Movie Going in Phnom Penh
With all my posts about scuba diving in Thailand, raving in Honduras, and hiking Britain’s tallest mountain, you might be forgiven for thinking I’m a bit of an adventure seeker. That’s actually of a deception because on an average night, there is nothing I love more than snuggling in for a great movie.
And that preference doesn’t change when I travel. I love seeking out great local cinemas and movie going traditions in a new place. In fact, one of my favorite memories from Greece was experiencing the classic outdoor summer movie theater. So when I arrived in my favorite city in Asia, I was super excited to indulge in my favorite pastime. There are not one, not two, not three, but four English language Phnom Penh movie theaters, a full three of which I visited! Read on to find out which one was a blast from home, which one sent me back to my artsy roots, and which one inspired me to add “open a movie theater” to my bucket list.
The Flicks is quite simply the greatest movie theatre I’ve ever been to. You pay bargain $3.50 for admission to all showings, making for a perfect rainy day activity or indulgent evening date. There is soda, candy, and delicious buttery popcorn on offer, as well as a delivery menu from a local restaurant. Pizza and a movie anyone?
But the best part of The Flicks is the seating. No armrest wars here- viewers choose from comfy couches or even more indulgent floor beds, making this place perfect for the ultimate pizza and a movie snuggle. Movie offerings are a perfect mix of new blockbusters, indie films, and oldies but goodies. Make sure to leave home with plenty of time to spare- not only is the Flicks somewhat tricky to locate, but you’ll want to arrive early to score the best bed!
I’m actually not exaggerating when I say that The Flicks was one of my favorite things about Phnom Penh. I would have happily gone every night! I’ve since found myself dreaming of opening a similar establishment on a small island in Thailand…
#39B, Street 95, (078) 809 429, theflicks-cambodia.com
Documentary lovers, take note. The German Cambodian Cultural Center shows documentaries and independent films Tuesday-Sunday, many relating to Cambodian issues. On the night I visited I watched a documentary about the illegal orphan trade, and there was even a Q & A by the director afterwards. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by an artistic community again, something I love about being in a city. Movies are screened on the open air rooftop, right next to the full bar. Ticket prices vary per showing but average $2 each.
I think if I lived in Phnom Penh I would have to dedicate a night or two a week to films at Meta House. Looking at the schedule for the week I was intrigued by almost each night’s offerings.
#37 Sothearos Blvd, (010) 312 333, meta-house.com
Sabay Cineplex and Legends Cinema
Both of these theatres offer Western style cinemas and big blockbuster hits. While they certainly don’t offer the novelty of The Flicks or the education of the Meta House, it’s sometimes comforting to do something so familiar from home all while marveling that this kind of modernity exists in Cambodia. And of course, it’s always fun to watch trashy films and soak up all the air conditioning and buttery popcorn goodness.
Sabay Cineplex was filled with expat teenagers when we visited who’s bad attitudes soured the mood, but otherwise it was a fun indulgence. Legends Cinema was the one English language cinema in Phnom Penh that we didn’t personally visit, only because the action and children’s movies it was showing weren’t of interest.
City Mall, Monireth Blvd, Top Floor, (088) 954 9857, legend-cinemas.com
Sorya Shopping Center, 5th Floor, St 63 at St 142, (017) 666 210, facebook.com/SabayCineplex
What kind of movie go-er are you? Which of these movie theatres would you hit up during a visit to Phnom Penh?
I noticed the words “buttery popcorn” are a staple in this post. YUM!!!! The beds are hilarious and wonderful. I am so coming there next summer!
I was thinking of my top movie buddy during all this theater hopping! 🙂
Loving the beds! Brilliant!!! Seeing movies in foreign countries is so much fun.
It really is such an experience. For example, in Thailand you need to stand for the National Anthem before any movie! How fun is that!
It’s a tribute to the King you are standing for in Thai movie theaters.
Yes, and a very dramatic one at that! It is the National Anthem that is playing though, right?
I would assume so…. But I don’t know.
I looked at the Flicks, i had a little smile on my face, it’s just so cute…
I am SO in love with The Flicks! I’m dreaming of opening my own little movie theatre someday…
Thank you for your excellent write up! Do know we can always use volunteers to run The Flicks, so whoever is around and want to see free movies any day, just pick a night to run the bar 🙂
Hi Ramon, thanks for dropping in! Great to know about the work-for-movies-program, perhaps we would have taken advantage had we known! Excellent theatre, we loved it!
Spot on Alex! – Flicks is fab, and Metahouse excellent too. The French cinema is worth a look too, but do try to get out into the sticks too, there’s nothing quite like seeing a film in a ricefield! Somnang laor… Olyx
Hi Oly… loved your post! I’m a huge movie fan and your experience certainly seems like a unique one 🙂 I wish we had any sort of movie theatre here on Koh Tao!
Of course, what a great website and educative posts, I will bookmark your site. All the Best!
Brilliant thank you! Have been exiled in chiang Mai for 8 months with only 1 crappy mall cinema and am soooo excited for phnom pens decent films! I wonder where I could watch some cambodian cinema, particularly the eyeball twizzling special effects laden Hindu inspired epics I see playing on the tv here?
I was disappointed by the lack of theatres in Chiang Mai! You’d think they’d have a cool indie one somewhere. Enjoy your trip to Phnom Penh!
Aaaaaaaah! MUST DO THIS! Buttery Popcorn *salivating drool drool*. Oh…….I LOVE THIS. Just a tad excited…….
And there are now THREE Flicks around the city! So overjoyed to see how well they’ve done.