Cheap brothels in Cambodia are plentiful. As the description suggests, they’re also quite inexpensive. We’re talking about places where sex can be had for as little as five dollars. These aren’t the places most foreigners go to. They’re visited more by local Cambodian guys. But they are actually open to the world.
Some guys are surprised to find prostitutes asking for (and getting!) as much as $200 for sex in Phnom Penh. They show up expecting cut throat rates in a dirt poor country. When they show up and see Cambodian guys driving around in Aston Martin cars that cost a quarter million dollars, they get confused. The fact is that there are some really rich people in the country. There are also lots of “two week millionaires” who come in and throw money around. All of this leads to high prices for sex in a country with a low average income.
But the days of cheap sex have not come to an end. Cambodian guys are some of the most frequent visitors to prostitutes in the world. The majority of them are not holding big amounts of money. So they need somewhere to get sex on the cheap. Wat Phnom is not big enough to meet demand. Cheap brothels sprung up in to pick up the slack.
I have mentioned brothels when I wrote about cheap sex in Phnom Penh last year. But I haven’t written about all the cheap brothels in the country in detail. That all changes now.
Cheap brothels in Cambodia
If you don’t know what to look for you might not notice. But there are cheap brothels all over Cambodia. I don’t think there is a single province in the country that doesn’t have them. I’ve seen them on some real country roads that even made me wonder who the customers were supposed to be. Yet there they were, open for business.
I guess since I was passing through there, other people were too. So it makes sense that the brothels were located where they were. Men have urges, no matter where in the world they find themselves. That’s a truth that no amount of fabrication or repression can bury.
The reason that you can find these brothels all over the country is that they’re actually for local dudes. The Cambodian guys with big money usually stick to other places like the sexy karaoke joints and fishbowls. But for all the others, the brothels offer a nice respite for just a little bit of money.
Cambodia isn’t like Japan. So even the places meant for locals are open to pretty much anyone who shows up. I have never heard of someone being rejected at a brothel in Cambodia for being a foreigner. There might be a slight language barrier, but that’s about it. Even that is limited. English is spoken and understood pretty well in Cambodia. Of course it really isn’t Japan. So you won’t find any spotless and organized rooms. Inside, the cheap brothels can be anywhere between an average bedroom in a house and a floor in an actual bamboo hut with holes in the walls.
Where are the brothels in Cambodia?
As I said, you can find brothels in pretty much every part of the country. Some times they are disguised as restaurants, barbershops, or coffee shops. It’s more common for them to just pose as massage places. In that case they’ll have signs outside that say “Massage” in one or more languages.
Not every massage parlor is a brothel though. Even some of the 10,000 Riel massage places are actually just massage places. Sure, one of the chicks inside might be motivated to do more than a back rub for a tip. But the shop might not be there for sex at all. There’s no surefire way to tell the difference between the legit and naughty shops either other than just asking.
There are also the plain old brothels. These places don’t even pretend to be anything else. They don’t have signs either. They just have an open door and a red light. Sometimes the prostitutes inside will sit in front of the door. It doesn’t get any more complicated than that.
Brothels in Cambodian cities
In Phnom Penh, cheap brothels are scattered all over the city. The largest numbers can be found along the river north of the main drag and on the ring roads around town. But they are really all over the place. Even around the genocide museum. A lot of them have names with numbers that are shown on signs outside. The price for sex is usually $5-10, but they might ask a foreigner for more if they think they can get it.
In Sihanoukville, cheap brothels are mainly found in two places. Those are Blue Mountain and the port. Blue Mountain used to have lots of Vietnamese brothels. Now it seems to be a mix of Chinese brothels the Chinese set up for themselves and a few remaining old places. The “chicken farm” down by the port is made up of huts with Cambodian prostitutes inside. They have sex with locals for $5, but they might ask a foreigner for twice that if they think they can get it.
Over in nearby Kampot, there’s a small row of brothels around the corner from the La Java Blueue Hotel. Another set of brothels can be found across the street from the Billabong Guesthouse. They become more obvious after the sun goes down.
Siem Reap gets more foreign visitors than other part of the country. Yet there isn’t a ton going on there in terms of chicks looking for foreign guys. There’s way more action in Phnom Penh or even Sihanoukville. But there are some hut brothels in Siem Reap. They’re on the outskirts of town and every tuk tuk and taxi driver knows how to get to them.
This old brothel
As you can see, there are a lot of brothels in Cambodia. I have only really scratched the surface on them. I didn’t even mention the places in Kandal or Battambang. Or any of the many others scattered all over the country. They were around before I first set eyes on Cambodia. And chances are they’ll be there long after my eyes close for good.
I have no idea how many women work in brothels. But the numbers have got to be up in the thousands. Realistically, you’ll probably only see ten to twenty women if you go around checking out brothels though. They don’t tend to pack a lot of chicks inside. A lot of places only have one or two women. And there isn’t even always a manager around.
Cheap brothels are mainly meant for poorer Cambodian guys. But they don’t seem to care who shows up. Sometimes they pretend to be sometime else. But everyone knows these places are around.
Some people say prostitution is illegal in Cambodia. But if that’s really true, how do these places stay operating right out in the open with the knowledge of most people around? It’s one of life’s great mysteries.