Last Saturday I went on two types of rock climbing excursions, both for the first time, and probably in the wrong order. I met up a group of mostly experienced rock climbers at 6AM for an hour drive out of the city to a huge boulder that has been popular with the local community. It was already well anchored and our group had all the requisite climbing gear. I have no idea how difficult it was in comparison as it was my first time, and NO - that is not me in the photo. I only made maybe 2-3 meters up, fear and inexperience kept me from going further. That being said, I would do it again, but the start on a couple of the climbs was very tricky and after borrowing some shoes for the final attempt, I completely understand the need for them.
At 5PM that same day, arms pretty much shot, I met up with some friends at “Kid City”, a new multi-purpose, multi-level entertainment complex that opened up last month. We started with a game of laser tag, which was really fun for the 25 minutes except for the cost, which I’ll get to later. From there we went down a couple levels to their climbing floor. I had no idea places like this existed and although they were targeting kids, the adults far outnumbered the children. There are about 15 different climbing options, all of which have ropes that you connect to your support belt and have an auto-belay for safety. The staff seemed surprisingly aware and knowledgable, a bit surprising for here. I only made it up about 4 or 5 walls before my arms gave out from the morning.
But, back to the prices. The morning was a great deal - someone had organized a van which totaled less than $6 per person with or group of about 15. Others brought the climbing gear so that didn’t cost me anything and there was no entrance fee for the climbing. Kids City is on the other side of the spectrum, and as great of an idea as it is, it also has a science gallery and ice skating rink, the prices are high and will exclude the vast majority of Cambodians. The laser tag was $10 for the 25 min (+ 5 min for gearing up and explanation of rules) and the climbing sets you back another $10. So, about $20 for less than two hours. That being said, I’d go back. And they have memberships which may be worthwhile since even though the climbing area is geared to kids, it’s actually a pretty good workout and about the only chance I currently have to practice some basic climbing that is close by.
For those of you who are into climbing and are in the country, check out the Facebook climbing page to see if you can join an organized climb. If not, Kid City is located right in the heart of Phnom Penh.