Sunsets

Enjoy a lovely dusk

What we say: 4 stars

Phnom Penh does well on the sunset stakes. A combination of its river setting and a low-rise skyline, plus some often fabulous cloud formations, often makes for a beautiful dusk. There’s only one flaw — the orientation of the city means that the main riverside has its back to the setting sun. But don’t let that put you off! Determined sunset connoisseurs can still get their evening fix.

City slicker sunset

City slicker sunset.

The best place for a city-side sunset is the high-rise Eclipse Sky Bar. Its position and height allow for an urban sunset in swanky surroundings, with a happy hour that makes the drinks affordable on the 23rd storey rooftop. Don’t confuse it with the similarly named Sky Bar at The Place, which is only on the ninth floor, with views to the Independence Monument and the river (and therefore facing the wrong way for sunset).

For a sunset with water, you’ll need to leave the city behind. Mekong View Tower does exactly what it says on the sign, with a view of the Tonle Sap river too. It’s worth the effort of crossing the Chroy Chungvar bridge (aka Japanese Friendship Bridge) for panoramic views that most visitors don’t get to see.

Shhh, don't tell everyone!

Shhh, don’t tell everyone!

If you’re looking for a cheap alternative, turn right after the Chroy Chungvar bridge where the not-quite-finished promenade has a few food and beer stalls. You’ll get a city view, a sunset, and perhaps some dust in your drink. The area is busy enough that grabbing a moto or tuk tuk back into town shouldn’t be a problem.

A favourite with Phnom Penhers, river cruises are a fun way of getting out on the water. Most boats are moored up by the northern end of the riverside, past Titanic Restaurant. Boats can be negotiated for around $20 an hour, and most have a standard route that takes you on a loop out to the Mekong then back along the prettily-lit promenade after dark.

A Phnom Penh sunset around 2003/4. Nice skyline!

A Phnom Penh sunset around 2003/4. Nice skyline!

Further from the city centre, SMango House deserves an overnight stay, but it’s also fun for the day. Traditional-style covered platforms are arranged close to the bank of the Mekong for optimum twilight viewing. Ferries run from close to Nagaworld over to Kandal province. If you’re on a tight budget, a return trip makes for a short river cruise for the price of a few hundred riel.

Last updated: 14th January, 2014

About the author:
Abigail has been stoned by villagers in India, become an honorary Kenyan tribeswoman, sweet talked border guards and had close encounters with black mambas. Her motto is: “Live to tell the tale.”
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