Entry visa at airport, make sure you have passport photograph (no copies or computer generated) and 20US$. As you walk out of customs on your left pick up a local sim card for your phone. Tuk tuk into town 7US$ set price. I normally stay at the Casa hotel near Wat Phnom. Entertaining 3 star hotel, moderately priced, big rooms, very clean, great view of the Tonle Sap. Very popular at night with KTV on the 3rd floor and nightclub in the basement. Try to stay on the top floor (7th) which costs a bit more. Short 5 min walk to Riverside or motorbike for 1US$. Girl friendly. (It is important to find a girl friendly hotel, so do your research before you go, and there are sites to help you with this although the lists they offer are by no means complete)
Phnom Penh, my fifth trip. It’s certainly hot, real hot. In fact it always surprises me how hot this place can be. I normally go in the wet season, a predictable afternoon thunderstorm for 1 or 2 hours cools things back a bit, but its still friggin hot! Actually I was intrigued to learn that out country people do regularly get killed by lightning strike. In fact on this trip and couple of short weeks into the rainy season, the Phnom Penh Post reports 86 people killed and 200 odd injured. So maybe better to stay in the city and not stray too far !
Yes, I am a single guy, was married for 13 years, 2 children, my daughter 21 lives with me, my son at university. We get on well together. Ok life in my city, kinda small, modern western, but I dunno, everything expensive now, everything too PC, everything too serious, and I find the women here kinda weird. I have lost touch with my inner self, generally there ain't much fun anymore.
So I am 55 , I think good for my age. I am not so tall, of slim build, and Italian decent. I have spent 35 years training at the gym, so I think I look ok, but of course age is against me. I am also a dancer. I discovered this at age 45! I can dance! Actually I dance Latin style. I am an accomplished salsa dancer, and I have danced all round the world with 100s of girls in 10 different countries and as far away as Odessa on the Black Sea coast. I am no performing expert but I consider myself a great social dancer. And of course there is a salsa dance club in Phnom Penh hosting regular events and parties.
I have traveled to many countries, and seen many cities, but there ain't no-where quite like Phnom Penh. It is hard to rationalize the tragic past of Phnom Penh with what we see today. The Khmer have got to be the nicest and the friendliest people ever. Sure there are some major problems with this place, not the least being the level of inherent corruption. But on the surface you do not see it. I would expect if you tried to do business here then it would be another story. Ok if you step out of line and do bad things then bad things are gonna happen to you. What ever you do, do not get involved in any child prostitution. Yes, it is available if you look for it, but if you are that depraved I suggest you go and shoot yourself.
It’s a bit hard to fill the day in Phnom Penh. Not really a lot to do. It’s more about just hanging out and soaking up the atmosphere. Yes, it’s certainly third world, but I find it very interesting. Once Cambodia was the jewel of Indochina with its fabulous ancient past. Now we see the dilapidated post colonial French architecture, the sights and smells of the outdoor markets and street stalls, the constant lazy flow of cars and motor scooters and people living on the streets.
Once the sun goes down, then it is time to think about the evening. This is why I am really here. As you probably know, ganja is readily available on the street. No big deal, you can buy a small bag from one of the motor cycle guys for 10 or 15 US$. Of course you can buy anything if you wish, but there is a line you cross and then bad things are gonna happen to you! So be sensible, and when in a foreign land always respect the people and their culture. You are on your own here, and no-one is gonna come and save your arse if you do get into trouble.
So I have a couple of beers in my hotel room and then a joint, and then head out for the evening. The ganja tends to smooth out the alcohol, and also gives me the energy and the desire to waste away the night hours. Phnom Penh is very seductive at night. It’s about the heat, and the relaxed feeling that abounds. Hard to explain except there ain’t nowhere quite like Phnom Penh. There is an amazing plethora of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. I’ve tried the nightclubs, don’t really like them, a bit too loud for my liking. My passions lie within the hostess bars and there are many to choose from all more or less in the same area around Riverside. By now the combination of the music, ganja and alcohol has placed me in the pleasure zone. The bars are great. Open the doors and you are met by a bevy of welcoming young ladies who are only too happy to draw you in to their little place of paradise. By now I have a smile and a glint in my eyes and I engage the the girls with a joke or a tease. Of course they are everywhere and just so nice and friendly. The girls are happy to chat and laugh. How do I describe them, pretty, petite, kinda innocent way, and a special kind of magic. The music plays and the pleasure zone takes over. There ain’t nothing like this back home! I laugh, I joke, I dance. Of course I love to dance, and some girls approach while others are too shy. They are all eyes and smiles and most are only too eager to glue their sexy bodies against mine. They gasp excitedly as I move them through the rhythms of the music. Wow, some of these girls are actually good dancers. I spend a few dollars. What does it cost? Not much compared to what I would pay back home! Yes, of course I pay my way, but this is more the concern of the bar manager, afterall they are running a business and the girls need to get paid. Really the beers are cheap and the cocktails even cheaper. I move from bar to bar. Your entrance is to buy a beer and then if you wish to stay a lady drink or two. Each bar has its own girls and its own music. Wow, am I in heaven or what! I am in the pleasure zone and my sights and feelings are heightened. I am in dreamland, touching skin soft as silk, gazing into dark sparkling eyes, mesmerized by succulent smouldering lips. If I connect with a girl I will ask her back to my hotel. I am careful not to make too much of a habit of this as I am really wanting to make a connection with only one girl that I would be happy enough to spend my time with while I am here. It seems wrong that sex is so freely available (maybe my Catholic upbringing) not to mention what you might catch. As always one must be careful. Of course the language problem means that it is a challenge to get to know one of these girls beyond the sexual connection. I have thought about this also. Sure another chance, another culture, they wouldn’t be doing this. But here it is part of the culture. Who am I to argue? And these girls do not appear to be unhappy or miserable. They are young, beautiful and enjoying the moment in their lives. They have such cool names, like Arbee, Arowat, Iwant, Askme, and then there are the bevy of girls with Srey Mom, Srey Noit, Srey Pul and so it goes. Apparantly Srey means young lady. Of course I am not a total wastrel. I may have a favourite couple of girls and I will arrive at the bar around 7.00 pay the bar fine and take them out for dinner. Lets face it, the bar fine is 14US$ for 2 girls and the meal is 26US$ including drinks. Oh my god if I take a single woman out back home its gonna cost me 3 or 4 times that and still no guarantee of getting laid let alone getting laid by 2 girls. There are some nice restaurants along Riverside and we sit outside soaking up the balmy evening, laughing and joking. They enjoy being with me and I with them. I love to see them smile and we all one in the moment.
Yea well the super bottom line is that they may view me as just another guy they can skim a few dollars from, but my reality is that they seem to enjoy my company and are quite happy being with me. They just feel like your girlfriend. And of course it gives me the opportunity to practice something else which has been a lifelong preoccupation. Looking after a woman in bed. These ladies are all so sexy, and just my size. But often after the ganja and alcohol, my equipment does not work so well and I cannot stay hard enough. But I am learned in the ways of stimulating a woman, so always my desire is to look after them and explore the path to their inner sex. More recently I have discovered V-Tab, described as Indian viagra. You can buy this from the pharmacy across the road from the hotel, I think 25 cents a tab along with diazapan which helps you get a good nights sleep afterwards. I could show my pictures of these lovely ladies, but I respect their privacy and I will not post any photos of them on the net.
Yes, I do pay these girls, either 30 or 50US$ depending on whether they stay 2 hours or overnight. Some guys will brag about how little they had to give the girl, but I do not play that kind of mindless game. The reality is this is how they make their money and I always want to help them. I dunno, maybe I get too close to them, but I enjoy their company, and their limited English and non-verbal communication is both a challenge and fun.
After a month, my time is up and I must head back home to my so average life. But I keep wanting to go back. I find the culture and lifestyle so intriguing on so many levels, and then there are the girls. Of course eventually you will want to transcend the bar girl encounter and get a real girfriend which I have now. But on the other hand fucking these girls can become a sexual addiction, because they are so bloody sexy and its all a hellava lot fun. Of course it can be a little dangerous juggling more than one girl because there is a code amongst the girls, but hey, its all part of the fun if you can handle it. Wow, Phnom Penh, such a vibrant city, maybe one day I will actually be living here.
There are 100s of bars and 1000s of bar girls in Phnom Penh. The ages vary between 19 and 28. The legal age is 18 as compared to Western cultures where it is 16. Although prostitution is technically illegal, it is tolerated behind closed doors, and it is rare to find solicitation on the street. The flaming nights in Phnom Penh have nothing in common with the more staid conventions of the West. Apsaras, those Khmer dancers whose voluptuous forms were carved centuries ago on the ancient walls of Ankorian temples still exist today as bar girls draped seductively over a chair aligned along the walls of the bar. Girls, smiles, tenderness, playfulness and innocence along with alcohol, heat and music are powerful seductive elements. The young beautiful girl beside you has you within her charms as you melt into her sexiness powerless to resist.
Prostitution is very much part of Cambodian culture and is historical. Child prostitution is totally not tolerated and if you get caught you can kiss your arse goodbye forever. Do not ignore the reality that the sex trafficking of young children and often by the child's parents was once a huge depravity in this country (see my comments at the end of this section).The bar scene is generally safe because bar owners know if trouble occurs they will be closed down permanently and carted off to jail for a very long time. However I do know that some young girls/bar owners bribe the police, which can still make it risky for you. Police will blitz bars particular if complaints arise. And this is a serious business, these guys carry loaded machine guns. General rule, avoid any girls that look too young. Also do not be tempted to go off with some random person into the suburbs in search of girls. The suburbs can be very dangerous, be warned. Try not to get too drunk or too knocked out. Easy to get generous with lady drinks including drinks you never ordered and before you know it that 100$ you thought you had has gone. The girls are generally pretty honest, but it is the job of the bar staff to lift as much money as they can from you and I have seen some guys knocked out, money falling out of their pockets or wallet on the floor.
Any kind of job is hard to find for both men and women in Cambodia and many girls choose to work in bars which is a fun job compared to working in a sweat shop. They get paid 2 or 3US$ per day, but can make extra from lady drinks and also sleeping with customers. You will find the full range of girls from the young newbies to the more hardened pros. The young are usually inexperienced in bed, but can still be a lot of fun and every now and then you are pleasantly surprised, and the older girls can take the job a little too seriously, and only want a quick fuck and then the money. These girls can be a bit more difficult and are best avoided. Also you don't want an argument about price to ruin a good fuck so make sure you ask before you leave the bar. Some girls drink everynight, others will only drink tea or Red Bull. Some girls will not sleep with you, but there are others that are quite willing to for the extra money. Some really pretty girls may go with many customers and are making 1000US$ in a good month. However what really happens is that they may hook into one guy who just wants to keep seeing them and sleeping with them and paying them. The reason why some cannot stay all night is that they need to get home to mother who is not fully aware of what they do, or they don't really like you and just want to get back to the bar. The girls either live at home or come from the provinces where they often share a domitary upstairs with girls from the bar. The bars generally open at 6.00pm and close at 2.00am. Some bars are open 24hour with the girls working in shifts. The girls sleep during the day and have 1 day off a week. Some have been married before, some already have babies who are cared for by the mother. The girls are always required to give money to the family, and for many there is continued pressure to keep doing so, a practice which is quite opposite to Western culture, but based on necessity. This is an area I do struggle with. The responsibility falls of the daughters as the sons are often useless and many girls have no choice but to turn to prostitution, a practice which ultimately causes lose of emotional connection with a man and loss of the ability to form any kind of meaningful relationship in the future. As the years go by, night after night in the bar drinking and listening to the same music, and servicing so many men, the dreams of a shining knight who will to take them away from all this, slowly fade. What began as a bright eyed excited young face slowly becomes replaced by the face of sadness and emptiness. Most of these girls do have the dream of finding a wealthy European man, and occasionally this does happen. I have seen from time to time the real special girl find the guy, visa is made and she goes away. Incidentally it is very easy for the girl to get a French visa, so the French guys do have an advantage in that respect. But for all the others they remain and eventually becoming too old for the bar, lost youth, lost dreams.
If you wish to contact the writer send your mail to:
INDEPENDANCE MONUMENT, PHNOM PENH
A harsh reality
In all cultures there are those people who would abuse or radicalize beliefs and customs for money or power. Child sex trafficking by Asian thugs was once a huge problem in Cambodia. The provinces are poor, there is no money. The cultural thinking is that the parents send the children out to make money for the family. Prostitution is normal, and often the only way to make sufficient money. Some parents are so desperate they would prostitute their own young children or even sell them. Asian thugs usually Vietnamese who are little more than arrogant fuckwits would come to village and set up a table and proceed to run their business.
Over the past 8 years the Cambodian government have been very active in eradicating all forms of child prostitution and the more notorious areas have now been closed down permanently.
Today any involvement in this kind of activity is met with extreme penalties and especially for European foreigners