Guides & Reviews
What to Do in Phnom Penh THIS Weekend
It’s Friday, people! Here’s the top music, art, film and club nights in Phnom Penh this weekend.
It’s Friday, people! Stuck for fun stuff to do? Worry not: we’ve got you covered with the best music, art, film, club nights and other things to do in Phnom Penh from Friday night to Sunday evening.
Looking for a perfect film for date night? Hilarious and moving romcom The Big Sick (9.40pm, Legend Cinema Tuol Kork) tells the incredible true story of Pakistani-American Kumail, whose relationship with his girlfriend Emily breaks down when his parents push for an arranged marriage, but who ends up forming an unlikely bond with her parents after Emily falls into a medically induced coma. The film is getting rave reviews from just about everywhere – take a look at the trailer here:
Or watch this entertaining interview with the real life Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, who co-wrote the film (and are now married):
Alternatively, tear-jerking classic The Notebook shows at Flicks 1 at 6.30pm, followed by whimsical romance Chocolate at 8pm. Be warned, though, you’ll have cocoa cravings for days.,.
As ever, there’s a swathe of great bands performing all over the city tonight. If the dry skies hold out, Joe Wrigley will be shaking up this week’s Bassac Lane street party from 8.30pm – expect lively swing dancing and an awesome crowd.
If you’d rather stay safely indoors, GC Riders are covering rock classics at Sharky Bar (9pm, St 130), or check out Cambodia’s first female punk rocker Vartey Ganiva, who is playing at Alchemy on St 123 from 9pm.
Vartey might look like a delicate Khmer pop princess, but when she starts belting out the tunes – like her hugely popular feminist anthem, Bad Husband – expect to be blown away.
Alternatively, for some gentler sounds, choose between Aram Khmer at Valentino’s Garden Terrace Bistro on St 174 from 7pm (the perfect accompaniment to Happy Hour cocktails from 7-8pm), Jeff Sleeman’s melodic folk rock at the FCC (Sisowath Quay, 8.30pm), or Acoustic Fridays with Rhiannon Johnson (6.30pm @ Farm to Table, St 360).
Itching to get on the dancefloor? Hip Hop Takeover – successor to the popular Block Parties – launches tonight at Cloud (8pm, St 9)
Meanwhile, Top Banana’s Friday Sessions will be in full swing from 9pm (St 278) and you can continue dancing ‘til dawn with MadHouse’s second Return of the Bass lineup (from 10pm, MadHouse, St 172), or with the usual Friday night debauchery at Club Love (St 278), Pontoon (St 51) or Dusk Til Dawn Reggae Rooftop (St 172).
Swing by the lovely Java Cafe on Sihanouk Boulevard to check out its current exhibition of paintings by Khmer artist Oeur Sokuntevy. Called “Upside Down”, the series explores Sokuntevy’s experiences as a foreigner living in Berlin, in an unfamiliar culture and environment. Definitely worth a visit.
Eating and Drinking
If you have a special occasion to celebrate, or simply crave some top-end luxury, escape the rain in style this weekend with a glamorous Afternoon Tea.
InterContinental Hotel is holding a very special High Tea today, accompanied by pianist Shuenda Wong playing Romantic era pieces from Dubussy, Liszt and Chopin ($15, InterContinental, Street 296).
Alternatively, Raffles hosts its version daily in the Conservatory from 2.30-5pm (Street 92 / Monivong Boulevard), with a current deal for $14.50 with tea and coffee, or $26 with a glass of champagne.
Meanwhile, if you’d rather coo over some spectacular machines while you munch, make the trip out towards the airport, where Harley Davidson is holding the soft opening of its new showroom and workshop. In addition to a tour of the motorbike-making facility, there’s a BBQ and live music. Sounds ace. (12-4pm @ Harley Davidson, Russian Boulevard).
Later on, Duplex is throwing a party to celebrate Belgium’s National Day, with awesome Belgian beers, free snacks and… drumroll please… real Belgian chocolate! Heaven.
Two great Cambodia-centric films show today at Flicks 1 on St 95). The first is Finding Home (12pm), a powerful documentary charting the lives of Khmer girls working to rebuild their lives and find happiness after the trauma of being trafficked into the child sex industry.
The second is City of Ghosts (2pm), a 2002 thriller directed by and starring Matt Dillon, set in Phnom Penh.
If you want to escape the thunderstorms predicted from 4-6pm, duck into META House on Sothearos Boulevard to catch Michael Matheson’s POVERTY, INC. – an uncomfortable delve into the damage wreaked on developing nations when aid and charity are done wrong. Essential viewing that helps make sense of some of Cambodia’s most endemic problems.
Then, stick around for Race, the biopic of phenomenal US athlete Jesse Owens, who famously shamed Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by (literally) sprinting ahead of the Aryan competition, smashing several World Records and scooping up four Gold Medals in the process.
You can also show your support for two local AFL teams at match day at ISPP. We can’t promise they’ll be making Jesse Owens-style history quite yet, but it’s still a top way to spend a Saturday afternoon
Plenty more live music tonight, kicking off at 5pm with Box Office’s regular Live at 5 set. This week, local duo Mark & Kim will serenade you as you work your way through eight incredible draft beers brewed by Riel Brewing & Distilling and BeerPro, or an exotic Dry Mango cider (Box Office, St 255).
Later, Clay George plays tracks from his new album at Botanico (7pm, St 29), honey-voiced singer-guitarist Lisa Conception joins forces with her sister Laika for a show at Valentino’s Garden Terrace Bistro (7pm, St 174), The Hensley Trio brings acoustic country, jazz and rock’n’roll to Alchemy (9pm, St 123), Scoddy’s Acoustic Trio rocks the rooftop at FCC (8.30pm, Sisowath Quay), and Double A & Mirasol take the stage at the Jazz Club (9pm, St 282)
UK DJ Carl Hinds hits the decks at Chinese House (Sisowath Quay) from 9pm, combining classic funk, soul and disco. Want a preview? Check out his STOMP mix here.
It’s all about the vintage classics at Che Culo, where Little Bastard is spinning a mix of surf rock, rockabilly and psychedelia (8pm, St 302).
Meanwhile, party like a rap star at Raquia (St 102), where DJ Mofo plays 90s hip hop and ghetto funk, and it’s 2-4-1 on bottles of champagne and wine from 9pm… or hit the D22 in Phnom Penh Tower for a night of raucous Reggaeton (7pm, Monivong Boulevard).
Feet sore from all that dancing? Kick back with a great movie, a beer and some snacks.
At 12pm, Flicks 1 is screening hit film Okja, about a little girl’s struggle to rescue her best friend, a huge hippo-like creature, from being kidnapped by an evil multinational.
Over at META house, you can catch the classic documentary Sleepwalking through the Mekong, which follow LA-based band Dengue Fever’s first ever Cambodia tour in 2005 (4pm, Sothearos Boulevard), followed by the surreal Welcome to North Korea (7pm), and Nine Circles of Hell (8pm), a heartbreaking Czech-Cambodian film about a couple falling in love in the midst of the horrors of the Pol Pot regime.
META House also hosts classical pianist Shuenda Wong tonight, who will perform an intimate concert of Chopin pieces from 8pm. Alternatively, unwind with gorgeous Gypsy Jazz at the Jazz Club from 9pm (St 282), or squeeze in one last dose of rock’n’roll at Oscar’s on the Corner, where Khmer house band K’n’E performs takes the stage (9pm, St 13 & St 104).
That’s it for this week. Enjoy!