Some foreign guys like to meet Cambodian girls in Phnom Penh’s discos. Several such bars exist that attract a healthy number of Cambodian bar girls looking for foreign men. “Foreigner Discos” such as Heart of Darkness, Pontoon, and Riverhouse Lounge are the three most popular in town. Don’t confuse these discos with “Khmer Discos” such as Spark, The Rock, Dark Room Bar, or DJ Club. These places attract lots of local talent, but if you are looking for Cambodian bar girls, you are in the wrong place.
Lots of the Cambodian girls who frequent Heart of Darkness, Pontoon, and Riverhouse Lounge are freelance Cambodian bar girls and are not employed by the bar, but some girls, especially on the weekends, are not professionals, and are just there for a good time. Be respectful when engaging any girls at these bars. Some rich Khmer youths take their girlfriends out, as well as their bodyguards, and it is best to avoid any trouble with them by accidently getting too friendly with one of their girlfriends on the dance floor. Many of the freelance Cambodian bar girls at the discos work at various hostess jobs at bars, karaoke clubs, and restaurants in Phnom Penh and they head straight to a disco once they finish work to dance with their friends or meet someone “special”, so one can expect a steady stream of new girls to arrive from midnight onward, most of whom are looking to supplement their income by acquainting themselves with someone who will enjoy their company in a nearby guest house for an hour or two in return for financial compensation.
Of the three discos we’ve mentioned, Heart of Darkness on St. 51 is by far the girls’ favorite, and one of the most infamous freelance bar girl scenes in South East Asia. It is packed on weekends, and pretty much any night of the week you can select from a plethora of hot Cambodian girls. It seems to be their place of choice from midnight to about three am any night of the week. When you go, follow a few simple guidelines to maximize your fun, and avoid trouble.
The bar girls are easily spotted standing near the entrance or around the bar. The ones who want to show off their assets flounce around on the small landing at the bottom of the stairs where they are clearly visible to the whole bar. They will likely be there with a girlfriend or two. Be wary of Cambodian girls dancing solo on the platform by the DJ. Girls up there are possibly under close watch of their boyfriends sitting at their reserved tables around the platform. Also, know that on some nights, the long table just inside the entrance may be lady-boy territory.
Meeting the girls is easy. Invite them to dance or start up a conversation about your trip to Cambodia. Most speak reasonable English or else they’ll have a friend who can translate. Cambodian bar girls are notoriously short on cash and seemingly always thirsty or hungry. If you are so inclined, invite them for a quick bite or a drink outside on the street to get to know each other. You can always go back in again as Heart of Darkness is has no cover charge. The mini-mart across the street makes a killing selling condoms, snacks, and beer and there are tables for customers on the sidewalk keeping the street busy late at night. There are also several places to buy burgers, hot dogs, kebabs and other western night time favorites, all conveniently located a stone’s throw from the entrance to Heart of Darkness. An offer to take a bar girl to one of the places that serves local food can score big brownie points. Try nge-yo, small clams cooked live, boiled or fried, or quiti-yo, a noodle soup. They make great late night snacks and will warm her heart.
As always when dealing with a Cambodian bar girl, if you decide that you like her, and want to spend some quality time together, protect yourself by investing in a package of condoms. Additionally, take your wallet with you when you go to the shower. When you go your separate ways, pay her a fair price. The Cambodian economy is dreadful and local incomes are so low that what is fair to them is a meager amount to foreigners. At the time of this writing, $15 USD for a short time is the lowest rate, and $30 USD is enough to make most any Cambodian bar girl ask for your phone number to meet you again. Expect to pay for the guesthouse as well. There are dozens and dozens within a ten minute walk of Heart of Darkness, Pontoon, or Riverhouse Lounge. It is easy to walk, but if you don’t know the city, it is a much better, and safer, idea to take a moto. The going rate for a moto at night is $1 if you are going only a few blocks or bar hopping.
Oddly enough, the moto drivers don’t seem to get a commission for bringing in customers. The guesthouse price stays the same whether you walk or ride to your destination. Phnom Penh is relatively small and most nighttime party people will not travel far to find a guesthouse or visit another bar or disco (with the possible exception of a trip to or from Martini’s, which is a bit further from the center of the action, but well worth the trip as there are a lot of girls there who don’t make the trip into the center of the city).
Hitting a disco full of Phnom Penh bar girls is lots of fun, sometimes a little crazy, and sometimes even a bit conservative. To make the most of it, remember that a little spending goes a long way in Cambodia! When negotiating with them, remember the prices on this website to gauge a fair price for everything you do. The locals will appreciate your business whether they drive a moto, rent rooms at a guest house, or if they are accompanying you to your guesthouse on your evening’s adventures. Take the time to learn specifically about the lives and social background of the girls who work at the Phnom Penh discos mentioned here. Also visit our info page on freelance Cambodian bar girls.
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