Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s energetic capital and is undergoing rapid development. Phnom Penh has returned to better times since its troubled history particularly under the oppressive Khmer Rouge regime.
Along the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Siap Rivers, Phnom Penh has a combination of modern and old buildings. With mopeds buzzing by and places in the city waiting to be visited like the Palace, S21 Museum, and Tuol Sleng.
In this post, we will go through things to do in Phnom Penh Cambodia. So let’s get started!
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Is Phnom Penh Worth Visiting?
Phnom Penh is worth visiting. The city is developing very fast in a major hub and has an energetic vibe. If you enjoy exploring places and learning about the local history you can visit the Palace, Museums, and Tuol Sleng.
At night you will find bars spread around the city with Street 51 and Riverside being the main areas.
Is Phnom Penh Expensive?
Phnom Penh is not expensive, especially if compared to cities in Europe and its prices are similar to that of Thailand, Bali, and Malaysia. Hotels in Phnom Penh can be incredibly cheap starting from $12 for a double room.
You can get a beer for as cheap as $0.50 and a meal for about $3. Transportation can be a little expensive.
Things To Do In Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh is the capital city in Cambodia which has some amazing sites to see and nightlife. There are fun things to do in Phnom Penh that will keep you busy for a while.
Here are some of the best things to do in Phnom Penh.
Learn About Cambodia’s History
Cambodian culture can be seen just by strolling along the streets but if you want to learn more about Cambodia, it is important to find out about their history.
The killing fields are a big part of Cambodia’s history. There are two main attractions in Phnom Penh to learn more about the killing fields. These are.
- Choeung Ek Genocidal Center.
- Tuol Sleng Museums or were known as S-21 Prison.
Both museums tell the story and the part these places played in Cambodia’s dark history under the regime of the Khmer Rouge.
The S-21 Prison serves as a memorial monument to thousands of people who were murdered as well as imprisoned and the genocidal center or killing fields serve as a peaceful ground.
You may find the place slightly depressing but visiting the museums will give you an understanding of Cambodia’s history under the Khmer Rouge.
Shop At The Central Market
When it comes to markets in Southeast Asia, they are always busy with loads of colorful stalls that can appear like a giant maze. Phnom Penh is no exception when it comes to the market.
The two popular markets in Phnom Penh are.
- Psar Thmei, Russian Market
- Central Market with lively locals.
Markets in Phnom Penh offer a wide choice of local arts, handicrafts, furniture, and fake designer handbags.
Go Visiting Temples
Even though most people will think of Siem Reap when it comes to temples but Phnom Penh also has a few temples (wats) which a worth a visit.
The temples around Phnom Penh are.
- Phnom Chisor
- Wat Langka
- Ta Prohm
- Wat Phnom
- Wat Ounalom
Similar to visiting other temples in Southeast Asia, make sure to cover the knees and shoulder because temples are sacred grounds in which locals use to pray.
Enjoy Phnom Penh’s Nightlife
Phnom Penh’s nightlife may not be on the list especially when you are not planning to spend much time in the city. Phnom Penh has more than its fair share of bars and clubs.
There are two main areas in Phnom Penh that you will find the best bars and clubs. These are as follows.
- Street 51 area
Beers in Phnom Penh are affordable for example in the Street 51 area you can expect to pay between $0.75 cent to $1.50 for a beer.
Sample The Local Food
Southeast Asian countries are a great place if you have a foodie. You will find a great range of extreme foods in Phnom Penh such as deep-fried crickets, crawlies such as giant tarantulas, fertilized duck embryos, and more.
Most markets in the city also offer local cuisine which you can try.
Have An Adventure Day
If you think there will be no adventure activities in Phnom Penh, then you would be wrong. Phnom Penh is full of adventurous activities such as white water rafting, zip-lining, kayaking, rock climbing, and trekking.
If you do not want to do something extreme, you can just explore the city with a motorcycle. You certainly will find something amazing along the way. Happy exploring!
Cruise On The Mekong River
The capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, is situated between the Tonle Sap River and Mekong River. There are tours available to explore the city through the river, you can go and visit the villages along the river banks.
However, the most popular cruise by far is the sunset river cruise. Floating villages may be something common in Siem Reap, but Phnom Penh has a different vibe of floating villages known as Kompong Chhnang.
This floating village in Phnom Penh is not touristy and more low key than Siem Reap.
Visit The Animal Sanctuary
Cambodia is the home to a wildlife sanctuary. An animal sanctuary is a place dedicated to the conversation and rehabilitation of animals.
You can get close to the animals by spending a day to feed, trekking and even wash them in the natural habitat.
In Cambodia, there are animal sanctuaries you can visit which are Wildlife Sanctuary and Mondulkiri Elephant. You can interact with an elephant, of course, is a natural and ethical way.
Is It Safe in Phnom Penh?
Phnom Penh is safe for travelers but using common sense is a big factor in staying safe. Like any other city, it does have its share of petty crime. Just keep your valuables such as mobile phones out of sight, leave the bling at home. And you will have a safe trip.
Where To Stay In Phnom Penh?
Phnom Penh has plenty of guest houses, hostels, and hotels. Here are a few places to check out if you are planning to visit Phnom Penh Cambodia.
Remember to check reviews and book a place that suits your interests while traveling.
Phnom Penh Le Vincent Hotel
Rating 8.3, Double rooms start from $26
Phnom Penh Le Vincent Hotel offers accommodation with air-conditioned rooms that are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Free WiFi is available in public areas. Some units feature a private balcony that opens up to views of the city.
Rating 8.5, Double rooms start from $16
Fancy Guesthouse is in the heart of the city. You also can enjoy free WiFi throughout the property. Cooled with air conditioning, each room is furnished with a seating area and TV. It includes an en suite bathroom with a shower.
Home Chic Hotel
Rating 8.5, Double rooms start from $33
Home Chic Hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool. Free WiFi is available in all rooms. Each room at this hotel is air-conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV. Rooms are fitted with a private bathroom.
Rating 8.2, Double rooms start from $29
Relax Hotel offers accommodation with every room at this hotel is air-conditioned and features a private balcony that opens up to views. Free WiFi is available.
Finally, Phnom Penh is a vibrant city, that has a good range of things to do from exploring museums, nightlife, and more. Decide on what you want to do and start enjoying what Phnom Penh has to offer.
And that’s it for now! I’d love to know if this guide on things to do in Phnom Penh Cambodia has helped you. Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if there are any other places to visit.