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Things to do in Phnom Penh

Things To Do in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s busy capital and is undeniably an interesting tourist destination. The markets pungent scents, motorbike or mopeds buzzing by every minute and the distinct history highlights the attraction in the city.

Phnom Penh has once again returned to glory from its troubled history to regain its place as a great city to visit.

Spread along the banks of Mekong and Tonle Siap Rivers, Phnom Penh has the combination of modern and old buildings. Before you head to Siem Reap, make sure not to skip Phnom Penh for some interesting adventures. Here is some of the best things to do in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia’s History

killing field memorial
Killing Field Memorial

Cambodian culture can be seen just by strolling along the streets but when you really want to know further about the culture, it is important to find out about the history.

The killing fields is a big part of Cambodia’s history. There are two main attractions in Cambodia to learn more about the history. Which are.

  • Choeung Ek Genocidal Center
  • Tuol Sleng Museums or were known as S-21 Prison

Both museums cater for the important part of Cambodia’s dark history under the regime of Khmer Rouge. The S-21 Prison serves as memorial monument to thousands of people who were murdered as well as imprisoned and the genocidal center or killing fields serves as peaceful ground.

Even though the feeling may be as tormenting as Germany’s death camp but the experience and history are so moving and powerful that it should not be missed.

You may find the place slightly depressing but visiting the museums will help you understand the history of Cambodia and see how the people remain resilient after all those things happened to them.

Get a Bargain at Central Market

You must agree with me if there is something interesting when it comes to markets in Asia. It always hustles and bustles with loads of colorful stalls form like mazes. Phnom Penh is no exception when it comes to market. The two famous markets in Phnom Penh are.

  • Psar Thmei, Russian Market
  • Central Market with lively locals.

Markets in Phnom Penh offer wide choice of local arts, handicrafts, furniture, and even designer handbags. Asia’s markets, including in Phnom Penh, is the place where you want to test your bargain and haggling skills.

Checkout the Beauty of Temples

Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh
Wat Ounalom in Phnom Penh

Even though most people will think of Siem Reap when it comes to temples but Phnom Penh also has some temples (wats) which deserve attention as well. The famous temples in Phnom Penh to visit are:

  • Phnom Chisor
  • Wat Langka
  • Ta Prohm
  • Wat Phnom
  • Wat Ounalom

Similar to visit other temples in any other places, make sure to cover the knees and shoulder because temples are sacred grounds in which locals use to pray. Hence, it is important to respect their belief.

Visiting tranquil retreat located in the capital’s hustle and bustle can be a great option when you are in the city.

Feel the Vibe of Cambodia Nightlife

Cambodia’s nightlife may not be on the list especially when you don’t have much time to stay in the city. Phnom Penh has more than its fair share of bars and clubs but cinema culture should not be missed.

The city is, in fact, loaded with cinemas from huge cinemas which plays the latest movies to small or indie film houses which known more a picture house.

If you are in a good mood for a good laugh, do not miss comedy show in the city. Surprisingly, comedians all over the world perform regularly in the city.

Do Not Miss Culinary Adventure

Southeast Asia countries are a great place if you have the gut for a culinary adventure. 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.

Fasten Your Seatbelt For an Adventure

If you think there will be no adventure in Phnom Penh, then you are completely wrong. Phnom Penh is full of adventures such as white water rafting, zip lining, kayaking, rock climbing, and trekking.

Zip Lining outside Phnom Penh
Zip Lining outside Phnom Penh

If you do not want to do something extreme, you can just explore the city with motorcycle or Vespa. You certainly will find something amazing along the way. Happy exploring!

Get Some Cruise on the Mekong River

The capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, is situated in between Tonle Sap River and Mekong River. Exploring the city is a something that you should not miss. There are tours available to explore the city through rivers, visit villages in the river banks and even have a lunch or dinner on the water.

However, the most popular cruise by far is sunset river cruise. Floating villages may be something common in Siem Reap, but the capital city has different vibe of floating villages known as Kompong Chhnang.

Float Village on Tonle Sap
Float Village on Tonle Sap

This floating village in Phnom Penh is not so touristy and more low-key as in Siem Reap. With all the inclusive adventure and leisure, cruise along the Mekong River is a must.

A Visit the Animal Sanctuary

Elephant in Sanctuary
Elephant in Sanctuary

Cambodia is the home to a wildlife sanctuary. The animal sanctuary is a place dedicated to 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. If you do not want to support animal parks Asia has a not good reputation for, you can support the animals in this ethical sanctuaries.

In Cambodia, there are animal sanctuaries you can visit which are Wildlife Sanctuary and Mondulkiri Elephant. You can also devote your time or simply interact with an elephant, of course, in a natural and ethical way.

In Summary

Phnom Penh may not as famous as Siem Reap when it comes to a tourist destination, but the capital city has its own charm to amaze you. The touching and haunting historical museums, charming temples, fascinating cruise in the river, get closer with an elephant, and challenging your gut with local extreme delicacy is only short list of things to do in Phnom Penh.

Before you hop in the touristy Siem reap, a short visit to Phnom Penh can be a great adventure. However, since it is a capital city, you may find it bustling and busy; so, do not let your guard down.

Where To Stay In Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is littered with guest houses, hostels, and hotels. Here are a few places to check out if you are planning to visit Phnom Penh. Remember to check reviews and book a place that suits you interests while traveling.

Phnom Penh Le Vincent Hotel

Rating 8.3, Double rooms start from $26

Phnom Penh Le Vincent Hotel offers accommodation in the heart of Phnom Penh, 200m from Riverfront Park. You can enjoy meals and drinks at the in-house restaurant. Free WiFi is available in public areas and there is free parking on site.

Sisowath Quay is 500 m from Phnom Penh Le Vincent Hotel, while Wat Phnom is 700 m from the property. It is 850m to National Museum, while the Royal Palace, Sorya Shopping Center and Central Market are 1 km away. The nearest airport is Phnom Penh International Airport, 9 km from Phnom Penh Le Vincent Hotel. Airport transfers are available at additional charges.

Air-conditioned rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Some units feature a private balcony that open up to views of the city. Rooms have a private bathroom fitted with a shower. Also rooms come with free toiletries and a hairdryer.

You can approach the 24-hour front desk for tour arrangements, luggage storage, concierge and laundry services.

Harmony Phnom Penh Hotel

Rating 8.5, Double rooms start from $57

This hotel Features a rooftop infinity pool and a sun terrace. Harmony Phnom Penh Hotel is within a 5-minute walk from the Royal Palace. You can enjoy meals at the in-house restaurant or have a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel.

The property is just 500m from the Riverfront Park, while Wat Phnom and Chaktomouk Conference Hall 2 are 1 km away. It is 3.8 km to Aeon Mall. Phnom Penh International Airport is 9 km from Harmony Phnom Penh Hotel. Airport transfers are available at a surcharge.

Fitted with parquet flooring, air-conditioned rooms open up to views of the city. The seating area is fitted with a flat-screen TV, minibar and a desk. En suite bathrooms include shower facilities, a hairdryer and free toiletries.

You can approach the 24-hour front desk for currency exchange, business facilities and concierge services. A fitness centre is available for working out or guests can indulge in in-house spa treatments. You may also rent a car to explore the surrounding area.

The in-house restaurant serves a selection of local dishes, along with a wide variety of drinks. Room service options are provided for guests.

Fancy Guesthouse

Rating 8.5, Double rooms start from $16

Fancy Guesthouse is in the heart of Phnom Penh only 500 m from the lively Riverfront Park. Rooms are well-appointed and fitted with en suite bathrooms. You also can enjoy free WiFi access throughout the property.

This affordable accommodation is only a short 9 km from Phnom Penh International Airport. You can also check out Royal Palace Phnom Penh, located 700 m away and the ancient Wat Phnom, situated 900 m away.

Cooled with air conditioning, each room is furnished with a minibar, a comfortable seating area and TV offering cable channels. It includes an en suite bathroom with a shower, free toiletries and bathroom slippers.

Staff at the 24-hour front desk will be happy to help you with luggage storage and laundry/ironing services. Transport arrangements including airport transfers, shuttle services and car/bicycle rental services can be made at the tour desk.

Home Chic Hotel

Rating 8.5, Double rooms start from $33

Home Chic Hotel offers accommodations in the Chamkar Mon district of Phnom Penh. It features an outdoor swimming pool and guests can enjoy meals at the in-house restaurant or have a drink at the pool bar. Free WiFi is available in all rooms.

It is 450 m to Independence Monument and 1.4 km to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The Royal Palace is 1.7 km from Home Chic Hotel, while Chaktomouk Conference Hall 2 is 1.9 km away. Phnom Penh International Airport is 9 km from the property. Airport transfers and shuttle services are available at additional charges.

Each room at this hotel is air-conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. You will find a kettle in the room. Rooms are fitted with a private bathroom. Extras include bath robes and slippers.

The hotel has a 24-hour front desk for currency exchange, luggage storage and ticketing services.

Relax Hotel

Rating 8.2, Double rooms start from $29

Located just 350 m from Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Relax Hotel offers accommodation in the heart of Phnom Penh. Guests can enjoy meals at the in-house restaurant. Free WiFi is available throughout the property

It is 1.4 km to Wat Langka and 1.8 km to Independence Monument. The Royal Palace and Chaktomouk Conference Hall 2 are 3 km from the property. Phnom Penh International Airport is 10.2 km away. The hotel offers airport transfers and shuttle services at additional charges.

Every room at this hotel is air-conditioned and features a private balcony that opens up to views. Some rooms have a seating area fitted with a flat-screen cable TV. Rooms are attached with a bathroom equipped with a bathtub.

The hotel offers a 24-hour front desk at the property for currency exchange, tour arrangements, ticketing and concierge services.

Relax Restaurant serves up a wide selection of cuisine including an international buffet breakfast, a fusion of traditional Khmer cuisine and contemporary western dishes.

Wrapping Up

There is so must to do in Phnom Penh, Cambodia that offers loads of resorts, restaurants, activities and bars to keep you busy. Phnom Penh is the place to go if you want to hike or relax with much more to do.

And that’s it for now! Let me know if you have any questions and let me know if you go too. I’d love to know if this guide on things to do in Phnom Penh has helped you. Yоu are guаrаntееd that you will go home with many mеmоrаblе experiences of this аwеѕоmе place.

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