I set my alarm early but was awake before the sun rose. A bit of a country girl at heart, I was thrilled to be offered a chance to check out the Cambodian Country Club and not only take a first hand look at the extensive array of activities on offer, but get up close and personal with some majestic animal friends.
My host for the morning was the Cambodian Country Club (CCC)’s General Manager, the very charming Frenchman Mr Thierry Neou. Born in France to Khmer parents, Mr Neou relocated to Cambodia several years ago and has been managing the CCC for around a year and a half. His love for sport and exercise is apparent — in fact, he is a professional football player previously signed by some of Cambodia’s top teams. Along with his French qualifications and experience in business and finance, his role at the CCC makes perfect sense.
Thierry is particularly focused on improving the operation of the club and extending the programs to incorporate schools and businesses both on and off the premises. The CCC offers an impressive array of activities for all ages as well as boasting impressive grounds and facilities capable of hosting both formal and informal events including trade exhibitions, weddings, functions, team building activities, day camps, sports clinics, and many more.
Thierry showed me around facilities that include a football field, horse stables, a professional basketball court, an archery field, volleyball and tennis courts, a fitness centre, an adult-sized swimming pool and a separate kids’ swimming pool. As mentioned, I was particularly excited to see the horses and ponies.
There are three full-time resident horses and 11 ponies at the club. These stunning creatures are in impeccable condition and well trained. My guest and I arrived during their midday meal time and were overjoyed to be able to feed some of them, definitely the highlight of the day. The horses were gentle around children, and my mind was put at ease knowing that they are trained by professionals and well cared for.
The first and only country club in Cambodia, the CCC now has over 300 members and 90 support staff who are dedicated to ensuring all visitors’ needs are met. The complex spans a staggering 25,000m square, incorporating a 4,000m square equestrian center. Recently the venue hosted the Cambodian Equestrian Foundation’s Horse Riding Competition, which holds a close partnership with the CCC.
The club can be found on Street 2004 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok District, close to Northbridge International School. On the Saturday morning I visited, I had barely travelled 15 minutes from the city center before reaching the club, yet from the serene atmosphere upon arrival one could quite easily imagine themselves in the countryside, complete with birds chirping, lush gardens, and fresh air. The club’s proximity to a number of foreign-owned factories has made it very popular with businesspeople, predominantly Chinese city dwellers who are looking to keep their fitness in check and participate in social activities. In fact, the club seems a great place to meet fitness mates and forge friendships with like-minded people.
Members of the CCC feel passionate about the social atmosphere and the high quality of facilities. A sense of community prevails, with individuals, couples and families all sharing the space and making the most of their memberships. There is a multicultural feel here — you can rub shoulders with Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Khmer and Western members, to name just a few.
While the adults are being taken care of, there are plenty of activities designed to thrill youngsters. Pony trail rides are a popular pastime and the CCC hosts regular Sports Camps and Pony Camps during school holidays, as well as sports clinics and private coaching. The children’s pool is a major draw, and isn’t as overcrowded on the weekends as you might expect.
Another pleasant surprise was the club’s Bamboo Café. The Cambodian Country Club has multiple dining areas including a clubhouse that makes the perfect wedding or function venue, but it was Bamboo where my fellow guest and I enjoyed a delicious gardenside lunch. While he sipped on a heavenly coconut smoothie and attempted to make his way through a traditional western breakfast, I attempted to polish off an exceptionally generous serve of scrumptious chicken wings and mouthwatering shrimp crafted by their chef from Hong Kong. The Bamboo’s menu contains an extensive array of Chinese and other Asian cuisines as well as satisfying western additions.
To top off your club activities, you can enjoy a night in the onsite hotel, which boasts tastefully decorated rooms and suites set around the tranquil gardens of the club. Luxury condominiums are currently under construction adjacent to the club, in a thriving neighborhood with new shopping centers, various international schools, and close proximity to both the city center and the airport.
Whether you are looking for an interesting venue for the whole family, sports facilities with a difference, an escape from frantic city life, or a chance to mingle with likeminded people, the Cambodian Country Club is always welcoming to new members. And with prices from as low as $12 per hour for full tennis court rental, $15 for a 30 minute promenade on a pony for young ones, or $488 for a full year’s membership, the club really sets itself apart as the perfect choice for you and your family.
For more information visit www.cambodian-country-club.com or phone the club on 061 885 591.