When you think nightlife, you may think of live music, fancy cocktails, and stylish people mingling in dimly lit rooms. You may not think of a circus. But in Cambodia, the two go hand in hand.
Located in Siem Reap, a stone’s throw from the magnificent Angkor Wat complex, Phare Circus is Cambodia’s hottest ‘nightlife’ attraction, boasting a heady and irresistible mix of music, drinks, circus arts, story-telling, and even a social mission. A social enterprise seeking to provide employment, education, and empowerment to impoverished or underprivileged Cambodian youth, Phare Circus is a stylish evening out with a tangible social impact.
A night at Phare Circus might go something like this: You start with a stroll through Phare Boutique, a gallery and gift shop showcasing original art by Phare students as well as local and traditional Khmer crafts. You follow this with a drink or a meal at Phare Café, an al fresco restaurant set next to the red Big Top. Feel like a splurge, you may order the three-course set menu. At 8 p.m., it’s show time, and you head into the Big Top for a show that fuses dance, music, and circus arts to reinterpret and retell Cambodian folklore and history.
Launched in 2013, Phare Circus is the latest achievement of the Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS), an art school in Battambang, Cambodia. Nine children and their art teacher founded PPS 20 years ago, when the fall of the Khmer Rouge led to their release from a refugee camp. As survivors of a brutal war, these children formed PPS as a way to educate and empower underprivileged children through art. Today, Phare Circus showcases the skills, arts, and theatrical productions of PPS students, who train 6 to 8 hours a day. Talk about a social mission with legs!
Could this possibly beat Barnum & Bailey as “the greatest show on earth”? We don’t like to jump to conclusions, but we’d say that we deeply admire the strength of Phare Circus’s mission, as well as the talent of the young performers.
To experience this new spin on nightlife yourself, contact one of our locally based Travel Specialists for details. Or better yet, let us know if you’d like to add a night at the circus to your tailor-made Cambodia holiday.