Fun things to do in Phnom Penh

  • Fishing on the Mekong with local fishermen
    Fishing on the Mekong with local...
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Phnom Penh

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    Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

    by shavy Updated Jan 26, 2016

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    Coming to this museum was part of the tour that we have book from our guesthouse. After visiting Killing Fields the Tuk Tuk driver took us here. This is a very big museum and you will need time to see them all

    When you arrive walk around everything looks like a school complex and till you enter to one of the room. If you walk through and you see all those images that victims are torture. Tuol Sleng is a former school that is better known as S21 (security 21). In the school building were trapped hundreds of prisoners who were considered a danger to the state. Inside the building is nearly all to see the beds where prisoners were bound

    The museum traces the shocking history of Cambodia alarmingly close. Almost all the Khmer Rouge murdered civilians in this former school first frequent brutally tortured and then taken to the Killing fields or to other surrounding murder sites

    The Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng prison are impressive and definitely worth a visit. Their stories hang in English at their photos from then and now. Visiting to this site is not free: Entrance fee is $3 adult plus $3 for audio

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    Phnom Penh By Night

    by shavy Updated Jan 26, 2016

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    We came two times in Phnom Penh, on the first time we have a two night stay in the city. Arrived in the evening and after settling down to our room, we roamed the city. The second time we only had a night stay, we base ourselves here to reach Battambang the next morning

    Our guesthouse is very central, everything is walkable, is just five minutes walk to the Royal Palace and the riverside

    We're here on December everywhere well lighted. The night is long and lively, the numerous bars and restaurants in the busy tourist frequented spots are so alive. Walking at night in Phnom Penh is less crowded than in Siem Reap. Siem Reap has an equally vibrant nightlife. We love strolling in Phnom Penh at night, the city view is different than in daytime

    Whether you prefer a quiet drink overlooking the river, or you are looking for something with a little more action, you will find somewhere to suit your style in Phnom Penh. Most bars in and around the city have happy hours where you can drown yourself till dawn. I didn't expected the capital to be that lively, as this mostly not really on the tourist track. But in my opinion, if you travel in Cambodia this city shouldn't be miss

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    Notorious slum in the heart of the city

    by shavy Updated Jan 26, 2016

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    The capital can be described as chaotic and dusty, but also lively and rich in sights. The city is known for its beautiful and historical architecture.

    Phnom Penh, is now reasonably developed economically. More and more restaurants, shops and hotels along the river and there is also a vibrant nightlife

    People who visit Phnom Penh will be surprised by the Cambodian hospitality. The city has about two million inhabitants and is the commercial, economic and political center of the country

    If you strolled around you can be surprised sometimes. As we staying in the tourist districts, I didn't expected to see this part in the city. How further you go from the tourist areas how badly you feel when you see this slums. A big contrast to the other side where you only seen beautiful buildings

    I can't believe seen this slum here. Looking at the building seemed like falling apart. It shows the dark period of the Khmer Rouge regime in the seventies of the last century. You'll find shops, restaurants and cafes. Walking up here is a different feeling comparing to the other side. Is not a dangerous place to walk in daytime, but is not advisable to stroll around at dark because is a place where drug addicts, prostitute and muggers lived

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    Public Park infront of Royal Palace

    by shavy Updated Jan 26, 2016

    The park is right in front on the Royal Palace. The first time we pass here was in the evening, many people in the park especially it was weekend. Local Cambodians picnicking here on weekends. There is a shrine which local believed that if they donate flowers and lighting or a fragrance stick, most of their wishes would be fulfilled

    The park is a natural focal point for locals and tourists to congregate. Across the road is a promenade overlooking Tonle Sap, Mekong River. If you came late in the afternoon just before sunset you'll see more people in the park than in daytime. Kids playing around with pigeons. Also if you stroll in the evening you find vendors selling some little things such as peanuts, corn and some other local food to taste

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    09-Misc. Tips & Suggested Itinerary

    by anilpradhanshillong Updated Sep 25, 2015

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    Miscellaneous:

    1. Foot massage - A foot massage is one way of indulging yourself after a long and tiring day. You can choose from a simple foot massage to a leg massage to a back massage or go the whole hog and request for a full body massage. These joints are ubiquitous, every few paces. And they are relatively inexpensive. Most places use fairly good quality non-smelly oils and the woman does a good job. If you don’t want the human touch, you can go in for a fish massage.

    You really feel refreshed and re-charged after one of these experiences!

    2. Street food - Nothing like easily-available, fresh, healthy, cooked-on-the-spot, filling, wallet-friendly street food. These stalls are at every nook and corner. Most of them can easily substitute for a regular lunch or even a good diner. There are too many to name but I won't pass up:

    a. Som Tam (freshly papaya, tomato, chillies, dash of peanuts, garlic, fish sauce, spoonfuls of tamarind juice and a lots of lime).

    b. Thai Chicken with pounded cashews

    c. Pad Thai (fried noodles with egg, your choice of meat and veggies. I think they add fennel and a variety of sprouts also)

    d. Basil pork or chicken with rice, garlic, chillies, fish sauce

    e. Any meat barbecued!

    f. Iced tea

    3. Funny poses - You'll find quite a few tourists striking hilarious poses while being photographed. There's a lot of merriment involved and a torrent of unintelligible noises and they exchange notes on how to adopt the most unusual pose. In this department, women take the cake! Just smile indulgently and let them pose away while waiting for your turn at the hallowed spot for your photo.

    4. Even tenor of life - life for the ordinary people goes on smoothly, despite the tumultuous history of their country. They have to earn their daily bread and high-sounding political doctrines hardly impinge on their daily routine of making ends meet. Their faces are a mask but break out into smiles when they return your greeting. They are a friendly and courteous people, counting on your spending for their country's economy. It's best to be polite to them as they are a well-meaning lot.

    Suggested itinerary - You could complete all the 'must-sees' of this place in two days flat. The trick is to go to the furthest place from your hotel and work your way inwards towards the city's hub. From where we stayed (Tea House Asian Urban Hotel), our itinerary was:

    Day 1
    Killing Fields
    Russian Market
    Genocide Museum
    Independence Monument
    Wat Phnom
    LATE LUNCH
    Central Market
    River Front-Evening & Night-Dinner also

    Day 2
    Royal Palace
    Central Market - AGAIN!
    River Front-Evening & Night-Dinner also

    First Written: Sep. 25, 2015

    Related to:
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    • Family Travel
    • Photography

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  • Local Experiences with Backstreet Academy

    by jamon919 Updated Dec 15, 2014

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    Backstreet Academy finds creates the most unique travel experiences by finding local masters who are amazing at what they do and help them create one-of-a-kind tours or activities that you’ll not get anywhere else. We believe in connecting with locals when you travel, as that is the best way to take in the culture of a city and human connections are what’s most memorable when you travel.

    Backstreet Academy is also a social enterprise dedicated to impact. We work with many NGOs and disadvantaged communities to help them create a tour experience at Backstreet Academy, helping them to access the tourism market monopolized by tour agents, building better livelihoods and dignity through providing them with education, training, income and respect.

    Join us to democratize travel in developing countries. Connect deeply with the people you see and make an impact in the communities you pass through. It’s all just a walk in the #Backstreets.

    Cambodian Boxing Class with champions Fishing on the Mekong with local fishermen Weaving
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    SMOKIN' POT--------INTERESTING

    by davidjo Written Dec 1, 2014

    I came across this old photo from a few years ago, and searched the web to find out more about it. Apparently there were originally 3 restaurants, one on PP, another in Sihanoukville and the one in Battambang. It appears that the only one remaining is in Battambang where the owner instructs you on Cambodian cooking, and has many positive reviews on TA. Anyway it was well worth taking a photo of the sign!

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    RELAX IN THE PARK

    by davidjo Written Aug 25, 2014

    Between the Royal Palace and the River there is a small park where normally many children are having fun. Spend some time observing the children playing before heading over to the river. The only downside is that there is no shade in the park.

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    STROLL ALONG THE RIVER

    by davidjo Updated Aug 25, 2014

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    It is quite pleasant to just take a walk from Wat Phnom along the side of the river, Ton Le Sap towards the Royal Palace. You can observe the activity on the river, bargain with locals trying to sell you sunglasses and stop at one of the many cafes, take a seat while you have a snack and observe the many boats going up and down the river. The Ton Le Sap merges with the Mekhong just opposite the Royal Palace. When i was there, there were a couple of stalls selling tasty snacks like grasshoppers, beetles, scorpions and spiders, pluck up courage and sample something.

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    TAKE A CYCLO and HELP THE POOR

    by davidjo Written Aug 25, 2014

    Cyclos, a bicycle with seating for two in the bucket seat at the front, were first introduced to Phnom Penh in 1936 and until today they remain the cheapest way to get around the city (for locals at least). The seat has a scooped footrest which the driver can tilt to help get you in and out. When using a cylo don't forget that the driver is among the poorest of the urban poor in the country and if he tries to charge you more than usual, i suggest that you give him the benefit of the doubt unless it is totally too exorbitant. So whenever you are in Phnom Penh take a cyclo, you will be helping to create a better life for the cyclo drivers.
    Actually cyclos are beginning to disappear from the streets as tuk-tuks and motodops increase in number, so it is better to experience riding in one while you still can. The seat and the pace of the vehicle gives you more time to enjoy the street scenes. As a foreigner a short journey will cost you 2,000 riel but longer journeys are usually a dollar or more.

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    GAIN MERIT

    by davidjo Written Aug 23, 2014

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    At several temples in the capital there are birds kept in cages which the locals buy and release to gain merit, according to Buddhist beliefs . There is a small temple by the river in front of the Royal Palace where many of the birds are released, so why not buy one for a few small notes. I am not sure if you will be doing the bird a favor as many of them have been kept in cages in the sun along with at least 100 of their feathered friends, and are not in such good condition. Tens of thousands of birds are sold every year but many do not survive the time they spend in captivity, such as the Barn Sparrow which starves to death from the moment they are placed in captivity, Many are hardly capable of flying after days or weeks in captivity and cannot make it into the air.

    birds caged in the sun

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    WHERE HAS THE LAKE GONE?????

    by davidjo Written Aug 22, 2014

    Study the maps on photos 1 and 5 and spot the difference! Yes you got it! THE LAKE HAS DISAPPEARED!!!!

    Beoung Kak Lake used to be the backpackers center with many cheap guest houses, restaurants, second hand book shops and travel agencies, but sadly it no longer exists. Travelers from all over the world used to congregate here and have fun. Photographs below are of the beautiful guest house i stayed at for a week while i was there in Phnom Penh. The lake has now been filled in and destroyed when Shukaku Inc received a 99 year lease to re-develop the area at a cost of US$ 88,000,000. The residents have gone and all that remains is a small strip of polluted water

    beautiful place to relax wonderful GH for a few dollars the terrace of this beautiful GH by the lake.

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    Get a massage

    by adelinemmc Updated May 21, 2014

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    A lot of hotels have a spa where you can get a nice massage. The prices are generally very cheap by European standards.

    There are also massage parlours of varying quality. We saw a few in town and they looked OK, then we saw this advert on the road to & back from the Killing Fields. I'm not sure if they really deliver all what is promised in the ad!

    Quite an unusual offer

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    Sunset cruise on the river.

    by cachaseiro Written Mar 9, 2014

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    One nice and relaxing thing you can do in Phnom Penh is to take a sunset cruise on the river and go where the Tonle Sap river meets the Mekong river.
    These cruises usually lasts between 45 minutes and 1 hour and you go with boats where you can sit on the top of the boat and enjoy a drink as you sail down the river.
    It gives you a good view of the city and on the way back it will be with sunset behind the royal palace.

    The cruises should cost you around 4-5 dollars but this can vary a bit depending on the company and from where you buy it.
    The boats usually leave at Sisowat Quay right across the road from the night market.

    Cruising on the river. Life on the river. Sunset cruise in Phnom Penh.
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    Driving from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

    by Cathy&Gary Written Feb 28, 2014

    Our good friend Sameth drove us from Phnom Penh to Siem reap in his minivan. Some of the roads are fantastic, very new and some are not so good. The trip of about 320 kilometers took us 7 hours due to a few stops along the way.

    We had to have a look around Skuon, the Tarantula capital of Cambodia. I was determined beforehand that I was going to hold one but as soon as I saw them that was the end of me. They are huge and horrible looking!

    Then it was onto Kompong Thom for lunch, where we met up with the bus that had Sameth's wife, mother and father in law, brothers and sister in law plus children. The family have never been to Siem Reap before and there will also be a gig family dinner tonight with all of them at a local restaurant in Siem Reap.

    So the drive there was good, plenty to see along the way.

    Driving from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap Driving from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap Driving from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap Driving from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap Driving from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
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