Mar 05 2012
A recent influx of guests has allowed me to hone the list of places I like to take visitors outside of the standard trips to the Royal Palace and Tuol Sleng. Whether you’re only in town for a few days or are in Phnom Penh for longer, here are a few activities you might enjoy.
Shopping at Russian Market
I used to never understand what people see in the Russian Market, but after a recent trip with my brother, a man who’s never admitted to enjoying a place of commerce before but who practically needed to be dragged out of the place, I’m a convert. Russian Market offers people an assault on the senses, between the stifling heat, the shrieks of the women vendors crying “Lady, buy something!” and the smell of the fish being sold in the market area. Somehow, though, it all comes together and deep exploration brings up tourist knickknacks, car batteries, iced coffee, and numerous photo opportunities.
I like to make sure my friends see the chi-chi side of Phnom Penh, whether it’s dinner at Tepui or sunset drinks at an upmarket joint overlooking the Tonle Sap, like Le Moon K-West or Chow on Sisowath Quay.
Traditional Khmer dance performance
My latest guest was so pleased with the Children of Bassac dance performance we saw that I’ll be taking everyone to see them during their dance season. The Children of Bassac are a group of young Khmer dancers who perform traditional Khmer dances as well as folk dances from Cambodian minority groups. They perform every Thursday through April this year and start again at the end of next year.
River cruise on the Tonle Sap
Another early evening activity can be a sunset and dinnertime cruise with Kanika Cruises. The cruises themselves are free, but they ask that you spent a minimum of $7 on food or cocktails, and at dinnertime there’s a minimum spend of $10. If you have a large group, you can also go straight to the dock and book your own boat to cruise the river by negotiating directly with the boat drivers. They have coolers on board so you’re free to bring food and drink for the journey.
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