All fun and games
Don’t let the heat stop you from enjoying some good, healthy fun! In fact, many of Phnom Penh’s best sporting activities are able to take place in the comfort of air-conditioned indoors, so let’s kick things off!
Phnom Penh’s facilites continue to expand, with each season introducing an array of new and exciting team and individual sports and activities for players of varying skill levels.
The beautiful game of football (or soccer for those folk that still require clarification) is now one of the most played sports in the city, in no small part thanks to the seemingly countless 3G artificial turf (rubber crumb) pitches that have sprouted up in recent year. These are usually divided into mini soccer courts suitable for 5- or 6-a-side battles. Pitch rent costs from around $12 during the scorching midday sun to $20 for an easier time under floodlights at night. You can also combine three zones to create a full pitch game. Centres popular with expats include 3G Mini Football Pitch (National Assembly St.) and KB-ALL Sports Club, on the other side of the Australian Embassy, which has indoor courts too.
Ultimate Frisbee is a mixed gender, no-contact sport that’s run by the Phnom Penh Ultimate Association, encouraging local and international players of all ages to join games at either 3G Field (National Assembly St.) from 8pm on a Tuesday, or BKK Fields (St. 380) from 7.30pm on a Thursday and from 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. Also on Tuesdays & Thursdays is Phnom Penh Dodgeball (St. 456), which involves all of the fun and significantly less mishaps than its film namesake. First throws are at 7:30pm on both days.
For rock-climbing enthusiasts, Phnom Climb Community Gym (St. 460) offers several walls with varying degrees of difficulty (including muscle-busting overhangs), open Monday to Saturday. Vertical ascents can also be found at Kids City. Incorporating a Clip ‘n’ Climb system, a wide variety of walls and routes meet the needs of first-time to experienced climbers.
If you are a speed demon, Kids City also grants the opportunity for families to spend time go-karting on a well-built indoor track, but for the more adventurous daredevils the Kambol Kart Raceway is a professional circuit in a rural setting just outside the city along National Highway 4. Kart hire is available at $12 for ten minutes on what is a fun and testing track.
A favourite activity for fun-seekers of all ages in the capital is the Ice Park in Aeon Mall (Sothearos Blvd), which gives you the thrill of ice skating and the thrill of actually being cold for a change. The Ice Park is the first indoor snow and ice themed entertainment center in Cambodia and offers a 1,000 square-metre ice-rink. Still hungry for some action at the mall? Then challenge your family or friends to a ten pin bowling game at BluO Cambodia, probably the only alley still operating in the Kingdom. Or take great pleasure in blasting your mates to infinity and beyond at the Laser Tag Arena.
Cambodians are passionate about their combats sports, especially Kun Khmer, their own (and apparently more original) version of Muay Thai kickboxing. Numerous gyms have expert instructors, including some well known fighters, giving classes to those willing to get in the ring. These include Paddy’s Fight Club (St.294), a long-established expat favourite, and Prokout Fitness & Fight Center (National Assembly St.), which is a large, ultra-modern facility with evening conditioning workouts, krav maga, Brazilian jiujitsu and judo classes and even a mixed martial arts cage. The recently moved Selapak Centre (St. 348), meanwhile, can keep you fit in two dramatically-different ways: either by brute force with Cambodia’s leading MMA proponent Chan Rothana, or through its traditional Khmer dance programs.
Of course, boxing is just as much a spectator sport in Cambodia’s capital. Back-to-back live Khmer boxing matches take place at arenas belonging to the major TV stations. Just ask a tuk-tuk driver on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to take you out to the likes of CTN, TV3, TV5 or Bayon TV. Entrance fees are generally just a dollar or two.