Phnom Penh is the place to be for all things social – time to check out the scene! Many venues cater to expats, with a growing number of organised events to get to know your neighbours.
You’ve familiarised yourself with the basic layout of the city, signed a lease, got all your vaccinations, opened a bank account and maybe even landed that dream job. So get on out there and find your crowd to share this wondrous Kingdom with!
Get down to business
Phnom Penh has a full complement of business chambers, with giveaway names like BritCham, AmCham, EuroCham and AusCham. Search them online for the latest, including regular networking events that are also open to non-members. These events offer great insights into your field, and an opportunity to meet people in the local business community, so come prepared with a polished elevator pitch and plenty of business cards.
In addition, establishments like Il Forno host after work events, and co-working spaces like ImpactHub and OutPost host regular workshops, hackathons and competitions on topics from storytelling to artificial intelligence to inspire, push boundaries and bring out the best in the Kingdom.
Naturally, you might like to start by making friends with your co-workers, so why not grab a drink after work?! New places are opening every other week and most have a Happy Hour so raise a glass– check the Phnom Penh Pocket Guide for tips on where to go.
Each area has its respective drinking establishments. Backpacker bars are clustered around Street 172 (Howie’s, Cyclo, Sundance Inn, Sony Side Up) and Street 278 (Top Banana, Blue Dog) near Wat Lanka. Also in the mix are a range of places to see and be seen: sip the latest trending cocktail at Sundown Social Club, Juniper Gin Skybar, Che Culo! Oskar Bistro, Le Boutier or mingle at microbars like Hangar 44 and The Library on Bassac Lane.
Creatures of habit at heart, expats like drinking holes where they feel at home – the French favour Cloud, Bouchon and speciality bar La Pétanque, Americans can be found at Tacos Kokopelli, Elbow Room and Score Sports Bar and Grill, Brits plump for 3 Mangos, Box Office and Garage Bar, whereas Aussies are partial to Seabird’s Place and Long After Dark… With hundreds of places to choose from, you’re never far from a chance chat over your favourite tipple.
Play to win
A sleuth of places put on game and trivia nights- getting on board and into the spirit of things with teams in search of more members can be a great way to get to know people- and the (often liquid) prizes don’t hurt either! Lazy Gecko, Botanico, Rush Pub and Hops Brewery and Craft Beer Garden are amongst the best.
Getting active in the ‘Penh
If sports and wellness are your thing, there are now dozens of ways to break a sweat and connect in the city: take to the streets running with the Hash House Harriers on the weekends or Running Bongs during the week- there’s safety in numbers and support for marathons, plus post run breakfast and brunch meet ups. You can boulder or scale the wall at Phnom Climb Community Gym, great for team building and comparing notes on routes. Dodgeball and Ultimate Frisbee fans meet up weekly at various locations, as do football, touch rugby, capoeira and acro-yoga enthusiasts, with impressive facilities at the likes of KB Sports Centre, CrossFit YiQi and Nataraj Yoga Studios raising the bar. Delve into our Phnom Penh Pocket Guide for more, with venue details on expat Facebook groups and pages.
Music to your ears
Catch live music around town from home-grown and international acts- and hit it off with other music-loving souls. Check the acoustic scene at Farm to Table, rock on down at Oscar’s On The Corner or Hard Rock Café, get your blues fix at Bona’s Pub or dig on local legends at Alchemy Gastropub. Check www.lengpleng.com for the lowdown on upcoming gigs. A handful of bars also play host to open mic and jam nights, like LF Social Club, Good Times, Sundance Bar and Sharky Bar. FCC’s the Mansion occasionally plays host to big names, and Cambodia-based bands get things moving at Samai’s open house Thursday nights where you can sip premier rum produced in the Kingdom. Salsa fans keen to get their hips moving won’t be disappointed by regular Wednesday open sessions at Duplex Belgian Taverne.
Always wanted to join a choir but never had the chance? Music schools like Sronos, Simphony and Music Arts are here for you! Besides vocalising, you can even take workshops or master classes from the best, like Taiko drumming with aficionados all the way from Japan!
Laugh out loud
Stand up comedy goes down at select venues around the city- the “Comedy In Cambodia” Facebook page has everything you need to know. Find Improv(isation) Comedy classes, theatrical training and more in Java Creative Café’s brand new black box theatre in Russian Market.
Search for your heart’s desire
Facebook groups and forums like Khmer 440 and Expats and Locals Living In Phnom Penh reveal what lies beneath the city’s surface, with groups like Phnom Penh Baking Society, Night Owls and Phnom Penh Hike bringing together disparate groups of people with a common interest. There are also groups like Internations for globetrotters to meet and greet. And if all else fails…
Build it and they will come!
In the unlikely event that your favourite past time or interest isn’t catered for yet, make it happen! Some of the city’s best—loved events like quick-fire presentation extravaganza NERD Night grew out of a chat in the back of a tuk tuk (probably after a Happy Hour drink or two!) – innovation is the lifeblood of metropolitan Phnom Penh, and creative venues are always on the lookout for fresh ideas. Share your skills and passion- chances are, if you’ve thought about it, someone else has too, so go for it, and create your own community!
At time of writing (December, 2018) all information was correct, but may have changed since. If there’s something you read here which you feel is incorrect or requires updating, please let us know.