A selection of terrific outlooks over the city
Published/Last edited or updated: 25th January, 2019
Long gone are the days when 27-metre tall Wat Phnom was the pinnacle of Phnom Penh and today the city boasts a whole range of view point bars that you can avail yourself of. Here is the wrap on a few of our favourites—note this list is far from exhaustive!
Perched on the 37th floor, within the luxurious Rosewood Hotel, at the time of research (January 2019) Sora Bar was the highest altitude bar in Phnom Penh, and OMG the views are amazing. At some 184.7m tall, Vattanac Capital (the official name of the tower) is the tallest skyscraper in Cambodia and the bar includes an open air deck that allows simply magnificent 180º degrees out to the west, north and south (or wider depending on how much you can crane your neck), while the other (mostly east-facing) half of the bar in enclosed and includes a whiskey bar and cigar lounge among others.
Without wanting to overstate the views, if you have time for just one viewpoint bar in Phnom Penh, this absolutely should be it. Prices are high, at $9 or $10 a pop these were the most expensive cocktails we had across our entire stay in Phnom Penh, but the IPA and other beers are more affordable (though still more than what you would pay back down on the ground). And do keep in mind that aside from being atop the tallest skyscraper in the country, you are also in a luxurious hotel (when we checked on their website, rates for a Premier River Room start at a mere US$272) which also adds a bit to the bar tab.
But then, there are the views. Or did we mention them already? Dress code is smart casual. No flip flops not beach wear. Also no “professional” cameras, which means if you have a DSLR you’ll be asked to check it at the ground floor. Smart phones were no problem though.
From the same people behind Long After Dark (whiskey) and Social Sundown Club (rum), Juniper Gin Bar (you guessed it, gin) is set on the 12th floor of the Point Hotel and while a good deal closer to earth than Sora, nevertheless offers excellent views across much of the city. This is an especially good spot for watching what is happening on the river as the building is set close to riverside (though not right on it) and you’re actually close enough to ground level to almost recognise people. Cocktail prices are, not surprisingly gin-focussed, but prices are not sky high, floating around the $4-$6 mark. Food, including pizza, is also available, though we stuck to gin.
For quite a stretch Eclipse Sky Bar, on the 23rd floor of Phnom Penh Tower, was the place to go when it came to view point bars in Phnom Penh, and while it may be looking a bit long in the tooth, it still delivers on excellent views around the centre of the city. You’ll get a mixed crowd here from well to do locals to blow in travellers and tour groups, and the deck is split across a few platforms giving different outlooks. Unfortunately, unlike the preceding two bars, the deck has a fair amount of guard railings and wires, often making it perhaps a little tricky to get the photo you were looking for. Staff get very mixed reviews but we generally found them to be ok.
There are no river views from Sundown Social Club, instead you’re left to spend your evening gazing over the fresh produce section of the Russian Market from this third floor rooftop bar. Rum themed, but there is a full bar on hand, pull up a high stool, sip a cocktail ($3) and watch the streetside fresh produce section of the market below you hum.
Set atop Amanjaya Suites, right on the riverfront, the broad, open terrace, decked bar at Le Moon Rooftop Bar may be down low (it is on the fifth floor) but is does offer a terrific outlook over the confluence of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong Rivers, and makes for a good fit if you don’t want to stray across town and are not fussed about getting all that high. Beers start at $2.80 for a mug of draft beer through to $4-$5 for higher profile beers, while cocktails are around $5 to $6 a pop.
If you look straight across from Le Moon, you’ll be able to see (and probably hear) Five Drunk Men, which offers a similar outlook (though facing in the opposite direction) with a far, far, far more raucous scene. When we popped over there after Le Moon we met an entire tribe of totally smashed people, many availing themselves of the gin and tonic icy-poles “So delish” one patron remarked as she dribbled it down her top.
The third of our low level view bars is the ever-so-long-running FCC. Here you’re really just at the third or fourth floor (depending on where you sit), but we’ve whiled away many a late afternoon here perched by the railing watching Cambodia move past and we think, if you have the time, you should to. An honourable mention perhaps.
Eclipse Sky Bar: 23rd floor, Rooftop, Phnom Penh Tower, Phnom Penh. T: (012) 825 171 Mo–Su: 17:00-02:00 https://www.facebook.com/eclipse.skybar.pp
Five Drunk Men: Level 3A, 317E Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh T: (076) 611 1104 Mo–Su: 17:00-late https://www.facebook.com/5drunkmen/
FCC: 363 Sisowath Quay T: (069) 253 222 Mo–Su: 07:00–24:00 http://fcccambodia.com/fcc-hotel-phnom-penh/dining/
Juniper Gin Bar: 12th floor The Point Hotel, 10 Street 130, Phnom Penh. T: (086) 445 901 Tu–Su: 16:00 till late https://www.facebook.com/Juniper-Gin-Bar-235208207126478/
Le Moon Rooftop Bar: 5th floor, Amanjaya Pancam Hotel T: (087) 600 867 Mo–Su: 17:00-24:00 https://lemoon.amanjaya-suites-phnom-penh.com/
Sora Bar: 37th floor, Vattanac Capital, 66 Monivong Blvd, Phnom Penh. T: (023) 936 888 Mo–Su: 17:00 till late https://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/phnom-penh/dining/sora
Sundown Social Club: 86 Street 440, Phnom Penh. T: (015) 526 373 Mo–Su: 12:00–23:00 https://www.facebook.com/sundownsocialclub/
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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