TOP PICKS: 15 Best Things to Do and Places to Visit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia this 2018


Phnom Penh is the capital city of the Kingdom of Cambodia. Many tourists seem to skip Phnom Penh when traveling to Cambodia and just go straight to the more popular temples of Siem Reap, and I wonder why. So, when we were planing our Vietnam-Cambodia trip, we decided to spend 2 night in Phnom Penh before proceeding to Siem Reap for us to know what this city has to offer. There are many things to do, and places to explore in Phnom Penh. With this, let me share to you some of the most interesting tourist spots and attractions in Phnom Penh Cambodia.

After spending 3 days in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, we took a bus bound for Phnom Phen. It was a long 6-hour bus ride to cross the border of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Here's a look at the top tourist attractions and best things to do in Phnom Penh:

1. Dine, Shop, and Enjoy Phnom Penh Night Market

After a long 6-hour bus ride from Ho Chi Minh, the first thing we did upon arrival at Phnom Penh and after checking-in, is to explore Phnom Penh Night Market. It's an open air night market filled with many stalls selling local products, apparels, and street food. At the center of the market is a stage where you can also catch local performances.

It is perpetually crowded with tourists in search for good bargains and those wanting to taste local flavors. The night market is one of the best places to experience the local dining scene. There is everything here from spring rolls to Cambodian sausages, soups, grilled meats, fruit shakes, and many more! Just choose what you want, have it cooked, and wait for it to be delivered to you while you enjoy sitting on the mat.

Phnom Penh Night Market (Psar Reatrey)
Address: Between Streets 106 and 108, Phnom Penh
Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 05:00 PM - 12:00 MN
Admission: Free

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

2. Sit on a mat. Eat like a local!

What I love most about dining at Phnom Penh Night Market is the way you dine. After we ordered our food at one of the food kiosks, we settled on one of the mats and waited for our order. It's a very relaxed way of eating where you also share with dozens of local families and young couples. Definitely, a must-experience when eating out in Cambodia.

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

3. Ride a Tuk-tuk

Tuk-tuks are the best way to get around Phnom Penh. This is my first time to ride a tuk tuk and I enjoyed it a lot! Just be careful not to relax so much that you stop being vigilant with your belongings. Be sure to take care of your belongings and always be mindful of your surroundings since the tuk-tuk is open and not a safe place to expose your valuables. In case, you forget, the tuk-tuk drivers will always remind you to take care of your belongings.

Tuk-tuks are expensive, around USD$ 3-5 for short distances. Although it's a good experience, if the destination you want to visit is nearby, I suggest that you just walk to save on budget.

ALSO READ: 10 Things To Know Before You Go To Cambodia

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

4. Visit Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is a historical park and Buddhist temple on top of a small hill at the center of Phnom Penh. It is said that the first temple in Wat Phnom was built in 1372. It is one of the very first temples we saw upon arrival in Phnom Penh as you won't miss it because it stands 27 meters above the ground and is considered as the tallest religious structure in the city. The main entrance to Wat Phnom is through the grand staircase located at the eastern part of the park. The beautiful staircase is guarded by lions and naga (mythical serpent) balustrades. Many people come here to offer prayers and to ask for blessings.

Wat Phnom
Address: Norodom Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opening Hours: 7:00 AM - 6:30 PM, Daily

Phnom Penh Cambodia Tourist Spots

Phnom Penh Cambodia Tourist Spots

Phnom Penh Cambodia Tourist Spots

Phnom Penh Cambodia Tourist Spots

5. Explore The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

This is one of my favorite tourist spots in Phnom Penh. The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda Complex is the official residence of Cambodian royalty. Built in 1860's, it showcases four main compounds. On the south side is the Silver Pagoda, to the north side is the Khemarin Palace and the central compound contains the Throne Hall and to the west is the private sector or the Inner Court.

There is an entrance fee of $10 USD to enter the complex. You can explore it on your own or you can hire a guide for $10 USD per group. We opted to explore it on our own so we could have much time taking photos of the buildings. But if you're with a big group, hiring a tour guide is recommended.

The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a fine example of Khmer architecture. A stunning architectural and cultural masterpiece you shouldn't miss it when visiting Phnom Penh.

The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
Address: Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opening Hours: 08:00 - 10:30 AM and 02:00 - 05:00 PM, Daily
Entrance Fee: $10 USD

Cambodian Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Cambodian Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Cambodian Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Cambodian Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Cambodian Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Cambodian Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

6. Enjoy at Royal Palace Public Square

At late afternoon or early evening, you'll be amazed to see locals gathering at the Royal Palace Public Square and lay down their picnic mats and just enjoy their time. This is also a place where you could see hundreds of pigeons fed by locals and tourists. It's a nice activity after visiting The Royal Palace.

Phnom Penh Travel Guide 2018

7. National Museum of Cambodia

Located a few meters north of The Royal Palace along Street 13 in central Phnom Penh, the National Museum of Cambodia is a beautiful terracotta structure with traditional Khmer designs. Considered as Cambodia's largest museum, it showcases several artefacts of cultural history and is the leading historical and archaeological museum in Cambodia.

The museum's opening hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. Last admission tickets are sold at 4:30 pm. Museum ticket admission are $5 USD for foreigner ages from 10 to 17 years old, $10 USD for foreigner ages from 18 years old and up, 500 Riels for Cambodians. Children and school groups are free. We were not able to enter the museum because it's already closed when we arrived. So, we just enjoyed taking photos from the outside.

National Museum of Cambodia
Address: Preah Ang Eng St. (13), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opening Hours: 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM, Daily

Phnom Penh Travel Guide 2018

8. Shop for Great Finds at the Central Market

I guess, the best place to shop for local products is the Central Market. Filled with so many stalls selling jewelries, apparels, handicrafts, and so much more. You'll definitely find something interesting at the Central Market to bring back home as pasalubong to your family and friends.

Central Market (Phsar Thmei)
Address: St 130, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Opening Hours: 07:00 AM - 06:00 PM, Daily

Where to Shop in Phnom Penh Travel Guide 2018

Where to Shop in Phnom Penh Travel Guide 2018

9. Independence Monument

This pagoda-like Independence Monument was built in 1958 to celebrate Cambodia's independence from French colonial rule. It is located at the intersection of Norodom Boulevard and Sihanouk Boulevard in the center of Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh Travel Guide 2018

10. King Father Norodom Sihanouk Statue

Located just across the Independence Monument is a huge park where you could find a statue dedicated to King Father Norodom Sihanouk, Cambodia’s former king. The park surrounding the monument is also a favorite hangout place for locals.

Phnom Penh Travel Guide 2018

11. Visit Wat Ounalom

Founded in 1443, Wat Ounalom is the headquarters of Cambodian Buddhism. Here, you can find a small marble Buddha of Burmese origin and a stupa containing an eyebrow hair of Buddha.

Wat Ounalom
Address: Ly Yoak Lay St. (172), Phnom Penh 12000, Cambodia
Opening Hours: 06:00 AM - 06:00 PM, Daily
Admission: Free

Things to do in Cambodia

Top Things To Do in Phnom Penh Cambodia

Things to do in Cambodia

12. Stroll at Sisowath Quay

End the day with a nice stroll at Phnom Penh's riverfront, also called Sisowath Quay. This 4-kilometer riverfront is the place to go for a late afternoon stroll or a place to chill and hangout with friends. Lined with flags of different countries, it is filled with locals hanging around, vendors selling street food, and locals having aerobics class, playing volleyball, or just sitting at the many benches.

Sisowath Quay Phnom Penh

13. Be Mesmerized by the Sunset

For me the best spot to watch the sunset is at the Public Square right in front of The Royal Palace. Enjoy it as you feed the pigeons, munch on local street food, or just hang around at the park with the locals.

What to do in Cambodia Phnom Penh

14. Enjoy Phnom Penh's Nightlife

Experience the nightlife in Phnom Penh with its many bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and clubs around the city. The riverfront's rooftop bars are also a good spot to unwind after a day of exploring while enjoying the sunset and a couple of Angkor beers.

Phnom Penh Travel Guide 2018

15. Have a photo with the Monks

This is one of the top things I really wanted to do even before going to Cambodia. The serene sight of monks strolling the streets of Phnom Penh, clad in orange robes is already a good experience. But having a photo with them is a "bucket-list checked" for me.

So, when we were visiting The Royal Palace Complex, I saw some young monks enjoying their time. They seem to be very nice and approachable because I saw them talking to a tourist. So, I approached them and asked if I could have a photo with them. And they warmly accommodated my request. Yey!

15 Best Things to Do and Places to Visit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

There are still many tourist spots and historical landmarks that we missed to visit due to lack of time and limited budget. You may also check out the Russian Market, Choeung Ek Genocidal Center, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Orussey Market, Wat Langka, and many more.

For comfort and covenience, I highly suggest that you book your tours in Cambodia via Klook.com.

For cheap flights to Phnom Penh, book it with Traveloka.com - one of Southeast Asia's leading travel booking sites. I've been using it in my travels and I can assure you that you'll always get the best deals and promos on hotels and flights! And don't forget to use their weekly promo codes to get more discounts!

ALSO READ: Visiting Angkor Wat and Other Things To Do in Siem Reap, Cambodia

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This trip to Phnom Penh was made possible by Traveloka and Klook Travel.




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