For news on what’s happening in town, AsiaLife is a free monthly with entertainment features and regular listings. The Friday edition of the Phnom Penh Post includes the '7 Days' supplement with listings information.
Cambodian Fight Club
The whole world knows about muay Thai (Thai boxing) and the sport of kickboxing, but what is not so well known is that this contact sport probably originated in Cambodia. Pradal serey (literally ‘free fighting’) is Cambodia’s very own version of kickboxing; you can see some fights in Phnom Penh. Popular Cambodian TV channel CTN hosts live bouts at 2pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday out at its main studio on National Hwy 5, about 4km north of the Japanese Bridge. Entry is free and there is usually a rowdy local crowd surreptitiously betting on the fights. Most bouts are ended by a violent elbow move and there's a lot more ducking and diving than with other kickboxing genres.
An even older martial art is bokator, or labokatao, which some say dates back to the time of Angkor. It translates as ‘pounding a lion’ and was originally conceived for battlefield confrontations. Weapons include bamboo staffs and short sticks, as well as the krama (checked scarf) in certain situations. The Pras Khan Chey Bokator School in Phnom Penh offers lessons (US$5 per hour) or full brown-belt courses (US$1500). Call ahead to ensure you get an English-speaking instructor.