Dine while you spot the landmark
Wat Chas Road, Chroy Chungvar, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 432 2013
Boasting one of the best views of sunset and the Phnom Penh skyline, Mekong View Tower does exactly what it says on the neon sign. It takes some effort to get there across the bridge at the northern end of town, but those who make the journey are rewarded with two rivers and the beauty of the city from a distance.
The tower is home to local families and expats, who get to enjoy the view daily from their balconies and the rooftop restaurant. From the usually deserted lobby, take the elevator to the top, then climb the wooden stairs that bring you out to the 17th floor indoor dining area, complete with permanent Christmas decorations and a resident singer. There’s plenty of seating here, but the view is best appreciated from the covered tables outside.
One side of the tower looks across the wide Mekong to Kandal province, while the other aspect gives onto the Tonle Sap river. Play spot the landmark all along Phnom Penh’s riverside, from Koh Pich (Diamond Island) and the Nagaworld casino in the south to Canandia Tower and Wat Phnom in the north.
If you arrive before 5.30pm, you can enjoy the daytime views in all directions before the sunset does its thing. Relax over a cocktail (from US$2.50) or a beer (US$1.50) before ordering dinner. There’s a limited European menu of pasta, pizza and steak, but the main menu full of Asian specials is better value for money. Servings are generous, with fish, pork, frog and noodle dishes starting at US$4.50. The distinction between Chinese and Khmer/Thai cuisine is curious, but it’s all reasonably tasty.
With a selling point of possibly the best view in Phnom Penh, the restaurant is usually surprisingly quiet, meaning there’s plenty of staff to rather nervously take your order and practice their English skills. If you’re not ready for food when you first sit down, make this clear, or you’ll find an attentive waiter hovering so he doesn’t miss your order. Don’t wait too long, though — this isn’t a late night kind of place, and by 9pm most diners have left.
To get to Mekong View Tower, you need to cross the Chroy Chungvar Bridge (also known as the Japanese Bridge) onto the peninsula opposite the main riverside area. Turn right after the Tela gas station by the Beeline stadium, then follow the road for a kilometre where it takes a sharp right. A further 800m brings you to a right turn, signed for the hotel which is clearly visible rising up over the low-level housing. Transport back to the city can be difficult to find at night, so you’re best arranging a pick-up or asking your tuk tuk driver to wait. There are some apartments available here on short rental terms, but you’ll need to check availability before you go.
By Abigail Gilbert
Last updated on 12th November, 2015.