2006 Top guesthouses in Phnom Penh
First published 9th May, 2006
There are many great places to stay in Phnom Penh -- whether your budget is a couple or a couple of hundred dollars a night -- and, with a bit of diligence, you should have no problem finding a place that meets your needs. You can stay on the shores of Boeng Kak Lake, near the river, or in the heart of the city -- each location with its advantages and disadvantages.
Before deciding where to stay, consider your budget and what you plan to do when you're in town. If you're going to be out all day seeing the sites in a tuk tuk, it may not matter if you're staying far away from the hangouts along the river. If you're out to explore the Phnom Penh nightlife, you may want a guesthouse closer to the action. If you desire to experience Phnom Penh's backpacker scene, check out the lake. While US$4 rooms are available, they're pretty bleak -- however, if you can shell out US$7-10 a night, there are many nice places to stay throughout Phnom Penh.
While there are no hostels or dorms per se in Phnom Penh, you can easily find accommodation for under $5 a night here. One option is to stay on Boeng Kak Lake. It's not the cleanest lake you've ever seen -- in fact, it's better not to look in the lake, but rather over it, at the lovely sunrise or sunset -- your choice. There are plenty of guesthouses on (or just off) Street 93, which runs along the east side of the lake, and most of them have patios and rooms with a view. Due to the cheap accommodation available, this area attracts its fair share of budget backpackers -- it also attracts its fair share of dodgier types. However, if you want a cheap room, a lake view, and many fellow travelers to share stories with, Boeng Kak Lake is a fine option.
The best place to stay is Cafe Freedom (from US$4) -- follow Street 93 all the way to the end, turn right, and you're there. An equally popular spot is Number 9 Sister Guesthouse (from US$3). Grand View Guesthouse (from US$3) is a third option, which, though it isn't right on the lake, has rooms that overlook the lake, and a rooftop patio restaurant. Be warned: this area is in a state of constant flux, so guesthouses come and go regularly -- it's best to check out your room before committing to spending the night.
If the lake isn't your scene, for US$4 and up you can stay at the Chi Cha Restaurant and Guest House or the Angkorchey Guest House -- both are near the river, and, though by no means glamourous, they will do the trick.
If you want to stay at the lake, and have a roomier budget, stay at Simon's Chi Cha Cafe and Guesthouse 2, (US$15 with a lake view) a converted residence with spacious air-con rooms, some overlooking the lake. Another option in this price range is the Mekong Tours and Guesthouse (US$12) on Street 86, though there is no view of the lake.
Near the river, there are plenty of fine guesthouses and hotels in the $10 to $20 a night range. If you want to overlook the river, you're going to have to shell out US$20, and you can choose between the Indochine Hotel or the Sunshine Hotel -- either is adequate but nothing special. Just off the river is the Bright Lotus 1 Guesthouse (from US$15) on Street 178. Near the south end of Sisowath is another solid option -- The Okay Guesthouse (from US$10) which has welcoming staff and well cared for rooms.
A bit further away from the river (though only a short moto ride) there are some nice hotels. Check out the Sakura (from US$14) or Flamingos (from US$20) -- both fine choices and popular with tourists. If you're looking for a guesthouse, The Boddhi Tree (from US$12) is opposite Tuol Sleng (S-21) and has a beautiful garden restaurant. Del Gusto (from US$12) also provides some solitude a bit off the beaten path. The Kambuja Inn (from US$20) is a great family option because of its spacious rooms and location on a quiet street just off Norodom Blvd.
Right on Sisowath Quay, the Tonle Hotel is a beautiful spot with large rooms with balconies that overlook the river as cheap as US$35 a night. The Riverside Hotel (from US$30) is on the north end of Sisowath, further away from the action. It has well equipped rooms that also have a view of the Tonle Sap, though they lack the balcony many riverfront hotels boast. If a guesthouse is more your style, check out Manor House (from US$25) on Street 278 -- near the Independence Monument.
Top-end and business travellers
If you're not limited by budget, there are many beautiful spots from which to choose. Tucked in behind Olympic Stadium is the Juliana Hotel (From US$60) with large, tastefully decorated rooms and a lovely pool area. If you want to be right on the river, check out the Amanjaya Pancam Hotel (from US$115) for beautiful, panoramic views of the river. North-west of Wat Phnom is the Phnom Penh Hotel (from US$96.) It is beautifully decorated and rooms are very well equipped -- this is where you'll find the only whirlpool tubs in Phnom Penh.
For a longer stay, a fine option overlooking the river is the Himawari Hotel Apartments (from US$110) with large rooms including kitchenettes. At the top end sits Raffles Hotel Le Royal (from US$143) which dates back to 1929 -- it was renovated in 1997 after things settled down in Phnom Penh, but retains its colonial charm.
Phnom Penh abounds with guesthouses and hotels -- if one disappoints, you need only to look as far as down the block for a suitable replacement. Phnom Penh hoteliers are still learning about western style customer service, and at times this can be frustrating -- however, be patient, and remember you're paying a fraction of what you would in other countries for your room. So take a deep breath (hopefully you're not near a Cintri bin) and appreciate the slower pace of life in Phnom Penh.
Related readingPhnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge
A Cambodian Eco-lodge
PEPY:Sustainable Cambodian tourism
Five special hotels in Cambodia
Crossing the Cambodia Laos border
Kompong Cham escape
Read 13 comment(s)
Add your comment
Feature story quicklinks
- Giving back in Southeast Asia (10)
- All stories
- COPE: Helping people move on
- Helping Phuket's children in need
- Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families
- Helping Singapore's transient workers
- Helping the Karen of Burma
- Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam
- Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An
- Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai
- The Samui Prison Project
- The SET Foundation
- Burma (6)
- Cambodia (21)
- All stories
- A Cambodian Eco-lodge
- A honeymoon in Cambodia
- Angkorian traffic woes
- Battambang weekend
- Elephant riding in Cambodia: Should you?
- Great places to stay in Siem Reap
- Is Preah Vihear safe to visit?
- Koh Rong: Trouble in paradise?
- Kompong Cham escape
- Northeast Cambodia in photos
- Oh Poipet!
- PEPY:Sustainable Cambodian tourism
- Phnom Tamao Wildlife Refuge
- Sihanoukville beaches lure expats
- Spas, shopping & seers in Siem Reap
- The best islands in Cambodia
- The best places to stay on Cambodia's islands
- The Death Highway
- Trekking the Cardamoms in Cambodia
- Which Cambodian island is right for you?
- Why you should go to Cambodia
- Indonesia (13)
- All stories
- A funeral in Toraja, Sulawesi
- Climbing Rinjani
- How to hire a boat in Indonesia: Without drowning
- Learn to surf in Bali
- Medewi: A great Bali getaway
- Mountain biking in Bali: A ride in the woods
- The Gili islands: Which is the right one for you?
- Ubud bird watching: From waterhens to witchcraft
- Ubud shopping guide
- Village trekking in Tana Toraja
- Weekend in Nusa Penida
- Yogya's student scene
- Laos (15)
- All stories
- Best budget rooms in Luang Prabang 2013
- Elephant trekking in Laos
- Exploring Laos' Bolaven Plateau
- Huay Xai to Pak Tha by slowboat
- Is Lao Airlines safe to fly?
- Laos' vanishing elephants
- Luang Prabang escape
- Muang Ngoi Escape
- Photos of Luang Prabang, Laos
- Pi Mai Lao in Luang Prabang: In 1999
- Southern Laos by scooter
- Temples in Luang Prabang
- The Gibbon Experience
- The Phonsavan adventure
- Vientiane's Chinatown
- Malaysia (6)
- Singapore (9)
- Thailand (70)
- All stories
- 10 Bangkok galleries worth a look-see
- 10 Thai treks aside from Chiang Mai
- 24 Hours in Bangkok: Sukhumvit to Siam Square
- 5 Southern Thai towns to lose time in
- A Thai homestay in Ayutthaya
- A weekend in Phra Phradaeng
- A weekend on Ko Samet, Thailand
- An extra day in Krabi
- Andaman Sea island hopper
- Ayutthaya temple tour
- Bangkok for art lovers
- Bangkok's Charoen Krung Road
- Bangkok's Thonburi: exploring the west side
- Brilliant Bangkok
- Chiang Dao getaway
- Chiang Mai's temples
- Corruption in Thailand
- Eating on the edge
- Elephant's World Kanchanaburi
- Exploring Lamphun
- Exploring the Lungs of Bangkok
- Far southern Thailand: Go or not?
- Floating markets around Bangkok
- Highlights of Chanthaburi province
- How to do Khao Yai National Park
- Khao San Road safety and scams
- Ko Mun Nork: a nearby paradise
- Ko Pha Ngan 7-day detox:Colonic fast
- Ko Pha Ngan's best beaches in 2013
- Ko Phi Phi on a budget
- Ko Tao for non-divers guide
- Ko Yao: the islands you're looking for
- Learning Muay Thai in Bangkok
- Motorcycling the Chiang Rai loop
- Narathiwat: residence of good people
- Navigating Bangkok: The BTS Skytrain
- Phuket by night
- Phuket for Kids
- Phuket heritage walk: Car parts to saris
- Phuket's secret beaches
- Planning around Thailand's civil unrest
- Roll your own Kanchanaburi
- Should I book for the full moon party?
- Should I cancel my Thai holiday? No.
- Soi Thong Lo, Bangkok
- Sorting out Suvarnabhumi Airport
- Staying at a Thai monastery
- Thai islands for nature lovers
- Thai islands to lose yourself on
- Thai visa FAQ
- Thailand tsunami wrap
- Thailand's Mae Khlong market
- Thailand: Where to from here?
- The best beach on Ko Samui
- The best places to stay on Ko Kut, Thailand
- The bridge over the River Kwai festival
- The road to Sangkhlaburi
- Travelling through north-east Thailand
- Trekking in Thailand
- Trisara -- decadent luxury at its best
- Two days in Kamphaeng Phet
- What is the best beach on Ko Tao?
- What is the best island in Thailand?
- What's a good beach on Ko Pha Ngan?
- What's a good beach on Ko Samui?
- Where to stay at Railay Bay, Thailand
- Where to stay in Sukhothai?
- Where to stay on Ko Samet, Thailand
- Which beach on Ko Samui?
- Which island in Trang?
- Vietnam (31)
- All stories
- A short break in Nha Trang
- A Weekend in Can Tho
- Being fed Fido: Eating dog in Vietnam
- Buying a touring motorbike in Vietnam
- Con Dao escape
- Do nothing and see the best of Hanoi
- Doing the DMZ from Hue
- Exploring Kon Tum
- Exploring Vietnam's Mekong Delta
- Ha Long Bay conclusions
- Ha Long Bay for backpackers
- Ha Long Bay for budget-busters
- Ha Long Bay for flashpackers
- Hanoi escape
- Hanoi or Saigon?
- Hoi An -- Walking over the dragon
- How to do the Dien Bien Phu loop
- How to enjoy your time in Vietnam
- How to pick a good Ha Long Bay cruise
- Is the Hoi An culture tour worth it?
- Motorbike Vietnam's Central Highlands
- One day in Hanoi
- Responsible shopping and eating in Hoi An
- Saigon's top 10 cafés
- Sapa or Bac Ha?
- Saving Vietnam's bears
- Street food safety
- The DMZ: Traveller tactical briefing
- Travel tips for Tet in Vietnam 2013
- Two Wheels & Ricefields: A review
- Which is the best street food tour in Hanoi?
- Accommodation guides (19)
- All stories
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2005 Top guesthouses in Chiang Mai
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Hanoi
- 2006 Top guesthouses in Phnom Penh
- 2006 Top guesthouses on Ko Phi Phi
- 2006 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top Bangkok airport guesthouses
- 2008 Top Luang Prabang guesthouses
- 2008 Top spots on Phu Quoc Island
- 2009 Top guesthouses in Bangkok
- 2009 Top Phnom Penh guesthouses
- 2011 Best places to stay in Kuala Lumpur
- 2011 Best places to stay on Ko Phi Phi
- Best places to stay in Hanoi 2012
- Cheap Phuket guesthouses & hotels
- Five special hotels in Cambodia
- Ko Lipe's best budget guesthouses 2012
- The changing face of Khao San Road
- Where to stay on Koh Rong Samloem
- Travel with kids (7)
- Opinion & advice (14)
- All stories
- 10 reasons to do an adventure tour
- 10 reasons to travel independently
- A year's worth of travel for 2013
- Beach hideaways in Asia
- Do I need reservations for my holiday?
- Evil man of Krabi
- Fifteen tips for a great holiday in Asia
- Getting a cheap airfare to Asia
- Hotels should never charge extra for WiFi
- Long distance buses in Southeast Asia
- Mass tourism in Southeast Asia
- Nine Asian upcountry hideaways
- Planning a Gap Year? Some advice.
- Ten Southeast Asian trips for 2008
- How do I? (11)
- All stories
- Bangkok to Ko Samui, Pha Ngan & Tao
- Bangkok to Siem Reap
- Catching a train in Thailand
- Catching a train in Vietnam
- Cheap flights with Discovery Airpass
- Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang
- Crossing the Cambodia Laos border
- Ko Chang to Phu Quoc Island
- Siem Reap to Ko Chang
- Stops between Bangkok & Chiang Mai
- Visa run from Thailand to Burma
- Cycling Asia (13)
- All stories
- 24 hours in Bangkok
- An Angkor cycling guide
- An introduction
- Battambang, bamboo trains & guides
- Confessions of a "cheating cyclist"
- Cycles of all sorts
- Ha Long Bay independently
- Ko Samet Vs Pattaya
- Muay Thai night
- Phonsavan and Luang Prabang
- The hills of Vietnam
- The road less travelled
- Tubing in Vang Vieng
- Health and safety (6)
- Money and finance (4)
- Diving guides (6)
- Photo essay (3)
- Guest blog (2)
- General (15)
- All stories
- 10 Christmas days in Asia we're yet to have
- 10 dumb things I've done while travelling
- 34 ways to travel greener
- Asian animal experiences
- Call me Mr Massage Magic
- Chefs Without Borders
- Flying is fun!
- Mr Golden
- On being a travel writer
- Teaching ESL in Asia
- The 211 country honeymoon
- The Boxing Day Tsunami: 5 years on.
- To Teach or Not to Teach
- Travel writing scholarship 2012
- Tuk to the Road Charity ride
- Book reviews (5)
- Interviews (8)
- Explore Bangkok by BTS (16)
- All stories
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ari
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chid Lom
- Bangkok by skytrain: Chong Nonsi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Mo Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: National Stadium
- Bangkok by skytrain: On Nut
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phaya Thai
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phloen Chit
- Bangkok by skytrain: Phrom Phong
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchadamri
- Bangkok by skytrain: Ratchathewi
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sala Daeng (S2)
- Bangkok by skytrain: Sanam Pao
- Bangkok by skytrain: Saphan Taksin
- Bangkok by skytrain: Surasak
- Bangkok by skytrain: Thong Lor
Sign up for Travelfish Burp!
Our weekly wrap on Southeast Asian travel.
Click here to see a recent newsletter.