Complete Guide to Girly Bars / Hostess Bars in Phnom Penh
As soon as you arrive at your hotel in Phnom Penh, took a shower and maybe had some dinner, you are going to ask yourself: Where should I go now? Well, I suppose the main reason for your stay in Cambodia’s capital is to have sex with sexy Khmer girls and plenty of it, so you will want to go to the places where you can meet them.
And by far the easiest, safest and most popular place to meet girls in Phnom Penh’s nightlife are the girly bars. They are also known as “hostess bars” and can be found in the main tourist area near the Mekong river promenade. I will come to the exact street names in just a moment. But let me explain some general points first.
Why are they the easiest place to meet girls? Because you can just go there and will find more than a dozen of young and attractive ladies in each bar that are all there to “entertain” the male customers and make sure they have a great time. The hostess bars are completely set up for tourists – they are comparable to the KTVs and karaoke bars for the Khmer men. Also, the girls in these bars usually speak some English, which is not always the case in the red light areas for the local Khmers.
Why are they the safest place to meet girls? Because the girls are employed and registered at the bars. That means you don’t have a high risk that she is stealing from you in the hotel room, because you know where to find her the next day – in the bar. And she knows that, too. That’s different to a prostitute from the night club or street that can just grab your wallet while you take a shower and run away, and the chances that you find her are close to zero. Very unlikely to happen here, but still, always keep an eye on your belongings.
Why are they the most popular place among foreigners to meet girls? Because of a combination of being easy and safe, plus because the girls tend to be more attractive than in the night clubs, massage parlors and on the street. Just look at my picture on the top – that’s one of the lovely girls from one of the many bars on Street 136. Isn’t that enough explanation why the lady bars in Phnom Penh are so popular?
I know the main reason why you are reading this guide is because you want to know where to find the main areas with hostess bars, so here we go:
6 Main Areas with Girly Bars in Phnom Penh
If you have been to Bangkok, then you may know Nana Plaza. And if you have been to Manila, then you may know the EDSA Entertainment Complex. In Phnom Penh it’s a little bit different: There is no such “red light complex”, but instead you will find the girly bars in random streets in the city center.
The main areas with the highest concentration of bars are:
- Street 104
- Street 118
- Street 130
- Street 136
- Street 172 (also known as “Restaurant Street”)
- Golden Sorya Mall
Streets 118-136 are all in one small area right behind the Mekong River Promenade. Street 104 is about 400m further up north near Wat Phnom, and has the highest number of bars in one street (see the picture above). If you ask me, this is my favorite girly bar area in all of Phnom Penh – not only are the girls among the hottest you can find, but also the atmosphere feels somewhat more relaxed and not as pushing and business oriented as in Street 136 and around. That has probably something to do with the fact that Street 136 is the center of the tourist district and lots of girls will assume that it’s your first time here, so they can get more money out of you.
Street 172 or better known as “Restaurant Street” is, like the name suggests, a street full of nice foreign restaurants. It’s popular especially among expats who don’t want to pay for overpriced dishes in the restaurants on the river front. About a dozen of hostess bars can be found here, and also a few massage salons, like everywhere else, too.
And the Golden Sorya Mall is mostly known for two of the best night clubs in town: Pontoon and Heart of Darkness. It’s about 1km from Street 136 away and so you better take a Tuk Tuk there (about 5,000 Riel one way). Besides the night clubs, there are also a few bars, but it’s mostly freelancers you can find in there and not so many employees.
Here is the overview map of the girly bar areas in Phnom Penh:
How it works
I have explained it quite a few times on this site how a typical visit to a girly bar in Phnom Penh (and everywhere else in Cambodia) works. But let me do it once again in case you don’t know it yet:
You walk along the street and see hostess bars on both sides. There are plenty of ladies sitting outside and as soon as they see you, most of them will try to get your attention and invite you inside for a drink. If you like a particular place (or a particular girl I should say) then you can agree and follow her inside. Upon entry there will be more eyes on you and after you sat down you will usually be surrounded by a lot of girls. Some of them will push their sexy bodies or even their boobs firmly onto you, while others (especially the younger ones) will just stand there shyly – all of them hoping that you choose them.
If you have ever been to Thailand you will probably know the “beer bars”. The hostess bars in Cambodia are very similar, but the difference is that as soon as you enter a bar here, the girls will stand up in line and expect you to choose one of them. It’s not compulsory though and you can just sit there and relax, but you can expect that they will try their best so that you agree, let them sit with you and buy them drinks.
What’s very similar to Thailand, there are many nice girls with good English skills, sometimes TVs with live sports, other foreigners that you can meet and greet, and usually also pool billiard tables where you can “warm up” with your girl:
Of course you don’t go to a girly bar to have one beer and then leave again, but ideally to find a nice Khmer girl for the night. In other words: If you like one of the bar girls, you can pay her bar fine and take her to your hotel for sex.
Before you do that, you will need to agree on two things with your girl:
- Short Time or Long Time? Short Time means that you get to spend about 2 hours with your girl, and you usually get “one shot” (= you can have sex with her one time). You can expect that she will take a shower before and after you made love and you should not expect that she has a condom in her handbag. Therefore, make sure you buy some before you go back to your hotel. And Long Time means that she will stay with you until the next day (usually after breakfast, but often until she starts working again) and you get several shots (= you can have sex with her several times).
- How much? That depends on three things: How old and/or attractive she is, if you want her short time or long time and how much she likes you (believe it or not, they like to charge twice as much for black guys, and some don’t want to go with black guys at all). However, don’t have the illusion that if you are “24 and so handsome” you will get her for 10 USD or even for free – it doesn’t work like that. These women are in the bar for one reason – to make money. So you may get a small discount if you are attractive and she likes you, but usually it’s the same price for everyone. Especially the young and light skinned girls don’t like to reduce their prices below 40 USD or so.
You probably want to know more about the prices, so let’s take a look at that now:
Prices for Drinks & Girls in Phnom Penh’s Girly Bars
One of the greatest things about the hostess bars (and any other type of bar and restaurant) is that the drinks are very reasonable priced. You could even say “cheap”, because you get mugs of draft beer for 1.25-1.50 USD in pretty much every bar. However, sometimes I prefer a clean can (like you can see it in my picture above) and that usually costs 2 USD.
If you like spirits then that’s not expensive either: You can order a gin tonic or vodka bull and pay no more than 3.50-4 USD per glass. It’s about the same price for a lady drink, just make sure they don’t get tequila shots because these are finished after one sip and she will think “when does he buy me the next one?”.
The bar fine is 10 USD in almost every girly bar in town. It seems like the bar owners hold an annual meeting and discuss which prices they should charge altogether for the following year, while one of their girls is massaging their back and another hostess is down on her knees slowly sucking their dicks. Sorry, that’s just a stupid phantasy of course, but you will no doubt find that the prices are almost the same in all of the bars.
And regarding the sex prices: If you ask your girl in the bar “how much for short time?” she will almost always tell you 50 USD. You can obviously negotiate a little bit and if it is the low season, or she likes you, or it is full moon then you may be able to get it cheaper around 30 USD.
The price for long time is slightly more expensive than for short time of course, and you can expect to pay at least 50 USD for that (ST), unless you promise your girl to marry her the following week and buy her a house with a big garden where she can grow her own durians. Another joke, sorry about that, but all the prices I mentioned are realistic.
Check out the complete overview of all 10 types of prostitutes and their prices in Cambodia on this page.
Videos of Girly Bars in Phnom Penh
- Important: When you decide to pay the bar fine for a girl in Phnom Penh, you need to make sure that your hotel is “guest friendly”. Yes that’s right, there are many hotels that simply don’t allow their guests to bring Khmer girls back to their rooms. I wrote an overview guide of bar girl friendly hotels in PP that you can find here.