For the last few years, Cambodia has been touted as THE Thailand alternative, the new up-and-coming single men’s paradise.
Is there any substance to these claims or is it all hype?
In this report, I compare Thailand and Cambodia in regards to nightlife options, girls, costs of living and other factors relevant for single men.
As you know, I spend most of my time in Thailand and have only been to Cambodia for a few weeks, so my insights in regards to living in Cambodia are somewhat limited.
Nonetheless, this is what I have experienced and I would argue that your experience of Cambodia will be similar if you plan on going there for a 2-3 week vacation.
- Thai Women VS. Khmer Women
- Freelancer Options (Streets, Online, Clubs)
- Nightlife Options Compared
- Online Dating & Tinder in Cambodia
- Hotels & Accommodation
- Food Options, Malls, Public Transportation
Thai Women VS. Khmer Women
Thai women and women of Cambodia can look somewhat similar in regards to their features. I say ‘can’ because obviously it depends on which region any particular woman is from.
Many Thai women you’ll encounter (such as Pattaya freelancers) are from regions of Thailand that are close to the Cambodian border.
In terms of looks, there’s no standard Thai women and the same applies to Khmer women. Like I said, they can look pretty similar.
Maybe this generalization in regards to how they dress/style would be somewhat true …
The biggest difference you’ll notice in their attitude.
Specifically that Thai women tend to be pretty easy-going and open-minded whereas women in Cambodia are usually very traditional and conservative.
Also, due to social media, online dating and the-like, Thai women are more exposed to Western culture and one could say are more Westernized.
Freelancer Options (Streets, Online, Clubs)
One thing you’ll notice right away when arriving in Cambodia (whichever city you are going to) is that your options for meeting freelancers are very, very limited.
If you go to any major Thai city (Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket), you are spoiled with options.
The Phnom Penh Red Light District is rather small and consist mostly of hostess bars (equivalent of beer bars in Thailand).
In Thailand, you can meet freelancer girls online, outside or at any of the dozens of big freelancer nightclubs or bars. You can also use my private contacts of close to 100 girls.
In Cambodia, you have a very small street freelancer scene, your online options are very limited as well and in terms of freelancer clubs in Phnom Penh you have Pontoon night club.
Here’s what that night club looks like.
Contrast this with Thailand where you have so many options that it can be annoying walking around late at night because you get approached so many times.
I would say having too many options is always better than being limited in regards to your choices.
If you are in Thailand and feel like it is too much, you can simply move to or avoid certain areas.
If you’re in Cambodia and you want more options, there’s nothing you can do – except take a flight to Thailand 😉
In most comparisons, all that’s being mentioned is that Cambodia is supposedly cheaper. Fewer tourists.
How is that supposed to be the defining criteria when choosing a holiday destination?
It’s 20% cheaper but then you have 90% fewer girls, 90% fewer nightlife options – is that supposed to be worth it? I say, no.
Thailand is about the lifestyle,
the experience as a whole.
This is what many who haven’t been to Thailand don’t understand and it’s a concept that’s almost impossible to explain.
YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE IT.
That’s why I’ve always said, you go to places such as Thailand for more than just sex: To change your perspective, experience a different lifestyle.
Oh, but I can go across the border to Mexico and get a $30 prostitute. Much cheaper than Thailand!
Like I said, if that’s all you want, then don’t go to Thailand. Thailand is that – and much more. But hard to explain anyway …
Back to my original point …
If you do go to Cambodia, be aware that it’s NOTHING like Thailand. Your options are very limited.
If for example, you go to Thailand and you’re part of my Thailand Guide, you get access to close to 100 Thai girls (private contacts, phone numbers) – that’s more girls than you’ll encounter during a night out in Phnom Penh, Cambodia!
Nightlife Options Compared
Outside of the Red Light Districts in Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, you can go to clubs with normal Thai girls and tourists from other countries.
In Cambodia/Phnom Penh, that’s not really a thing.
Local women are typically very conservative and they’re not like Thai women who are eager to meet foreigners and go out in groups with their female friends.
I am not saying this doesn’t exist in Cambodia, just not on the same scale as in Thailand.
Given the fact that local women in Cambodia are very traditional and conservative, online dating isn’t nearly as popular as in Thailand.
Online Dating & Tinder in Cambodia
For more about online dating and Tinder in Thailand, go here. If you’ve been reading my blog or following my YouTube channel, you know that online dating is very, very popular in Thailand.
Thousands of girls on the various online dating sites and platforms whereas in Cambodia you will run out of attractive girls to message within a day.
Yes, it’s true that you have fewer competitors (there aren’t as many other guys doing online dating in Cambodia), but there’s a reason for this: Very few girls online.
Hotels & Accommodation
Most hotels I have stayed at in Cambodia were guest-friendly. They didn’t say that anywhere on their website and they even had signs at the hotel saying prostitution is not allowed.
But then when actually bringing girls to my room and seeing dozens of others guys walking in and out with freelancers, nobody said a thing.
Nobody asked questions, nobody asked for the girls ID nor was there any other security measure in place.
In this video, you can see the receptionist sleeping behind the counter …
I didn’t like that. You can argue that it’s less disruptive to the mood when nobody at reception stops you, but the girl having to sign in with reception and deposit her ID is actually a good thing. It’s for your own safety.
If you inquire at such a hotel if it is guest-friendly, you would probably get an answer such as
Yes, Sir. We are guest-friendly, we are always very friendly to our guests!
Because Cambodia is a rather conservative country, I feel like it’s not really admitted that this (I am referring to taking girls to your room) is happening.
Whereas in Thailand, it’s so in-your-face that everyone knows what guest-friendly or joiner fee means. You also have hundreds (if not thousands) of hotels to choose from anywhere you go.
Food Options, Malls, Public Transportation …
Really, there’s no competition.
Bangkok for example has great public transportation, such as the BTS, MRT and thousands of metered taxis.
In fact, there are so many metered taxis everywhere that using a mobile taxi app has become redundant.
In Cambodia, you’re better off ordering a tuk tuk via GrabTaxi – otherwise it’s easy being overcharged or the driver not understanding where you want to go.
There is no skytrain or underground in Cambodia.
In Phnom Penh, what are you gonna do during the day?
Sure, there are some nice malls with food courts. You can hang out at the fancy casino (Naga World) and meet girls there (mostly freelancers but some regular girls).
Gyms are typically overpriced (the nice ones). If you’re staying for a few days only, your best bet will be simply going to the gym that’s inside the hotel & casino complex.
In Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket, you can choose between basic and high-end gyms.
The high-end ones are gonna cost you $50+ per month whereas the cheap gyms, such as Tony’s Fitness, are $20 per month (2 week passes available).
Grocery & Food Costs
Groceries are not exactly cheap in Cambodia. Convenience stores and supermarkets don’t have many local brands on offer, many of the products are imported from Thailand, the US or UK.
Simply put, buying groceries in Cambodia (or anything at the supermarket) is more expensive than in Thailand.
Previously, I’ve pointed out that there aren’t many malls in Phnom Penh (Cambodia). Few malls = few food courts.
Take Bangkok for example, if you’re near Sukhumvit, you have half a dozen food courts within walking distance.
I’ve tried really, really hard to find aspects of Cambodia which are superior to Thailand, but I couldn’t find any that are relevant.
At least in regards to the lifestyle of a single man …
Okay, there are fewer ladyboys in Cambodia. That’s a positive for most guys.
Fewer tourists overall, probably another advantage as well.
… but if you factor in the downsides, I still don’t think it’s worth going there for a dedicated vacation.
Visiting Cambodia just to see it is fine, or for the purpose of renewing your Thailand tourist visa.
Sure … but to go to Cambodia instead of Thailand for your single man vacation? Absolutely no way I can recommend this to anyone.
Maybe 5 or 10 years from now, but as of today, I don’t consider Cambodia to be a viable Thailand alternative.