Cambodia is a country of natural beauty and rich heritage in Southeast Asia. If you’re looking to escape the modern structure of glass and brick walls, then you must visit Cambodia.
Cambodia is home to many temples built in ancient architecture. Siem Reap is the gateway to that beautiful experience. Siem Reap is also known as the resort town and the gateway town to the magnificent temples in Angkor, Cambodia. Despite being a resort town, there is plenty to do in Siem Reap. You can find many night markets selling everything from fresh produce to souvenirs.
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While you’re at Siem Reap, you must definitely visit the Phare. Phare is a famous Cambodian circus hosted by the Phare Ponleu Selpak. The Phare Ponleu Selpak is a non-profit organization that supports youth through art and other activities.
The non-profit also acts as an art school, and the students of that school perform at the circus, presenting you with more than average circus show. The students give visual and art performances.
The Phare Circus is not your everyday circus. This circus is one of Siem Reap’s most authentic and top-rated attractions, guaranteed to give you a great time. You will be astonished to see the energy of these young performers.
Another reason for this not being your average circus is because, through the performances, they’re not just merely showing you amazing gymnastic movements. They are also depicting folk, modern, and old stories of Cambodia. The stories are told through music, concert, and theater.
Like every great thing in this world, the Phare circus also had a humble beginning. Back in 1994, 9 men who came from the refugee camp at Khmer Rouge Regime formed the Phare Ponleu Selpak. They received a massive helping hand from an art teacher through art classes.
The art class was not a little fun place, but a place for the poor and socially deprived to hone their skills. The art school also acted as a place for therapy. After receiving teachings on art, the nine men went and opened an art school. They made the art school public and made it free for everyone.
Following the art school, they also opened a music school and a theater school. Also, after a request from the students, they opened a circus school. That is how the circus came to be.
Today, over 1200 students attend the school, and 500 more participate in alternative schools. These schools give their students a place to learn valuable skills, earn decent pay, and escape the deathly pangs of poverty.
The money from the tickets and merchandise helps run the school and provide free education.
What You Will Find There
The amazing Phare experience starts right inside the gate with warm smiles and greetings. Entering the place, you will see a big red top with colorful lights. This big red top is made out of plastic.
Moving on, you will see the backgrounds on the artist that will perform. After that, you will get in the newly designed Phare Boutique, where they sell fantastic souvenirs and handicrafts made by the Phare visual artists. The best thing is that the boutique remains open even after the show. After buying souvenirs, you will enter the Phare Café. Phare Café serves all kinds of food items, from local cuisine to drinks.
After grabbing your snacks, you will see the main attraction; the Phare Circus! The seats are like the big top, vibrantly red. You can expect dance performances, live music, theater, and breathtaking circus arts.
The main venue is divided into four sections. With the stage in the middle, there are seats on the left, right, and in front. The front gallery is divided into two parts, A and B. A is the first three rows, and B being the top three rows. The galleries on the left are right are section C. The way the seats have been arranged allows you to get a great view from where you’re sitting without anything blocking your vision.
The show runs for an hour, it is suitable for people of all ages, and in the end, you can take photos with the artists. It is advised that you wear comfortable clothing as it gets hot. Furthermore, due to the tropical weather, you can expect mosquitoes over there. It is best to apple mosquito repellents.
How to Get There
As far as tickets are concerned, you can purchase them both at the venue and online at the Phare circus site. However, making a reservation is strongly suggested as the place is filled to the brim every evening. Notably, the A and B sections are usually filled up.
The price of the tickets depends on the seat you take and your age. For the A section, it costs US $38 for adults and US $38 for children. For the B section, US $28 for Adults and US $15 for kids. And for the C section, adults pay US $18; for kids, it’s US $10. The tickets are non-refundable once purchased.
Two kilometers away from the Old Market and Pub Street, near the Sok San Road intersection, on Ring Road lies the venue. The venue opens two hours before showtime. You should reach the site 30 mins before showtime and grab your seat.
To reach the venue, you can use “Tuk-tuk.” Tuk-tuk is a three-wheeled motorized vehicle. You can find these on the streets of Cambodia. The number of tuk-tuks on the streets is plentiful.
It would be best if you kept in mind that the fare might vary based on your location. There is no fixed fare to reach the venue. However, the fare is negotiable, and it should cost Us $3-$5 from most places in Siem Reap.
In conclusion, visit the Phare circus is a great way to spend your time at Siem Reap. By attending the show, not only are you having a great time, but you’re also giving back to people of Cambodia. Visit the circus, and have a great time with your loved ones.
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