Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia. It is also considered as the most populous Cambodian city.

Phnom Penh is known for its promenade as it is located by the confluence of three rivers: Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap. No wonder Phnom Penh is renowned as “Pearl of Asia”.

Phnom Penh

Photo: Phnom Penh/ CC Werner.pauwels

Phnom Penh Travel Guide

A lot of tourists visit Phnom Penh because of its vibrant culture and history. Though Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is one of the reasons why tourists visit Cambodia, there are also a ton of reasons as to why they should also visit Phnom Penh. In this travel guide, we will be giving you those reasons!

Things To Do in Phnom Penh

Points of Interest

Independence and Liberation Memorials

Phnom Penh has a Cambodian city that’s rich in history and culture. The Independence and Liberation Memorials commemorates one of its significant milestones when they were being freed by France.

Independence Monument

Photo: Memorial/ CC Paul Mannix

The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

Other tourists may ask why this became one of Phnom Penh’s points of interest when in fact, by reading alone its name will already give you chills. Well, this tourist attraction became a big hit because it played a great part in forming Phnom Penh’s history. This is the place where Khmer Rouge took into place. In this spot lies over 8,000 human skulls.

The National Museum of Cambodia

If you are a kind of tourist who wants to see and know the history of Phnom Penh through a collection of arts, this is probably the best place for you. The main attraction in the National Museum is King Jayavarman VII’s medieval pose. The museum is open daily at 8:00-17:00. 

National Museum

The Royal Museum

The Royal Museum is Phnom Penh’s most famous landmark. Inside the museum are two impressive pagodas, the Silver Pagoda and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Best time to go here is early in the morning as weather can be too hot in the middle of the day. Note that when you go here, you must dress decently. Avoid clothing that exposes your knees and shoulders.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Yes, killings were rampant in Phnom Penh’s history. More than 14,000 people accounted were tortured in this classroom-turned-into-prison museum. This museum tour includes a screenplay that features the survivors of this horrific genocide. 

Wat Botum

Located near the Royal Palace is Wat Botum. This place is significant to Cambodians because this housed, Saloth Sar, a politician who led the Khmer Rouge.

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is also called as the hill temple. The hilly pagoda is an important place for Cambodians because this is the spot where the city was once founded.

Nightlife Hot Spots

Though Phnom Penh isn’t the safest Cambodian city, Phnom Penh still creates fun at night. Most nightlife hot spots in the city are found near the riverside. Here are the nightlife hot spots in Phnom Penh that you can visit:

  • The Riverhouse
  • Eclipse Sky Bar
  • The Candy Bar
  • Pontoon Night Club
  • QG Nightclub

Shop at

Phnom Penh has a good number of shopping destinations for tourists. Two of the commonly known and most-visited shopping places are the Central Market and the Russian Market. The Central Market is where you can shop for souvenir items that are priced at a bargain. It is also a place where you can eat and try Cambodian delicacies and specialties. 

On the other hand, the Russian Market is where you can find thrift shops that sell clothing, handicraft items, and Cambodian pieces. Yes, they also sell souvenirs, but at a marked-up price, a little more expensive than in Central Market.

Aside from these two, here are our other suggestions:

  • Night market near the riverside
  • City Mall
  • Olympic Market
  • Sorya Centre Point

Central Market

Experiences to Have

There are a lot of experiences that Phnom Penh can offer you. But, among all those experiences, the best experience that you can have is to see how they make iced coffee and of course, try to drink one. Phnom Penh has one of the best tastes when it comes to iced coffees.

Best Time to Visit Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is warm all year round. Rains sometimes occur, but generally, the weather is still warm to let’s say semi-cold. (But not that A/C-type of  cold) Best time to go to Phnom Penh is anytime between May to October when prices are low. During these months, expect a lot of tourists.

Local Cuisine

It is never hard to find Khmer dishes in Phnom Penh. What we like most about Khmer dishes is that they never fail to add it with a little twist by including a good amount of seasoning plus of course vegetables that will make it even healthier. Here are a few of Cambodian dishes that you can try:

  • Lok lak
  • Fish amok
  • Bai sach chrouk
  • Lap Khmer
  • Nom banh chok

Getting Around

It’s so easy to go around the city of Phnom Penh. So long as you have a map, you’ll never get lost. Streets of Phnom Penh are numbered accordingly. Yes, the name of their streets are just numbers. Whenever you feel lost, just mention your street number to a Tuk-Tuk driver, and you’re good to go.

When we speak of Phnom Penh’s choices of transportations, well, they have a good number, too. Tuk-Tuk is the most accessible and easier to hail or call. If you’re the kind of tourist who loves to explore the streets of Phnom Penh alone, you can rent a motorbike for about US$ 5 – US$6 per day, or a bicycle that you can rent at US$1 – US$2 per day.

There are also buses who travel across the streets of Phnom Penh. But still, nothing beats the convenience of Tuk-Tuks.

Phnom Penh Trip Cost

If you carefully plan your trip to Phnom Penh, US$ 200 is already enough for a 2-day stay. That already includes accommodation, food, transportation, entrance fees, a little shopping, and allowance. Among all possible expenses, the one that really eats you up is the transportation as each Tuk-Tuk ride would cost US$5 – US$20, depending on the distance.

How Safe is Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is not the safest Cambodian city that you can go to. Petty crimes occur but NOT on a daily basis. It’s important to take care of yourself. It is not advisable to go out to remote or dimmed areas. 

June 28, 2018 5:59 am Published by

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