The backpacker’s guide to the best bars, nightclubs and evening antics that you should be cramming into your Sihanoukville itinerary.
Sihanoukville certainly knows its way around the dancefloor. This party town is no stranger to getting down and dirty until the early hours.
Party animals rejoice!
It has, however, been said to have a bit of a ‘Marmite’ nightlife culture by those backpackers that aren’t gagging to have shots of Sambuca gracefully sucked off their stomachs and dance their socks off like there’s no tomorrow.
Those bummed out backpackers just didn’t know where the right atmosphere was.
But don’t you chill pill seekers worry one little bit…
There are also loads of hidden beach bars that are perfect for you backpackers looking to casually let your hair down and unwind with a refreshing cocktail, just as the sun dreamily disappears beyond the horizon.
My liver has recently returned from an investigatory booze cruise around all the watering holes in Sihanoukville, and in this article I am going to give you the full run down of the best bars, nightclubs and nightlife options you simply cannot miss out on during your backpacking adventure.
The one to watch out for is Sihanoukville’s super secret weekly jungle party. That experience was the one that truly took my mind, body and spirit out of this world. Nothing better than a euphoric curveball on a night out, but I’ll guide you towards that later on.
Right then, for all you beer lovers, cocktail canoodlers and fiesta fiends.
Here is the inside scoop on the best bars, clubs and nightlife antics that you should really be saving some space to sip on throughout your Sihanoukville itinerary.
Sihanoukville Nightlife’s Best Chilled Spots
SESSIONS BAR – Shack Vibes
Any of you looking to escape the raucous party vibes of Serendipity Beach, it’s about time you came for a session at Sessions, had to.
A Sihanoukville legacy…
This thatched roof beach shack has been a part of the Sihanoukville furniture for many a relaxing escapade, one of Ochheuteal Beach’s longest standing bars. With lanterns stretching out to the shoreline and those bucket cushion chairs that’ll swallow your bum right up, this is the perfect place for a sundowner.
Sessions stays open till the wee hours, but make sure to stop by for their 4pm to 9pm Happy Hour.
My favourite thing about this tropical watering hole.
This bar is the only one that plays some truly classic indie rock tracks, dating all the way back to the 60s. Pink Floyd. Led Zeppelin. The Beatles. The show does go on.
BLAME CANADA – Cartman’s Chill Zone
Otres Beach is renowned for being clean cut and much more of a hippie magnet than Serendipity Beach, and Blame Canada certainly fits the the bill. The bar is perched right on the white sand and is a great spot to kick back and relax.
So why would we blame Canada…
The Canadian personality is threaded throughout the bar, from the flags and hockey memorabilia stretched across the roof and walls to the maple leaf emblem on the bar’s welcome sign.
This maple leaf could also easily be mistaken for marijuana leaf after you try one of their infamous ‘Space Oreos’.
Just you wait…
Take a perch in their wicker cocoon sofas and watch as the sun, sea and sand will gradually merge into a beautiful haze.
To add to this lovely equation…
Cheap beer, pool table and there was even a rabbit living at the bar whilst I was there.
WISH YOU WERE HERE – Wooden Wonderland
I gave this place a shout out in my ‘Where to stay in Sihanoukville’. However, if you haven’t managed to book yourself in for an overnight stay, I would highly recommend dropping by the bar for an evening session.
Wish You Were Here is one of the hippest hang-outs on Otres Beach.
How is this magical atmosphere conjured…
Firstly, arriving on the bar’s doorstep is like walking through the wardrobe into a Narnia-esq fairy-lighted wonderland. The wooden structure has been beautifully crafted and is a prime spot for all kinds of herbal and alcoholic sloth-like behavior.
The bar has some major Sunday sessions with live music, 75c beers and special on cocktails all day.
And oh my golly gosh…
These cocktails are killer! It’s like there’s a party in your mouth, and all your tastebuds and favourite flavours have been invited.
Check it out, otherwise you will wish you were here.
Sihanoukville Nightlife’s Best Pre-Drinking Spots
FIVE MEN FRESH BEER – Prost!
Craft beer is a very new wave thing in Cambodia. It’s a drinking phenomena that’s gradually blossoming and Five Men Fresh Beer are certainly pioneering this revolution.
The micro brewery’s Brewmaster, Ket, has spent over 20 years in the brewing game and even had a stint of sculpting his beer craftmanship in Germany.
An intriguingly cavernous beer hall that is reminiscent of an alcohol fueled air hanger. The space can seat over 100 thirsty backpackers and has several giant copper brew tanks alongside it.
These beer tanks are filled with some lovely German style lagers and stouts which are elegantly served in iced glasses awaiting your approval.
Five Men Fresh Beer is located slightly back from Independence Beach and a very short tuk-tuk journey from Serendipity Beach.
If you’re looking for some atmosphere away from the hectic hostel, bar and club scene, Five Men Fresh Beer is right up your street. Prost!
MONKEY REPUBLIC HOSTEL BAR – Juice Palace
The Monkey Republic Hostel Bar is a mecca for all backpackers looking to get geared up for the evening’s festivities. The bar is a great spot to flirt your way around the different backpacking nationalities and has a lovely outdoor terrace.
Happy Hour runs smoothly from 6pm to 9pm and the hostel swimming pool is also open until 9pm, catch my drift…
The bar is also home to Sihanoukville’s only Jaegerbomb World Cup, so do your ancestors proud and put your country on that leaderboard!
Why not get yourself a nice cosy bed here as well? Check out why this hostel should definitely be on your napping list in my ‘Where to stay in Sihanoukville’.
But don’t leave quite yet though, I still have got the inside scoop on Sihanoukville’s super secret jungle party coming up. You’d barely be able to call yourself a backpacker if you missed out on it.
BIG EASY HOSTEL BAR – Easy Victory
Another backpacker pre-drinking favourite that rivals Monkey Republic in Sihanoukville. Inevitably there will be a whole rabble of backpackers drinking here before heading out on the the town.
Why would you choose here over Monkey Republic?
It’s a close one…
And a decision you may well not have to make because most of the bar crawls in Sihanoukville tend to stop off at both of these hostel bars anyway.
Big Easy is, however, the home of live sport in Sihanoukville. The bar has five big flat screen TV’s and a huge ass projector that shows pretty much all the big sporting fixtures from around the world. Ask the lovely bar staff and they will sort you out.
Happy Hour runs from 7pm to 9pm (so Monkey Republic takes the crown on that one) and both of the hostel bars have pool tables.
As fate would have it…
You’re probably going to be in Sihanoukville for a couple of nights and they are only a short stroll way from each other, so I’d definitely recommend going to sip on a cold one at both these bars.
Now you’re nicely juiced, it’s approaching midnight and time to head for the late night action…
Sihanoukville Nightlife’s Best All-Night Spots & Nightclubs
There’s no two ways about it, if you’re looking for the liveliest late night backpacker action in Sihanoukville then the fondly named Serendipity Beach is the place to go. The beach is graced with a stream of bars, clubs and shacks that will keep the party going till sunrise.
Let’s face it, none of these are classy backpacker establishments and the tune selection is predictable, but everyone’s in good spirits and the vibes are fully flowing.
The three best and most buoyant late night bars of the Serendipity Beach bunch are…
DOLPHIN SHACK – Virak’s House of Fun
As with most of the beach front clubs, Dolphin Shack hasn’t put much effort into the bells and whistles, but you can guarantee it will be pumping the tunes and will be fuelled by a flock of young and fun loving backpackers.
The owner Virak takes the party into his own hands and makes sure all his guests end up stumbling out the door with a smile on their face. Keep your eyes peeled for promoters handing out flyers on Serendipity Beach Road, they usually will get you a free drink or two.
The bar staff are then usually more than happy to give you a shot of something special as you clamber onto the bar to throw some eurythmic shapes around during the night.
Looking to keep the festivities going through into the next day…
Dolphin Shack also runs regular booze cruises during the days which I will tour you through in my ‘Things to do in Sihanoukville’.
UTOPIA – 25 Cent Beers
Yes, you heard me right…
No need to double take or reach for your reading glasses…
Utopia is the bar famous for its Happy Hour where they gift beers to backpackers for only 25c. This deal lasts between just 8pm and 9pm, so clear those stomachs and loosen those gullets. It’s going to be a stormy ride.
The bar isn’t located right on the beach, but only a 3-minute stroll to the sandy action.
The allure of Utopia bar for backpackers isn’t just the cheap beers, the bar also has a swimming pool and hot tub in which they host pool parties on most Saturdays.
And for all you lovely ladies out there…
Every Friday is Ladies Night and you’ll be getting 2 for 1 on all cocktails from 8pm and 11pm. Woooooo.
It’s not all bad news gents…
Fridays means it’s time to shave those beards and make sure those ‘moobs’ are looking extra voluptuous, there could be some free cocktails on the line for you. Worst case scenario, there are going to be plenty of lovely ladies with their cocktail goggles on…
JJ’S PLAYGROUND – Beat House
Plenty of backpackers will herald this as the go-to bar in Sihanoukville. JJ’s is an adult’s playground by name and nature, full of late night debauchery. The essence of this place is embodied in the bar’s tag line, ‘Let’s get wasted’.
And get wasted you certainly will…
Grab a flyer on your way to claim your free shot and there seems to be endless happy hours in rotation.
If you’re lucky they will be dazzling you with some there famous fire shows out on the beach front as well.
A word of warning (as with Dolphin Shack, Utopia and most places in Cambodia) – the toilets are a horror show. There’s always the ocean on your doorstep… Just saying. But do watch out for those floaters.
Inside scoop – keep your eyes pealed and ears to the ground in case JJ’s is hosting one of there famous pool parties at the Victory Castle Villa Hotel & Spa. You’d be a fool to miss it…
Right, with those 3 late night bars out of the way it’s time to roll out the red carpet for, without a doubt, what is Sihanoukville’s most awesome night out.
It only happens once a week, in a secret jungle location, and this is how you can find the pathway to party heaven…
KERFUFFLE – Secret Jungle Party
This rave phenomenon is located in the middle of nowhere, amidst the heart of the Otres Jungle.
It’s not only the party that took my breathe away, the journey there was an adventure in itself…
We took a tuk-tuk about 20 minutes outside of Sihanoukville. The driver then dropped us in the middle of the jungle; nothing but us, mother nature and the quiet murmur of a bassline in the distance.
Kerfuffle is gloriously located on the middle of an island in the middle of the river running through Otres Jungle.
It gets better…
A courteous Cambodian man than hauled us across the river on a pontoon. The lights and the beats immediately hit all our senses as we pulled up to a clearing on the island.
The site feels like it’s own miniature Glastonbury arena.
There is a bar made of bamboo that readily dishes out the drinks, a two-tiered dancing platform that overlooks the jungle canopy, a DJ Booth on top of a van and even a ferris wheel (that looked and felt extremely rickety!).
Natural. Simple. Beautiful. Memorable.
Some of the experiences, indulgences and activities that took place on that island are not for the internet’s eyes, but I will leave it up to you to live the dream for yourself.
The only catch…
Kerfuffle is only in play during the dry season (December – June), and tends to be held once a week on a Wednesday.
No come downs whatsoever…
Hopefully all of these extra spicy hints and tips will lead you to some night time revelations during your time backpacking through Sihanoukville. I never experienced it personally, but there are stories of robberies in town and there are certainly prostitutes lingering around the beachfront.
Most importantly – be sure to stay safe, know your limits, look out for your backpacker buddies and as always, spread the love!
Now, as your glorious night rolls into the next Sihanoukville day…
If the hangover isn’t pounding your head too hard the next day, Sihanoukville also has a whole host of lovely daytime backpacker activities which you should definitely check out. Have a scroll through my ‘Things to do in Sihanoukville’.
Much love backpackers and party on.
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