Cambodia's entertainment industry has recovered since the late 1970s; and now ranges from gracious traditional arts such as the apsara dance (with a close link to the artistic zenith of Angkor and popular among visitors), to the city cocktail lounges and clubs (offering live music performances and a leisurely atmosphere).
- Watch a traditional Cambodian puppet dance show
- Be enchanted by the gracious movements of apsara dancers
- Sing along to the best live music performances in Phnom Penh
- Sip well-mixed cocktails at the best cocktail lounges in town
- Start your night adventures at city night markets
Traditional dance and theater
Most traditional Cambodian dance and theater performances were disrupted during the Khmer Rouge regime, but owing to the incessant efforts of Cambodian artists, such cultural events are now well-preserved, flourishing as the pride of the country.
Sovannaphum Arts: Traditional Dance and Puppets Show
A one-hour show telling the epic Ramayana story, offers a unique mixture of traditional dance, puppet show and humor. Dancers hold the puppets while dancing behind a white background. By using light manipulation, they create a beautiful shadow dance.
The show is convened on a small outdoor stage. You'll be seated near the musicians, which means it can be loud. The show is narrated in Khmer. English translation is provided, but is limited.
After the show, you are welcome to go to the stage to interact and take pictures with the dancers. If you're lucky they will teach you one or two of the dance movements!
- Location: 166, Street 99|Phsar Doeum Thkov Commune, Chamkar Mon District, Phnom Penh (on the corner of street 484 and street 99)
- Performance times: 7.30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays
- Ticket information: US$ 10, contact +855 10 337 552 for more information.
Apsara dance shows
Apsara dance represents the beauty of Khmer culture and its women. The centuries-old dance is performed by women who represent goddesses and celestial figures, narrating classical myths.
The intricate, gentle yet graceful dance (watch the dancers' fingers!) embellished by majestic costumes and loud yet unique traditional Khmer music, used to be reserved for entertaining royals; but nowadays anyone can enjoy it.
Apsara Arts Association: the Dance School
The Apsara Arts Association has been one of the pioneers in preserving and developing apsara dance, as well as one of the first apsara dance schools in Cambodia.
To become a professional apsara dancer, one may have to start practicing at a young age. At this school you will see how little girls of various ages are trained in this dance.
During their training, you may find the student dancers on stage with the teacher, who corrects their movements and singing. You can have a seat and support the students' learning by keeping quiet and not using too much flash during the routine.
- Location: 71 Street 598, Phnom Penh
- Opening times: Performances are on Saturdays at 7 pm; student training is from Monday to Sunday from 7.30 to 10.30 am and from 2 to 5 pm.
- Ticket information: US$ 6-7, contact 012 979335 for more information.
Angkor Village Hotel: Apsara Dance Show and Dinner
Angkor Village Hotel is renowned for its beautiful traditional Khmer architectural style. Its spacious yet quaint theater offers a great experience of simultaneously enjoying apsara dance and Cambodian food.
The dinner is served as a set menu. It consists of a diverse range of 6 small portions of dishes, such as shrimp with yellow curry and lemon marinated fish salad. Wine is also available.
A helpful booklet introducing the program, the names of the dancers, and the stories of the dances is also provided.
- Location: Wat Bo Road, Siem Reap
- Opening times: 7.30 pm daily
- Ticket information: +855 63 963 561, firstname.lastname@example.org
My experience in Thai
All of this was well organized by the local office. The holiday was wonderful. Our guide, Mr. Longdy（ Siem Reap）were exceptional. He shared his extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. Thank you so much .shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions.More
kelli, Jul 2023
From the day I submitted an inquiry request, I instantly received a response from Monica asking my preferences for my trip. She has been attentive and responsive to our every needs and we very much appreciate it. Looking forward to our trip in November but many thanks to Monica for making this experience to seamless thus far.More
Sana Samhouri, Jul 2023
Very professional agency for a memorable trip to Asia
A special thanks to Albee who worked with us and helped to tailor the itinerary to our taste, she was amazing and always available for whatever we needed. The trip would not have been the same without her and her team. Thank you!More
Daniela, Jul 2023
It was our first time in Cambodia and …
It was our first time in Cambodia and we had a wonderful time. The accommodations, food, and sites were really beautiful. We ended our trip with a relaxing massage. Sam was very accommodating to our needs and knowledgeable. Thank you for the laughter and for being so kind.More
Amy Oakes Moon, Jun 2023
Our guide Borin - never boring!
Our guide Borin, in Cambodia, was knowledgeable, understanding and thoughtful in every aspect of the plan he put together for our trip to Siem Reap and in its execution. He can read the room, and knew exactly how to pace the tour, when to pause, when to break, and how to prepare us for the maximum benefit. He is extremely kind and caring, and it showed at every turn. He also is a dab hand with the camera, and we have a lot of great pictures to show for it. Kudos to my Asia Highlights coordinator - Cathy Chen, for picking Borin. Borin works with a driver (007) who was also very kind and caring. Whenever we returned to the car, he would have cold towel rolls and chilled water to refresh us. So amazingly considerate. It was an unforgettable experienceMore
David Muliyil, Jun 2023
Our guide, Anna, was fantastic! She was highly informative and a delight to spend our days with. Would request her again if we were to return!More
Alejandra M Almonte, Jun 2023
We've had such a great experience…
We've had such a great experience planning our honeymoon with Alisa at Asia Highlights! We gave her our dream itinerary, thinking that it might be impossible to do all the things we wanted, but Alisa made our dreams a reality! She's gone so far above and beyond to answer ALL of our questions and make little adjustments that will make a huge impact on our experience.More
Lauren, Jun 2023
Alisa knows how to work fast and please a customer.
Alisa is very helpful and works very fast. I am a very difficult client because Inknow what I want in therm of hotels and comfort. She had a lot of patience with me, and moved a lot the plan of the trip, always following my requests. It was a pleasure organizing my trip with her. I recommend her a lot! Thanks Alisa. Malala from Argentina.More
maria laura artola, Jun 2023
In addition, I want to specifically mention the guides provided in certain locations. Rum, in Siem Reap, made the most memorable experience possible. His positivity was contagious - even when it felt like 1000 degrees and we were tired. He brought it all to life, and created a couple days of Ankor Wat, etc. that we will never forget! He heard my daughter's request for specific Cambodian food, and changed our itinerary to go to a village and eat at a locally known shop. He brought the dessert she asked about to us in the car! Overall, he and his driver "Lucky" were a reason to go to Siem Reap. In addition, the other guides (minus one which was switched out immediately) were stupendous. Mon in Bangkok was friendly and provided a great day there; Eak in Chiang Mai gave us a world-class food-tour and day touring the city and its surrounding temples with lots of laughs; Tommy in Hanoi kept us from getting killed in the traffic and gave a stupendous food and architecture/history tour - so very friendly and funny; the fishing village tour in Hoi An, as well as the side-car tour in Saigon, were both unforgettable! Thank you Sharon, and Asia Highlights. Would definitely use again for future trips!More
Teri Simpson, Apr 2023
Cambodia and Vietnam adventure!
Our guide in Cambodia, Meas Darapolaith (Pol), was absolutely amazing. He was knowledgeable, friendly and so helpful. His English was excellent and he shared important insights about history and the magnificent sites we visited. We highly recommend him!More
Jennifer Roth Krieger, Apr 2023
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE…
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE Asia. Being the first in that region, we wanted to use a tour service company. We ended up using Asia Highlights. From the beginning we were impressed with their services. We left home with of mind because all the pre-travel arrangements were taking care and communicate to us efficiently. All our questions were answered promptly. Once in the countries, we were welcome by our excellent tour guides. Everything was taking care for us. We did not have one issue. They selected the right tours guides for us, they were highly knowledgeable and so much attentive to our needs. We had Dhat in Vietnam and Borin in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I highly recommend Asia Highlights. I came back home so much rested, and with plenty of wonderful pictures and memories. I will definitely use Asia Highlights again for my next trip to Asia.More
Isabelle Dessaux, Apr 2023
Fabulous tour and guide in Cambodia
We have been touring Cambodia, guided by Borin ( and driver 007) for the last 2 days. What a fabulous experience! Borin has been a wonderful guide, the best so far in Southeast Asia, explaining the history and culture of Cambodia through his tours of the temples in and around Angkor, as well as the Landmine museum. He has answered all our questions, made sure we were comfortable, and that we have had great food. 007 made sure we always had enough water and cool towels for our face/neck.We highly recommend Borin as a tour guide for Cambodia!!More
Monica, Mar 2023
Best Travel Service for Asia Travel
Alisa Liu was in charge of making the arrangements and she helped us from the start to make all of the arrangements and also helped us when we had questions and requested some adjustments. Her service is of the highest professional level. We are 100% confident that our trip will be perfect. We’re also 100% confident that, if anything comes up during our trip, that Alisa will be there to guide us through and take care of us. We won’t even consider using another agency for travel around Asia and we would like to have Alisa work for us again.More
Leo Pospichal, Mar 2023
Tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand
The tour guides and drivers were another high point. All were very good, friendly, knowledgeable and spoke English well. There were two that I want to call out for their excellence. Chan Sovannarith in Siem Reap was our guide in Cambodia. He really made the experience special. His knowledge, willingness to answer all my questions, helpfulness and general attitude made him fun to be around. In order to praise the second exceptional guide I have to explain about an unfortunate occurrence that I had. I'm normally a very active senior, but after leaving Cambodia for Laos I was suddenly struck by the most intense back pain I've ever experienced, couldn't even roll over in bed (turned out to be sciatica). The guide, Mr. Sonophet, really went the extra mile. He went with my traveling companion and bought a back brace and medications for me. When that didn't help much he took me to a clinic where I was seen by a doctor, given a shot and pain meds. He hand-made a walking stick for me that I'm still using! He made it possible for me to somewhat participate in the activities, i.e. a bed on the boat down the river. When it was time to move on to Bangkok he got me a wheelchair at the airport. I can't thank him enough for these kindnesses! This problem lasted for the remainder of the trip, through Bangkok and Phuket and these guides were also very helpful getting wheelchairs, etc. It was a terrible disappointment to have this wonderful trip disrupted, but it would have been SO much worse without the great help that I received from the guides and my poor travel companion!More
Deb M, Mar 2023
In good hands with Sam
Sam Ol took very good care of us - lots of information, listened to and answered all our questions, was passionate about the places we visited and about his people and country. He was kind, had a great sense of humor, and made sure we felt safe and comfortable at all times. He helped us to fall in love with Cambodia in 3 short days.More
Carol Jones, Feb 2023
Best tour guide in Cambodia
When we first arrived at the airport in Siem Riep it was so nice to be greeted by Mr Sam Ol. We instantly fell at home when we saw his friendly smile. We were impressed by his great English and knowledge of the temples. On the tour to the temples Sam took care of us every step of the way. He took awesome pictures of us. It felt like we were on a tour given by our brother who is also a professional photographer. Also, we appreciate his humor as well as the fact he had an answer for every question we had. I give Sam 5 stars, best tour guide ever :)More
Len S, Feb 2023
Mr. Sam our guide in Cambodia, he and the driver out standing service they went above and beyond touring, my wife so amazed beautiful country, we're planning back here near the futures. Thank Mr. Sam,We'll feedback the whole trip next week when we be home in USMore
Pho Lover, Feb 2023
We are still in the middle of our trip, but we are just finishing up our time in Cambodia and our guide, Borin, has been AMAZING!!! He has truly made our time here unforgettable and I plan on referring all of my friends and family to come visit this beautiful country! Thank you, Borin, for everything you did to make our trip so fantastic!More
Danielle Blount, Feb 2023
Excellent service and Wonderful Guides
All of our guides have been terrific. Mr. Sam in Siem Reip was especially wonderful. Both he and our driver were polite, safe knowledgable and informative. Sam made our trip memorable and enioyable. We will definitely recommend Sam and Asia Highlights to our friends.More
Kaaren, Feb 2023
Great tour guide Charity at Siem Reap
Our experience in Siem Reap could not have been any better thanks to our outstanding and cheerful guide, Charity. Her very good English speaking made it so easy to learn so much from her. She understood and answers all of our questions.She was relaxed and very knowledgeable. She went out out her way to help us make amazing pano photos of the cotton trees at Siem Reap and on our sunset cruise. She also advised us on Chanrey Tree restaurant—what we found to be the very best vegan restaurant on our first three weeks of our Asia tour. So glad to have vegan meals with very little oil!!! We are not supposed to have oil and is very hard to find vegan with no oil. Went went back the next night.More
Barbara Cornyn, Jan 2023
Contemporary Cambodian music
Cambodia's traditional music is represented by pinpeat, the orchestra that performs for traditional dances like apsara or shadow dances.
The orchestra usually consists of nine to twelve wind and percussion instruments, such as ching (cymbals) roneat (bamboo xylophone), gong (bronze gong), pai au (flute), sralai (oboe), chapey (bass banjo) and various kinds of drum.
In recent years, more Cambodians have begun to enjoy contemporary music like jazz or other upbeat dance music. Below we recommend a place where you can enjoy such music.
Jazz Club Phnom Penh
Jazz Club is located in the heart of the city and frequently hosts live music performances from Cambodian or foreign artists in various genres, such as gipsy jazz, or Cambodian music.
The club may remind you of an 80s Parisian jazz club, with elegant decorations and intimate yet relaxing ambience. Signature cocktails like pinacolada and snacks are ready, to help you relax.
- Location: St. 315, No 87, Sangkat Boeung Kork 2, Phnom Penh
- Opening times: 8 pm to 1 am
- Ticket information: 092 094 176/097 209 4176
Nightclubs and bars
Bars weren't part of traditional Cambodian culture, but with the growing tourism, more Cambodians enjoy spending time with friends in places with good ambience, and the number of nightclubs and bars is increasing.
The bars are equipped with a growing choice of alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, served in pleasant environments; some even enjoy the city's best river views. We list some bars below.
Le Moon Rooftop Bar
Ranked 4th on TripAdvisor, the Rooftop Bar is renowned for its ambience. Located at the river and the top of a busy street, the place is perfect for sitting awhile and enjoying the sunset and city lights, with some frozen margaritas or spritz.
- Location: Street 154, Corner Sisowath Quay, Level 3 of Amanjaya Hotel
- Opening times: Sundays 5 pm to 12 am, Mondays to Saturdays 5 pm to 1 am
- Average cost starts from US$ 5
Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC)
The FCC has a faded-yellow walled lounge with a colonial atmosphere, and cool breezes at night. Get your best Mekong River view here, or if you like, gaze down at the busy traffic jams from the second floor, while sipping cocktails or cold beer.
The FCC also has a wide range of food ranging, from Asian to Western.
- Location: 363 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
- Opening times: happy hours from 5 to 7 pm (perfect for enjoying the sunset), then 10 pm to midnight, daily.
- Average Cost: US$ 10
The Elephant Bar
The Elephant Bar, located in the posh Raffles Le Royal Hotel, offers a wide range of wines, beers and spirits, along with a sophisticated ambience. Try its signature cocktails; such as Singapore slings, or Femme Fatale.
Be sure to enjoy the generous happy hour from 4 to 9 pm, when you can buy drinks at half-price.
- Location: 92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh, Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh
- Opening times: 12 pm to 12 am, daily
- Average cost US$ 7-8
After the sun sets, when the day is almost done, you can find many Cambodians at night markets, walking side by side with friends and family; just roaming about, dining out, or finding another souvenir for home.
With merchant tents, lively crowds, colorful lights and street food, exploring the night markets may be one way to explore the locals' daily lives, integrating into their culture.
Phnom Penh Night Market (Phsar Reatrey)
The riverside night market is Phnom Penh's only formal night market, located just across from the Old Market (Phsar Chas) in the Old French Quarter. It opens daily, but closes early, at 8 pm.
At Phsar Reatret, you can learn about the locals' 'fiesta', as besides shopping, you can also watch dance performances, live local pop, and musical performances on stage. It is quite loud; Cambodians like it loud.
- Location: Sisowath Quay, Street 5, Phnom Penh
- Opening times: Fridays to Sundays, 5 pm to 12 am
Siem Reap Angkor Night Market
Angkor Night Market was the first night market in Cambodia, founded in 2007 to preserve Khmer handicrafts and support local artists.
Here you can find a wide range of clothing and local handicrafts such as stone carvings, silverware, silk paintings, shadow puppets, and brass products.
You can also visit bars near the market, or if you fancy, try foot massage!
- Location: Stung Thmey Village, Sankat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap
- Opening times: 5 pm to 12 am, daily
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