There are mixed reviews about the Siem Reap nightlife scene depending on who you talk to. What is certain is that the nightlife there is generally more of a regular bars and clubs sort of thing i.e. the Siem Reap girls in the bars are not usually working girls – you can see why that might outrage some commentators and lead to some negative reviews!
There are some bars where freelance Cambodian hookers hangout, but if
that is your thing then you are probably better of sticking to Phnom
Penh or Sihanoukville.
I’ve mentioned on previous articles that Cambodia is a very cheap place to be, probably the cheapest place in South East Asia, and Siem Reap doesn’t disappoint on that score. In fact, it is a bit cheaper than either of Phnom Penh or Sihanoukville, and that probably explains why the Siem Reap nightlife scene is popular with young revellers and backpackers. Beers can be bought for less than US$0.50 each!
Just out of interest, the name Siem Reap (or Siam Reap as it is referred to in the video) translates in meaning as something like ‘land taken from Thailand’, Siam is the former name of Thailand and even to this day there is ongoing conflict between the two countries over land borders.
If you are looking for the cheapest drinks, then the place to head to is the night market. The atmosphere there is quite relaxed and it is a good place to start the night before heading off to ‘Pub Street’.
The heart of the tourist nightlife scene is undoubtedly Pub Street – it is home to the most bars, restaurants, cocktail lounges, discos and so on. The standard of the venues is also surprisingly good, with modern fixtures and fittings, much higher quality than you might expect. Most of the venues on Pub Street are two-storey offerings and it’s a bit of a strange sort of set-up whereby a small disco blurting out music at high volume levels might be located next door to a quiet, fancy restaurant.
All the usual variety is offered on Pub Street including sports bars, beer bars, live music bars, rooftop bars, and so on, and it does get a healthy crowd of visitors, both young and old. It is very much a tourist place though, I doubt that local expats frequent the place much, not because of the prices which can be really low (although they do go up a lot in the classier venues) but because tourists and expats don’t tend to mix wherever you go in Asia.
Further evidence that Pub Street is geared towards tourists is given by the opening hours which allow bars to stay open until four in the morning, long after expats are tucked up in bed! All in all, the Siem Reap nightlife scene is worth a look so long as you are not going there looking for working-girls.
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