Location: Golden Lion Gym, Group 2, Village 4, Sangkat 4, Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Opening hours: 9am to 9pm daily
Review: Today I managed to tick something off my “become a real backpacker” bucket-list. I got stopped by corrupt police office and bribed my way out of trouble. In fairness, I was driving a moped without a licence so I suppose stuffing $3 into a battered satchel whilst the officer conveniently looked the other way is probably a fair conclusion.
Thankfully I also managed to find a decent gym so I suppose the day wasn’t a total write off. The gym I found was called the Golden Lion Gym and it is run by two guys called Bobby and Sean, with some help from their 6 month old puppy, Montague. Bobby, who is originally from England, came to Cambodia after years of living in Spain, whilst Sean is American and currently three years into his “year abroad” having spent time in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. They both told me that they were drawn to Sihanoukville by the relaxed pace of life, the beautiful local islands and the 420 culture.
When I walked into the gym, the first thing that I noticed is that all of the equipment matches and looks new and modern. It turned out that the Golden Lion gym opened on 1 May 2016 having been moved from another location in town. The gym is on the smaller side compared to some of the huge gyms I trained in in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, but you can tell that thought has gone into the choice of equipment and there is enough here to workout whichever muscle group you decide to train today.
This gym is made up of:
- Dumbbells unto 25kg
- Adjustable benches
- Short bar
- Squat rack
- Olympic bars x 2
- Flat barbell bench
- Adjustable chest press machine
- Leg extension machine
- Dips / pull up bar
- High cable
- Seated low row machine
- Lat pulldown
- Lower back extender bench thing that I can’t remember the name of
- Spin Bike
- Two other bikes
- Punch bag and gloves / head gear
- Yoga mats
The gym charges $2 for a day pass, $10 for a week pass or $30 a for a month’s membership, so you can tailor your membership to the length of time you plan to be in town.
The gym sells water, redbull, fruit juices and sachets of electrolyte powders. They also sell imported whey protein for $2 a serving, or 10 servings for $17.50. There is NOWHERE else in Sihanoukville that is going to sell protein, so make sure you stock up here. Their smoothie bar is perhaps their signature however. They have an extensive menu of smoothies and juices and you can create your own personal mixtures too. The guys also told me that they will soon be serving small meals such as chicken and rice, bacon sandwiches or locally sourced coconuts, so keep an eye out for that in the near future. You can check out the gym on Instagram here to find out the latest. Well worth a follow!
Who is this gym for? Sean and Bobby now have around 40 fully paid up members, made up of locals and expats, as well as offering day passes to passing tourists like me. On the two days that I trained here, I saw a mix of guys and women training together, as well as people of all ability levels. I would recommend this gym to anyone. Quite frankly, this is the best it gets in Sihanoukville.
Tips: If you are going to drive to this gym, or at all in Sihanoukville, keep a couple of dollars spare in your pocket away from the rest of your money. If you get stopped by the police, use this money to get yourself out of trouble. Don’t worry, the police will be very forward in letting you know they want a bribe. Don’t get out your whole wallet or show them how much cash you are carrying or they are likely to try and increase the amount they try and extort from you. Don’t give them more than $2-$3 and don’t let them panic you. It is all part of the Cambodian experience!