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Just Clowning Around: Cambodian Circus-Style

Jeff Linamen

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Southeast Asia Travel Day Three (Part Two): After a short nap, we went across the French gardens in front our hotel to check out the Flying Foxes that hang in the trees. Cambodian Flying Foxes are actually large fruit bats. Their wings can span up to five feet. In late afternoon and early evening you can see them flying from the trees.


Cambodian Flying Foxes.

Tonight was the only night that we didn’t have dinner or tour plans while in Siem Riep. Researching various options, Michael found us a dinner and show package just around the corner from our hotel.

Phare, The Cambodian Circus. After exploring some of the local streets, we arrived at the Phare complex and were immediately enamored with the quaint and magical atmosphere. There’s a charming midway, gift shop full of beautiful items made by local artisans, the cafe and the big top circus tent. We arrived at the Phare Cafe for a really nice dinner before an evening at the circus. The food was incredibly good and ridiculously inexpensive.


The midway at Phare, the Cambodian Circus.

The midway at Phare, the Cambodian Circus.

Phare blends circus arts with artistic expression. All of Phare’s productions have elements of Cambodian history and culture embedded in the story. Their goals are to build tourism and community development; through their students- building human development and social change.

“Phare Performing Social Enterprise has three complimentary social missions: Provide gainful employment to Cambodian youth from difficult social and economic backgrounds, financially sustain our parent organization Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO school thereby contributing to the rebirth of Cambodian modern art.” — Phare website

The ghosts in Preu (Chiils).

The ghosts in Preu (Chills).

The show we saw was called Preu (Chills). It was about a group of students, haunted by ghosts. Through them, they they find ways to face their fears and anxieties.

These young performers and musicians are wonderfully skilled entertainers. It was a fun and excited experience and a great introduction into Cambodian life and culture.


The talented student performers of Phare.

The talented student performers of Phare.


Musicians sit high above the big top floor adding drama to the performance.

Musicians sit high above the big top floor adding drama to the performance.


Phare, The Cambodian Circus

Phare, The Cambodian Circus


  1. We saw the same show, thought it was awesome! I’d love to see more of the Cambodian circus performers, how did you like the show?


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