Capital of 🇰🇭Cambodia

Phnom Penh

Tuk tuks, a palace and rooftop views.

Explore Phnom Penh's rich history at Royal Palace, poignant Tuol Sleng Museum, vibrant markets, and relaxing Mekong riverfront.

3.9
out of 5

Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, sits at the confluence of three rivers: the mighty Mekong, the Bassac, and the Tonle Sap. This city, once known as the "Pearl of Asia," is characterized by its historical architecture like the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, which provide a glimpse into the city’s regal past. With a growing contemporary art scene and bustling markets like the Central Market and Russian Market, Phnom Penh offers a blend of tradition and modernity. The city also serves as a poignant reminder of Cambodia's history, with essential sites such as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields.

Traditional Cambodian Cuisine

In Phnom Penh, sampling local Cambodian cuisine is crucial for experiencing the culture. Dishes like Fish Amok, a creamy, curried fish dish steamed in banana leaves, and Beef Lok Lak, a stir-fried beef dish served with rice, are quintessential. For an authentic dining experience, visit restaurants such as Romdeng or Malis, which are known for their traditional Khmer dishes. Street food enthusiasts can find a variety of local snacks and meals at markets such as the bustling Phsar Thmey, also known as the Central Market.

Cultural Events and Celebrations

Understanding local customs provides insight into what makes Phnom Penh unique. The Khmer New Year, celebrated in April, transforms the city with traditional games, dances, and rituals. Visitors in November can witness the Water Festival, where boat races light up the rivers. These events offer a vibrant display of Cambodia's heritage and are open to all who wish to learn about and participate in local traditions.

The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

The Royal Palace complex is the crown jewel of Phnom Penh's historical architecture. Visitors can admire the intricate designs of the Throne Hall and the beautiful murals that adorn the Silver Pagoda's walls. The complex is a testament to Cambodia's royal history and remains a symbol of national pride.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

For those interested in Cambodia's more recent history, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, once a high school turned into a prison (S-21) during the Khmer Rouge regime, is a sobering must-visit. A short drive from the city takes you to the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, known as the Killing Fields. These sites honor the victims and educate visitors on this tragic chapter of Cambodian history.

City Parks and the Mekong Riverfront

Phnom Penh's parks and riverfront areas provide a natural retreat within the urban setting. Places like Sisowath Quay offer peaceful strolls along the Mekong River, where locals often gather for social activities. The public parks host exercise groups in the mornings and evenings, reflecting the city's active lifestyle.

Life in Phnom Penh Neighborhoods

The life and atmosphere in Phnom Penh's neighborhoods such as Boeung Keng Kang (BKK1) are characterized by a mix of expatriates and locals. These areas showcase a fusion of traditional Khmer houses, modern coffee shops, and international restaurants that contribute to a lively day-to-day experience in Phnom Penh.

Getting Around Phnom Penh

The city’s public transportation system includes buses and the popular three-wheeled vehicles known as tuk-tuks. Travelers can easily hail tuk-tuks for convenient transit across town or opt for ride-hailing apps for secure and metered rides. Cycling is also an option for short distances but be prepared for busy streets. For longer excursions or visits to sites outside the city center, hiring a private car with a driver is advisable.

Average temperatures during the day in Phnom Penh.
June
28°
Jul
27°
Aug
27°
Sep
27°
Oct
27°
Nov
27°
Dec
26°
Jan
26°
Feb
27°
Mar
28°
Apr
29°
May
28°

What people say about Phnom Penh

3.9
People
4
Food
4
Spaces
3
Value
4
Safety
3

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