Phnom Penh Nightlife—Top Bars, Happy Hours, & Markets

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Phnom Penh is a lively city in Cambodia drawing huge numbers of tourists and backpackers that come to party and explore the city at night. You’ll find lots of incredible options for Phnom Penh’s nightlife all over the city, including night markets, bars, dance clubs, and restaurants open until late at night. 

I worked as a volunteer in Phnom Penh in 2015 and loved going out with my fellow volunteers. There are many places with happy hour and drink deals if you want to save money like we were! 

There are also nice upscale places that are more relaxed and quiet if that’s your vibe. Best of all, there are tons of night markets. These are the places to eat local food, try local drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and make new friends! 

Exploring the nightlife scene should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for what to do in Phnom Penh. This guide has all the best places to go!

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Phnom Penh Nightlife—Know Before You Go 

While Phnom Penh’s nightlife is some of the best in Southeast Asia, there are some things to know before you head off into the city after dark. 

Sex tourism is a huge money-making sector in Cambodia. While it might seem harmless to many ex-pats and tourists, many of the women working in this industry are sex trafficked. Others do it willingly but see it as the only way to survive and make money. 

Many of the women never see the money they make. The United Nations also estimates that one in three people working in sex trafficking in Cambodia is under the age of 18. 

While you might think these activities only happen in brothels, many of the bars and clubs with sex-trafficked women appear completely normal from the outside. You might not even know you have entered one of these bars at first. 

Pickpocketing and drink spiking is also more common at bars that have sex workers, so always be alert and be careful with your personal belongings. In general, most of the bars aimed at sex tourism are on street 51, so try to stay away from the places in that area. 

With all that being said, Phnom Penh still has tons of safe places to party and have fun without supporting this dark and seedy part of the city!

nighttime in phnom penh, large buildings with lights on, phnom penh nightlife, best bars in phnom penh, attractions phnom penh

Best Bars in Phnom Penh 

Looking for a casual night out? Here are some of the amazing bars in Phnom Penh that offer late-night drinks. None of these bars are the seedy ones you’ll want to avoid.

Long After Dark

This bar was opened by two Australians, and they specialize in craft beer and cocktails. If you’re a whiskey lover, this is the place to go, as they have over 75 different choices. 

They offer a lot of different options. If you’re not a beer drinker, they also have a huge cider menu as well as different flavors of bourbon. 

Along with drinks, they serve food, including empanadas, BBQ pork ribs, and a pulled pork sandwich. 

Long After Dark is located at #86, street 450 Russian Market Phnom Penh, 12310, Cambodia. They’re open Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. and every other day from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. 

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Bassac Lane Bars 

There are several bars on this small street that are worth checking out. Most places are ex-pat bars, so you’ll be able to chat with people permanently living in Phnom Penh from other parts of the world. You’ll find this small side road off the busy street 308. 

Here are some of the top places to check out:

  • Hanger 44: The most lively of all the bars. They have craft beer and a huge selection of tequila. 
  • Meat and Drink: Head here if you’re looking for some of the best food in Phnom Penh. They have a large beer selection and, of course, burgers. 
  • Cicada: This bar is more laid back than many. Most people come here for cocktails or specialty drinks. The bar specializes in bourbon and whiskey. 
  • The Library: Half bookstore, half bar—this place is unique. I vote for this place as my number one since they have the best mojito I’ve ever had. 

Most of the bars on Bassac Lane are chill, but there can be live music nights where they bring the party out onto the street. 

Here is a map of Bassac Lane. Check the hours of the bars on their website, but most are open every day from about 5 p.m. to midnight. 

Best Night Markets in Phnom Penh

Looking to shop or taste local dishes? There are tons of night markets to check out. 

Night Market in Phnom Penh 

You’ll find this market right on the riverfront of Sisowath Quay. They have tons of vendors that sell local and inexpensive dishes. You can taste Khmer food and drink local beer. They also have many stalls that make juices and smoothies if you prefer something nonalcoholic. 

The back of the market has several vendors selling souvenirs, clothes, and jewelry. 

Phnom Penh Night Market is located at Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It’s open every day from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. 

market in phnom penh, vegetable sellers, fruit sellers, apartment buildings in background

Russian Market 

The Russian market is open in the morning, so you don’t have to go just at night. Many people prefer to come at night, though, since many of the vegetable and fruit stalls have turned into small kiosks where you can buy tasty dishes at night. 

They also have many vendors selling souvenirs. If you’re moving to Phnom Penh, you can also find many houseware and electronic items here. 

The Russian Market is located at St. 163 Corner of St. 440, Phnom Penh, Cambodia Phnom Penh, 12310, Cambodia. They’re closed on Wednesdays but open every other day from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Best Bars in Phnom Penh with Happy Hour 

Looking to drink on a budget? Phnom Penh has some amazing happy hours. 

Touk Bar 

You can sit outdoors right on the river and enjoy happy hour from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. every weekday. All draft beers and cocktails are half-off. Aim to come at sunset so you can watch the sun go down over the river. 

Touk Bar is located at HW8J+RG6, St sisowath Quay, 178, 12206, Cambodia. They’re open every day from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. 

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21 Bar 

This bar is a favorite among ex-pats as it’s one of the only dog-friendly bars in the city. They have happy hour every day from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., including half off certain food items. They also offer a discount on their beers and cocktails. 

21 Bar is located at # 6 Abdul Carime St. (21), Phnom Penh 12301, Cambodia. They’re open every day from 4 p.m. to 1:20 a.m. 

inside of bar in phnom penh, people sitting at tables talking and drinking, best food in phnom penh, best bars in phnom penh, cafes in phnom penh

Best Upscale Places for Nightlife

Looking for an elegant night out? Here are the top choices for upscale places. 

Bouchon Wine Bar 

This bar is set in a mansion that was built in the 1920s. It’s a classy French wine bar with hundreds of different wines from all over Europe. They sell wine by the bottle and by the glass. 

They also have a full food menu with European-inspired favorites like tapas, foie gras, and duck leg confit. Although wine is the main attraction, they also have a cocktail menu. 

You can sit in the courtyard on the weekends, where they have live music and jazz concerts. 

Bouchon Wine Bar is located at #82 Street 174, Daun Penh district, Phnom Penh. They are closed on Sunday but open every other day from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. 

Elephant Bar 

This is a great bar, as well as one of the best restaurants in Phnom Penh. It also has an interesting history which is why so many ex-pats love to drink here during their stay in the city. 

The bar is inside Raffles Hotel Le Royal, which was opened in 1929. It was one of the first cocktail bars in the city and hosted many celebrities, including Charlie Chaplin and Jacqueline Kennedy. 

The hotel was also a hideout for ex-pats and Cambodian royals during the start of the Khmer Rouge regime. 

If you’re looking for a place where you can drink, eat, and be immersed in the history of Cambodia, this place should be first on your bucket list. 

Elephant Bar is located at 92 Rukhak Vithei, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh Phnom Penh, Chivapol, Phnom Penh 12302, Cambodia. It’s open every day from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m. 

Eclipse Sky Bar 

This is a great rooftop bar in the city. You can get an amazing aerial view of Phnom Penh and enjoy great cocktails and beers. If you have a little bit of extra money, you can also stay the night as it’s one of the best hotels in Phnom Penh. 

The place is cozy, with couches and lounge areas rather than your typical bar seating. The sunsets here are breathtaking, but it can get crowded during this time. 

Eclipse Sky Bar is located at Phnom Penh Tower, 23rd Floor, Sangkat, 455 Preah Monivong Blvd (93), Phnom Penh, Cambodia. They’re open every day from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. 

aerial view of phnom penh, buildings with roofs of all different colors

Top Things To Do In Phnom Penh

Searching for fun things to do in Phnom Penh besides nightlife? Here are the main Phnom Penh attractions. 

  • Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum: This is one of the best things to do in Cambodia to learn about the Khmer Rouge and the dark history of the country. This museum is a former prison. You can see the faces of the people who were imprisoned and tortured here in the memorial center. It’s an activity you will never forget. 
  • Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Center: Head here to support women who have escaped the sex trade. They have a small shop, a spa, and a cafe. It’s one of the best cafes in Phnom Penh, with seasonal menus and many Western options. The food is made by women who are training to become chefs, and it’s a great cause to support. 
  • National Museum: This museum is absolutely stunning, complete with an amazing garden. They have many exhibits, some with artifacts dating back to the 1600s. They also have live performances where you can see traditional Khmer dancing. 
  • The Royal Palace: Learn more about the royal family of Cambodia here. You can see their living quarters and famous golden temples. You can pay a little extra and go through the palace with a guide if you’d prefer. 
  • Silk Island: This is an island right in the middle of the city. Visit to see how traditional silk scarves are made. There are many locals living on the island, and almost every one of them has a silk spinning machine in their home where they work day and night.
outside of royal palace, white palace with gold roof, green manicured gardens

How to Get to Phnom Penh 

Cambodia’s airports in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are very small and often unaffordable if you’re flying internationally. Flights from China and Thailand are less costly, though, when you use Bangkok Airways

The Bangkok to Phnom Penh flight is very short. If you are already in Southeast Asia, you can also take a bus from places like Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, as well as other Cambodian cities like Siem Reap.

Many international flyers find it cheaper to fly into Bangkok and then connect to Phnom Penh. You can also take an overnight bus from Bangkok. 

How to Get Around Phnom Penh 

The best and cheapest way to get around Phnom Penh is by tuk-tuk. It’s a type of rickshaw on three wheels. They are safe and shield you from the sun and rain. 

You can exit your hotel and hostel and call one, as there are always many lining the street, ready to drive someone. If you find one that speaks English and charges good rates, make sure to get their number to use them again!

You can also use apps like Exnet Taxi. They allow you to get a tuk-tuk that’s metered, so you don’t have to worry about getting ripped off. You can also get a regular taxi if you prefer cars from these apps. 

people walking around at night in phnom penh, independent monument in back

When to Visit Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is pretty hot and humid all year round. Most travelers come from November through April as this is the dry season, and you won’t have to worry about rain. 

Phnom Penh Nightlife is Waiting For You!

Ready to explore the best Phnom Penh nightlife? There are amazing bars, happy hours, and markets all over the city. You can either barhop or find one you like and settle in until they close. 

No matter where you choose to spend your nights out in Phnom Penh, you’re sure to find some amazing drinks, cool atmospheres, and new friends. 

Heading to Phnom Penh? Which of these places are you going to visit on your first night? 

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