A few weeks ago I told you about the hostess bars in Ho Chi Minh City. The hostess bars of Phnom Penh are pretty similar. One reason might be that some of the first hostess bars were apparently started by Vietnamese business people a few years after Vietnam invaded Cambodia and overthrew Pol Pot. Maybe business practices traveled with some of the soldiers.
Most people say prostitution is officially illegal in Cambodia but it’s hard to tell by looking around. There are all kinds of places around selling sex and plenty of bar areas. Despite the international attention given to it sickos who went to Phnom Penh to find underaged sex partners for money in the aftermath of the wars were a small minority and they did not operate openly. I never met one and neither has anyone I know. I don’t imagine they would be treated very kindly by most men.
Today the biggest part of the industry is surely Asian oriented places like karaoke and massage parlors. Most foreigners never even notice these let alone visit them even though they are all over the place. There are also a lot of dumpy looking little brothels and street walkers around so that the millions of guys who only make $100 a month can also get some action. You can imagine the quality.
While a some foreigners still visit a handful of freelancer hangouts that I will describe in another post, most of them gravitate around the lively bar girl scene in the hostess pubs. Locals rarely visit the hostess bars but once in a while you’ll see a Khmer guy having a drink and getting his grope on.
There are hostess bars all over town in the areas near the riverside. Most are concentrated together. Street 104 is nothing but bars. Street 136 has many bars near the riverside a few a block away. Street 130 has bars in the second block from the riverside. Street 108 has a handful of bars. Streets 110 and 118 have many more bars. Street 51 also has a group of bars across from the famous Golden Sorya Mall and a little further south.
Most of the bars are similar. Women wait outside or inside for customers. When you enter you’ll be greeted by some or all of the women. Aggressive ladies or women who are more desperate for cash will often approach you. Unfortunately they are often also the least attractive of the bunch. You’re free to ask any women you are attracted to sit with you and you’re under no obligation to buy drinks for women you’re not interested in. You definitely can and it can be fun but if you don’t learn to politely say no you can soon be buying drinks for the whole bar. I’ve seen it happen before.
Thankfully lady drinks are only three or three and a half dollars a piece. Your drinks are usually much less. That’s lower than what you pay in most places. After buying a drink you can get to know the girl or girls you’re with. Some will let you hug and get comfortable. Some will not. Some speak English very well, most speak only a little, many speak none at all.
Because of both Cambodian law enforcement and general conservationism in Cambodia you shouldn’t expect anything really wild in the bars. Even when the women are dressed in short dressed they’ll often have full shorts on underneath. You may occasionally see some women dancing on a bar fully clothed. There is no pole dancing and no nudity. Not even a bikini. Still wild stuff does sometimes go on. Make out sessions are common enough as is groping.
Sometimes a hand can go a little further and I’ve even been known to get wanked off in a few select places. A few bars had private rooms where you could pretty much everything but as far as I know they’re no longer open. Things change every day so that could change soon.
If you want to fuck a bar girl you have to take her out of the bar and to your hotel or a guest house. This means that you have to ask her if she can leave with you. Many women will but many others will not. Some are choosy about who they leave with. Some never leave. A handful are actually virgins looking for someone to marry them. They are all over the age of 18 and should be able to prove it.
Some bars have more women that will go out with customers than others. Up to 100 percent of the women will go with customers at bars like Matilda Bar, Island Bar, City Bar, and Zanzibar Bar. At some bars like the long standing Cathouse and Shanghai none of the women will go out with customers. At best you can build a relationship with them and meet them after work.
If a woman agrees to leave with you you’ll have to pay a ten dollar bar fine along with the rest of your bill to the cashier. Then you will have to pay more to the woman. For short time which means one fuck in an hour or so period I usually give 20 to 30 dollars. Only the best of the best will get 40 dollars. Some women think they are special and will ask for 50 dollars but that usually means they rarely go out of the bar or they take you for a sucker. A reasonable payment for an overnight stay with at least two fucks is 50 dollars. Some women won’t discuss prices and just expect a gift of the right amount to be given to them before they leave.
The sex can be good or terrible depending on who you’re with and how you interact. Some women won’t do blowjobs. Some do them poorly. Despite the complaints from guys who say no Cambodians give head there are many around who do a fantastic job at it. It just takes a little looking to find them.
In another post I’ll list my favorite bars and bar girl friendly hotels in Phnom Penh.