Our favorite attraction in Cambodia was a circus show by Phare Ponlue Selpak, because it was an amazing show and a more authentic tourist attraction. In Battambang, Cambodia, after our meditation retreat, we had the good fortune to stumble across the Phare Ponlue Selpak (PPS) Circus. PPS is largely a school for the arts, which helps the community by providing young Cambodians with arts and skills education, and also provides social support for these children and their families.
At the circus, all the performers and musicians were students from the school, which is supported by ticket sales, among other things. The show is just an hour long, and there are nightly performances in Battambang, the original location, and in Siem Reap. Adam and I were both blown away by the balance, strength, and energy that these performers demonstrated in the hour-long show. We also really enjoyed the accompanying music, which was also played by student musicians.
Even better, the experience felt authentic, at least for a tourist activity. The show was small and intimate. We were supporting this community the way they wanted to be supported, rather than just passing through and gawking at their lives. Of all the things we saw and did in Cambodia, including Angkor Wat (more on this to come soon), I would recommend this one the most highly.