The easiest place to meet Cambodian bar girls is, without a doubt, in Phnom Penh’s delightful glut of hostess bars. Hostess bars employ girls to keep customers entertained with conversation and games. The number of girls working at any one hostess bar varies depending on the size of the bar and the budget of the bar owner, but for the average bar there are perhaps ten to twenty girls in the bar on any given evening waiting to meet you.
Cambodian hostess bars are slightly different than those in Thailand because the girls employed there are not allowed to do any performance dancing, but other than that, the bars operate pretty much the same way. The bar girls are paid a salary but they can earn much more from tips. The average salary for Cambodian bar girls in hostess bars is $60 – $70 a month. Their salary is not very much by western standards, but it pays more than the most accessible alternative – working in the local garment factories. The bar girls do work hard though, usually getting only two days off each month. Their job entails making conversation and playing whatever games the bar has with the customers. Pool, connect four, and foosball are some of the most popular options. The girls will ask customers to buy them lady drinks, which cost the customer about $3 and earns the bar girls a $1 commission. Lots of girls supplement their income by freelancing at Heart of Darkness, or another disco, once the hostess bar they work at closes around 2am. Learn more about Cambodian bar girls in discos.
It is easy to meet these girls, after all, it is their job to talk with people and some foreign guys living Phnom Penh develop relationships with Cambodian bar girls working in hostess bars. These girls are usually very nice and will happily join you for a game of pool, sit and chat, or even teach you their language. Of course, they’d appreciate a tip for doing so! Some of the girls who work at these bars are very new to the job and have been recruited from garment factories or some other low paying jobs with the promise of higher income. Others have been working in hostess bars for years and are seasoned professionals. No matter how seasoned they are, they don’t get the sort of experience that girls in Thailand or Philippines get and are generally much more innocent as a result. Tourism in Cambodia has not taken off like it has in other parts of South East Asia. A lot of Cambodian bar girls, like their counterparts in other countries, dream of meeting a foreign man and having a happy marriage.
If a customer fancies a Cambodian bar girl and wishes to become better acquainted with her, it is possible to take her out of the bar. For this privilege, one must pay a “bar fine” to the owner of the bar. The standard bar fine in Cambodia is $5, much less than in other South East Asian countries. Some bars are raising their price to $10, so expect prices to vary depending on the quality of the bar and the virtues of the hostesses. Once you take a girl out of her bar, you can take her out for some food, to go dancing, for a drink, or straight to a guesthouse for a few hours.
Depending on your relationship with the girl, it is most likely that she would prefer to do whatever will get her paid fastest. This concept is strange to some foreign men who are used to girls who love to be wined and dined with romance in the air. Remember that for Cambodian bar girls from hostess bars, this is their job and that when they are finished with one customer they can go back to the bar, or head out to a disco to find another customer and make more money. Expect to pay $20 or more if you take a girl to a guest house for a short time. Some girls expect far more than this. Negotiation in advance can avoid problems later on. From the girls point of view, she is indignant if she doesn’t get the same amount her friends are getting from customers. Contrary, she will brag to them if she gets more. Be sensitive of this issue when negotiating.
If you are looking for some western style quality time with a hostess bar girl, be prepared to put in some time to develop a relationship with her by returning to the bar often. Remember that as long as she works for the bar, the bar owner will ensure that the bar’s interests come first and that customers pay for the time they spend with their employees (the bar girls). In order to spend a normal amount of time with a male customer, Cambodian bar girls will have to quit their jobs. If you ask a bar girl to quit her job so she can be with you, be prepared to compensate her financially as she will likely not have any other source of income.
There are three main areas in Phnom Penh where hostess bars are clustered together. They are on Street 104 (Seng Though Street) between the post office and the riverside, Street 136 (Oknha In Street) just off the riverside, and along Street 51 (Pasteur Street) between Street 154 (Dekcho Damdin) and Street 174 (Oknha Ket). Each of these areas has at least a dozen or so bars and one can easily bar hop from bar to bar searching for the perfect hostess. All three areas are a short moto ride from one another. At the time of this writing $1 is a fair price for travel from any one to any other by moto. Travel by tuk-tuk will cost $2. With all the locations so close together, and a plethora of drivers at each location waiting to ferry customers to their next venue, it is very convenient and easy to make your way around town to have some fun with Cambodian bar girls in Phnom Penh’s hostess bars.
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