Photo: Wat Lanka, Phnom Penh.

Things to see and do

Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Phnom Penh.


Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda
Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh

The Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda sit side by side on Sothearos Boulevard and, while they are two separate complexes, they are visited as one. Anyone with an interest in Cambodia history should pop by to meander through the palace grounds — or at least those bits open to the public — surrounded by their high and intriguing butter yellow walls, and accessed through four ... Read more about Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda .

Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre
Choeung Ek commune, Dangkor, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 305 371, (012) 341 237

A mass grave for victims of one of the worst manifestations of control, paranoia and terror created by the Khmer Rouge, Choeung Ek was the preferred execution site for people who had been through Tuol Sleng, or S-21, the Khmer Rouge’s most notorious detention and interrogation centre. At the former school, more than 14,000 men, women and children were kept and tortured until they confessed to ... Read more about Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre .

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Corner of Sts 113 and 350, Phnom Penh
T: (093) 388 988

A school, a prison, the end of the road; Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was one of hundreds of detention and interrogation centres created all over Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge — who gave the former high school the sinisterly innocuous name S-21 — where countless thousands of Cambodians were ruthlessly processed until they were ... Read more about Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum .

National Museum
Corner of Streets 178 and 13, Phnom Penh

Cambodia’s National Museum (saa-ra moo-un dti if you want to impress your tuk tuk driver) is a reference point around Phnom Penh, an impressive red-tiled, red-walled building set in carefully tended tropical gardens. On the corner of Street 178 and Street 13, two blocks from FCC and the riverside, this is a regular stop off point for foreigner visitors and students interested in Angkorian ... Read more about National Museum .

Top of page


Wat Phnom
Junction of Norodom Blvd and France, Phnom Penh

The fulcrum of Phnom Penh’s north, the story goes that Wat Phnom is the hill from which the capital city drew its name. According to the legend, a Khmer woman, Daun Penh, was dawdling by the riverbank one day when she noticed four Buddha statues inside a tree. She rooted the statues out and the first pagoda was built here in 1373 in order to house them. People have been coming here ever since ... Read more about Wat Phnom .

Wat Langka
Sihanouk Blvd (also accessible from Pasteur St), Phnom Penh

One of the more prominent wats in Phnom Penh thanks to its location off Sihanouk Boulevard near the Independence Monument, Wat Langka is really of only passing interest to the typical traveller, although it is an historically important temple for Cambodians and a popular one for VIP ceremonies of various kinds. You can tell when something VIPish is happening as they'll close the roads in the ... Read more about Wat Langka .

Wat Ounalom
Street 154, Phnom Penh

Apart from Wat Phnom, which is situated atop an artificial hill, Wat Ounalom is the Cambodian capital’s most conspicuous temple and probably the most ... Read more about Wat Ounalom .

Wat Kean Kleang
National Highway 6, Phnom Penh

Slightly outside Phnom Penh itself but within easy striking distance, spectacular Wat Kean Kleang is one of our favourite temples in this corner of the world. It’s also very conveniently placed on the road to Koh Dach, so any visit to the fascinating silk weaving island ought to include a stop ... Read more about Wat Kean Kleang .

Top of page

Interesting buildings

Khmer Architecture Tours

Khmer Architecture Tours run twice-monthly visits to Phnom Penh’s fascinating but rapidly vanishing modern architectural sites, with the aim of promoting an understanding of the genuinely Cambodian style known as New Khmer Architecture. The work of Vann Molyvann, who was responsible for almost 100 building projects over 13 years in the heady post-independence kingdom, features ... Read more about Khmer Architecture Tours .

Post Office Square
Street 13 near the riverfront, Phnom Penh

Made famous by the film, City of Ghosts, Post Office Square is one of the last places in Phnom Penh to glimpse the slow-paced, pot-holed city of old. A short detour from riverside and Wat Phnom, the area deserves a visit in its own ... Read more about Post Office Square .

Olympic Stadium
Corner of Sihanouk and Monireth Blvds, Phnom Penh

A magnificent construction that lives with a constant threat of destruction, the Olympic Stadium is a metaphor for the short-sighted mindlessness, grubbiness and political manoeuvring that attend a great deal of Phnom Penh urban “planning”. ... Read more about Olympic Stadium .

National Library
Street 92, Phnom Penh (between Raffles Hotel Le Royal and the Ministry of Economics and Finance)

On oh-so-elegant Street 92, planted between Raffles Hotel Le Royal and the impressive Ministry of Economics and Finance, the National Library is off the radar for most visitors to Phnom Penh. ... Read more about National Library .

Vann Molyvann’s architecture in Phnom Penh

To put it simply, Vann Molyvann is Cambodia’s greatest living architect. ... Read more about Vann Molyvann’s architecture in Phnom Penh .

The White Building
Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh
T: (010) 545 269 (archive project)

Sadly, the White Building was demolished in 2017. We leave this here as a reminder of the beautiful heritage architecture that is fast disappearing from Phnom ... Read more about The White Building .

Top of page


Phsar Thmei (Central Market)
Intersection of Kampuchea Krom & Street 63, Phnom Penh

Built in 1937, this stunning butter-coloured art-deco ziggurat designed by Vann Molyvann is the most unlikely of buildings in Phnom Penh. Here you'll find everything from jewellery to avocados and deep fried crickets to white goods, but be prepared to negotiate hard as the prices seem to be higher, and the traders tougher, than elsewhere. A huge dome with four wings, it's an amazingly cool ... Read more about Phsar Thmei (Central Market) .

Phsar Tuol Tom Pong (Russian Market)
Intersection of Streets 440 and 155, Phnom Penh

Despite the name, the one thing you can’t buy at Phnom Penh’s Russian Market is a Russian. But for almost everything else, this warren of stalls has it covered. The market became popular with foreigners in the 1980s when most of its visitors were Soviets who lived in the area, hence the name. Since then, it’s become a regular on the Phnom Penh to-do list because, while it may be big, busy, ... Read more about Phsar Tuol Tom Pong (Russian Market) .

Phnom Penh Night Market (Psar Reatrey)
Between Streets 106 and 108, Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh’s only formal night market, Psar Reatrey overlooks the riverside from the central reservation that separates downtown and northern Phnom Penh — it’s easiest to enter by the gate at the north end of riverside to avoid scrambling between lines of parked scooters. As with Orussey, the Night Market is chiefly oriented towards the local market, but is definitely worth a dip to pick ... Read more about Phnom Penh Night Market (Psar Reatrey) .

Phsar Kandal
Street 154, Phnom Penh

A great little local market, Phnom Penh’s Phsar Kandal is centrally located off Street 154. One block back from the riverfront, it’s only a five-minute walk from Street 172 and opposite the north side of Wat Ounalom, so chances are if you’re wandering around the city centre you’ll pass by, or pretty close to it. If you do, it’s well worth a ... Read more about Phsar Kandal .

Phsar Chas
Between Streets 108, 110, 13 and 15

Phsar Chas is a great little Phnom Penh market conveniently located for travellers to check out but targeting locals — head here instead of striking out to distant suburbs to experience a genuine Cambodian ... Read more about Phsar Chas .

Orussey Market
Street 182, Phnom Penh

A big and busy local market, Orussey offers a broader slice of “Cambodiana” than you’ll find in Russian or Central Markets; and who knows what you might pick up in the huge, two-storey hall that’s packed with everything from plastic pigs to dried fish and padding to make your bum look ... Read more about Orussey Market .

Top of page

General activities

Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing)

I’m definitely not the violent type, but one of my favourite things to do on a quiet Phnom Penh weekend is going to a kick-boxing match. It’s free, it’s noisy and it’s a totally Cambodian ... Read more about Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing) .

Backstreet Academy
E2/40 Street 13, Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
T: (077) 793214

If you’re the kind of person who prefers to do rather than see, Phnom Penh’s Backstreet Academy gives you the opportunity to get up close with Khmer culture in a different way. Practical short courses in Cambodian traditions — of the dancing, fighting and crafty variety — provide an insight into a heritage which is often overshadowed by its neighbours’ more slickly marketed art ... Read more about Backstreet Academy .


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 ... Read more about Swimming .

Kambol Go-Karts
Kambol Village, off National Highway 4, past the airport, next to the shooting range.
T: (012) 232 332

If you’re looking for something to do of an afternoon in Phnom Penh and have exhausted all of the genocide-related possibilities, you’ll be pleased to hear that on the outskirts of the city there’s a functioning go-kart track about 8km past the ... Read more about Kambol Go-Karts .


If you’re looking to get fit in Phnom Penh, there are a plethora of options — from aerobics at Olympic Stadium to the new public exercise equipment on the riverside. If you’re looking for something indoors and possibly air-conditioned, Phnom Penh has lots of gyms and fitness centres, some of which start at less than a dollar a day and many more that are surprisingly ... Read more about Gyms .

Learning stuff in Phnom Penh

If you’re lucky enough to have a few days to spare in Phnom Penh, there’s plenty of opportunity to learn a new skill or try out something different. Thanks to a growing expat community, courses and taster sessions held in English are plentiful. So pull out your dancing shoes, learn what all those buttons are on your camera, or get your tongue around the cunning consonants of the Khmer ... Read more about Learning stuff in Phnom Penh .

Cycling tour
23 Street 144, Phsar Kandal 1, Phnom Penh
T: (016) 337 363, (012) 462 165

One of the best ways to get a sense of Phnom Penh's scale and location is to cycle — away from it, all the way over to the other side of the Mekong. While you can always hire a bike and just go, if you’re pushed for time or can’t be bothered working out a smart itinerary, taking a tour is a fine ... Read more about Cycling tour .

Daytime activities in Phnom Penh

If you’re sick of sightseeing, or your liver needs a break, never fear, there are daytime activities in Phnom ... Read more about Daytime activities in Phnom Penh .

Food tour

If you’re up for an evening of exploring local Cambodian treats that seem a little too intimidating to source for yourself — think wet market, no English spoken, no menus and itinerant vendors — then a tour with Urban Forage’s Ducky could be your ... Read more about Food tour .

Kids City
162A Sihanouk Boulevard, Phnom Penh
T: (012) 523 218

Kids City promises 11 levels of fun in an air-con, child-friendly environment, and it’s quite entertaining for grown up kids too. More exhilarating than a tuk tuk ride, and cooler than the freshie fashion on riverside, Kids City will earn you parent points while wearing out your ... Read more about Kids City .

Top of page



For a small city, Phnom Penh offers a diverse range of possibilities for yoga fans. Whether you’re a devoted yogini or yet to bend your limbs to anything resembling a cow pose, the scope is here to extend your practice or try out something completely new, safe in the knowledge that no one you know can see ... Read more about Yoga .

Top of page


Beautiful Shoes
138 Street 143, Boung Keng Kang 3, Phnom Penh
T: (012) 848 438 / (016) 848 438 / (023) 214 669

In that wonderfully straightforward way that many Cambodian shops are named, Beautiful Shoes does exactly what it says on the sign. Tucked around the corner from Toul Sleng Museum on an average Phnom Penh street, this unassuming shop has become something of a magnet for footwear fetishists. If you’re tired of flip-flops or get your kicks out of custom-made kicks, here’s our guide so you ... Read more about Beautiful Shoes .

Aeon Mall
#142 Sothearos Boulevard, Tonle Bassac, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 901 091

Opened in June 2014, for the first few weekends it seemed like all of Phnom Penh descended at once to get their fix at Japanese-run Aeon Mall. Half department store, half branded boutiques, it’s four floors of concentrated ... Read more about Aeon Mall .

TK Avenue
Corner of Street 315 and Street 516, Toul Kork, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 985 040

Along with freshly opened Aeon Mall, another new shopping destination that may either fill you with delight or horror is TK Avenue… Yes, really, this is still ... Read more about TK Avenue .

English-language bookstores in Phnom Penh

About to head out on the bus to Battambang or Siem Reap and need a good book for the trip, but you’ve already read all of the Cambodia backpacker favourites, head to one of the English-language bookstores in town to find a wide selection of notable novels and treasured ... Read more about English-language bookstores in Phnom Penh .

Top of page

Day trips

Koh Dach (Silk Island)
15 km out of Phnom Penh

Just a short bike, boat or moto ride away from the hurly-burley of Phnom Penh, Silk Island offers a peaceful, pastoral respite, and the chance to pick up some choice silks and cottons. ... Read more about Koh Dach (Silk Island) .

Kien Svay (Koki Beach)
Wat Kien Svay Tourism Resort, 15km out of Phnom Penh

While there are plenty of smart swimming pools in town to cool off at, you might want to consider a more local option for something a little bit different. With a beautiful lake-side setting, hundred of bamboo salas (cabanas) to choose from, and plenty of cheap beer and food, Kien Svay is a little bit difficult to find, but once you get there a whole new world of peace opens up, away from the ... Read more about Kien Svay (Koki Beach) .

Kingdom Breweries
1748 National Road 5, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 430 1802

If you’re looking for an excuse to start drinking mid-afternoon, Kingdom Breweries offers a tour of their Phnom Penh facilities, which includes at least two sample ... Read more about Kingdom Breweries .

Day trip from Phnom Penh: Ta Khmao

There’s no particular reason to visit Ta Khmao, which is reason enough in my book. In the spirit of George Mallory, I went visiting simply “because it was there”. Only 11 kilometres out of Phnom Penh, Ta Khmao is perfect if you want a glimpse of life outside the big smoke but you don’t have time to ... Read more about Day trip from Phnom Penh: Ta Khmao .

Phnom Udong
37km north of Phnom Penh

The capital of Cambodia from 1618 to 1866, Udong was sacked by the Thais, bombed by the Americans and blown up by the Khmer Rouge. Despite this past, a new generation of Khmers have poured interest and money into trying to bring reason to the mayhem and the results form an excellent day trip from Phnom Penh, best done in the late afternoon for the spectacular sunsets. Set astride a series of ... Read more about Phnom Udong .

Top of page

Performing arts

Plae Pakaa: Cambodian Living Arts
National Museum, Corner of Street 178 and Street 13, Phnom Penh
T: (017) 998 570

The tick-list of things to see in Phnom Penh is often heavy on the brutal history, leaving visitors reeling and with only a bite-sized impression of the country’s rich heritage. ... Read more about Plae Pakaa: Cambodian Living Arts .

Top of page



Phnom Penh’s transformation into a thriving modern city is evidenced by the evolution of the cinema scene here. ... Read more about Cinemas .

Top of page

Hiking, walking tours and itineraries

Phnom Penh's riverside

Spend even one night in Phnom Penh and you’ll probably find yourself by the river. Which is not, incidentally, the mighty Mekong but the less internationally-famous Tonle ... Read more about Phnom Penh's riverside .

Phnom Penh's Street 92

If you’re rushing round Phnom Penh and ticking off the sights, may we suggest a small detour? Just opposite Wat Phno is Street 92, or Daun Penh Street, to give its full name. This elegant tree-lined boulevard running between Wat Phnom and Monivong Boulevard encapsulates much of Cambodia’s history and future, and includes the poshest hotel and a psychedelic ... Read more about Phnom Penh's Street 92 .

Street 13 walking tour
Starting at the National Museum, Phnom Penh

One of our favourite Southeast Asian cities for walking, Phnom Penh is always chaotic, generally grubby, usually noisy, often smelly but totally fascinating. ... Read more about Street 13 walking tour .

3 days in Phnom Penh

For many travellers to Cambodia, the capital Phnom Penh is but an after thought to the main attraction of Angkor Wat. While there's no denying the ruins on the outskirts of Siem Reap are the country's premier destination, the capital retains its own particular Khmer charms and is pretty to boot. Here's what we'd do with three days in the city, striving for a mix of history and hedonism -- mix and ... Read more about 3 days in Phnom Penh .

Top of page

Boat trips

Sunset boat trip
Riverfront, Phnom Penh

One of the best ways to see the fast-changing Phnom Penh skyline is from the water as the sun sets. Watch the neon lights of the capital flicker on rather dramatically as the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Tonle Bassac rivers darken from milk chocolate to black ink from one of the array of boats offering sunset ... Read more about Sunset boat trip .

Top of page


Eclipse Sky Bar
23F, Rooftop, Phnom Penh Tower
T: (023) 964 171

For an incredible view of still relatively low-rise Phnom Penh, head up 23 storeys to Eclipse Sky Bar, which as of end-2015 is the highest rooftop bar in the capital. The bar sits at the top of the Phnom Penh Tower, which is otherwise home to offices and embassies on Monivong Boulevard, and is found just a 10-minute ride from Independence ... Read more about Eclipse Sky Bar .

Top of page

Historic attractions

Independence Monument
Intersection of Norodom and Sihanouk Blvds, Phnom Penh

This Vann Molyvann-designed icon was built in 1958 to celebrate independence from the French five years earlier and as a memorial to Cambodia's war dead. It's styled in the shape of an Angkor Wat-inspired, lotus-shaped stupa, and is best viewed from one of the roads that surround it. Sadly, it is now being overshadowed by the ugly, imposing buildings towering nearby -- many would argue ... Read more about Independence Monument .

No pic at the moment -- Sorry!
Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh

Northeast of the Independence Monument heading towards the Royal Palace, this monument was built to a Vietnamese design in 1979 by the victors over the Khmer Rouge. Following demonstrations two decades later, the area surrounding the monument was dubbed Democracy Square. Today it is still used for political gatherings -- when the government grants permission, of course -- although the most common ... Read more about Cambodia-Vietnam Soldiers Monument .

King Norodom Sihanouk Memorial
Sihanouk Blvd, just east of Independence Monument

Just east of Phnom Penh’s Independence Monument, the memorial to Cambodia’s late king is located on the street bearing his name, Sihanouk Boulevard. Unveiled in October 2013 to coincide with the first anniversary of his death, this US$1.2 million new addition to Cambodia’s public monuments makes for an interesting ... Read more about King Norodom Sihanouk Memorial .

Top of page

Massages and spas


Getting a lovely massage, facial, body treatment or pedicure is a quintessential part of the Cambodia relaxation experience. Even the expensive ones are affordable by Western standards and, on average, their services tend to be reasonably well executed. So, in the purest interests of research, we took it upon ourselves to visit as many as we could, and here’s our run-down on the best places for ... Read more about Spas .

Top of page

Start planning your holiday today

Sent every Monday, our newsletter is full of travel advice, news & special deals. Read past issues.


Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Phnom Penh? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Cambodia.

Top of page