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Phare Cambodian Circus

Home > Siem Reap > Art | Circus | Fun for Children | Fun Things To Do | Performing Arts
by Lydia C. Lee (subscribe)
Lydia C. Lee is still trying to work out what to do with her one wild and precious life. She currently is a haphazard blogger. Read more at or
Published May 18th 2014
Uniquely Cambodian, Daringly Modern
As we drove to the hotel on arrival, it was dark but some festive lanterns and a shiny red tent caught my eye. I couldn't see a sign but figured I'd asked the concierge about it. As I looked at the brochures in the hotel, I discovered it was a circus, with the description - Uniquely Cambodian, Daringly Modern. It sounded perfect.

Phare cambodian circus pphoeng
Source Pphoeng (photographer) with permission from Phare Facebook Page

We booked our tickets through the concierge, but I later discovered I could have booked through the tuktuk driver that took us there. He seemed a little disappointed and I wish he'd got a cut, instead of the hotel. As an aside on the tuktuks, many of them wait for you to drive you home, so make sure you remember the drivers shirt as it's a little hard in the dark to find your particular driver, as they aren't standing with their tuktuk and it's a little difficult to make out the faces due to dim light near the road. We watched a number of people go with the wrong driver, only to be called back to their original tuktuk.

[ADVERT]We ate dinner in town, but there is a little restaurant in the enclosure where you can have a three course set menu vegetarian meal under the stars - but you do need to pre-book. There is also a bar and they sell ice cream, so go a little early and soak in the atmosphere.

Phare is one of the show pieces of the Phare Ponleu Selpak, an arts school that provides free education and music, art and theatrical skills to street kids, trafficked children and orphans, helping them to heal and find gainful employment in the arts. Even if you aren't attending a show, you can make a donation or sponsor a child here.

The show itself, however, is of an exceptional standard. We saw Eclipse, though they run a few shows alternating so you could go more than once during your visit if you plan ahead. I lament that we waited for our last night, but it was the perfect way to celebrate the final evening of a wonderful trip.

The circus skills are woven into a story, with live music to accompany the feats. Our group ranged from five to forty five, and we all loved it.

The acrobatics were often incorporated into dances and the spectacle left some of us squealing in delight.

The finale was very joyous, like a party, and we left elated, humming the music in our heads well into the next day.

Phare cambodian circus pphoeng
Source Pphoeng (photographer) with permission from Phare Facebook Page

If you are hitting the temples, this is the perfect activity at the other end of the spectrum. One is steeped in history, the other is the modern celebration. (It's also a useful bribe for the kids, though the show is very much an entertainment aimed at adults).

This should be top of your list when in Siem Reap, for an evening of spectacular entertainment. However, they do occasionally tour internationally, so sign up to their newsletter, as they may come to a town near you. And that is something you do not want to miss.
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Why? Fantastic entertainment for the whole family (bonus benefiting a good cause)
When: 7.30 nightly
Phone: 855 15 499 480
Where: Comaille Road, Siem Reap
Cost: US$15
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