Any suggestions about what to do/see in Phnom Penh? And how long to spend there? I love Southeast-Asian cities, but I can't find a lot of information on Cambodia's capital. I know it isn't anything like Bangkok, but still. Is there some kind of 'khao san road' there (or just a place to meet fellow, young backpackers). Are there markets worth exploring? Off the beaten path things to do? Daytrips? I'm planning on staying two nights (too short?) but can easily extend my stay.
Thanks for the feedback.
What do you normally like to do? I am a dancer, so I spent a few nights checking out the dance scene. I spent 8 days in PP and it wasn't enough. Great place.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Two nights is fine although, as with anywhere, three or four would be better.
I thought it was an okay place but nothing special. Average restaurants, a lot of poverty and beggars, which can be draining after a while.
Two of the main "attractions" are the Killing Fields and the old prison (Tuol Sleng?), they are worth a visit but they are very sad places so if you're squeamish and/or are with kids then maybe think twice.
I haven't heard of any good day trip possibilities but I am far from an expert on PP.
If you are on limited time, then I wouldn't overstay here, the South Coast and Siem Reap / Angkor are a lot more interesting and scenic.
#3 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
Thanks for the replies!
It might be a silly thing to say -but I like shopping. I'm trying to find some decent (local!) restaurants too or areas with a lot of streetfood. Visiting local fresh markets is also something I love. I plan on visiting the Killing Fields and the museum, any other museum worth going to? Any areas to meet fellow backpackers and have a drink or a night out?
I liked the "Russian Market" and did some shopping there. I'm not a big shopper though.
"Any areas to meet fellow backpackers and have a drink or a night out?"
All along the river there were rrestaraunts and some bars with both tourists and expats. Meeting people won't be difficult.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hi Charlotte - there's plenty to do in Phnom Penh. I've been here four years and still don't get bored!
Check the Wires section of this website - there's the Sightseeing posts, there's Shopping posts and plenty of info on Food too. The location guide also has plenty of information in it - I just researched Backstreet Academy who arrange really interesting craft and culture workshops and had a fabulous morning doing shadow puppets.
For shopping, try Street 240 and Russian Market. For local markets with flavour, as well as Russian Market, there's Kandal Market (near the riverside) or Phas Chas/Old Market. Phas Thmei/Central Market is also interesting and has wonderful architecture.
There's plenty of great restaurants, Khmer and International. Personal favourites include Sovanna BBQ restaurant on St 21 (so popular there's now two restaurants on the street) and Malis on Norodom Boulevard for fancier Khmer food. If you want Japanese, Russian, Swiss, Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean (South and North), they are all here! Brunch is also very popular ...
Things to do? A sunset boat cruise is a highlight, or sundowners on one of the several rooftop bars. Or how about a drag show at Blue Chilli bar? If you happen to around at the weekend, then Khmer Boxing is a pretty unique experience! For day trips, there's plenty of options - cycling tours, boat trips, a trip to Oudong (the former capital), Tonle Bati or Kien Svei on the river. In town, the National Museum is a lovely little oasis and the Royal Palace is interesting too.
As well as riverside, the area around St 172 is now very popular and you'll have no problem meeting people if you pop into Laughing Fatman, Sundance, Chat and Chew etc.
However long you stay - enjoy!
I didn't know the Khmers had their own name for Muay Thai (or a claim on it's origins). Thanks for posting Abi. I'm a huge fight fan, was a competetive boxer for ten years and now train in TKD and am getting ready to train in Muay Thai to take a fight. I enjoy reading about the history of the fight game, and your post caused me to look up "Khmer Boxing".
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957