If you go to Siem Reap, I highly recommend going to Phare: The Cambodian Circus. First, let me tell you about Phare. It’s not just a circus, but its performers use theater, music dance and modern circus arts to tell Cambodian stories – as they described in their webpage.
So, how was Phare created? PPSA (Phare Ponleu Selpak) was founded in 1994 by nine Cambodian men when they returned from a refugee camp after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. At the refugee camp they tool drawing classes, so when they returned home they began offering drawing classes (for free) to street kids. Soon after, they opened a school. Today, more than 1,200 students are enrolled in the public school – all classes are free. In 2013, the Phare Performing Social Enterprise was created to create employment opportunities for Cambodian artists, and The Cambodian Circus was created under PPSE.
When I went with my parents, The Cambodian Circus was one of the options shown under my Chase Rewards Points (which for me is the best way to book activities any time I travel). That day we went to Ta Prohm with our tourist guide Vanna, and we had a great time! (you can read more about Ta Prohm in one of my other posts! 😉)
Later, we just relax at the pool of our hotel, Angkor Paradise Hotel (in which our room feature 3 single beds and I felt like I was in a campaign lodge jajaja). After that, we took a tuk-tuk (best way to go around Siem Reap) and went to the Circus. No need of directions for the tuk tuk, everybody knows where the circus is!! 😜🏍
My first impression is that the circus is very organized, and of course everybody is super helpful! The tickets I got where front center of the circus tent, with a drink included. They sell popcorn and they also have a small ice cream shop, with little tables outside if you do not want to wait inside the tent until the show starts. Many tours arrived, and the whole tent was packed in a few minutes!
As soon as the music starts, you can feel the energy of the performers which gets contagious really fast between all the attendees. Their talent and passion can be seeing and felt with each movement. The show we watched was “Influence”, and it had a mix of theatrical drama and acrobatics.
I have been to the Cirque du Soleil many times, and those shows are amazing…and yes, I cannot compare it with Phare. However, the ambiance and energy is something that I will never forget, and its music was so powerful that I would love to see another show again.
The only inconvenient/funny thing of that night: how we got out of there!! It started raining, really reallyyyy bad in the middle of the show. But, we were all so into the show that nobody care. The problem was when the show finished—it was still raining really bad and everything was flooded, a lake was form at the entrance of the parking!!! When exiting the tent we got an umbrella, no idea who was the owner, but everybody was doing the same: just taking and sharing umbrellas…Between all the people, our tuk tuk found us (he was really ready for the rain wearing a super raincoat!) and walking between the flooded street we made it to our tuk-tuk. I was walking barefoot as I was more concern about losing my flip flops than stepping on a rock! Jajaja We made it to the tuk tuk, and this tuk tuks have it all: plastic cover for the rain!!! Jajaja I thought it was awesome, we were wet but it was such a great experience all together!
If you want to obtain more information about Phare, do not hesitate to visit their webpage Phare: The Cambodian Circus You will be able to check out info about their different shows, tickets and reservation information.
Information about our Hotel through Expedia (breakfast included and good location), or directly to its webpage Angkor Paradise Hotel By the way, breakfast was really good and diverse, and they have a bar at the lobby where you can order snacks and drinks almost all day long. We enjoyed our afternoons (too hot outside!) there, playing cards and just enjoying the atmosphere.
Hope you have the chance to go to the Circus…