Swimming in Phnom Penh

What we say: 3.5 stars

As the mercury shows no signs of dropping for at least another month, there’s no better way to cool down than spending some time poolside in Phnom Penh. If you’re lucky, you’ve checked into one of the Phnom Penh guesthouses that has a pool. If you’re slumming it, or didn’t realise how essential a pool was until you got here and experienced the sauna heat, worry not: there are plenty of opportunities to don your budgie-smugglers.

You may never want to leave the Blue Lime

You may never want to leave the Blue Lime.

Flashpackers or those who want a taste of the high-life should pop by one of the city’s luxury hotels. For about US$8-$10 during the week (pricier at weekends), you can laze around on loungers or get in some serious laps, as these pools tend to be the largest. Himawari Hotel, Hotel Cambodiana and the Intercontinental all accept outside visitors and provide towels, but remember that food and drink come with five-star price tags. For a real splurge, Raffles Hotel Le Royal‘s pool is surrounded by beautiful gardens and colonial buildings, but at US$20 a time it’s definitely not for shallow pockets.

Most expats have their favourite secret hideaway for holidays and hangovers. Among these we’d count the 252 and Blue Lime, which charge US$3-5 for a swim in lush garden settings, although the best beds are reserved for guests. It’s easy to while away a day in one of these oases, and you may even forget you’re in the crazy capital altogether.

If you’re on a budget, the pools at The Eighty8 and Sundance Inn are more for paddling and tanning, but free to use as long as you’re spending money in the restaurant. There’s a friendly vibe at both and plenty of backpackers to chat with while you’re dipping your toes and sipping a beer.

Pool rules: certainly does!

Pool rules: certainly does!

Water Park towards the airport has slides and plenty of splashing, but it gets very busy at weekends. Serious swimmers might like to check out the Olympic Stadium‘s 50-metre pool and five-metre diving board. Although facilities are a little basic and shade is limited, there’s plenty of space to swim and perfect that double pike.

Heading to Temple Town? Discover the best swimming pools in Siem Reap.

Himawari Hotel
313 Sisowath Quay,?Phnom Penh
T: (023) 214 555
www.himawarihotel.com

Hotel Cambodiana
313 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 426 288
www.hotelcambodiana.com.kh

Intercontinental Hotel
296 Mao Tse Toung Boulevard, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 424 888
www.ichotelsgroup.com/intercontinental/en/gb/locations/phnompenh

Raffles Hotel Le Royal
92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 981 888
www.raffles.com/phnom-penh

Blue Lime
42, Street 19z (off Street 19), Phnom Penh
T: (023) 222 260
www.bluelime.asia

The 252
19 Street 252,? Phnom Penh
T: (023) 998 252
www.the-252.com

The Eighty8
98 Street 88, Phnom Penh
T:(023) 500 2440
www.facebook.com/Eighty8Hotel

Sundance Inn
61AB Street 172, Phnom Penh
T: (016) 802 090
www.sundancecambodia.com

Phnom Penh Water Park
No. 50, Confederation de la Russie, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 881 008

Olympic Stadium
Street 163, Phnom Penh

Last updated: 19th September, 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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