It might feel like the city has shut down for the holidays, but don’t panic, we have you covered with these great places that have kept open their doors.
Wait – What IS Pchum Ben?
Pchum Ben is much more than simply the time when all your favourite drinking spots inconveniently close for a week. It is a unique and very Cambodian festival. The celebration dates back to the Angkorian era when the dominant religion was Animism. Since then it has incorporated touches of of influence from both Animism and Buddhism as a festival which reflects the Khmer tradition of respect for your ancestors.
The first 14 days of the festival are known as the observed celebration or Kan Ben. The 15th and final day is called Pchum Ben day and is the time where monks are given gifts and candles. The monks then recite a prayer and it is on this night that the village comes together for the night of celebration. After they have of course, dealt with all those ravenous ghosts.
The festival is in part, a time to feed hungry ghosts. Four types of ghost are at play here. The kind that eats pus and blood, the forever hot burning ghost, and the Pakrakteaktopak Chivi, who can receive food through the monks over the festival period. The other ghosts must reduce their level of sin before they can receive food.
It is customary to offer the ghosts bey ben, balls of sticky rice and sesame that are laid out before dawn. The ghosts with heavy sins are understood to not be able to receive food during the day. Bay ben is made from sticky rice and sesame with some adding coconut cream for flavour.
So… What Happens?
Now you understand the festival, remember that is a very important time people for Khmer culture so be patient that our beloved little city comes to a temporary stand still.
Staying in the city and need some tips on where you can still frequent? We’ve rounded up a bunch of places advertising that they’ll be open.
Last edit: 15:25pm (Wednesday 20th September)
Fine dining to treat yourself this holiday. Mains are between $10 – 15… indulge.
St 154, Daun Penh.
Another treat, delivering fine French cuisine to your table.
St 108 Phnom Penh
Have you tried Malis restaurant yet? It’s highly regarded and an absolute gem of a date spot – even better, they’re open all festival.
Norodom Boulevard, Corner of St 308
Ya Kun Kaya Toast
Business as usual at Ya Kun Kaya Toast! An ideal breakfast munch!
St 294, Tonle Bassac
Over in Russian Market, coffee shops can’t give up on the demand altogether! Deja cafe is one of the businesses choosing to power through and stay open.
Corner of St. 454 and 135, Russian Market
Asian fusion menu, boasting ‘Riverside in Style!’
St 154 & Sisowath Quay
Digby’s Bar and Grill
A treat for the tastebuds in BKK1.
St 63, BKK1
No prizes for guessing the cuisine here! Home of some awesome Dim Sum weekend deals too, we’re glad to see this open this week!
Mao Tse Toung Boulevard
Molly’s Sandwich Shop
Ranging between $3.25 – $4.50, Molly’s has an excellent selection of sandwiches to excite your taste buds.
Across from the well known ‘FCC’, Riverhouse is a great spot for a bite before a riverside drinking session.
Pho de Paris
If you love pho fo’ sho’, then you’re in luck! Grab some from Pho de Paris.
Monivong Boulevard (St 93)
The Corner restaurant
Known for a cosy atmosphere and local hospitality, a great place to chill out and get a bite.
Corner of St 155 & 454, Russian Market
Sik gaek Korea restaurant
A very mixed menu, you can easily order a $7 dish, but there’s $80 delicacies up for consideration too. Fancy!
Corner St 352 & St 63, BKK1
The oyster bar
See food, eat food. This charming seafood haunt opens it’s doors during Ancestor’s day celebrations!
Street 370, BKK1
Sara Ethiopian Restaurant
Open every day, get a delicious authentic Ethiopian meal to tickle your taste-buds in all the right ways.
110 Street Bar & Grill
This charming joint caught our attention in July when it advertised Christmas dinner 6 months early. All sorts of awesome comfort food.
110 Bar & Grill, St 110, Riverside
Not wanting to go fancy? Always nice to know that fast-food haunts can be relied on for an easy meal, down in BKK1, KFC has you covered.
Looking for a haircut by day? How about a delicious cocktail by night and some great chatter from the friendly hosts. Space hair’s got it all!
Street 278: Open as usual
We often refer to this as backpacker street, due to the high amount of hostel crawls that take over various locations, having ended up there last night (19th), we can confirm that Club Love, Duplex, Top Banana, Penthouse and Liquid were all open and keeping the drinks flowing.
Let the cocktails flow! Le Boutier is open all week and ready for you to indulge.
Oskar’s bar and bistro
Still open for business, and business as usual! Wednesday night is ladies night, with 2 for 1 cocktails.
159 Street Sisowath Quay, Sangkat Phsar Kandal 1, Khan Daunpenh
Coffee place, bar and cultural space – there’s even a showing of ‘Spirited Away’ on Thursday that we’re excited to chill out and watch.
Ke Nou St. (9), near Bassac Lane
Down Bassac lane, The Den is always a delight. With amazing smoked cocktails, this is a kitsch bar we’d highly recommend checking out.
Blue Dog Bar & Restaurant
Holding the fort in BKK1, Blue Dog is open and offering up that huge enticing list of cocktails! See you on the dancefloor.
St. 51, BKK1
Le Moon Terrace Bar
Stylish rooftop bar hangs over at riverside, keep it classy Phnom Penh!
Corner St 154 & Sisowath Quay
A small charming bar with a terrace facing the Royal Palace’s park.
A raucous atmosphere for a great lively evening!
In front of 3G 2 Football Pitch, Tonle Bassac
Hops (beer garden)
We couldn’t miss out this charming craft beer garden, they’ve done a great job promoting that they’re open.
A fun guesthouse and bar, owned by the same folks from the ever popular 278 hotspot of Top Banana.
St 51, BKK1
This nightclub giant of the city never sleeps, and is open all week keeping the party going until the small hours!
Ostra fine foods
Want to spoil family and friends? Ostra fine foods are still operating business as usual over the holidays, go on, treat yourself.
Always useful to know of various supermarkets staying open – here’s one of them that’s ready to serve.
Head over, settle down and catch a movie! The Flicks is staying open to offer up some quality entertainment for you during Pchum Ben.
N o w h e r e
Art studio, workshop space and all sorts of pop up events frequent this hidden gem. It’s an awesome space between BKK1 and Aeon Mall.
Neverland Artspace, No.172z2 (Opposite St 380) Norodom Boulevard
The huge Aeon department store is remaining open, for all your shopping needs.
#132,Street Samdach Sothearos, Sangkat Tonle Bassac