Skateboarding In Cambodia
Skateboarding has been slowly gaining popularity as a sport in southeast Asia over the years. Many countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam, have no shortage of public skateparks. Cambodia has a growing skate scene with many good skaters around and a lot of public interest. After traveling in Cambodia with my skateboard for one month, trying to find and visit all of the skateparks, I have found the following information. I believe this is the most current information on all of these locations. Sadly, my efforts to skate in Cambodia led me to understand that as of 2017, there are still not any complete public skateparks in Cambodia. Hopefully with some support from home and abroad, coupled with the growing enthusiasm and appetite for skateboarding in Cambodia, that will not be the case for much longer. In this article I will discuss my findings as I attempted to skateboard in Cambodia.
Siem Reap Skatepark (rollerpark)
The first option of a park to skate in Siem Reap comes with just a small catch. It is actually a “rollerblade park.” They rent rollerblades there just like a normal skating rink and it is filled with kids skating in a circle just like a normal skating rink. You will not be grinding anything here because there are no boxes, rails, or coping. There are some little bumps and banks and a hip though. They don’t care if you skateboard there either. You do have to pay $1 or $2 to enter. I think there is some fun to be had here but it all depends on the day whether or not its full of kids rollerblading.
Siem Reap Skatepark (rooftop half-pipe)
The second option for skating in Siem Reap is the X-Bar half-pipe. This is a metal ramp on the roof-top of a bar called X-Bar which is located on the infamous Pub Street. It’s definitely not a mini-ramp, but maybe not quite a full blown half-pipe. It’s a decent sized ramp is what I’m trying to say. Not really for beginners. It’s cool that it is up on a rooftop though, and it’s in good shape. I would be worried about shooting a board up and over the edge and onto the the crowded sidewalks below. The ramp is slick metal so it gets super hot on the roof. The bar opens at 2 pm and you can skate it until its dark. The bar is in Siem Reap, Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia. You can find directions to it online or just ask around. It’s a huge bar.
Phnom Penh Skatepark
There is not a public skatepark in Phnom Penh. What they do have is a skate school built by the Skateistan organization. Skateistan is a non-profit that uses skateboarding as a tool to reach out to children from troubled homes. Their park was built with support from the Tony Hawk Foundation and looks to be quite nice. However, it is not open to the public. It is rumored that they allow local skaters to ride the park on Saturday’s though. I was never able to find the park, despite extensive efforts. I wanted to teach a class or skate a demo for the kids, but the page admin were not responsive to my messages. Maybe if you talk to the guys at the local skateshop you could get yourself there with a good group on the weekend. I also highly recommend supporting Skateistan with a donation and giving them a follow on social media. They do some inspiring work.
Phnom Penh Skateshop
There are only two skateshops in all of Cambodia and they are both located in Phnom Penh. If you want to buy a board, this is the place. If you want to buy shoes, you will likely just be buying some knock-off Vans from the market. There are some great street spots around the city of Phnom Penh. Especially along the river where the slick granite goes on for several kilometers with benches and marble ledges and more to skate along the way. The guys at the local shop can likely recommend even more street spots. One shop is just called The Skateshop Phnom Penh, while the other is called The 10K Skateshop.
I wanted to point this one out just so nobody else gets confused like me. There was once a skatepark in Sihanoukville and now there is not. The most recent comments I found online concluded that it has been closed down. I don’t know if that means it was completely destroyed or what that entails regarding the concrete mini out front. However, I could not find the park and since nothing gets wasted in Cambodia, I am sure the old park has been picked clean for building materials. Maybe some day soon someone will open another one. Until then, I would say that this town is not a good place to skate.
*There is also a Skateistan unit in Sihanoukville, but they are just getting going and don’t have a park yet.
Kep Skatepark (bowl)
There’s a weird “bowl” in the town of Kep for some reason. It is inside the National Park at an Eco Resort that is now abandoned. There is a sign off of the main trail in the Kep National Park that points toward the bowl, which is what inspired me to look into it more. Apparently the resort has been closed for a couple of years and so the jungle is reclaiming the area. The bowl is still there though, but will likely look like the picture on the right or worse as it sits unused for longer. However, if you bring a bucket and a rake, I bet you could have your own private bowl in the jungle, complete with plenty of snakes.