Things to do in Phnom Penh – Cambodia

Things to do in Phnom Penh – Cambodia

Wat-Ounalom-Phnom-Penh-Itinerary

If you look for things to do in Phnom Penh or places to visit in Phnom Penh,I hope this post is helpful for you as I wrote this after our experience in recent Cambodia,Phnom Penh holiday!This is the list of top things to do in phnom penh although there are many other activities available.

Besides checking out Phnom Penh’s many rich historical and cultural sites, there are many other things to do in Phnom Penh. For example, there are many shops where you can buy many unique and exciting items. For food lovers, there are many places to enjoy a unique dining experience. And, for those who want to indulge them at a spa, Phnom Penh has numerous exciting spas that offer excellent service. Best of all, Phnom Penh has a very vibrant nightlife.

Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel
Don’t forget the Local Delights from Cambodia

If you are looking for exciting things to do in Phnom Penh, then make it a point to set aside a couple of days to explore the city and all that it has to offer. The Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda are obviously at the top of everyone’s wish list. There are also places like Toul Sleng Genocide Museum and the infamous Khmer Rouge Killing Fields. Other places of interest include the National Museum and the Russian Market.

Besides visiting these places you should also enjoy the traditional performance called Plae Pakaa/Fruitful, which you can see at the National Museum. The Angkoria-era ruins are another item to include on things to do in Phnom Penh. Though these ruins are not exactly in the city, they do lie pretty close by and hence can be included in your itinerary.

If you wish to explore the city, then you can hire a tuk tuk easily. Having a city tour on a cyclo is another option. Among all these options you can even enjoy walking tour around the city to get a better close-up look at this amazing city of Cambodia. As Tuk tuks are commonly available for really cheap rates, it is always easy to hire a tuk tuk driver who is also a guide to take you to places like Toule Sleng and the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields.

Phnom Penh itinerary-tuk-tuk-rides
We always loved city tour by Tuk Tuks.That’s the easiest transport mode in Phnom Penh.

Among the many things to do in Phnom Penh, below are the major attractions and must visit places in Phnom Penh.

Things to do in Phnom Penh ,Cambodia
The National Museum
National Museum phnom penh
National Museum Phnom Penh – Inner Courtyard

The National Museum houses some very important Khmer artifacts. In fact, there are more than 5000 objects there including the statues from the Angkorian era. Be sure to also check out the Leper King statue and the gigantic eleventh century Vishnu statue, which is made out of bronze. Admission to the National Museum costs 5 dollars and the museum is open from 8 in the morning to 5 in the evening everyday.

Read more about National Museum Phnom Penh

The Royal Palace

Pnom Penh itinerary

The Royal Palace is situated on Sothearos Blvd on the riverfront side between 240 Street and 184 Street. This palace is considered as the home to the King. This is the venue where various court ceremonies take place.  Royal Palace is the symbol of the Kingdom of Cambodia. So, don’t miss the opportunity of visiting the Royal Palace when you are in Phnom Penh.

After King Nordom and the French protectorate relocated it to Phnom Penh from Oudong in 1866, the Royal Palace has become an excellent symbol of the Kingdom. The Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo Morokat) is attached to the palace and is a very unique pagoda. Cost of admission to the Palace is about 6.25 dollars.

Wat Phnom
Phnom Penh things to do
Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is renowned for being the place where the capital city of Cambodia (Phnom Penh) was first founded. According to legend, Lady Penh successfully fished a floating Koki tree from the river. The tree contained various Buddhist statues. Lady Penh built a hill (penh in Cambodian language) along with a tiny temple (wat) at this site. Cost of admission to Wat Phnom is one dollar per person.

Independence Monument
Phnom Penh attractions
Independence Monument

The Independence Monument was established on the 9th of November 1962 to celebrate the country’s independence from foreign rulers. Well-known architect Vann Molyvann constructed it. Today, it is a symbol of the people who died while fighting for the independence of their country.

The River Front

Phnom Penh itinerary

The River Front is home to many important cultural sites. It is also home to numerous pubs and restaurants as well as shops that each overlooks the place where the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Bassac Rivers converge.

Walking along the river front can be exciting in the evening while indulging in a restaurant along the river Front area. You will find many food choices and pubs in this area. Having accommodation near to River Front area will be great as most other major attractions are in walking distance to river side.

River Cruises
Things to do in Phnom Penh -Cambodia
River Cruise in Phnom Penh

It makes sense to take a river cruise on the Tonle Sap River. Most cruises last for between one and two hours and provide you with an opportunity to view the picturesque Royal Palace as well as the city’s skyline.

A sunset river cruise can be really interesting. During the holiday which we were in Phnom Penh, we enjoyed all these views and it was really exciting experience in Cambodia!

Choeung Ek Memorial or The Killing Fields

The Khmer Rouge killed large numbers of Cambodians and dumped their dead bodies at the many killing fields that are scattered in different parts of the country. Before 1975, Choeung Ek was a cemetery that held dead bodies of Chinese people. However, it became a killing field and became the site where more than 17000 people including children were executed. Cost of admission to the Killing Fields is 6 dollars.

Although you will not get excited by visiting the killing fields of Phnom Penh, it will be a place to find the recent history of the country.

Toul Sleng Genocide Museum

Before 1975 Toul Sleng was a high school but after the Khmer Rouge got power they converted it into a jail and interrogation facility. Here inmates were tortured and subsequently executed.

Central Market, Russian Market and Night Market
Phsar Thmey (Central Market) of Phnom Penh,Cambodia
Phsar Thmey (Central Market) of Phnom Penh,Cambodia

The traditional markets in Phnom Penh include the Central Market, Russian Market and the Night Market. There are many other markets too which you can explore to find the local lifestyle .These markets are open from sunrise to sunset. Other than these places make sure to check out the traditional dance performance at the National Museum.

Wat Langka

Wat Langka lies close to Independence Monument and is one of the original pagodas of the country. This temple is also a place for ceremonies and events. If you visit the independence monument, don’t forget to visit this Buddhist temple which is located just few meters away.

Wat Ounalom
Wat Ounalom-Phnom Penh-Cambodia
Wat Ounalom-Phnom Penh-Cambodia

Wat Ounalom is a sprawling wat (pagoda) that lies in the very center of the riverfront district and is home to a number of golden temples and large sized stupas. Also popular as eyebrow temple, this Buddhist temple is a must see attraction in Phnom Penh.

Read more about Wat Ounalom

Above are some of the must see attractions in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There are many other attractions and activities that you can do during your holiday in this capital city of Cambodia. As we travelled with our kid, we also visited Kids City Asia which is the best kids attraction in Phnom Penh. We stayed in Frangipani Royal Palace Hotel which is friendly, comfortable and located near to most of the attractions.

Have you been to Phnom Penh,Cambodia?Check our Phnom Penh itinerary if you plan a holiday in Phnom Penh!

44 COMMENTS

  1. This is timely, since that I’ll be having my backpacking in Southeast Asia within this year and Phnom Penh Cambodia is really on my list to visit. Your list of things to do is truly perfect, at least I have an idea now and what to expect. River cruise is sounds fun and I’ll surely try it if I get the chance. Thank you so much for sharing, I really appreciate it.

    LaiAriel R. Samangka

    • Really? Backpacking? Damn!! I hope you have a lot of fun and adventure. My friend is also going to Cambodia for a soul searching trip and I really wish you get acquainted. You go to the places here together. Cambodia is in my list as well, I really hope to reach all these places here soon. 🙂

  2. Oh wow, those photos leave me speechless. What an absolutely beautiful place! I would love to see it some day. Thank you so so much for taking the time to pull this together and share with us.

  3. I am visiting Cambodia in May. I hope to see all these places that you have mentioned.
    Though most of the time I intend to spend in temple, these memorials too are worth a visit. Hope I get some good tuk tuk driver who won’t cheat.

  4. This looks so cool. Thanks for the recommendations! I don’t have any trip planned yet, but I’ve been trying to convince my husband to add Cambodia to our travel list for years, so maybe this will help.

  5. I have yet to visit Cambodia but upon looking at your pictures, it seems that I already went to the place because it looks exactly the same as Thailand and Laos. The temples and buddhas, the museum. Everything’s identical. But of course, the culture is still different. The locals are also what differentiate the country from the others. It’s also refreshing to see a post about Cambodia that’s just not about Angkor Wat. 🙂

  6. These places look amazing. I do hope to make it out to Cambodia sometime. The picture of you in the open air taxi reminds me of the ones I was in when I was in Duan China. I had an amazing time on that trip.

  7. Heplful post! Cambodia has lots and lots of places to go. When we were in Thailand, we’re actually thinking if we could spend a day in Cambodia but our time was limited and our exit point was Singapore, so we had to do this some other time.

    If you need guides on traveling by train or bus from Thailand to SG, drop by at my website – http://thejerny.com and you’ll find the guides there.

  8. Oh Yes, I have heard a lot of Cambodia stories from my cousin. He had also mentioned about Phnom Penh and your description of the place is exactly as enthusiastic as his! Very wonderful captures and great writing too btw 🙂
    I hope to visit Cambodia soon!!!

  9. It would be fun going around Phnom Penh in those tuk tuks. 🙂 They sorta remind me of local tricycles. That is, motorcycles with side-cars for passengers. But tuk tuks are most probably cheaper than tricycles as a lot of their drivers are notorious for charging exorbitant rates.

    • We loved our visits using tuk tuks.It’s really easy to hire tuk tuks in Phnom Penh.Yes,some drivers charge high.But in Phnom Penh usually rates for few km here and there is around $3.As we know the rate,we didn’t have any problem. 🙂

  10. This post is so informative and interesting! Honestly, I didn’t know there are many activities to do and enjoy there!

  11. The National Museum and Royal Palace are stunning and the building designs are so unique. Cambodia appears to be a wonderful place to visit and I would definitely try the river cruise. Your photos tell such as amazing story of this beautiful place.

  12. Tbh, Cambodia is one of the least country I would visit. But if given the chance, I would still want to venture on the said place for it’s attractions. My sister will be going there early next year and I think this post will help her decide what spots to visit.

  13. Wow, so many things to do! I would love to go on a eurasia trip one day and visit all these cultural and informative places. I’m sure so many tourists will find your post informative!

  14. I think I need two weeks to fully enjoy Phon Penh 🙂 Lots of things to do, enjoy good food and meet local people, plus museum visits 🙂

  15. I’ve never visited Cambodia before and it sure would be nice to see the temples and the palaces. I think it’s a lovely place to visit!

  16. Ohh i thought cambodia is so boring to go but reading this post i think it is very historical! I wanna go now and see for myself thanks for this

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