you have some local knowledge. Use this even if they speak to you in English. If they still give you an inflated price you can say ‘klein’ as in Calvin Klein which means “expensive” and then repeat, “Pon Man”. If you haven’t learnt your numbers yet, don’t worry. Most tuk-tuk drivers in the tourist destinations will speak English, but otherwise you can always use your fingers to work it out. Remember to ask them the price in Khmer and find out how much your journey will cost beforehand. Basic numbers are easy to learn as they step up in groups of five. However, you will find it almost impossible to understand the Khmer when they use numbers as they speak very fast and use a short-hand vocabulary, but don’t despair, if they want the fare you will work it out. 2: Take a local – if you have met a local Khmer person then it is a great idea to take him shopping with you and etc. If they see you, you will still get probably get an inflated price, but a much reduced one. 3: Supermarkets and ‘Marts’ always give the same price, and for smaller things, you will get the same local price at most street vendors. 4: Just like any tourist spot anywhere in the world, you will pay more. So, if you can, stay away from those and see and mix with the Khmer – enjoy a beer and dinner for $1. 5: Clothes are cheap but expensive if you are bigger than the average Asian. But you can still bargain at clothes shops, even cutting the bill in half. Remember – “Pon Man”? 6: Tips – if you come to an arrangement that is not satisfactory, make it a little better by saying, “Yes, but the tip is included, OK?” This could save you a dollar, if you are a friendly tipper. 7: Remember, if you have to pay too much, don’t get upset. Just think of it as helping a family have a decent meal tonight and give yourself a pat on the back. A smile goes a long way in Cambodia, and if they think you are friendly, they might even reduce the price by the time money changes hands. In conclusion, most Cambodians are incredibly honest, so whatever price you negotiate will be honored. Having been routinely returned money after already paying too much (it is easy to get confused by the dual currency of Dollars and Riels).

Gay Phnom Penh:

Phnom Penh has official population statistics set at around 1 million, whereas the real figure is generally accepted as nearer 4 million. This is probably because of the disparity between the people who are and are not registered as living here. Phnom Penh is a sprawling city and the population is diverse, or it is if you scratch the surface. There are ‘secret’ cruising areas (the gay Khmer meet at stadium steps at the Olympic Stadium, at the park to the left of the Independence Monument, and both Khmer and visitors can meet at the Riverside Walk by Sisowath Quay and etc.) On the surface are many gay bars clubs cafes restaurants and saunas which are gay owned and friendly. There is a stylish gay-only hotel (Arthur & Paul’s), which also opens to the public as a bar sauna/spa and swimming pool. As a visitor you can use its facilities for $5 a day, or its bar for free. There is also Manor House which is a gay-owned and friendly hotel which encourages gay people to use its café/bar and swimming pool during the day. While many Khmer are rather shy to be seen at these ‘gay’ venues, there is definitely a change taking place as more Khmer are literally “coming out” on the gay scene. Phnom Penh is a fun place to visit with many things to do and see and shouldn’t be missed if you are visiting Cambodia. Apart from all the gay things to do, it also hosts the Royal Palace, famous Pagodas, art galleries, boat trips along the Mekong, cooling walks along the riverside and museums. The most famous museum in Phnom Penh is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This, and the Killing Fields Museum just outside of Phnom Penh is a tragic reminder of the devastating affects Cambodia suffered under the rule of the Khmer Rouge. However, while this should never be forgotten, the topic is rarely talked about by the Khmer, and especially by the younger Khmer who appear to view this history with the same distance and acknowledgement as a westerner would remember WW2.

Gay Siem Reap

Siem Reap is usually the first stop after the border for people visiting Cambodia. It is, of course, home to the ancient city that houses the famous Angkor Wat temple. But Siem Reap offers much more than that to the gay traveler. Like Phnom Penh it has two gay-only hotels (The 3 Monkey’s and Men’s), although the sauna/spa and maze area at Men’s is somewhat raunchier than that of Arthur & Paul’s in Phnon Penh. Here, if you are on a budget (their rooms start at $59 in the low season), you can still enjoy their facilities for $5 a day. Although there are no dedicated gay clubs in Siem Reap, there are mixed clubs and also many gay bars in Siem Reap, the oldest of which is the Linga Bar which has been revamped into a very successful gay lounge bar, most of which provide drag shows to entertain. There are also an array of other gay-friendly hotels as well as excellent spa and saunas which you can find via our menu at the top of this page. The city does have a cruising area where you can pick up, but this is rather precarious and sometimes intimidating as the walk along the riverside is also frequented by occasional drunks and undesirables at night. As with all Cambodia, Siem Reap is a very friendly place to visit and full of fun.

Gay Sihanoukville

Sihanoukville is everything to everyone depending on where you are. Serendipity is a favorite for backpackers and there are loud open air parties on the beach with cheap beer, fireworks, lots of very friendly ladies and quite a few men that will try to meet your eye. Otres is more sedate and relaxing and you can stay in this area in a beach bungalow from as little as $15 to $30 a night with AC and upwards. There are parties in some of the bars along here which range from throwbacks to the hippy era to the extremely chic and luxurious. Sihanoukville has also just got its first two dedicated gay bars which can be found in the town – see our Sihanoukville page for details, reviews and maps. These bars are really making a mark and becoming very successful in putting Sihanoukville on the gay tourist map. With beautiful beaches, nearby island retreats, and the new bars and gay-owned and great value hotels on Otres, Sihanoukville is always on my list.

 

GCN gives you all the latest gay events and listings from bars to saunas, hotels, exhibitions, travel, jobs and more. We were the official website for LGBT Pride Cambodia 2015 and we are set to continue that role as the forum and center for information for the up-coming LGBT Pride Cambodia 2016. After last year’s monumental success we are really looking forward to the next Gay Cambodia Pride 2016 which will be in May from the 17th through to the 22nd. Contrary to some rumors, there is unfortunately no Pride this year in Siem Reap. While Cambodia is sadly remembered for its traumatic history under the Khmer Rouge, it is now mostly known as a tourist destination for its beautiful temples and the world heritage site of Anchor Watt. This is the main reason why millions of tourists visit every year, but Cambodia is much more than that! On our travel page (under construction at the moment) we will get around this amazing country and find all the best locations in this somewhat overlooked paradise that is home to the biggest waterfall in the world, paradisaical beaches and islands, mountain ranges and picturesque landscapes. As you can see, our pages are not just listings and static information, we give you up-to-the-minute news on cultural events, as well as Gay Pride, and on every venue page you will find a Facebook link on the right-hand side where you will find the latest events offers and promotions from all the gay bars clubs, saunas spas and hotels guesthouses who update our Facebook pages as soon as they are ready to launch an event. No other gay guide provides such comprehensive and current news. With our Facebook group and pages you can now really save money with the latest discounted rooms from hotels which offer everything from seasonal deals to the last minute business of filling empty rooms – and if you mention our website you will get extra discount via our book direct buttons! For the first time, GCN provides a forum where all the venues can promote themselves in one place to give you the best possible choice on where to go and spend your time, whether on holiday working or living in Cambodia. Also, there is a forum for you on our Facebook group. Here you can add your experiences and comments about your experience in Cambodia and share these with the thousands of people who visit us every week. Another new page coming to this site is the jobs page, listing all the jobs which are gay or gay friendly in Cambodia. We will be ringing round to find out what’s being offered and pass it directly on to you. An important community page also offers health advice to tell you all about the STD clinics and resources right here in Cambodia. These provide many free facilities and we are pleased to support them in every way that we can. Currently, in Phnom Penh, M-Style provides free checks for HIV and Syphilis for gay Cambodiah2 as well as advice, counseling and also a place to relax. There is no stigma with getting a test nowadays, and even if a negative result is received, it’s not the end of the world. With modern HIV antiviral medication people can now live normal lives without the risk of infecting others. Because of these NGO’s and clinics, HIV transmissions have fallen dramatically in recent years, but this is no time to be complacent. People are still dying unnecessarily from HIV, and with Syphilis also on the rise, we hope that our page can help people find the help the need.

 

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GBT Pride Cambodia 2016 Calendar of Events

The only complete and official calendar for LGBT Pride Cambodia 2016!
Scroll down to read our personal blog and see the photo diary on the incredibly successful LGBT Pride Cambodia 2015.
Be sure to bookmark or link to this page to get all the updates for 2016 as we get them!

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8:00am-12:00pm: United Sisterhood Office – Internal only: Welcoming and Update community issue – ROCK.

8:00am-12:00pm: CamASEAN-School Club (Prey Veng, Baphnom High School) – #PurpleMySchool or Stop Bullying at Schools in Baphnom Prey Veng: CamASEAN/MRI

13.00-17.00pm: Phnom Penh at LICADHO Office – LGBTI Legalization and LGBTI Movement Update – CamASEAN/MRI

14.00-15.30 pm: Pre-school Teacher Training Center #201 Norodom Boulevard – Rainbow Mass – Christian Ecumenical Worship Service welcoming LGBT and all: Joint NGOs and Churches.

14:00 PM: Rainbow Mass – Christian Ecumenical Worship Service, Pre-school Teacher Training Center, #201 Norodom Boulevard, 

Evening: POPP Opening party – POPP is a new bar that opened last year and has enjoyed great success – we are really looking forward to their first Gay Pride Party tonight! – See the Phnom Penh page for where to find this bar

6 – late: Sihanoukville Pride Parties at the Oga Bar – See Sihanoukville page for map and details for this bar – 14th to May 22th , a special cocktail evening – every evening – with a special cocktail named Gay Pride Cambodia to celebrate gay pride week.

 

 

9.30am-12.00pm: Phnom Penh at LICADHO Office – Rights to Belief and Rights to Religion Dialogue – CamASEAN/MRI

9.30am-12.00pm: Prek Bangkang Pagoda – Open to public: Community Day – RoCK and CamASEAN

17.00-20.00pm: LILA Center (corner streets 508&103, Sangkat Boeung Trabek) – Open to public: Talent contest “LGBT Got Talent” – RoCK

 

 

8.00am-9.00am: Phnom Penh (National Radio Channel AM 918KHz and FM 105.70 MHz ) – Radio Talk for Pre-IDAHOT – CamASIAN.

8.00am-9.00am: United Sisterhood office – Internal only: Presentation on Baseline Survey Report “Opinions, Behavior and Attitude toward LGBT population in Cambodia” – RoCK.

13.00-17.00pm: Phnom Penh (PANNASTRA University South Campus) – #PurpleMySchool (Stop Bullying at School against LGBTI) Research Launching – CamASEAN/

MRIUnited Sisterhood Office – Internal Only: Workshop on LGBT and Mental Health – RoCK

Afternoon: Community in Phnom Penh – Field visit to MSM and transgender community, especially those are vulnerable and/or living with HIV – Bandanh Chaktomuk.

 

 

8.00am-12.00pm: CJCC or CKCC (tbc) – Press conferenceJoint official opening for Pride Week and IDAHOT – Joint CSOs and business sector.

8:00am-12:00pm: United Sisterhood Office – Internal Only: Workshop on Relevant Articles in Marriage and adoption law – RoCK.

13.00-17.00pm: Phnom Penh – Tuk Tuk and Cyclo Parade – CamASEAN

United Sisterhood Office – Internal Only: Introduction to Declaration of Family Relationship – Rock

17:00-19:00pm: United Sisterhood Office – Public: Tribunal to Deceased LGBT people who have lost their lives due to acts of hate crime RoCK

17.30-21.00pm: Meta House, No 37 Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh – Grand Pride Opening and Launch of the week-long Cambodia Pride Film Festival – FREE DRINKS AND FOOD FROM 6 UNTIL 9PM -Meta House (See map!) From Free condoms to music and performance, exhibitions and film screenings – click here for the full itinerary at Meta House!

 

 

5 – 8 pm: Manor House, No 21, St 262, Phnom Penh – Cocktail and Barbecue event – Be sure of excellent food and plenty of space to cool off in the bar-side swimming pool! – See map!

17.00-20.30pm: Phnom Penh (Venue to be confirmed) – LGBT Awareness Concert – NGOs: Khana, Flagship, Bandah Chaktomuk, MHSS, MHC, AHF, CCHR and RHAC, CamASEAN, RoCK

20:00 – 23:00: Strange Fruit bar, No. 213E1, Street 19z, Chey Chum Neash, Phnom Penh – an excellent and sure to be packed party that will feature a fashion show and great company! – details to be confirmed – See map!

19.00-22.30pm: Meta House, No 37 Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh – See map!

Cambodia Pride Film Festival:

      Su Su Hlaing’s LOVE AND OTHER MATTERS

      ‘We are same’ project presented by Media One

      EISENSTEIN IN GUANAJOUATO

12:00 – 05:00am: Shameless!!! @ Pontoon club – See map! – Join Marcus and the Shameless!!! crew for an amazing night of glamour, theatre, performance at 1:30am (One of the best shows we have ever been to here at Gay Cambodia News) and the very best music!

 

 

10.00 – 11.00am / 18.30 – 19.30pm: Zumba, Advance Learning Academy, Dance Studio 1, Aeon Mall 3rd Floor – Join the Zumba Pride Party with a special surprise to all who come dressed up to support Cambodia’s LGBT community.

7pm til late: SPACE HAIR BAR, No 66, Street 136 (Oknha In), Riverside, Phnom Penh – See map! – If this party is anything like last years you will need to take the next day off! Amazing hosts and a great atmosphere at this unique and popular bar

19.00-22.30pm: Meta House, No 37 Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh – See map!

Cambodia Pride Film Festival:

      Cambodian Transgender Night

      The Danish girl

 

 

7pm til very late: Blue Chilli – Pride it Out party – This, the oldest and most famous bar in Phnom Penh, had an amazing success last year with a marque on the street, outside bars and a host of great acts – this party is not to be missed! – See map!

19.00-22.00pm: Meta House, No 37 Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh – See map!

Cambodia Pride Film Festival

      Indonesian documentary-Kiki Febriyanti’s CALALAI: IN-BETWEENNESS

      Lost in Paradise

 

 

10am – 14.30pm: Lunch at Feel Good cafe – Expect a sumptuous feast with excellent entertainment – We can’t wait to feel the good this year! – See map!.

15.00 – 17:30pm: The Amazingly Fabulous PRIDE Tuk-Tuk Race

Following the success of The Amazingly Fabulous PRIDE Tuk-Tuk Race last year … it’s back in 2016, bigger and more flamboyant than ever!!!

Follow this link for all you need to know about this event for LGBT Pride Cambodia 2016

19.00-22.00pm: A&P Street 71 – See map! – To be confirmed ( contact Sarel Thong Van at  sthongvan@gmail.com) – Q magazine (the first gay magazine in Cambodia) 1st year anniversary party.

19.00-22.00pm: @  Meta House, No 37 Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh – 

          Cambodia Pride Film Festival:

          Indonesian documentary – Tonny Trinmarsanto’s EYE LASHES

          Fundamentally Happy

7- 11pm: Vapor Bar launch party on Street 240, No. 45. EO – The newest bar to hit the scene promises an awesome party to get you right in the mood for Heart of Darkness!

10pm til very late: It’s the Heart of Darkness BIG party night – last year featuring excellent DJ’s, with the owner himself taking to the decks, a bare-chested beauty show (boys only i’m afraid girls!), and some of the fabulous drag acts from the Blue Chilli! – This is really going to finish Pride off with a bang – See you there! – more details to follow and you can find this venue on the Phnom Penh and Maps pages.

 

 

Afternoon: Pool Party and the Rambutan and A&P – Last year these venues linked together and had an amazing wind-down party for the very last day of Pride. A day to remember and enjoy the pool bar spa and even the odd surprise act!

19.00-22.00pm: @  Meta House, No 37 Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh – 

          Cambodia Pride Film Festival:

           Indonesian documentary-A question for my father

           Stefan Haupts’ THE CIRCLE

 

8 til late – AV 225 Bar, No 225 Street 13 (near corner of Street 178 – see map!), Phnom Penh – The Final Final party for Cambodia Pride 2016!

 


LGBT Pride Cambodia 2015 Blog and Pictures

It’s Monday the 25th of May 2015 and the day after LGBT Cambodia Pride finished its week of parties that culminated with Saturday’s parties at the Blue Chilli, Heart of Darkness, and the more relaxed Pool Party at A&P and Rambutan that brought Pride to an official close on yesterday. It’s been a lot of fun. For Pride, I have had to limit myself to covering the parties as there were just too many events to cover. My apologies to Feel Good Café for not making their brunch – I was still recovering from the week’s parties and I had nobody else to send. And of course to the Manor House and Villa Salt hotels for missing their wine tasting party due to my day job. However, I had amazing reports from both parties, telling me about the high-quality wines that saw people, after a spot of lunch, taking to the pool. I also had great reports from the Feel Good café brunch which was a delight with a tasty menu and a live show courtesy of Rainbow’s legendary Sophea who lit up the crowd with her famous drag act on that sunny Saturday afternoon. The week followed a week of events from many NGO’s and of course Meta House which hosted the opening night.

The week of parties started with a huge success at the Rainbow Bar with an amazing drag show that featured both Khmer and Western Drag artists. I have never seen the bar so busy, with people taking over the street outside as it just got busier and busier.

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After this came Thursday and Space Hair’s party on which was full of handsome and super butch barmen delivering shots of Sambuca via carefully aimed water pistols. This certainly lifted spirits and relieved the hangovers that some were obviously suffering from the Rainbow party the night before. But the gay people of Phnom Penh are a hardy lot, and they soon got into the swing of things with a great atmosphere and even more people than normal in this very busy bar as this night ran in to the early hours.

On Friday was the big Blue Chilli party which had set up a large marque outside with a stage on which they launched into a terrific drag show with its famous stars. Many VIPs spoke on the stage and drinks flowed from the waiters both inside and out. On Saturday, the penultimate night, I got myself down to the 2 Colours bar to find Rathana putting the finishing touches to the art show which was starting at 7pm. The paintings were bright and cheerful as was Rathana, the Khmer owner, who was looking pretty cute, working up a sweat as he climbed up and down steps in his short shorts and t-shirt sticking to his body as he stretched to hang more works of art on his walls. After this, I decided to have dinner at Li Shishi which is a new gay-owned restaurant on the corner of 19 and 172. Italian owner, so Italian I had.

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Fully nourished, I returned to 2 Colours at around 9.30 and the place was getting really busy. Gay flags flew outside above a bar that Rathana had set up outside on the pavement to cater for the throng of people who had come to see his art exhibition, his fashion show, his drag show, his raffle and, of course, him. He and his team had done a lot, no wonder they were sweating! I stood and took in the moment with a cold beer, surrounded by beautiful art, and then suddenly confronted by a furore of gorgeous muscle boys breaking out on to the cat walk, which had been hastily constructed while I had been to dinner, and modelling fabulously camp outfits – the crowd stood salivating. The drag show followed and I couldn’t put my camera down, this was non-stop entertainment at its best.

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It was getting late by the time I’d had a couple of beers and reluctantly decided to leave the 2 Colours’ bar to head towards the Heart of Darkness night club to get there before their Pride show. As I arrived I saw the owner Somnang on the door wearing a futuristic winged outfit that was turning heads everywhere. By his side was the famous Khmer artist Em Riem, yes, and these were the first people I kissed cheek to cheek before I took a few pics and scurried inside.

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The Heart of Darkness was full to the limit. I couldn’t work out how I was going to get near the stage to take video and pics of the show. But I was saved as a security guard walked me outside and then gently ushered me into the backstage door and into the DJ box. I was lucky, the guard had seemed to mistake me for a real camera man. Well, what the hell, now I was taking pictures of the packed dancefloor. Rob the DJ pointed to some beers on the floor – was he offering one? Anyway, I thought it only polite, so I took one and opened the stage door and, beer in hand, walked out and across it and back into the dance floor to escape lest I had been spotted trespassing. By the time the security had cleared the stage for the show, I suffocated by a million elbows and shoulders and, well, I could hardly move. Disaster: I couldn’t get the angle to shoot the stage, and so unfortunately there is no video. BUT, there are pics – I got all the boys of the Mr Gay Pride bar competition, and all the gay bars were represented (Space Bar won this with their super-hunk). And, as the competition finished, a surprise – the Blue Chilli divas broke out on to the stage and launched into song and the crowd went wild. The atmosphere was electric and gained in intensity as the show came to an end and Rob launched back into the music with an awesome floor-filler as the building burst into dance. I quickly ran out, locked my camera into my bike and raced to the bar – My work was done and I needed a pint. And there I stayed, drinking and dancing until the music finally wound down, the lights went up and I realised the sun was shining through the doors.

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The Pool Party. I was not in the best condition when I woke up the same day just before lunchtime. After half a litre of water and a quick shower I was on my way to the Rambutan and A&P gay-friendly and gay only hotels (respectively) on 71 Street. I made it just in time to see Lady Gaga, AKA Miga, in full drag singing I will survive on the edge of the pool. This was obviously too much for Blue Chilli’s Oak who surreptitiously crept up behind and gave Gaga a winning push to send her flailing into the pool. A drowning drag queen attempting to lip-sync is a sight to see and everyone, including Miga, loved it. Later that afternoon, people began to leave and we realised that was the end of Pride Cambodia 2015!

 



 

Gay Phnom Penh

 

Bars & Clubs

AV - Bar 225

Close to the corner of St.178 on St. 13, House #225.

AV Bar 252 is at the same location as the old 2 Colours bar and it has some of the old staff working here too and ensures a warm welcome. The have shows every night. The new British and Khmer owners, Adrian and Visal, have set the place up nicely with a newly designed bar which looks very stylish and now – the most important news for some of you – the bar has Cambodian draft beer which sells at $1.50 a glass or 75 cents in their happy hour which is from 5 – 9pm daily. See many of the acts here that made 2 Colours so famous.

 

Arthur Paul’s Hotel Bar Spa

#27 Street 71, Phnom Penh, Cambodia / www.arthurandpaul.com/ / +855 (0) 77 892 256 / +855 (0) 23 212 814

Arthur Paul’s is a male-only gay hotel, bar and spa with an edge: it’s art-deco with a modern twist – sumptuous decor – simply gorgeous! I love this place because I love wearing my most beautiful gowns here and always pack my latest somewhat revealing “agent provocateur” cutaway swim suit. Oh, I love dressing up, and you can do that at A&p, if you like, and really impress a date. You can also come on your own and feel comfortable chatting to the bar-staff in their sexy uniforms, swimming in a simply paradisaical pool, sweating in the steam room or lazing in a very big (and super clean) Jacuzzi. The food is great, cocktails big and strong and all in all a A&P is a place not to be missed.

Blue Chilli Bar

#36EO Street 178, Phnom Penh / +855 (0) 12 566 353

Blue Chilli is the oldest bar for gay Phnom Penh, but you wouldn’t know it. With a recent refurbishment, this bar is up-beat, up-to-date, stylish and popular. They have a fabulous drag show featuring one of my famous celebrity friends, the delightful and adorable Lady Gaga (Cambodia). Their cocktails are strong. I had three of these and was tripping over my heals into the tuk-tuk. Oh, and the ever-so hot and charming Sokha tells me that the draft beer is cold and comes in nicely chilled glasses, and that’s a triumph, because my men love their beer! Website: www.gaycambodianews.com/blue-chilli-phnom-penh/

 

Generations Bar

174 Street, Phnom Penh, close to the junction of Street 51 and Heart of Darkness/ 090 30 33 36 / 076 888 64 69

Generations is the newest gay bar to open in Phnom Penh – they have spent a lot of money on this ‘disco’ bar, where you’ll see lazer shows as well as drag and boy shows that lean towards the burlesque. The bar is still finding its feet and is still in its soft opening stage but you can expect great things from this bar in the future. The investors have told us that this will be the first of a series of gay bars that will be opened on this street with a state-of-the-art gay club to be opened opposite Generations in December. We’ll keep you posted here!

 

Pride of Phnom Penh bar

#Street 15 near Street 144, Phnom Penh/ +855 (0) 10 535 745

Now lovies, here’s a recent addition for you. On the 18th September 2015 I presented my VIP invitation to this saucy club lookey-likey bar which dazzled me with delicious food and sumptuous men on the stage.

The bar holds frequent glamorous parties and has drag shows on Friday and Saturday.

 

Space Hair Bar

#66 Street 136, Phnom Penh / +855 (0) 89 963 066

The Space Hair Bar is an ingenious space for a bar, innovated and created out of a hair salon which still does trade in the daytime when you can get your hairdo styled by experts while enjoying a beer/cocktail/juice or a simple cup of tea. In the evening this venue transforms into a very popular bar where you can enjoy their famous muscle-boy waiters and an excellent selection of music. They have many themed nights and are especially popular with the fashionable gay crowd of both Khmer and Expats.

Strange Fruit Bar

Street 19Z, Phnom Penh / 095 287 807

Strange Fruit is mixed, gay owned and managed, extremely gay friendly and is the newest alternative bar in Phnom Penh. The space is situated above a ground level store. The gay owner is a famous interior designer and this intimate place reflects that with a great ambiance created out of a professional eye for style and design. Popular with young professionals and anyone interested in making good friends and networking.

 

Vapor Bar

#45, Street 240, Phnom Penh

Vapor Bar opened during Gay Pride 2016 and has become a lovely bar to hang out in with great service, cute staff and an atmosphere where the background music actually allows you to talk to each other. The bar is nicely spaced and comfortable and we have always received a great welcome here and had a good time. This is definitely a bar which you should put on your list to visit in Phnom Penh

 

GL lounge (Club)

#176, Corner of St 63 and 288, Phnom Penh / 095 287 807

GL Lounge (formally The Classic Night Club) delivers the most sophisticated night of drag and comedy performance to be found anywhere in Cambodia. It is aimed mainly at the local gay middle-classed Khmer who adorn the front tables to savor the experience. Recently refurbished, GL Lounge has widened its appeal and now more and more expats and tourists are coming along to enjoy the experience.

Heart of Darkness (Club)

#38, Pasteur Street 51, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Heart of Darkness club is a fabulous night out. It’s on two floors with a large dance floor below with stage in front of a large DJ box. This club is open every night and it very popular (Beware – Thursdays are St8 and promoted as ladies nights on their Facebook!) The busiest nights are Friday and Saturdays between 12 and 2am. The music is pot luck depending on who is playing and has a mixed appeal to cater for both the Khmer and western. It’s a laid-back and great night out! PS. If you want a break from dancing, you can also chill out and/or have great fun on the pool table upstairs. Heart is also the venue for Impulse – see advert on the right (pc and tablet) or scroll down on your mobile to see this.

Shameless (Club – Wednesdays only)

Pontoon Club #80, Street 172, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Shameless!!! Only on Wednesday nights at the Pontoon Club features a cabaret and dance show which starts quite late at 1am but is a must see. It is marvelously energetic and performed by the famous gay dance troupe Firefox. Shameless is a mixed club but all promoters and acts are gay or transgender and the gay entourage to these groups generally stand and sit over to the left of the DJ box and stage (as you look at it) to create their own gay area in a club which, if you stand in the wrong place, can seem very straight. You’ll love the performance and the club is ultra-modern and sophisticated.

 



 

Gay Sihanoukville

 

Bars & Clubs

Oga Bar

Ekareach St. 276B, Sihanoukville / contact.ogashvbar@gmail.com / 0715 612 468

Absolutely love gay Sihanoukville. The only thing missing was a gay bar, but now there is not just one, there are two. The Oga bar is the first of the two and we received a fabulous welcome there as they opened a week of parties on the 20th December (2015). The owner, Olivier, has created a very stylish bar with a Greek theme to woo the gay customers in. And he has definitely done that. We went on a Saturday night and it was packed, so if you want to have a seat, make sure you get there early. 

 

After Work

Makara, Street 7 (Behind Total), Sihanoukville  / 096 857 6115

The second of these bars is the After Work bar. This bar seems is very bright with bubble gum colors and the atmosphere is definitely bubbly. They have a pool table in the main bar area with many small sofas to sit and relax. The cocktails are great and the bar staff keep you entertained while you are watching them being made.

The bar is up a flight of stairs meaning that there is a balcony area to sit in too. It is easy to miss when looked for because the downstairs is parking and you may think it is just another house, but it is literally in the street behind the Total garage as you can see from the map below, so persevere, you will find it and it is worth looking for.

 

LV Club

Khan Mittapheap, Krong Preah Sihanoukville, Cambodia / Facebook

The LV Club is NOT a gay club. However, we list it here on gay bars clubs Cambodia because while there are two new bars in Sihanoukville, there are no dedicated gay clubs. So, here is a mixed club where lady and gay boys alike go to let their hair down. It is the cheapest of the clubs and so attracts the more financially challenged Khmer as well as the traveling backpackers, and etc. This can give it quite an edgy feel.

LV is gay friendly and the first club people mention when you ask where the party is for gay people in Sihanoukville. It is very popular.

Gay Sihanoukville Hotels

 

Eolia Beach Resort

Otres Beach Road 1, Sihanoukville 0344 555 333

The Eolia Beach resort is a mixed and gay-friendly hotel which is gay owned. The owner, Abel, is such a charming host and will go out of his way to make you feel at home at this hotel. The hotel has beautifully compact en-suite and air conditioned bungalows and a clean swimming pool where there are shaded areas to sit in if it gets too hot on the beach. Eolia has recently opened its own private beach cafe and bar in which they have parties in the evening and, of course, this is very gay friendly. The Otres beach is generally accepted as the best in Sihanoukville and is literally across the street, as is his new bar/cafe.

 

The Secret Garden

Otres beachfront restaurant, swimming pool and bungalows Otres 2 Beach, Sihanoukville / info@secretgardenotres.com / 097 649 5131

The Secret Garden is a gay owned and friendly hotel and bar – the bar being right on the beach with beautiful sands in the bay and a great view of the islands. While gay customers are welcome, this hotel is very popular with families and was always busy when we popped in. We will update our information on this hotel shortly.

Many Thanks to Nicky’s Gay Asia for the initial information on this hotel.

Gay Sihanoukville Eating Out

 

Oga Bar

Ekareach St. 276B, Sihanoukville contact.ogashvbar@gmail.com / 0715 612 468

The Oga Bar also serves food!

The have a menu that covers French and Western Cuisine, as well as local Khmer favourites and all cooked and served to a high standard.

This is because the owner is a fully qualified chef who used to run an extremely successful and popular restaurant in Paris. Expect to be dazzled by the food here – we loved it!

 

Spas

Amam Spa

#20A Street 390, Phnom Penh – 012 950 916

The Amam Spa is spread out over 5 floors.  The ground level features a café (serving tea, coffee, coke, beer, etc.). There is a locker room, steam room, dry sauna, shower area, fitness room, video room, a jacuzzi set on the rooftop terrace as well as a dark room and relaxations cabins. Entrance $4. The crowd is mostly local Khmer guys with some muscle boys doted around. Westerners are welcome and can easily get ‘lucky’ here and will not feel out of place. Busiest between 5pm-8pm.

Arthur Paul’s Hotel Bar and Spa

#27 Street 71, Phnom Penh, Cambodia / www.arthurandpaul.com / +855 (0) 77 892 256 / +855 (0) 23 212 814

Arthur Paul’s is a male-only gay hotel, bar and spa with an edge: it’s art-deco with a modern twist – sumptuous decor – simply gorgeous! I love this place because, and I know it is not absolutely necessary, I love wearing my most beautiful gowns here and always pack my latest swimming costume. Oh, this is the place if you want to impress a date. You can also come on your own and feel comfortable chatting to the bar-staff in their sexy uniforms, swimming in a simply paradisaical pool, sweating in the steam room or lazing in a very big (and super clean) Jacuzzi. The food is great, cocktails big and strong and all in all a A&P is a place not to be missed.

 

East West Healing Massage

Street 278, Phnom Penh – 012 313 500

East West Healing Massage offers fantastic healing massage. The massage business is owned and operated by Mana Somsri from Thailand. The massage rooms are down a side corridor next to a hair salon which is run by a gay western hairstylist (should you need your hair done!). The place is stylish and professional looking and I had an excellent massage here. Mana has trained and certified in both Thailand and the U.S.A and offers Swedish, Thai, Khmer and foot massage. Mana works extensively with his staff to ensure they all give a quality massage.

 

Ganesh House Massage

#22z, Street 420, Phnom Penh/ 015 327 201 / 017 738 101

Ganesh House Massage is the newest massage parlor in Phnom Penh and it looks it, blending the modern with the traditional, this place makes you feel that you have arrived in somewhere special before you even reach the reception desk. They have a mixture of masseurs, from muscle boys to twinks and all, I am assured by the owner, are trained to the highest degree in any area of massage that you could wish for. These masseurs are cute! The owner is a former masseur from Thailand and has years of experience. I didn’t stay for a massage as I had to go to work, but I intend to return soon and post a full review. I did see a few of the rooms though, and they are as elegantly equipped as this lush villa which houses them would suggest: all with en-suite facilities, excellent beds and decor. I can’t wait to return – purely for business, of course.

Hatha Khmer Massage

#32B, Street 368, Phnom Penh / http://hathakhmerspa.weebly.com / 087 585 756 / 077 643 232

The Hatha Khmer (massage) is owned by the same people as the Hatha Khmer Spa. This massage parlor has a lot of boys, from muscle to twinky boys to give you the ultimate massage experience. You will find most of the masseurs available after 5pm because they have other jobs or are at university first and using this as a second income. You can go straight into the reception to view the boys through a window where they are paraded, or you can have a drink and talk to them first in a more social environment at the bar in the garden. The venue is open until 12 midnight.

 

Hatha Khmer Spa, Suana and Gym

#59, Street 350, Phnom Penh 087 585 756 / 077 643 232

The Hatha Khmer Spa used to be known as the Romantic sauna, which some may think as an oxymoron, and has changed owners. It is now extremely popular. Entrance $4. Open 12 – 10pm. Recently refurbished, with a maze for a great cruising experience. There is a gym on the first floor if you want to pump up before putting yourself on show, a bar and a video room and relaxation rooms where you can of course ‘relax’ with someone you meet. We found this to be the most popular sauna and the Khmer here are very western friendly with most people having a positive and enjoyable experience.

 

Hero Spa (massage only)

#111, Street 470, Phnom Penh – 069 222 585

Hero Spa is open from 12 til 12 every day. Gay owned and managed, it has only gay masseurs. $10 massage and the usual $20 tip for special services, however, this should be negotiated, especially if you are western because they will believe you are super rich, as some of the ‘models’ have been reported as asking for $50 tips and more for specials, so to make sure you both have a truly happy ending, make sure you negotiate before the massage. The place itself looks a little rundown but it is clean, and the rooms are big and private with en-suite. There is a good variety of boys and muscle boys numbering around 20 when we visited and they are very experienced and professional.

 

Khmer Hand (massage)

#26A, Street 302, Phnom Penh – 017 559 978

The Khmer Hand is open 11 til 11 every day and is gay owned and managed and has mostly gay masseurs. Call first or arrive and ask for the manager, Sasa, for a gay masseur. Compared to the other gay massage houses, this is very well kitted out and looks professional with nice reclining chairs downstairs to get your manicure and etc, and upstairs are the nicely decorated rooms. You can expect a good massage here and if you give the right signals then special services are accommodated. Here, the expected tip is between 10 and 20 dollars.

 

Love Spa for Men

#103, Corner of Streets 105/350, Phnom Penh 015 799 996

Love Spa for Men is adjacent to the canal on 105 street not far after the junction with Mau Tse Toung Blvd heading towards the centre of town. $4 entrance. It is easy to spot as there is a large advertising banner on its outside wall with a larger than life-sized picture of a half-naked gorgeous looking Asian guy on it. The sauna is on two floors and is quite small. The Khmer here are generally into each other and while westerners won’t feel alienated, it is unlikely that even if a Khmer is interested that they will go to a room with you. To do that seems to be embarrassing for them here. This maybe because the place is not just a sauna but also a place where the Khmer hang out and chat. There is also a nice gym here where you can meet nice people and have a chat.

M Health Spa

#175, Street 254, Phnom Penh – 011 337 327

M Health Spa is nearer the riverside than the other spas, near to Independence Monument and in the street above and running parallel to that of Manor House hotel.

It is a nice sauna with two levels, a small but well equipped gym and all the facilities you would expect, including a steam room, sauna, and relaxation rooms.

Staff are friendly and so are the customers.

Gay Phnom Penh Hotels

Arthur Paul’s Hotel Bar and Spa

#27 Street 71, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

 / www.arthurandpaul.com / +855 (0) 77 892 256 / +855 (0) 23 212 814

Arthur Paul’s is a male-only gay hotel, bar and spa with an edge: it’s art-deco with a modern twist – sumptuous decor – simply gorgeous! I love this place because, and I know it is not absolutely necessary, I love wearing my most beautiful gowns here and always pack my latest swimming costume. Oh, this is the place if you want to impress a date. You can also come on your own and feel comfortable chatting to the bar-staff in their sexy uniforms, swimming in a simply paradisaical pool, sweating in the steam room or lazing in a very big (and super clean) Jacuzzi. The food is great, cocktails big and strong and all in all a A&P is a place not to be missed.

Manor House

#21, Street 262, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia www.manorhousecambodia.com/ / 0855 (0) 23 992 566 / info@manorhousecambodia.com

Manor House is a favourite being medium priced at around $45 a room per night and being right in the centre of Phnom Penh.

When I went to speak to the owner, Nick, I only expected to spend about 30 minutes there – I was there all afternoon and into the evening.

Rambutan Resort

 / rambutanresort.com/home// +855 (0) 92 721 190 / +855 (0) 17 992 240

Rambutan Resort is a truly ‘gay-friendly’ mixed hotel with the staff frequently bordering on the flirtatious with the more openly gay clientele. Rooms start at $65 (high season).

You can dine here with your boyfriend or date and never worry about those ‘looks’ you might elsewhere.

This is a clean, friendly, exceptionally well-managed hotel and restaurant which will make you feel at home.

Sary’s Guesthouse

#45, Street 130, Phnom Penh, Cambodia www.sarysguesthouse.com// +855 (0) 12 529 665

Sary’s Guesthouse is popular guest house for gay travelers in Phnom Penh. It is located in Central Phnom Penh close to the riverside. This guesthouse has a good reputation with many returning customers so we don’t think you will be disappointed if you choose to stay here.

We will visit soon to give you a full update.

 

Villa Salt Royal Palace Hotel

#20 Street 184, Phnom Penh, Cambodia www.villasalt.com/royalpalace// +855 (0)23 216 850

Villa Salt Royal Palace Hotel is gay owned and managed and focused on providing the best service for its gay clientèle. Rooms around $60.

Although set in a quiet area, this hotel is just round the corner from the Blue Chilli and 2 Colours bars and a five minute walk from the riverside.

 

Eating Out

Arthur Paul’s Hotel Bar and Spa

#27 Street 71, Phnom Penh, Cambodia / www.arthurandpaul.com / +855 (0) 77 892 256 / +855 (0) 23 212 814

Arthur Paul’s is a male-only gay hotel, bar and spa with an edge: it’s art-deco with a modern twist – sumptuous decor – simply gorgeous! I love this place because, and I know it is not absolutely necessary, I love wearing my most beautiful gowns here and always pack my latest swimming costume. Oh, this is the place if you want to impress a date. You can also come on your own and feel comfortable chatting to the bar-staff in their sexy uniforms, swimming in a simply paradisaical pool, sweating in the steam room or lazing in a very big (and super clean) Jacuzzi. The food is great, cocktails big and strong and all in all a A&P is a place not to be missed.

Feel Good Cafe

#79, Street 136, Phnom Penh, Cambodia / +855 (0) 78 888 773 Feel Good Cafe 2, Street 29 between Street 294 and Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh

Visit this gay restaurant Cambodia if you are looking for delicious food and especially if you are obsessed with coffee. Here, you can see the gay owners enthusiastically testing different concoctions and, if you show an interest ín what these coffee scientists grind and infuse into tantalizing taste sensations, then you may get a chance to taste an original blend. OK, enough darlings, so now you know they like coffee! They also provide a tip-top service and a great place to enjoy lunch and dinner in a clean and sophisticated cafe. Come to find out about the gay scene, relax, enjoy great food, service and, of course, coffee.

Feel Good Cafe 2

#11b, Street 29, Phnom Penh, Cambodia / +855 (0) 78 888 773 Feel Good Cafe 2, Street 29 between Street 294 and Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh

Experience the best coffee in Cambodia (if not the world) at these fabulous award winning cafes. This cafe is is part of the Feel Good chain and is gay owned and managed and is a favourite meeting place for the gay and lesbian community in Phnom Penh.

Rambutan Resort

#29, Street 71, Phnom Penh, Cambodia / ambutanresort.com/home/ / +855 (0) 92 721 190 / +855 (0) 17 992 240

Rambutan Resort is truly ‘gay-friendly’ mixed hotel with the staff frequently bordering on the flirtatious with the more openly gay clientele. You can dine here with your boyfriend or date and never worry about those ‘looks’ you might get elsewhere. This is a clean, friendly, exceptionally well-managed hotel and restaurant which will make you feel at home.

 

 



 

Gay Sexual Health Services Cambodia

M.Style Gay Men’s Sexual Health Services – MSM (100% Free and confidential)

0963 285 855
#66Eo, Street 113 (opposite Toul Sleng, Genocide Museum), Phnom Penh. 

Free testing at MStyle for HIV and Syphilis and referral for all other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

FREE CONDOMS AVAILABLE HERE!

FREE Counseling and advice about HIV and other MSM health information.
Referral to hospital for medical care and WILL provide financial support for anybody that cannot pay.
Free internet facilities.

 

Pasteur Laboratory – $12 HIV testing for Khmer and $17 for tourists and ex-pats

Monivong Blvd #5, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Laboratory testing and Vaccinations
+855 12 812 003 / www.pasteur-kh.org
Monday to Friday 7:30 am – 5:00 pm / Saturday 7.30 – 11

This laboratory is good and can be trusted for gay sexual health services Cambodia. The prices here are much cheaper than most other clinics because most of them send your blood here and charge on top.

This is the only laboratory that is trusted by all in Phnom Penh. However, if you are worried about confidentiality, then make sure to tell the reception that you want to speak to someone privately and they will sometimes accommodate you (if they understand you). The best thing is to write down what you want on a piece of paper and give it to the receptionist. They do ask for a name but you can use any alias you like. For Khmer, to get the discount, you need to show some identification. Therefore, if you don’t want to give your real name, you will have to pay the full $17. This clinic is also comprehensive, so you can get pretty much any test done here, whether for STD or otherwise.

 

Calmette Hospital (Free Sexual Health Services available)

#3, Monivong Blvd, S. Sras chak, Phnom Penh 12201 / 023 426 948

Calmette Hospital has an infectious disease unit that covers STDs including HIV. Free testing can be accessed here as can free medication. Languages spoken are French, English and Khmer.

 

Sihanouk Hospital Centre of hope (Free Sexual health services available)

Street 134, Wat Phnom Quarter, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 012 898 981

This hospital provides free medical care, including HIV care, for the poor and disadvantaged of Cambodia. It caters for in and out-patients, provides free ARV’s and treatment. I was told by a western nurse worked there that they had no gay patients. Well, of course they have patients, but with this (Christian) reasoning, unbelievably coming from a gay man, it might be better to be discrete about your sexuality to get the best attention at this hospital.

 

RHAC Clinics (Free Sexual Health Services), All Cambodia

#3, Monivong Blvd, S. Sras chak, Phnom Penh 12201 / 023 426 948

Free LGBT health services all over Cambodia in all provinces. This includes HIV testing, treatment, and care. You will be treated with full confidentiality and given full support as a gay man.​

There are many clinics in Cambodia. Click the website link for the locations: www.rhac.org.kh/
These clinics are open to all gay men, Khmer, ex-pat or tourist.

 

Marie Stopes (Free or inexpensive). All Cambodia

Head Office: #3, Monivong Blvd, S. Sras chak, Phnom Penh 12201 / 023 426 948

This organisation provides LGBT health care for more rural communities. It has currently had its funding cut by the UK and Australian Governments which means that tests now have to be paid for – $1 to $3. Follow this link for me information on their centres in Cambodia:www.mariestopes.org.kh/our-centres

The cost of an HIV test is nominal but possibly too expensive for a impoverished gay Cambodian man. It is $1 for an HIV test. If you test positive the cost will go up to $3. The patient will then be referred to a local hospital or clinic where they can receive their HIV medication for free.

gayscenecambodia.com is currently investigating the reasons for this cut in funding and we are hoping to pressure the said governments into financing these essential services again. Meanwhile, the doctor that we spoke to is working on a very low budget to supply the best services to MSM that he can.

 

Tropical Deseases & Travellers’ Medical Clinic ($60 consultation)

#88, Street 108 (Wat Phnom Quater)
PO Box 2068, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Tel: +855 12 898 981 / +855 12 898 981 / www.travellersmedicalclinic.com

Doctor Scott’s Travelers’ Clinic: This doctor is gay and open-minded and can deal with any of your LGBT health needs in guaranteed confidence.  That confidence is difficult to find in Cambodia, so you might think the $60 consultation may be worth it.

 

+++

POSTS TRAVEL

 

Bus from Phnom Penh to Pattaya Bangkok

Author: Editor 7/01/15

This is the first of our first-hand experiences for our travel page. More are soon to follow. If you would like to add to this page please comment or email your own story to the address in the footer, it would be much appreciated.

How and what it’s like to get the bus from Phnom Penh to Pattaya and Bangkok

To get the Bus from Phnom Penh to Pattaya and Bangkok when traveling on a budget can be stressful if you let it be. At the moment, getting a bus is the cheapest way to travel anywhere in Cambodia. Another alternative is being mooted by the Cambodian government, but these trains direct to Bangkok from Phnom Penh have been promised for mid 2016 and are not a reality yet. So, if you’re on a budget, relax and catch the bus.

To get out of Phnom Penh on the bus, you will need to go to the Night Market on Sisowath Quay (Riverside). This is where you will first have to take a long deep breath and remain calm. There are a few bus companies here, but you will want the one on the corner nearest the riverside. Here you will generally have to struggle through a throng of other passengers to get your ticket from the office. And then, of course, you have to make yourself understood. Be patient, they do speak English, but you will have to speak slowly, and this can seem difficult because they are in a rush to get you served and get on to the next person.

Getting the best deal

The first thing they will ask you is where you are going. Makes sense, right? If you tell them, you will be offered a ticket to either Pattaya and Bangkok for $32 one way for a night bus, and $28 for a daytime ticket. You cannot buy a return, you will be told, so you’ll have to get that at the other end. But wait a minute. You can do better than that as we found on our return journey. It’s 250 Baht from Pattaya to Poipet (that’s just under $7), and it’s $15 from Poipet to Phnom Penh, making a grand total of just under $22 and a potential saving of $10. This also works the other way, so I suggest you buy to Poipet on the outward journey, cross the border and get a minibus on the other side. The process is exactly the same, except that at Poipet you won’t have to wait around for a minibus because you can choose from about 10 different companies and take the one that leaves the soonest.

If there are 3 or 4 of you, then you might consider getting a taxi which is around $80 from Phnom Penh to Poipet. This will be faster, around 5 or 6 hours, and you can still get the minibus on the other side. However, I think I would prefer the bus at the moment if you consider the state of the roads which is described if you read on.

Times

One thing you should consider is that the border shuts at 10pm., so if you are making your own way to Poipet, you need to be aware that there won’t be as many minibuses on the Thai side after 9pm.

The night-bus leaves Phnom Penh at 10.30pm and they suggest that you get there 30 minutes earlier as with any normal check-in. Our bus arrived on time and so did my partner’s who took the day bus. The night bus arrives in Poipet at around 5am; Pattaya at anytime from around 12 to 2pm; and Bangkok at around 1 to 3pm the next day. There is another bus that leaves at 9.30pm and you can adjust these times accordingly. Read the comments below to find out about this earlier night bus. The daytime bus does not go through Poipet but takes the Koh Kong border crossing. This bus leaves at 7.45am and arrives at around 8pm in Pattaya. 

On the return journey, the minibuses run hourly from around 5am, but be sure to leave no later than 3pm from Pattaya and 2pm from Bangkok because of the closing times at the border. We set off at 3pm and only just made the bus which left late at 10.30. We took the last seats and there are no other buses. You will also be harassed by touts at this time of night, but don’t be intimidated by them, just cross the border and walk straight until you see the bus offices.

Visa and Immigration

You can buy your visa on arrival which will cost you around $35 depending on whether you pay in Baht or Dollars – paying in dollars should get your price down to nearer $30. Visa on arrival into Cambodia is around $25 again depending on which currency you use. You can also cross at the land borders if you have less than 6 months life left on your passport which you cannot do by plane.

The Journey

Our coach was a pretty good one – a Scania that was about 20 years old and seemed like it had been looked after well and had its own toilet. Inside, the seats had no seat-belts and were cheaply fitted in plastic, but they were wide and comfortable and there’s no need to worry about sweating because they AC is very cool – chilly to be exact. This seems to be the way the bus companies like to run their vehicles wherever you travel in Cambodia. You really need that blanket. Being on a budget, you are probably traveling light, so for this journey wear your heavier clothes to stay warm.

As soon as you turn out of the city, the road becomes dirt with many large pot-holes. At some stages the driver could manage no more than 5 to 10 miles an hour. The coach also stops a lot. I lost count how many times, but I’m guessing at least 20. Two of these stops seemed to be for an actual reason: the first being to let pressure out of the tires and make the pot-holed journey more comfortable, I’m guessing, and also to blow out the air filter which had become full of impenetrable dust from the terrible road conditions. The second stop was for the drivers lunch and to give anyone who was awake the chance to take a bite to eat, freshen up, and etc. I had rice porridge with chicken breast which cost me $1.10., and it was nice.

I really have no idea why the bus stopped all the other times. Sometimes the driver got out and had a smoke – yep, OK, I get that, but other times he just stopped and did nothing. These seemed to be deliberate staggering of time to waste time. I guess there must be some reason for this, but it is beyond me. Please leave a comment if you find out.

After reaching the middle to left side of the Tonle Sap lake – I checked my Google Maps – the road became much better and I finally managed to get some sleep from around 3am to 7am which is when the bus stopped in Poipet at the border.

Excellent!

Crossing the border

The door opened and I immediately saw massive queues to the passport control and just as my smile was dropping a uniformed immigration officer offered me a VIP 2 minute processing for $10 as an alternative to waiting in a sweaty queue for, by the looks of things, an hour or more. I didn’t have change, I only had $5 on me and the rest were big bills. He said $6, I re-informed him that I only had $5, and he snatched the $5 plus my passport, disappeared and came back 5 minutes later with it stamped. But even with my ‘discount’, I quickly fell into the company of two other westerners who had only paid $4 and another who had paid $3. So, well, you live and learn.

After this, we (a group now) walked though and came to the immigration control, which was quite a surprise because we all thought we had just paid to get through that. No – there are two. This did take an hour, but I was in good company so the time went pretty quick.

To get to the minibuses to take you to your destination, you then may be left a little confused as to where to go. So, here are some directions:

After the immigration, follow the signs and walk down the stairs which will bring you on to a pavement. Keep walking straight, do not cross the road. On this pavement about 300 meters up, you will meet a bunch of company men and they will set you right. If you miss them, keep walking until you come to a modern-looking mall on your left and turn left as you pass it. As you walk down this street, you will see minibuses lined up on the right-hand side and a square of Asian styled food stalls beyond that. Now all you have to do is find your company office which will be on the right-hand side behind the minibuses. If you want to use the toilets, you will find them in the car park underneath the mall and you will need 2 baht to get through the gates. The toilets are clean and a good place to freshen up.

The minibuses leave regularly on the hour to Pattaya and on the half hour to Bangkok, so there is no panic if you are delayed through customs and immigration.

Once on the minibus, it was all smiles as we were all on the last leg of the trip. Well, at least until the minibus stopped after around 5 minutes, and then again 5 minutes later. This around 10 times until an hour had passed and then we stopped for lunch. This of course is completely unnecessary for a trip that would otherwise be about 2 hours. However, as in Cambodia, in Thailand the bus companies get a kick-back from the stopovers so that they can cream so money from the traveling tourists. And, of course, they did. We stayed there for about 40 minutes.

After this, there were various but infrequent stops for no apparent reason, but usually the driver went into company offices that were placed along the way. The smokers seemed to enjoy this.

We arrived in Pattaya at 2pm and were met by tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis to take us to our hotels and etc. The payment is arranged by the company so that you pay no more than 20 baht.

Although there was many pointless stops, the bus and the minibus were both in good condition and comfortable. I managed to relax and I met, as you tend to when traveling on a budget, some really interesting people and I learnt some more about the world from them. The only really bad part of the trip was the first few hours of that terrible road out of Phnom Penh. But, seeing road works along the way, I imagine this road will be sorted out soon, just as the roads to Siem Reap, Kampot and Sihanoukville have been improved over the last two year.

To sum it all up, I would prefer to fly, but if time isn’t a great issue and you are traveling on a budget, then I would recommend the bus – it’ll save you around $100 on a return and it’s a great excuse to sit back and read a book. Oh, did I forget to say? There is no WiFi on these coaches.

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4 Comments

  1. Michael
    7th January 2016 h2

    Uh, no, thanks. Give me a cheap flight on Bangkok Airways with their amazing traveller lounge ANY DAY! Thanks for the info, though. Just reaffirms why I never travel by bus.

     
    1. Mark
      7th January 2016h2

      Yes – it’s definitely not for everyone

       
  2. Kimhy
    9th January 2016 h2

    There are three buses in the evening, 8.30 / 9.30 / 10.30- you got the 10.30 one (lucky!)
    On the older one the seats only recline to 70% max – it is uncomfortable and noisy. In short, you arrive at Poipet tired and definitely not in a fit condition to go through all of that immigration stuff lol.

    My bus left the night market at 9.30pm, so i guess the one to get if you’re going to do the bus is your one at 10pm. I would check it out first if that’s possible to make sure you get that nice Scania you talk about.

    My experience – cheap and nasty.

     
    1. Mark
      9th January 2016h2

      Thx for the info – checked out the times and I stand corrected! Seems the 10pm time was including the 30 minute check-in time with the bus leaving at 10.30pm.

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