If you’re lucky enough to have a few days to spare in Phnom Penh, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn a new skill or try out something different. Thanks to a growing expat community, courses and taster sessions held in English are plentiful. So pull out your dancing shoes, learn what all those buttons are on your camera, or get your tongue around the cunning consonants of the Khmer language.
Want to be able to order an iced coffee with milk, and actually get one? LINK is the Language Institute of Natural Khmer, which teaches through participation and listening, rather than text books and phonetics charts. Their Khmer Culture Course is designed for absolute beginners, and introduces you to the life of Rith, an average Cambodian. Although the hour and 45 minute class is exclusively in Khmer, you’ll understand the story through the use of visual aids and dressing up. The course is held every Thursday at 14:00, and costs $10, including some tasty treats. A new class, Real Life in Phnom Penh, will acquaint you with markets, pagodas and restaurants using the LINK methods. If you’re around for longer, beginner Khmer language classes are held Monday to Saturday, and the first one is free.
If you’re disappointed with the photos of your trip so far, help is at hand. The Cambodia Canon Photography Club runs regular courses and field trips for enthusiastic amateurs. You can also get tips from Nathan Horton, a professional snapper who runs weekend photography courses around Phnom Penh and longer trips to his favourite picturesque spots around Cambodia.
More kinetic than visual? Apsara Pich dance classes introduce you to the ancient art form of the apsaras. Specially designed for short-term visitors, their Apsara Dance Initiation includes a short demonstration followed by an hour’s course to teach you the basics.
Phnom Penh Pswings is a group of enthusiastic lindy-hoppers who swirl and toe-tap their way around the capital. Beginners classes are held at Equinox on Thursday evenings, and even better, the first class is free. Guaranteed fun and an opportunity to meet people, even if it is because you’re apologising for stamping on their toes!
Language Institute of Natural Khmer
Sovannaphumi School 4th Floor, Street 200, between Norodom Blvd and Pasteur Street (51), Phnom Penh
T: (012) 293 764
Cambodia Canon Photography Club
i-Qlick Canon Showroom, 146 Preah Sihanouk, Phnom Penh
Nathan Horton Photography
So Shoot Me Studio, 126 Street 136, Phnom Penh
T: (092) 526706
T: (012) 455475
Phnom Penh Pswingers
By Abigail Gilbert
Last updated on 13th August, 2014.