The capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, has a walkable riverfront, rich architecture, commercial and cultural centre and amazing street food.
FAST FACTS Phnom Penh International Airport: Phnom Penh Time from airport to city: 25-50 minutes Taxi from airport: $9 - $12 Tuk tuk from airport: $5 Moto from airport: $2 Public Transport Types: Bus, Taxi, Moto, Tuk Tuk Average taxi rate: 1$/km
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Ever heard about the Tuk-tuk? No? Get ready for a fun filled ride. This 3 wheeler transport is the best way to get around the city. But if you enjoy walking head towards the city's French Quarter with wide boulevards and colonial architecture. Head towards the river to the 27-metre-high hill of Wat Phnom, after which this city was named. It's the uppermost point in this low-rise city so the view is quite pretty.
The Surprise Factor On Sisowath Quay
This city will never fail to surprise you! Sisowath Quay is the city's pedestrianised riverfront. Here you're likely to witness an aerobics class, locals skateboarding, or the serene sight of monks strolling in typical orange robes. On the weekends visit the Phsar Reatrey night market where chocolate waffles, cold beer, kebabs and fried insects are all abundantly available. Yes, you heard it right, fried insects! This little tour on your feet will give you the best feel of this place.
Sunset Boat Trip
Phnom Penh's skyline is just like a colourful canvas! Witnessing the fast-changing skyline from the water as the sun sets is extremely fascinating. As the sun starts to set watch the neon lights flicker. Finally, when the sun sets the sky darkens and the city lights are on, leaving you mesmerized. This is a very chilled out way to see Phnom Penh from an extraordinary angle. You'll get a real sense of the overall size of the city. There are various boatman available but do remember to negotiate.
The Best Place For Bagging Bargains
Looking for something to do around Phnom Penh? This city is widely and quite rightly considered to be the best place to shop in Cambodia. Under the striking yellow dome of Central Market, you can pick up anything from souvenirs to clothes and some cheap electronics. Also, visit the mazes inside the Russian Market, where not only will you find ethical crafts and Khmer trinkets, once you delve deeper you will discover stalls selling obscure car parts and surreal-looking local fruits.
Phnom Penh Nightlife
Get ready to experience an epic party scene! As by night, Phnom Penh takes on another aura. There are a lot of riverfront rooftop bars where you will find sunset-seekers settling down. It's the perfect place to be with cocktails in hand and watch the glowing red ball settle on the Mekong River.
Things to do in Phnom Penh
If you think it'll just be full of old pottery, you are probably wrong. There is pottery, but there is also an inspirational collection of Khmer sculptures and art, which has Khmer Rouge. It's large enough to be comprehensive yet compact enough to see it all in a couple of hours, and bizarrely, a simple map illustrating the former domination of the Khmer Empire draws the largest crowds, united in astonishment upon realising just how far and wide it once ruled.
The Sobering Genocide Museum
This is for anyone who wants to understand what happened between 1975 and 1979 in Phnom Penh. This place was a prison from those dark days, now home to harrowing exhibits, information panels, a video room and prisoner pictures. The history lecture continues half an hour in the Killing Fields. There is also a mound-like structure, containing some 8,985 human skulls. It's not easy listening, but it is done very well. We are sure this tour will leave you with some serious goose bumps.
Royal Palace And The Silver Pagoda
The best thing about visiting The Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda is that they sit side by side while they are two separate complexes, they are visited as one. Anyone with curiosity in Cambodia's history should pop through the palace grounds or at least visit those bits open to the public surrounded by their high and intriguing butter yellow walls, and accessed through four gates. There is a dress code for visiting the palace as there is for visiting the temples. It is simply that both men and women should cover their knees and shoulders.
Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre
You might feel the creeps of this place once you see and hear the stories behind it. Choeung is a mass grave for victims of one of the worst manifestations of control, paranoia, and terror created by the Khmer Rouge. Once you have completed the tour of the grounds, there is also a small museum which is worth a visit. There is also a film-screening room, with a short 15-minute film screened on a loop.
Anyone in this city will recommend you to visit this site. Wat Phnom, a religious site, sits on the only hill in Phnom Penh. It has a lively, day out atmosphere to it, with an oversize clock built into the hillside, numerous hawkers ambling around, and families with kids wandering and enjoying the shade. A long staircase, guarded by nagas, garudas and lions, leads to the top of the hill, where you can check out the ‘Wat' and the view.
Top 5 Museums And Galleries in Phnom Penh
Phnon Penh is home to many of Cambodia’s most famous museums and galleries. Wondering which to visit? Check out our pick of the best.
This uber-popular pork noodle soup is a Cambodian breakfast staple and ubiquitous Phnom Penh street food. Garnish with plenty of bean sprouts, limejuice, fresh herbs and the chili option of your choice.
Best eaten at Food stalls, Phsar Chas ('Old Market'), Phnom Penh
Popularly known as 'fish amok', this coconut fish curry is spiced with kroeung, a distinctive and aromatic Cambodian curry paste. Wrapped in a banana leaf then steamed, it's a Cambodia food classic and you'll find it in many Siem Reap restaurants.
Best eaten at Marum Restaurant, #8A,B Phum Slokram, Siem Reap
It's true: they eat spiders in Cambodia. Fried until crispy, they're considered a delicacy, but don't believe anyone who tells you, they taste just like chicken.
Best eaten at Romdeng Restaurant, Oknha Ket Rd, Phnom Penh
Nom Banh Chok
This delicious fish and noodle curry is known simply as 'Khmer noodles'. Garnished with bean sprouts, mint leaves, green beans, and even banana flowers, it's a Cambodia travel 2015 must-try.
Best eaten at Siv Long, Tep Vong Road, Siem Reap
Delicious and tangy marinated beef cubes, quickly stir-fried then served over a bed of cucumber, tomato and onions with rice on the side. Eat it wrapped in lettuce for true Cambodian flavour!
Best eaten at Amok Restaurant, Between The Passage and Old Market, Street 9, Krong Siem Reap
Food in Phnom Penh
Cambodia street food is to die for, with roadside and market stalls the breadth of the country dishing up the tastiest treats imaginable. Rice is the staple here, and there's seemingly no end to the varieties or the ingenious methods of preparation to be found. Cambodia shares many of its ingredients with neighbouring Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, but it's the subtlety of flavour and distinctively Cambodian ingredients like prahok (fermented fish paste) and kroeung (a blended paste of herbs and spices) that make its cuisine stand out.