Phnom Penh trip report

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#1 Phnom Penh trip report

Postby aussie » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:37 pm

I have just returned back to Pattaya from a 5 day visit to Phnom Penh. After arriving at the airport the process was fairly painless to get the tourist visa. Bangkok Air give out the visa forms and make sure you have a 6 x 4 passport size photo and $US30 cash. I will try another airline next time. Bangkok Air are expensive and you are bussed to the plane waiting 10 minutes away at the terminal at Bangkok. The boutique lounge is ok each way but nothing special. I heard Chinese airline JC Air are good for price and service and also fly from my preferred Suvarnabhumi airport to Phnom Penh. They might be worth a try next time i fly to Cambodia.

Just outside the terminal at Phnom Penh it was easy to get a sim card and i used a $US5 cellcard which gives you 3GB for 7 days service. I then avoided the pushy taxi guys outside and took the short walk out of the terminal to the hotel across the road and used the Grab app to order a taxi, about $US7 to my hotel. On the return trip I took one of the new tuk tuks which are also available on Grab app and cost $US5 including a tip plus any Cambodia money that I had left over. The tuk tuk was cooler and faster through the traffic than the air con car I took previously from the airport when I arrived.

I stayed at the Highland Hotel which is very close to the Toolbox Bar but never again. Tour groups use the hotel so it can be noisy and overall a fairly average place to stay. I learned my lesson, better hotels from here on in and no tour group hotels.

I heard from friends in Pattaya that the Toolbox bar was very good so that was my first bar stop in Phnom Penh. Doug the owner of Toolbox has spent plenty of time in Thailand and has implemented his own ideas on how a successful bar should be run to make it entertaining and enjoyable for the customers. What Doug has done with Toolbox bar works well and certainly was a lot of fun for myself and from my observations also for the other customers. The staff were very friendly, there was no begging for drinks and no mobile phones in sight on the 5 nights that I attended the bar. Most of the guys do have smart phones now compared to a few years back when they all had the old basic Nokias.

I did buy quite a few drinks at Toolbox and enjoyed chatting with the staff, most are studying English language so the conversation was quite good. When the guys had a drink they stayed with me instead of running off to chat with their friends or check grindr and facebook which happens quite often in the Thai bars.

At around 10pm and every 15 minutes till after midnight there was a very energetic dance routine by three or four very hot guys. Not a lip syncing ladyboy in sight and the guys really seemed to enjoy performing. The dancers mix with the customers or play some pool after the shows and were happy to chat, especially if you bought then a drink. I liked the high energy dancing and the breaks in between the shows were a good chance for a chat with the dancers and other staff and customers. I did not get free drinks or anything else to say good things about this bar, I had a good time there and this is my opinion. I am fairly bored with the rarely changing formula for entertainment or lack of entertainment used in most Pattaya bars, Nice Boys being one exception, so it was refreshing to see the shows and good attitude of the staff at Toolbox bar.

I think whether the staff are offable at Toolbox depends on how you connect with them but they are all gay. There are twinks, a couple of more lean muscle and average build guys. The off fee is $US10. There was a freelancer who was also on Grindr and hanging out with his friends at the bar and pool table with his shirt off and I did meet him in my hotel for $US20 the day after.

I walked past the Blue Chilli bar a few times but the staff looked mostly average build which is not my preference and I am over the ladyboy shows they have at 11pm some nights. From reviews online it is not strictly gay there anymore and there will probably be straight tourists including girls in there to watch the shows. Another customer at Toolbox on Saturday night had been at POC and Space bars earlier and did not have anything too complimentary to say about them. He did mention that if you like larger or more muscle build guys then those bars might appeal.

Heart of Darkness nightclub used to be the place to be after the gay bars had closed but that has become a backpacker haven and the music was extremely loud hip hop when I attended. I had memories of good music and many gay guys dancing and available there late at night from my previous trips to Phnom Penh but that seems to be history now. The gay guys prefer to go to Blueline club which plays Khymer music (Morlum style in Thailand) and is packed with customers every night.

There are masseurs advertising their services on Grindr and work at shops near the Riverside. Oil massage was $US10 for one hour and the happy ending which I usually refuse but because he was very good at doing so I let him continue and paid an extra $US10. He wanted me to go back the next day and fuck him but I had a very hot guy from Grindr in my room at that time. I gave him $US25 which included $US5 for the taxi. As far as the apps go there are many fake photos and you need to be careful to ask exactly what they will do and how much before making appointments. I only took one guy from grindr after seeing many photos and his assurance they were real. He would have been sent away if he was deceiving me but when he appeared he was very good looking and excellent sex, a very horny bottom.

There are many Chinese and other Asians visiting Phnom Penh, I went to the Naga World casino and I was the only non - Asian in both of the buildings amongst hundreds of people. I did hook up with a slim 26yo Chinese from the Blued app on a stopover to Siem Reap. He was a lot of fun and as usual with Chinese tourists that I meet in various countries there was no cost except for one drink which he had also offered to pay for.

There is not much to do in Phnom Penh in the day time if you have been there before and already visited the tourist sights. I took trips to the Aeon 1 and 2 shopping malls. Aeon 2 is larger and newer and built on a reclaimed lake and it is worth a trip just to see the development going on in Phnom Penh. There are hotels and condo buildings going up all over the city. I did notice some cruising happening in the toilet at Aeon 1 but there was always a cleaning lady hovering so I did not bother. For the more adventurous it might be ok but I would rather meet someone in the security of my hotel room. I might take some friends with me next time to Cambodia so we can go bowling or do some other activities together in the daytime.

I would not be interested to live in Cambodia. I went to the local market on Saturday and the lack of hygiene there was very evident. At least in Thailand they usually try and keep the flies away from the meat and fish. It is still a very poor country compared to Thailand which means there are many desperate people looking to make some cash. Security is also an issue with one street vendor warning me to keep my phone away from the street as someone might try to grab it while passing by on a motorcycle. In my opinion the facilities for foreigners are much better in Thailand. I did find most Cambodian people that I met to be very charming, especially the waiters and dancers at Toolbox bar and it was a good experience visiting Phnom Penh again for a change of scenery and bars.

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#2 Re: Phnom Penh trip report

Postby Gaybutton » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:46 pm

Excellent report. Thank you for taking the time to write it.

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#3 Re: Phnom Penh trip report

Postby Undaunted » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:42 am

Great report! I've known Doug since his days in Pattaya. I went with a friend to PP sometime ago and really enjoyed Tool Box and there was another gay bar directly across the street where I had a nice encounter I cannot recall the bar's name, there was also a late night dance club on the same srtreet called Valentino......I found Blue Chile very dated full of local queens. For my next trip I will look for a hotel near Valentino street. PP also has a wounderful selection of international restaurants. I agree the Cambodians are very nice as I do not think they have yet been turned off yet by rude falangs, it is also relatively inexpensive and if you are an American it is easy as U.S. dollars are excepted as the prime currency and are given at every atm.
"In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king"

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#4 Re: Phnom Penh trip report

Postby Jun » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:11 am

Undaunted wrote:For my next trip I will look for a hotel near Valentino street.

Only a short distance from Blue Chilli too.

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#5 Re: Phnom Penh trip report

Postby aussie » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:58 am

Undaunted wrote:there was also a late night dance club on the same street called Valentino

Valentinos is closed, apparently the owner is in less comfortable accommodation in Germany at present. The building is for sale. Any quiet and comfortable hotel recommendations near Toolbox bar or towards the riverside would be appreciated.

I forgot to mention I was approached by a Filipino woman and separately a Chinese man when I went to Aeon 1 shopping mall. They tried to strike up conversations as I walked past so from my previous experience scam alert was my first thoughts. The usual questions to determine if this was my first visit to Cambodia, was I alone? etc. I have had similar approaches in China and same questions so I let them find another new friend.

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#6 Re: Phnom Penh trip report

Postby Gaybutton » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:17 am

aussie wrote:I have had similar approaches in China and same questions so I let them find another new friend.

I'm glad you had the presence of mind to realize that some stranger on the streets trying to befriend you is only a scammer or worse - whose only goal is to separate you from your money. You can be certain that when he spotted you, he didn't suddenly realize he is in need of a new friend.

It is a common scam just about anywhere. I've seen numerous news reports about people falling victim to such scams right here in Pattaya.

If you are approached by a stranger, ignore him and keep right on walking - and don't try to be polite by responding or saying anything. Just put as much distance between him and you as possible - as quickly as possible.

Remember what your mother taught you? "Don't talk to strangers." Mother was right when you were a child and just as right today. Listen to your mother, folks . . .

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#7 Re: Phnom Penh trip report

Postby stkyricesf » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:30 pm

Thank you for the excellent report. I've been seriously thinking of visiting Cambodia. I know it won't be the same as Thailand, but it might be a good change.

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Jun
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#8 Re: Phnom Penh trip report

Postby Jun » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:46 am

With the scammers walking up to me in Asia, the suit salesmen in Thailand making unwanted approaches and finally, all the damn beggars in Europe, it's getting to the point where I keep walking when strangers approach me.

This is a pity, on a couple of counts.
Firstly, it probably results in me dismissing a few people with general enquiries for directions etc, before the conversation even gets that far.
Also, it's quite refreshing to walk down some suburban streets in SE Asia and find sociable kids who do run up and say hello (at least when they are not begging).

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#9 Re: Phnom Penh trip report

Postby colmx » Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:15 am

aussie wrote:. Any quiet and comfortable hotel recommendations near Toolbox bar or towards the riverside would be appreciated.

We stayed at the Sun & Moon hotel earlier this month http://www.sunandmoonhotel.com/
Highly recommended!

And thanks for taking the time to write the TR, my feelings and thoughts are pretty much the same as yours!
I did manage to off the only straight boy in Toolbox (for drinking purposes)... although I suspect that he's not 100% straight and is simply keeping up appearances!


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