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|Travel & Resources: PHNOM PENH
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PHNOM PENH -- area code (855-23)
Phnom Penh is quickly shedding its provincial atmosphere. High-rises and mega-developments are springing up on the city's horizon, and tricked up tuk-tuks are having to scoot around more and more gas-guzzling vanity vehicles.
The capitol city remains crowned by the pretty gardens and evocative structures of its Grand Palace. Residents gather by the riverside to watch street magic, to munch fresh snacks, or to promenade along its banks in the cool of late day. Shady temple courtyards bekon, as do mobile phone sales booths which dot the city streets, covered in sequences of lucky numbers, like monuments of mystical numerologists.
Visit the National Museum, whose superb Khmer treasures radiate magic as you wander its galleries in the slight fever heat of the day. Just outside, vendors display lurid florescent paintings on black velvet or scaled-down versions of Angkor sculptures destined for decorative nooks around the globe.
Cambodia cool art and design are evident everywhere in trendy restaurants and shops. Even the vivid color schemes of homes and shophouses express the optimism and vibrancy of the city's residents.
Dance seems to be a national pastime. Groups of people gather at dusk in parks and public areas to dance in unison for exercise. Children once again patiently re-trace classical dance gestures, nearly lost to time and war, but threaded into the Khmer soul. "Freshie" teens with animé haircuts echo the urban hip-hop dance moves and styles that thread the world of youth together around the globe.
There are a growing number of gay businesses now where you may meet locals, so you'll likely have little problem connecting. Everyone here is working hard, so most socializing in saunas and bars takes place between dusk and 10pm, unless it is a weekend or holiday.
The population of the capital city is over two million (that's more than 80,000 Utopians).
Men in Phnom Penh message forum
Phnom Penh's gay and lesbian scene is easy to navigate using our Utopia Map:
- Men's Health Social Services
#18 Street 95, Beng Keng Kong III, Khan Chamcarmon, 012-893-138.
- Phnom Penh Pride
C/O VSO, P.O. Box 912, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Organizers of Cambodia's LGBT week of various events around Phnom Penh, coinciding with International Day Against Homophobia 2009.
Affinity Phnom Penh UTOPIA VERIFIED SEP 2012
012-254-554, 015-254-554, email. Professional, licensed and openly gay guide to Phnom Penh and vicinity. Explore the vibrant capital of Cambodia and it's amazing Khmer treasures. Find out what's new on the local scene and experience an insider's view of historic and contemporary Khmer life. Flexible hours and completely custom intineraries with your interests in mind. You'll steer clear of tourist traps and commission shopping. Honest, friendly and a good sense of humor about life. English and Mandarin spoken. Reasonable rates. Car and tuk-tuk arrangements.
Riverside Tuk-Tuk UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2013
017-902-593, email. Sopheap (Steve) is an English-speaking tuk-tuk driver who knows the gay scene well and is available to transport you safely between the venues listed on these pages as well as the sightseeing destinations around the city.
Click here for Phnom Penh hotels and accommodations.
The Gym @ The Place UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2012
The Place 2 Bld, #11 Steer 51, Utopia Map, 023-999-799. Phnom Penh's most luxurious, multi-story fitness complex attracts upscale Khmer and foreign gays. World class facilities, including pool, sauna and steam, may be used on a day pass. Not gay (but very gay), so be discreet. As the sign on the door says, no bodyguards or weapons allowed inside.
China House UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2012
45 Sisowath Quay, Utopia Map, 099-941-652, email. Beautifully restored heritage home along the river. Art exhibitions, weekly screenings, and upstairs bar with cozy pillow seating on vintage Chinese beds. Open Tue-Sun from 6pm.
La Gallerie X-Em Design UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2012
#13 Street 178, Utopia Map, 722-252, 092-764-836, email. Showcase for gay contemporary painter and designer, Em Riem. His Asia-modern designs include ceramic skulls, porcelain cups made from casts of discarded water bottles, and whimsical lamps made from a variety of unexpected materials. His paintings on exhibit during our visit included monumental portraits of farm animals in saturated, pop colors, and conceptual male and female nudes painted onto canvases made of discarded rice sacks. Exhibiting around the world, Em is one of Cambodia's emerging national treasures.
Top Art Gallery UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2012
2/F (above Riverhouse Lounge) Street 155E2, Sisowath Quay, Utopia Map, 012-211-193, 9215-9786, email. Gallery and studio of openly gay Khmer artist, Thang Sothea, showcasing his large paintings on canvas. A master of paint texture, Sothea frequently combines homo-erotic subjects, witty sexual in-jokes and Khmer written language into his figurative and calligraphic works. One of the most astonishing artists in the emerging Cambodia Cool art and design explosion.
Click here for Phnom Penh Massage and Spas for Men.
999 (Khmer and sukiyaki)
18C Street 144, Utopia Map, 092-726-565, 011-889-954, 015-232-399. This unpretentious, hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves up cheap, delicious food including their specialty: hot pot with cow hooves. If you're not that adventurous, try the pork cracklings stir-fried with broccoli or the seafood salad in sweet fish sauce -- the perfect Khmer counterpoints to a mug of iced beer. Popular with groups of gays because of the friendly owner and staff (not much English spoken).
Baitong Restaurant (Asian) UTOPIA VERIFIED FEB 2014
#7 Street 360, Utopia Map, 630-3005, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly. Baitong is the Khmer word for green. They serve high quality, healthy Asian food in a relaxing environment. Meeting and training rooms available. They are a hub for civil society groups and small businesses in Phnom Penh. Utopia Member Discount
FCC (Foreign Correspondents' Club) UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2013, UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2012
2/F 363 Sisowath Quay, Utopia Map, 220-528. Dine or drink in casual style with beautiful views of the river from this heritage club open to the public. A real sense of history and authentic ambience.
Feel Good Cafe & Coffee Roasters UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
#79 St 136, Utopia Map, 017-497-538, email. Across the street from Space Hair and next to Elite cabaret. Gay-owned and managed. Phnom Penh's first in-house coffee roasters. Their focus is providing coffee with love along with deliciously nutritious and thoughtfully prepared food, including comfort food like bagels and lox, plus some spicy latin flavors! Friendly and charming staff give service with personality in a relaxed atmosphere. This place is a crossroads in an emerging gayborhood and you'll likely see all the who's who of Phnom Penh's gay personalities while you hang out. We did! Utopia Member Discount
K'NYAY Khmer & Vegan Cuisine Restaurant UTOPIA VERIFIED 2013
The Terrace on 95, #43 St 95 (near the corner of St 348) , Utopia Map, 023-225-225, 092-665-225, email. LGBTIQ friendly, modern Khmer restaurant that is tucked away down a side street off Monivong Blv. The menu includes a selection of freshly prepared vegan dishes, along with more traditional Cambodian specialities. Also on offer are a selection of cakes, ice creams and sorbets, using all vegan ingredients. Open Tue-Fri noon-9pm, Sat/Sun 7am-9pm. Closed Mon. Utopia Member Discount
Malis (Khmer fine dining) UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2012
#136 Street 41 (3 blocks south of Independence Monument, Utopia Map, 221-022, 221-121, email. Contemporary Cambodian garden and pond setting for superb Khmer fine dining. Try the spiced pork slices on banana flower and herb salad, savory duck stew, scallops and coconut milk steamed rice wrapped in lotus leaves, and much, much more (including a warm banana pudding with sago 'pearls' and cubes of banana that taste like a morph between marshmallows and buffallo mozzarella!).
Garden of Desire UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2012
#33Eo Street 178, Utopia Map, 012-319-116. Superb contemporary Khmer jewelry and wearable art. Truly world-class designs by owner Pisith and other top local craftsmen. Besides being a fascinating artist (almost every piece has a compelling conceptual story behind it), he is also dedicated to cultivating artistic creativity in young Cambodians.
Space Hair Salon and Bar UTOPIA VERIFIED NOV 2013, UTOPIA VISITED APR 2013
#66 Street 136, Utopia Map, 089-963-066, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly hair salon and gay bar. After 7pm the place becomes a gay bar with gay staff. Bar open during day times, too. Open daily from 10am till late. Utopia Member Discount
Cambodia Gay and Lesbian Resource Listings by City:
Siem Reap / Angkor | other cities and provinces
All smiles at the Shanghai Pride 2013 Trivia Night.