Dec 13 2011

Happy Merry Christmas in Phnom Penh

Published by at 8:57 am under Festivals


If you’re planning on being in Phnom Penh across Christmas (rather than say escaping to beautiful Koh Rong), there are more than a few ways to spend an enjoyable afternoon. The locals, who are mostly Buddhist, don’t celebrate the holiday so restaurants and bars are still open for business.

That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of holiday spirit, however. Santa Claus costumes are popular for children, and you’ll see toddlers standing on the back of motos in full Christmas getup. Ever friendly, Khmers will wish you a Happy Merry Christmas for the entire second half of December.

Happy Merry Christmas!

There are lots of options for traditional Christmas dinners in Phnom Penh — I’ll cover them here later in the week. But if you’re interested in having a more local Christmas that’s substantially cheaper, consider a beer garden barbecue such as 54 Langeach Sros.

Another option is to get out of the heat and see a movie or consider one of these daytime activities in Phnom Penh. If you’ve been thinking about having afternoon tea, Raffles has a Khmer children’s choir singing Christmas carols (and you can probably go have a listen without having tea, if you prefer).

Something different again would be a river cruise on the Tonle Sap. Kanika Cruises offers sunset and dinnertime cruises each day. The cruises themselves are free of charge, but for a sunset cruise they ask that you spend a minimum of $7 on food or drink and at dinnertime there’s a minimum spend of $10. With daily beer specials for $1 and a cocktail special for $2.50, you can get a lot of mileage out of that minimum spend. Their office is located at the rear of the Himawari. You don’t need to book in advance, but they did say that it’s worth calling in advance to make sure they don’t have any private parties reserved.

Kanika Cruises
Himawari Hotel (through the foyer)
313 Sisowath Quay
T: (012) 848 802; (089) 848 959

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