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.

Museums


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 between them form one of the most popular attractions for first time visitors to Phnom ... Read more about Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda .

National Museum
Corner of Streets 178 and 13, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 211 753

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—it is also arguably the best museum in the country. ... Read more about National Museum .

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Corner of Sts 113 and 350, Phnom Penh
T: (023) 655 5395

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 .

Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre
Choeung Ek commune, Dangkor, around 15km south of Phnom Penh

A mass grave for victims of one of the worst manifestations of control, paranoia and terror created by the Khmer Rouge, haunting and disturbing Choeung Ek was the preferred execution site for people who had been through Tuol Sleng, the Khmer Rouge’s most notorious detention and interrogation ... Read more about Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre .

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Temples


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. ... Read more about Wat Phnom .

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 arguably 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 .

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Interesting buildings


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 .

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 .

Khmer Architecture Tours
Tours meet at Post Office Square, Phnom Penh.

Khmer Architecture Tours run weekly visits to Phnom Penh’s fascinating but rapidly vanishing modern architectural sites, with the aim of both promoting an understanding of the genuinely Cambodian style known as New Khmer Architecture and also, more generally raising awareness of the value and beauty of the city’s historic architecture. ... Read more about Khmer Architecture Tours .

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 .

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Markets


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 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 .

Phsar Kandal
Street 154, Phnom Penh

One block back from the riverfront, Phnom Penh’s Phsar Kandal is centrally located off Street 154, just a five-minute walk from Street 172 and opposite the north side of Wat Ounalom, so chances are you’ll pass by—if you do, it’s well worth a ... Read more about Phsar Kandal .

Phsar Orussey
Street 182, Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh’s primary downtown wholesale market, Phsar Orussey is a one stop shop for just about anything—especially if you want that anything in ... Read more about Phsar Orussey .

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General activities


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 .

Swimming

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 .

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 .

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 .

Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing)
Locations across Phnom Penh.

Chances are you may have heard of muay Thai (Thai kick boxing), but what about Kun Khmer (also known as Pradal Serey)? Want to know more? Khmer kick boxing is on every Friday through Sunday and best of all it is ... Read more about Kun Khmer (Khmer kickboxing) .

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Yoga


Yoga

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 .

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Shopping


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 .

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 .

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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 .

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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 .

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Cinema


Cinemas

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

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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 .

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Boat trips


Sunset boat trip
Riverfront, Phnom Penh

One of the most popular past times in Phnom Penh is taking a stroll along the riverfront overlooking the waters of the Tonle Sap, Bassac and Mekong rivers. For a different outlook, spend the late afternoon admiring Phnom Penh’s fast changing skyline from the deck of a sunset boat ... Read more about Sunset boat trip .

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Viewpoints


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 .

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Historic attractions


Monuments on and near Sihanouk Blvd
Sihanouk Blvd, just east of Independence Monument

These three monuments represent three periods of Cambodian history. The Angkor-inspired Independence Monument, the monument to the much loved King Sihanouk and one to the Vietnamese involvement in the country. All are easily reached on foot from the Royal ... Read more about Monuments on and near Sihanouk Blvd .

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Massages and spas


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 .

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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.


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