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Things To Do In Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Updated 2020

Things To Do In Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Updated 2020
Swadeep Singh
Swadeep Singh
Updated

This would be wonderful news to us if you’re already aware of Phnom Penh, because a majority of visitors from abroad overlook it and prioritize the city of Siem Reap. It is a shame that regardless of being the capital city of Cambodia and an outstanding location too, Phnom Penh is often overlooked for just Angkor Wat temples. This city was called ‘The Pearl of Asia’ before the civil war broke here in the 1970s, and Khmer Rouge regime marked many hideous memories, but thankfully, the city has overcome and it is once again that same pearl. The urban, as well as the rural sides of this city, are equally astonishing; you get to see floating villages and affluent palaces, traditional markets and contemporary malls. But wait, we have got more attractions on this index, so read on to find out the best things to do in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

1. Visit the remarkable National Museum of Cambodia (from USD 92)

You should visit this museum to learn about the historical side of the great Khmer Empire of Cambodia. The gallery in this building covers over 14,000 items, which date back to the days of pre-historic Cambodia. This place has an entrance fee, and usually, there aren’t many travel guides here to please your curiosity about ancient affairs. That is why it’s better to consider the guided tour program from our travel partner; their package includes an admission ticket and a comprehensive history lesson about all kinds of stuff.

Phnom Penh: National Museum, Russian Market & Wat Phnom

Duration Wheelchair accessible

1 review

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2. Shop at the Russian Market


This is one marketplace in Phnom Penh that is visited by approximately every foreign tourist. It’s not a ritual or tradition, but the Russian Market is literally the most interesting bazaar in this capital city. This market sells pretty much everything, be it the real brands or the knockoff items. From apparels to electronics and vegetables to souvenirs; all of that is available within meters from each other at the Russian Market.

Phsar Tuol Tom Poung (Russian Market)

Address: Corner of Street 163 and Street 444, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 6:30am - 5pm (daily)

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3. Stroll along Sisowath Quay Boardwalk


This promenade on the side of River Mekong is one of the cleanest boulevards in Phnom Penh, and the strip goes for about three kilometers (around 2 miles). Its the people’s favorite destination to go for morning and night walks or hanging out at any hour of the day. The elegant pathway has several food and craft vendors, so as a tourist, you can always taste foreign cuisines and shop for souvenirs. However, it would be preferable to join any exercise or aerobic group; finding one shouldn’t be hard.

Sisowath Quay Boardwalk

Address: Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

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4. Learn about Cambodia's tragic past at the Killing Fields (from USD 15)

Cambodia witnessed the most recent bloodbath of the present era when this country went full insane during the regime of Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. This has been a subject of extensive research, and scholars from around the world have diverse data on it. But all of them endorse at least this one fact that there have been over a million executions, plus there are around 20,000 gravesites; locally referred to as ‘The Killing Fields’. This tour covers some of these spots, where you will be informed about these atrocities in detail.

Phnom Penh Hop On Hop Off - Killing Fields and Prison S21 Tour

Duration 4 hours 30 minutes

65 reviews

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5. Play with monkeys at Wildlife Alliance


Wildlife Alliance is taking care of one of the last rainforests in Southeast Asia by running many programs, as well as educating people about the environment. Additionally, the alliance is also looking to reintroduce tigers to this lush territory. However, our present recommendation is related to just their rescue and care wing. Upon donating some money, you get to play with monkeys and other adorable animals. The wildlife at this shelter needs your love and support as they are the victims of habitat loss, and have been rescued from illegal wildlife traders.

Wildlife Alliance

Address: No. 86, Street 123, Toultompong I Precinct, Chamcamon District, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Website: Wildlife Alliance

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 6pm (closed on Sun)

Price: Donations accepted

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6. Go on an ATV tour with Village Quad Bike Trails


The hidden and unexposed beauty of Cambodia lies beyond the city and roads, and there is no better way to conquer its rainforests than riding an all-terrain vehicle or ATV. For this reason, we would like to recommend you take a tour with Village Quad Bike Trails. They offer various adventurous tours on 330cc quad bikes, which range between half-day excursions to overnight homestays. All the tours are conducted with a guide so you wouldn’t lose the path in the woods, plus they provide you all the necessary safety equipment.

Village Quad Bike Trails

Address: #25 Choeung Ek Road, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Website: Village Quad Bike Trails

Opening hours: 7:30am - 6:30pm (daily)

Price: From 30 USD

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7. Visit the gorgeous Silver Pagoda (from USD 156)

This pagoda lies in the south of the Royal Palace of Phnom Penh, and it is also known as Wat Preah Keo or ‘the temple of the emerald crystal Buddha’. This temple has several Buddha statues in gold, diamond, and another jewel, but the most notable feature is the world-famous green emerald Buddha sculpture which weighs over 56 kilograms (120+ pounds). It is known as Silver Pagoda because of the fact that the floor has over 5000 silver tiles. If you take this tour, you will be guided through the royal palace and some more city locations.

Private Tour: Phnom Penh City Tour Full Day

Duration 10 hours

12 reviews

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8. Tour the S21 Prison (from USD 99)

Chao Ponhea Yat High School was transformed to Khmer Rouge’s security prison, better known as S21 Prison. This structure in the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek was one of their 150 torture houses as well as execution centers. Here, they imprisoned and murdered about 20,000 prisoners. Today, it’s a memorial site with the name Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. By picking this tour, you will be guided through the detailed history of the life of S21 Prisoners. The experience will last for about three hours.

Phnom Penh: S-21 Prison and Killing Fields Half-Day Tour

9 reviews

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9. Visit Wat Phnom


This is a Buddhist temple over a manmade hill, which is also the tallest of the holy structures in the city. Originally built in the year 1372, this structure has been restored several times. Although this temple is Buddhist, it still carries a bit of Hinduism in it; the sculpture of Vasuki Snake, also the murals of the Khmer adaption of Ramayana are the proof of it. A visit to this shrine is worthwhile, especially for such little admission charges. It is situated at the center of the city and offers good views along with a serene environment.

Wat Phnom

Address: Street 96, Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 8am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 1 USD

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10. Drop by Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Centre


The organization ‘Daughters of Cambodia’ runs a noble project where they help in changing the lives of girls who were once stuck in immoral trade. The organization operates various programs for the sufferers, to assist them to earn righteously and fit again in society. Since the objective is so splendid here, we would like to ask you to visit their center for once. Along with the massage center, this place has a boutique and a café.

Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Centre

Address: 321 Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Website: Daughters of Cambodia Visitor Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5:30pm (closed on Sun)

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11. Enjoy a meal at Friends the Restaurant


This restaurant is comparable to the visitor center from the above heading, as Friends the Restaurant is also working for kindness. This place is in alliance with an NGO that donates a portion of restaurants’ earnings from every food order, so it goes directly for the betterment of some street children. The restaurant serves a wide range of dishes, which are influenced by many cuisines from across the globe. Their taco and snapper salad from ‘Friends - the Restaurant’ is very popular among the locals.

Friends the Restaurant

Address: #215 Street 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Website: Friends the Restaurant

Opening hours: 11am - 10pm (daily)

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12. Relish local food at Phnom Penh Night Market


The night markets of Southeast Asia are very popular; they are the highlighted element in the sightseeing agenda for most tourists, especially for those coming from the west. Such a market typically sells clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and local food specialties. So when you’re in Phnom Penh, keep in mind to visit Preah Sisowath Quay for the night market experience. But for the sake of your true Cambodian feel, try just the regional cuisine.

Phnom Penh Night Market

Address: Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 5pm - 11pm (daily)

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13. Visit the exceptional Silk Island (from USD 83)

Cycling Tour on Silk Island

Silk Island lies only 15 kilometers (about 10 miles) north of Phnom Penh, and it’s a friendly place that still lives traditionally regardless of its close proximity to the capital city of this nation. Visit this island if you’re curious about the true traditional Cambodian lifestyle, like how they grow vegetables, prepare paddy fields, and produce silk from the cocoons. Upon booking this guided tour from our travel partner, you will be transported to the island on a ferry ride with a translator, where you can explore the whole village on a bicycle.

Cycling Tour on Silk Island

Duration 6 hours

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14. Buy some local fruits at The Old Market


Phsar Chas, or the Old Market, is another popular market in Phnom Penh, and it should definitely feature on your where-to-go list. Its experience should be similar to the night market of Preah Sisowath Quay, but Phsar Chas has a lot more stuff. Anyway, we have recommended this marketplace specifically to shop for local fruits like passionfruit, durian, rambutan, mangosteen, dragonfruit, etc. If you don’t live in the tropics, there are fewer chances that you will ever come across these fruits. Be careful, some of these fruits carry a very pungent odor.

The Old Market

Address: Prea Ang Duong St, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7am - 6pm (daily)

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15. Go shopping in Central Market


Central Market is a landmark of this city, and it has the shape of a dome with four wings. The structure still looks massive today, but when it was completed in the year 1937, it was said to be the largest marketplace in entire Asia. It’s a wonderful place to shop for goodies like precious stones, leather bags, apparels, accessories, electronics, and so on. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your first day in Phnom Penh or the last; your shopping experience is incomplete without visiting this Art Deco shopping mall.

Central Market

Address: Street 130, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Website: Central Market

Opening hours: 7am - 6pm (daily)

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16. Shop for fabrics at Olympic Market


You must have read about the finest quality Cambodian silk, and perhaps you’re thinking about getting it as well before leaving this country. In this respect, we’re sincerely advising you not to go anywhere other than the Olympic Market. This is the official fabric marketplace of this city, and if you’re not buying fabric from here, there are chances that you may fall in tourist traps. Here, you will get top fabric and textile rolls from the local garment industry at fair rates.

Olympic Market

Address: St. 286, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 7am - 6:30pm (daily)

Price: Varies

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17. Tour the stunning Royal Palace


The Royal Palace of Phnom Penh is the most remarkable landmark of Cambodia, and you might have seen its photograph on postcards. It’s the palace of the monarchy, where they still reside, however, that particular zone is inaccessible to the public. This palace was constructed in the year 1866, and it was built with a lot of gold, emerald, marble, and other precious stones. The Silver Pagoda, which is also a popular landmark in this city, lies on the same ground. Touring the royal residence is a wonderful yet complicated experience; a guided tour is recommended.

Royal Palace

Address: Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 8am - 10:30am, 2pm - 5pm (daily)

Price: 10 USD

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18. Experience unique dining at Dine in the Dark


The candlelit dinners are old fashioned, experience something different now; have dinner in a totally dark setting. Dine in the Dark wants us to learn to develop compassion and kindness for the visually handicapped. Now the time for the welcoming news; this restaurant has employed only visually impaired waiters in order to support their lives. And you will by their work in a totally dark environment. In fact, a blind person will guide you to your table like you would guide them on the roads. This is a multi-cuisine restaurant, and you should support their cause.

Dine in the Dark

Address: 126 Preah Ang Yukanthor Street (19), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Website: Dine in the Dark

Opening hours: 6am - 10:30pm (daily)

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19. Enjoy a relaxing massage at Bliss Spa Cambodia


We cannot deliver you spa treatments in the royal residence of Phnom Penh, but we can get you this experience, which is as close as possible, at Bliss Spa Cambodia. This spa house is set inside an old colonial building, which is situated just behind the Royal Palace of Cambodia. The wellness center has tranquil settings and they offer princely treatments at reasonable prices. When you’re overworked or tired on this trip, you should absolutely visit this spa center. This place is appropriately named, and they have a very capable staff.

Bliss Spa Cambodia

Address: 29 Oknha Chhun St. (240), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Website: Bliss Spa Cambodia

Opening hours: 9am - 8pm (daily)

Price: From 10 USD

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20. Have fun at Koh Pich Amusement Park at night


This is the biggest children’s park in the city, and it’s based on a river island in the Mekong River. The landform is connected to the city by two bridges, and it’s free to access. Along with the amusement park, you will also see here some food courts, a night market, and a riverside park. However, the highlight is still the fun park. This area is full of brightness with excessive use of neon lighting. Notable attractions are many carousel roundabouts, a Ferris wheel, a pirate ship, bouncy castles, and also one bumper-car arena. Your kids will fall in love with this place.

Koh Pich Amusement Park

Address: #132 Koh Pich St, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Price: Free admission

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21. Attend a Cambodian Living Arts theatre show (from USD 14)

The traditional culture of this nation is a mix between Buddhism and Hinduism, and the given activity should highlight this. Consider this tour if you’re interested in knowing more about this rich cultural land through music and dance. The ‘Khmer Classical Dance’; which is also referred to the Apsara (angelic nymph) Dance, is the royal ballet of Cambodia, and this theatre executes its daily performances. Their standard show lasts for about 60 minutes, and it is highly informative for an outsider.

Experience Cambodian Living Arts, Dance Show

Duration Wheelchair accessible

94 reviews

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22. Take a sunset cruise on Mekong River (from USD 19)

Relish a couple of hours on this river cruise and unlock a new perspective of Phnom Penh. If the city already seems beautiful to you just as it is, the sparkling views of the downtown after sunset would appear even more stunning from River Mekong and Tonle Sap. The voyage duration is between two to three hours, during which you will pass by the Royal Palace and many more landmarks. Evening snacks, drinks, and dinner are included in this package, and take our word that this sunset cruise will remain a highlight for your Phnom Penh memory.

Mekong, Tonle Sap Sunset Cocktail Cruise with Dinner Option

Duration 2 hours 30 minutes

18 reviews

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23. Enjoy a relaxing time in Chroy Changvar Park

Park on the west of Chroy Changvar Bridge

If you need to go out to get some fresh air in this densely packed city, Chroy Changvar Park is one of the very few locations. This park is situated on the edge of the peninsula between the two rivers of this city; Tonle Sap and Mekong. This is a casual park with not so many spectacular features, but that’s its highlight. Since it’s a normal green lawn with only trees all around, it generally stays un-crowded. It is hence a great place to relax or even take a nap. The admission is free.

Chroy Changvar Park

Address: National Highway 6A, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free admission

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24. Visit the bears at Free the Bears sanctuary


This bear sanctuary is the address of over 100 sun and moon bears which were rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. These animals cannot survive in the wild today as they were either never trained naturally or have been domesticated, Thus, this NGO attempts to run specific relocation programs for them. You can also join them after paying a small amount of money, which will obviously go towards the betterment of these animals. Not only do you get to feed the bears, but the organization also arranges your meals and accommodation at the sanctuary if you donate to them.

Free the Bears

Address: National Road No 2, Tro Pang Sap Village, Tro Pang Sap Commune, Ba Ti District, Takeo Province, Cambodia

Website: Free the Bears

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 5pm (closed on Sun)

Price: From 70 USD

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25. Go on a boating trip with Tara Boats


Tara Boats Company provides you brilliant opportunities to explore the not-so-visited sides of the massive Tonle Sap Lake in the north of this city. Make a trip to the remote floating villages, visit the water bird sanctuaries, or just cruise randomly in the lake. This is a luxurious private yacht with an embedded restaurant and bar, so you can expect pure pleasure all along. The company offers a lot of tours at different timings, so consider one that suits your schedule.

Tara Boats

Address: Krouss Village, Svaydankum Commune - 17252, Siem Reap City, Cambodia

Website: Tara Boats

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26. Try handmade noodles at David’s Restaurant


This restaurant is getting very popular nowadays, that’s why we’re suggesting that you try their best offerings. David’s Restaurant is run by him and his father, and they are known in Phnom Penh for their handmade noodle and dumplings. If noodles are not something that you’re expecting to be prepared fresh, you will enjoy this experience. The food and drinks are unbelievably inexpensive here, where the plates start from two dollars and drinks start at fifty cents.

David’s Restaurant

Address: No. 213, Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Website: David’s Restaurant

Opening hours: 10am - 10pm (daily)

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Phnom Penh and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Phnom Penh

27. Snap a photo at Independence Monument


Independence Monument’s obelisk is a notable landmark in the city of Phnom Penh, and it commemorates the freedom of Cambodia from the colonial past. It’s built along with a park in the city center, and the zone is best for evening walks. As you walk or pass by from the territory, keep in mind to take several photographs of this memorial monument. The architecture is stunning, and a photograph of you with it should make a good profile picture on social networks.

Independence Monument roundabout

Address: City Centre, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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28. Take part in a Khmer Cooking Classes (35 USD)


This activity is about learning the methods of Cambodian cooking. The given tour activity takes you to Mr. Nara Thuon, who’s not only the chef of this class but also a guide, as he leads you through the local markets to educate you on the spices/ingredients. Later in the class, he will propose to you four recipes for starters, the main course, and desserts; from which you have to choose one name per category. The teaching will go normally, but in the end, you will be handed a cookbook of Cambodian cuisine. The overall experience should last about five hours, which is value for money spent.

Khmer Cooking Classes

Address: #14, Street 360 Sangkat Boueng Keng Kong 1 (BKK1) (Same building as Music Arts Schoo

Website:

Opening hours: 8:45am & 2:30pm (daily)

Price: 35 USD

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Phnom Penh and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Phnom Penh

29. Experience go-karting in Kambol Village


Kambol Village of Phnom Penh is famous for go-karting; it boasts a circuit that is precisely 980 meters (0.6 miles) long and made in accordance with the international standards. When there are no events at this track, it’s just people having fun here. You can also join the game for very reasonable rates. Drive those 6.5hp karts, and enjoy every bend of that racetrack at the top speed of 70kmh (43mph). An instructor will be there for your help if it’s your first time on the racetrack, and safety equipment will also be provided.

Kambol Kart Race Way

Address: National Road No 4 | Behind 911 Airborne Shooting Range, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: Starts from 12 USD

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Phnom Penh and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Phnom Penh

30. Stroll through Wat Botum Park


Wat Botum Park is another popular landmark of this city, and it’s situated at the south of the royal palace. It’s a wonderful place, where you can see people hanging out and a lot of happy children busy in their amusement. The park has two main features; the Cambodian-Vietnam friendship monument and the Golden Stupa. As we conclude this index, we would like to recommend to you one last activity; take a comprehensive tour of this entire park and learn the history of these two memorials. They have a very interesting back story.

Wat Botum Park

Address: Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Phnom Penh and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Phnom Penh

The pearl of Asia

The royal pavilion

After exploring the city and its surrounding, you will see how graciously Phnom Penh justifies its nickname. The proximate locations like Silk Island, Tonle Sap Lake, Wildlife Centre, and River Mekong are already very unique on their own. But knowing the fact that many more such sites are appended with this marvelous city makes Phnom Penh an unforgettable experience.

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Nicknamed Bobby, Swadeep Singh is a businessman since 2013, but he has forever been a writer. Traveling places never makes him exhausted, that is why he never say no to any travel plan. If he’s not...Read more

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