Fun things to do in Phnom Penh

  • Killing Fields
    by akkipaa
  • Killing Fields
    by akkipaa
  • Killing Fields
    by akkipaa

Most Viewed Things to Do in Phnom Penh

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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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  • Drawing/Painting Course with Backstreet Academy

    by jamon919 Written Mar 19, 2014

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    I went for 2 courses separately, a drawing course and a painting course, and it was amazing! I always thought i was someone who can never ever draw something decent. But this course really changed my perspective. I was looking to cement my view that art cannot be taught but i was so wrong! Delightfully haha.

    The instructors were really nice to accommodate my demands for difficult drawings/paintings i found on the web or on the streets, instead of the more basic templates that beginners usually use. I learnt sketching, drawing lines, shading and how to gauge the proportions for the drawing and various coloring techniques to create lots of depth for my own painting.

    Pretty affordable at $12 for each course (yes they are separate courses done at different times) Very fun and great interaction with the hosts. The facilitator who translates for me was also very friendly and fun to hang out with. Would totally go for another course and i fully recommend this if you are hanging out in Phnom Penh!

    Painting of a tuktuk Painting of fishes Sketching of shells
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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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    Kandal Markets Phnom Penh

    by Cathy&Gary Written Feb 28, 2014

    Kandal Markets are Phnom Penh’s biggest local markets. They open very early in the morning and sell every type of meat, fruit, vegetables, fish and bugs you could think of, some of it cooled on ice, some just laying out in the sun. 

    These markets are so big and very easy to get lost in.

    There are jewellery shops and also sections to buy clothes, pyjamas, bags, cleaning goods and freshly cooked meals. It is extremely busy in the morning and hard to walk around as there are also motor bikes trying to get down the small alleyways.

    You will not see many tourists walking around here but it really is a fantastic market and definitely something to see.

    There are many ways to get into these markets with a main entrance on Street 13, but the easiest is just walk past the Ohana Hotel on Street 148 near the riverfront and they start a few meters from the hotel.

    Kandal Markets - The frogs are still alive!!! Kandal Markets Kandal Markets Kandal Markets Kandal Markets
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    Toul Sleng (S-21) Genocide Museum

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Feb 27, 2014

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    Tuol Sleng use to be a high school until the Khmer Rouge converted it into a prison and interrogation facility. The prisoners were tortured over months then executed at the Killing Fields.
     Only 7 people survived this horrible place.

    Extensive records and photos were kept and these are on display at S21. The school consists of 4 main buildings around a grass courtyard which contains the bodies of the last 14 people killed here.

    In one building prisoners were chained to metal beds and there is one room where you can still see the faint remains of a pool of blood under the bed.

    The next building is horrific due to the photos of tortured prisoners, hundreds and hundreds of them, men, women and children. Then there are photos of the killers, some as young as 12!
    In another building the rooms are divided into small brick cages, prisoners were shackled and left here starving, to await more torture or death.

    Then there is the building with paintings done by one of the survivors of Tuol Sleng. In another room the instruments used for torture are on display.

    We went through all the buildings at S21, but I couldn’t wait to get out of there, a very eerie, haunting place and so heartbreaking to think of the unimaginable horrors that the people there went through. We have recently been back again to S21 and the feeling were the same. So sad!

    Opening Hours
    8am - 5pm
    Entry Fee: $2
    Address: Corner of Street 113 and Street 350 Phnom Penh

    Toul Sleng (S-21) Genocide Museum Toul Sleng (S-21) Genocide Museum Toul Sleng (S-21) Genocide Museum Toul Sleng (S-21) Genocide Museum Toul Sleng (S-21) Genocide Museum
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    The Three Rivers

    by IreneMcKay Written Jul 5, 2013

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    Phnom Penh is situated on the banks of three rivers the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac. There were several lovely restaurants on the banks of the Tonle Sap near where it joined with the Mekong. We also got our driver to take us to a point where the three rivers meet.

    Near meeting point of the Tonle Sap and Mekong
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    Foreign Correspondents Club FCC

    by IreneMcKay Written Jul 5, 2013

    The FCC is housed in a three story French colonial building. It faces onto the Tonle Sap River near its confluence with the Mekong.

    The FCC dates from the 1990s and was once a hotbed of journalistic activity.

    The FCC is a restaurant and bar open to the public, not a private club. We really enjoyed eating and drinking here and loved the old typewriters that adorned the walls.

    Me at the FCC.
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    Koh Pitch

    by akkipaa Written Mar 23, 2013

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    Koch Pich (Diamond Island) is a large Island in Phnom Penh and it is developing quickly. New project for apartments are ongoing and they are building even 38-storey buildings there which is called satellite city.

    Hope that these project are a start to all development and gives Cambodians strength and proud to keep their origin and make Phnom Penh well known and attractive to all visitors.

    But there is a sad story behind. On 22 November 2010 people were celebration Water Festival and millions of people were targeting to Koh Pich and on the one other bridges some shout: "the bridge is going to collapse" causing a panic where 347 people we stamped dead and about 800 injured. A witness has said: "too many people on the bridge and...both ends were pushing" A journalist from The Phnom Penh Post said that the stampede had occurred due to police forces firing a water cannon into people on the bridge in an attempt to force them to move off the bridge after it began swaying.

    Let's pray for them and remember, keep your eyes open and mind your space when in the areas together with mass and limited exits and space!

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    Take a Cambodian Cooking Class

    by stevemt Updated Mar 12, 2013

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    I did a full day cooking course here, it was fun, friendly and just fantastic - learnt heaps.

    Started with a trip to the market to have ingredients explained, and then off to the school.

    Made four dishes :-
    Fish Amok
    Spring Rolls
    Banana Flower and Chicken Salad
    Sticky Rice with Mango.

    You get full hands on experience, a recipe book with these and more recipies, and a very enjoyable day out

    You eat what you cook :)

    It's held on a shaded rooftop with a breeze so very pleasant conditions.

    You can only do a 1/2 day course if you choose with only 2 of the dishes.

    Book via the internet site.

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    Statue of Yeah Penh

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 3, 2013

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    Southwest of the Wat Phnom you’ll find a small square with a 2.7-meter high statue of Yeah Penh (grandmother Penh). Yeah Penh is said to be the founder of Wat Phnom, and people from Phnom Penh consider her as a powerful protective spirit of the city.

    The statue was inaugurated on May 16, 2008 after two years of construction. The statue is made out of copper, and is erected on the site of the former residence of Yeah Penh.

    Statue of Yeah Penh
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    Preah Sisovath Street

    by cal6060 Updated Sep 7, 2012

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    Preah Sisovath Street is where the major hotels are located like the Hotel Cambodiana, Hotel Pool, Imperial Garden Villa and etc. Most of these luxury hotels have rooms viewing the rivers. On the west side of the street, you will see the statue of Ouknha Crom Nguy, the famous Khmer author with two white elephants on the sides. If you continue to walk toward north, you will see the Chaktomuk Theater. It has fine architecture with round shape roof . Unfortunately, I was not allowed to enter the Theater during my visit. A lot of the French colonial buildings are situated here, mostly government offices and hospital.

    If you continue to walk north, you will reach Sisowath Quay, beautiful river walk and the Royal Palace.

    Statue of Ouknha Crom Nguy, Phnom Penh Preah Sisovath Street, Phnom Penh White Elephant, Phnom Penh Statue of Ouknha Crom Nguy, Phnom Penh Chaktomuk Theater, Phnom Penh
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    Samdach Hun Sen Park

    by cal6060 Updated Sep 7, 2012

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    Samdach Hun Sen is the current Cambodia Prime Minister. The park is named after the Prime Minister. During my visit, I could sense that this area will be a major modern shopping, hotels, and entertainment venue for tourists in the near future. They are several luxury residents projects, upgrading work on the river front, and major road construction of the area. Currently, the NagaWorld casino and an amusement park are operating for business. If you are into gambling, this might be place for you to visit. Walking toward north is the Preah Sisovath.

    Note: Samdach Chuon Nath Statue & Buddhist institute are located here.

    Amusement Park, Samdach Hun Sen Park Naga World, Phnom Penh Naga World, Phnom Penh Buddhist Institute, Phnom Penh Riverfront (construction), Phnom Penh
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    Statue of Samdech Chuon Nath

    by cal6060 Updated Sep 7, 2012

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    Samdch Chuon Nath is a highly respected Cambodia Scholar of Buddhist and humanism. He was born on March 11 1883 from a small village, Kampong Speun Province. When he was 14 years old, He became a monk. He learnt and practiced Buddhist since very young age.

    His main achievements include conserving the Khmer language and teaching Buddhism as to remind people of their national identity, religion, and the King of the idea of nationalism. He made the effort to put together the first Khmer dictionary. During the process, he also conserved and taught the importance to retain the original Khmer languages rather than the influence by change of language due to the French influence. Other than that, he also composed the national anthem Nokor Raech on July 20, 1941, in Buddhist year of 2500.

    He passed away on September 25, 1969 at the age of 87.

    The statue is located at Samdach Hun Sen Park.

    Statue of Samdech Chuon Nath, Phnom Penh Statue of Samdech Chuon Nath, Phnom Penh Statue of Samdech Chuon Nath, Phnom Penh Statue of Samdech Chuon Nath, Phnom Penh Statue of Samdech Chuon Nath, Phnom Penh
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    S-21

    by DAO Written Aug 25, 2012

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    To fully see and understand the Khmer Rouge Genocide of 1975-1979, you need to visit prison S-21. It is estimated that up to 20% of all Khmers (the single race of people in Cambodia) were killed during these years. More than 17,000 people passed through the entry doors of this small compound between 1975 and 1978. Only 8 prisoners survived at the time of liberation by the Vietnamese army. One of them was the prisoner responsible for the photographs of all prisoners, a man named Nhem En. The amazing fact in this entire gruesome tale is that the prisoners were photographed here when the entered, tortured here, but then killed elsewhere. After being processed and detained for often short periods of time, prisoners were then moved to the Choeung Ek extermination camp where they were often just beaten to death with shovels so that they could save money on ammunition. Choeung Ek is 15km (9 miles) outside of Phnom Penh.

    S-21 was originally the Tuol Svay Prey High School and from the outside it looks like the school it once was. In 1975 Comrade Duch (real name Kaing Guek Eav) took over the management of the camp. This ex-Math Teacher transformed S-21 into an efficiently run hell on earth for all who entered. Duch was only arrested inn 1999 and did not come to trial until 2007. He of course discovered religion after leaving his employment here.

    As you enter the first building you notice the metal beds, without bedding, and the chains attached. This would have been exactly the same way when some prisoners were tortured to ‘confess’ before being taken away, post-confession, to be murdered. As you go through the first few buildings you can see that they were once classrooms. Room after room and floor after floor are full of the photographs all the prisoners had to pose for. Every single person photographed, except for Comrade Dutech, was murdered gruesomely after being tortured. Some of the photos were taken both before and after the torture of the same person. Walking through rooms of torture equipment and evidence of the complete degradation of the prisoners is bad enough. What is extra haunting is that some of the ‘Criminals and Spies’ photographed are women and children. No one was above suspicion during the bloodthirsty rule of the Khmer Rouge. And no one was ever found innocent here. All of them, even the children and babies, were executed. There are also pictures of some American, French and Australian travellers who made the fatal mistake of entering Cambodia during these years. They were treated just like the local Cambodians. Their photos and documents are on display.

    The final months of S-21 witnessed some of the self-destruction of the Khmer Rouge themselves. Paranoid purge after purge meant that many of the prisoners were actual members who were suddenly deemed criminals and spies. In some cases the actual guards found themselves photographed, tortured and sent off for extermination.

    As you enter the last large building you notice evidence that S-21 was too busy in its monstrous task to fully house all the victims. Many rooms were subdivided multiple times with crude brick walls that would not allow the people chained in them to lie down. The final rooms are full of skulls and bones of some of the people ‘processed’ here. You will also notice the residential house just across the narrow street. S-21 continued its nightmarish activities right in the middle of the local neighbourhood.

    At the end of the complex and tour you will find the Documentation Center of Cambodia. (www.dcam.org). This is an independent organisation originally established by Yale University’s Cambodian Genocide Project (www.yale.edu/cgp). You can make donations to this amazing organisation. They have translated many of the ‘confessions’, documents and writings of the prisoners. They have also identified many of the victims photographed and also documented mass graves of the victims after their removal from S-21.

    One of the more chilling signs you will see on the site, it the rules for all prisoners. The rules are:
    1. You must answer accordingly to my question. Don’t turn them away.
    2. Don’t try to hide the facts by making pretexts this and that, you are strictly prohibited to contest me.
    3. Don’t be a fool for you are a chap who dare to thwart the revolution.
    4. You must immediately answer my questions without wasting time to reflect.
    5. Don’t tell me either about your immoralities or the essence of the revolution.
    6. While getting lashes or electrification you must not cry at all.
    7. Do nothing, sit still and wait for my orders. If there is no order, keep quiet. When I ask you to do something, you must do it right away without protesting.
    8. Don’t make pretext about Kampuchea Krom in order to hide your secret or traitor.
    9. If you don’t follow all the above rules, you shall get many lashes of electric wire.
    10. If you disobey any point of my regulations you shall get either ten lashes or five shocks of electric discharge.


    ** I have made up 12 Travelogues below of all the photos I took of S-21 **


    Some practical information for your visit:
    • The museum is open 7 days a week from 8:00-17:30
    • Admission (at the time I visited) was $2 and $5 for a video camera
    • A guided tour was an extra $2
    • The entrance is on the western side of Street 113
    • Ask any ‘Cyclo’ or ‘Moto’ for “S-21” and it should only cost around $1 to get there


    Additional resource information about S-21:
    • The Lost Executioner, by Nic Dunlop – a book about Comrade Duch and his running of S-21
    • Voices of S-21, written by David Chandler
    • The 1996 documentary film Bhophana about one of the Khmer Rouge turned prisoner here. This movie is screen in the complex and takes 1 hour (10:00-15:00)

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    • Museum Visits

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