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Phnom Penh


Phnom Penh sits on the west bank of the Tonle Sap River, where it meets the Mekong River. As tourism increases and rural migrants arrive daily to seek their fortune, the city is becoming far more hectic and the traffic more snarled than even just a handful of years ago. Motorbike is by far still the most common mode of transportation. You see mostly expats and children on bicycles, but with a helmet they're probably as safe -- and with the slow pace of traffic, as fast -- as a moto.

Days in Phnom Penh start when the sun rises, and this is the best time of day for eating street food. Phnom Penh's street vendors pale in comparison to those in nearby Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, but you can score some tasty dumplings and fried bananas by waking up early. You also might be able to glimpse saffron-robed monks carrying umbrellas, walking door-to-door, receiving alms. In contrast to the bustling morning, Phnom Penh nights are barren. By 21:00, residential and commercial areas that are not tourist-oriented are desolate, save a few locals -- exclusively young men -- sharing a drink in front of a TV, or karaokeing their hearts out. During the hottest part of the day, many locals take a siesta and you would be wise to do the same.

Where should I stay in Phnom Penh?
The most budget friendly area to stay in Phnom used to be around Boengkak Lake but with the lake being filed in a few years ago the budget haunts have scattered across the city.

What are some good Phnom Penh resources?
A variety of good free maps of Phnom Penh are available at most guesthouses, hotels and restaurants. If you fly into Phnom Penh, you will be offered a Phnom Penh 3D map. Don't be confused if you use it: North isn't to the top of this map, west is. When navigating the city, it's helpful to remember that the river is always on the east. One good map is the Phnom Penh Pocket Tourist Map -- north is on the top, for starters. Don't pay for a map - between these two, you'll get by. The best map by far is the one on the inside cover of the phone book.

Canby Publications Phnom Penh Visitors Guideis published regularly and carries comprehensive listings, although they are all paid ones.

Cambodia Pocket Guide is published regularly and carries accommodation, bar and restaurant listings along with other handy information.


Pocket Guide also puts out four other books. Drinking and Dining is published (about) six times a year and is available at most restaurants and guesthouses. It includes restaurant and bar listings as well as a series of accurate small maps amid plenty of advertising.
Out and About includes shopping, leisure, travel, health, fitness and accommodation information. It includes tips about local markets, bargaining, and a glossary of common Khmer words that will help you as you shop. After Dark is a listing of local bars and pubs around the city, with information on drinks specials and theme nights and events. Door2Door is a listing of restaurants that deliver, complete with full menus and a map of restaurant locations.

Phnom Penh newspapers
The Cambodia Daily is a daily (duh!) English-language newspaper that takes liberally from wire services. They do however have a four-page local section written by a team of Phnom Penh-based foreign and Cambodian reporters The newspaper is published every day except Sunday. There is a classifieds section on Tuesday and Thursdays containing restaurant and bar listings. The newspaper is available only in print, but the publisher posts a "story of the month" on an extremely basic web site, www.cambodiadaily.com

The Phnom Penh Post is published five days a week and includes primarily local news. The Post has a section near the end outlining local events.

Who do I contact in an emergency in Phnom Penh?

Medical care
A number of clinics in Phnom Penh are aimed at the tourist andexpatriate crowd but they are just clinics -- anything beyond basic diagnosis will require an emergency evacuation to Bangkok. This is not cheap and as such travelling in Cambodia without medical insurance isn't recommended.

International SOS Medical Clinic
#161 Street 51
(023) 216 911
Hours: Open 08:00 - 17:30 weekdays, 08:00 to 12:00 Saturdays
Popular with expats, this is one of the pricier clinics in Phnom Penh. If insurance is covering your visit, head straight here. Western and Khmer doctors are available.

NAGA Clinic
#11 Street 254
(023) 211 300
Open 24 hours
Also popular with expats, this French run clinic isn't as pricey as SOS.

Calmette Hospital
3 Monivong Rd
(023) 426 948;
Open 24 hours
This is the best Khmer hospital in Phnom Penh. Many people swear by it -- others say it is the place people go to die. Hopefully you have good health insurance and will never need to find out which one is true.

Tropical and Travellers Medical Clinic
#88 Street 108
(023) 366 802
Open Mon to Sat 08:30 - 12:00, Mon to Fri 14:00 - 17:00

Phnom Penh is flooded with pharmacies -- look for the green cross that marks their location. The better pharmacies are air-con and will have staff who speak English. Check out Pharmacie de la Gare at #81 Monivong (just north of Russian Blvd) or the U-Care Pharmacy on the corner of Sothearos Blvd and Street 178. There are other U-Cares throughout the city, and their pharmacists offer the most helpful medical advice and speak English well. Naga Clinic also has a pharmacy, but they are rather pricy.

The police in Phnom Penh can be very helpful. They can also be a royal pain and require bribes for almost any service. If you have something stolen, you can file a report -- just don't expect much to happen. In the case of a lost passport, contact your embassy immediately. You will be required to file two police reports; each will cost you from $5 to $10. The police hotline is 117, while tourist police can be reached at (023) 724 793 or (012) 942 484.

Internet cafes are everywhere in Phnom Penh. You generally get what you pay for -- expect charges of 3000 to 4000 riel an hour, though away from the riverside or Beong Kak tourist hubs, internet rarely costs more than 2000 riel an hour -- it rarely works very well either. Don't be surprised if the connection isn't lightning fast -- after all, you're in the developing world. You might need to try a couple of places before you find one that loads your e-mail in less than a half hour. Just take a deep breath and roll with it. Many cafes offer international phone calls, with rates around 2000 riel per minute to North America. If you have a laptop, use it. WiFi connections are usually much faster than those at cafes. And many Western-style cafes and restaurants in the riverside and Beong Keng Kong 1 areas offer free WiFi to customers.

Hand phones/roaming
The international roaming rates in Cambodia are extortionate.This is a good place to give your mobile a rest or just use email. If you're in town for a while, buy a local sim card for US$20+ and use it for local calls only -- long distance is around $1 a minute. You will need Cambodian identification, which really means a local who will come with you to the shop with their Cambodian identification. Recently Mobitel, the largest company, started issuing seven-digit numbers, as opposed to the normal six. Don't fret -- by getting a seven-digit number you will still be able to call whoever you want and save a few bucks on the card to boot, as six digit numbers are more expensive. The prefix for mobile phones is 012, 092, 016 and 011. All landlines in Phnom Penh have a prefix of 023.

With the arrival of ANZ Royal (and their ATMs) to Cambodia in 2005, accessing money in a bank abroad became a whole lot easier. ANZ had ATMs throughout Phnom Penh -- including several on the riverside -- that allow you to withdraw money using cards on the Maestro and Cirrus networks.www.nowwhere.com.au/ANZ/locatorINTL/default.aspx?countryorigin=AUST provides ATM locations.

If you need a cash advance from a credit card, most major banks will oblige. Another option for sending or receiving money is Western Union, which has many branches around the city.

Central Post Office
Street 13
The central post office is walking distance from Wat Phnom, just east of the temple, behind a new children's playground. The large yellow building is one of the few remaining relics from French-occupied Cambodia. Be sure to stick the stamps on yourself to avoid mail going astray. Better yet, if you're sending something that must make it to its destination, wait until you are out of the country to mail it.

East West Travel
18 Street 302
T: (023) 216 065-7; F: (023) 216 067
This reliable agent is walking distance from the Independence Monument. They handle in and outbound flights along with domestic touring. We've used them for flights and found them very good.

Diethelm Travel
65 Street 240
T: (023) 426 648; F: (023) 219 150
This agent is on Street 240 between Monivong and Norodom. They handle domestic and international flights, as well as organised tours. -

5 Oceans Co., Ltd.
33 Street 178
T: (023) 221 537, (023) 986 920, (023) 221 869
This agent is located in the riverside area across from the National Museum. They have a large staff, so there is never any wait to see an agent. They are helpful at finding cheap airfares and will renew your visa for a fair $10 service charge, which is about what you'd pay for transportation to go yourself to the visa office located across the street from the airport.

11 Street 254, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 213 470 ext. 132 F: (023) 213 413

Hotel Cambodiana, 313 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 214 024, (012) 240 056; F: (023) 214 024

9 Street 254, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 213 470 ext. 426; F: (023) 211 389
The Canadian embassy is not regularly staffed. For any emergencies or passport needs, Canadian citizens should contact the Australian embassy.

156 Mao Tse Tung Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (012) 901 937 (visa section)

House 8, Street 352, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 987 629; F: (023) 993 065

1 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 987 629; F: (023) 430 038

76-78 Yougoslavie (Street 214), Phnom Penh
T: (023) 216 193, (023) 216 381; F: (023) 427 746

5 Street 466, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 210 912-3; F: (023) 213 640

90 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 216 148, (023) 217 934; F: (023) 217 566

194 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 217 161-4; F: (023) 216 162

Korea (South)
50-52 Street 214, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 211 400-3; F: (023) 211 200

15-17 Mao Tse Tung, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 997 931, F: (023) 720 907

5 Street 242, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 216 176; F: (023) 426 101

33 Street 294, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 215 145, 223 303; F: (023) 215 143

767 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 217 823; F: (023) 217 781

213 Sothearos, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 210 931; F: (023) 216 776

192 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 221 875; F: (023) 210 862

8 Street 352, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 212 259; F: (023) 212 867

53D Street 242, Phnom Penh

196 Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 726 306, 310; F: (023) 726 303

United Kingdom
27 -29 Street 75, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 427 124, (023) 428 153; F: (023) 728 600

United States of America
1 Street 96 (corner 51), Phnom Penh
T: (023) 728 000; F: (023) 728 600

426 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 726 274; F: (023) 726 495

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