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PHNOM PENH TRAVEL GUIDE 2019 BLOG: Things to Do, Tourist Spots and DIY Itinerary

NEW UPDATED PHNOM PENH TRAVEL GUIDE THINGS TO DO CAMBODIA TOURIST SPOTS TRAVEL GUIDE BLOGS 2019

Planning a trip to Phonm Penh, Cambodia? Here is my 2019 First-timer's Travel Guide Blog to Phnom Penh + things to do, and DIY Itinerary.


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.

2019 First-Timer's Travel Guide to Phnom Penh, Cambodia



WHAT'S COVERED IN THIS PHNOM PENH TRAVEL GUIDE BLOG 2019?


Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh


After spending 3 days in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, we took a bus bound for Phnom Phen. It was a long 6-hour but convenient bus ride to cross the border from Ho Chi Minh Vietnam to Phnom Penh Cambodia. For ease and convenience, I highly recommend that you book your bus tickets online.

BOOK HO CHI MINH TO PHNOM PENH BUS TICKETS HERE!


Other Options:


If you're coming from Thailand, Laos, or from other cities in Cambodia such as Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, here are the available transportation options you could choose from.

How many days to spend in Phnom Penh?


How many days to spend in Phnom Penh really depends on what are the tourist spots you want to visit and the activities you want to do. For first-timers, 3 days and 2 nights is the ideal to fully enjoy the top tourist spots and things to do in Phnom Penh. But if you have limited time, you can also visit it overnight because it is also a good side trip on your way to/from Siem Reap. You may use to the Phnom Penh 3D2N DIY Itinerary below and use it as your guide in planning your own itinerary.

Internet Connection in Cambodia


How to stay connected in Cambodia? Before traveling for Phnom Penh, be sure to rent 3G/4G WiFi Device so you could stay connected to the internet. You can book and reserve one via Klook.com. These devices at very in-demand, so be sure to book and reserve in advance. Reserve a 3G/4G WiFi Device Here.

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

PHNOM PENH TRAVEL GUIDE 2019: 15 Things to Do, Tourist Spots and DIY Itinerary



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 2019

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 2019

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 2019

Where to Shop in Phnom Penh Travel Guide 2019

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 2019

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 2019

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 2019

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.

Sample Phnom Penh DIY Itinerary


Here's a sample 2-days and 1-night Phnom Penh DIY Itinerary based on the things to do and tourist spots I mentioned above. You can tweak it depending on the time of your arrival in Phnom Penh and on the spots that interests you. I also added day 3 so you'll have more options if you wish to make a 3-days and 2-nights DIY Itinerary.

DAY 1 - PHNOM PEHN CITY TOUR (PART 1)

  • 08:00 AM - Visit Wat Phnom
  • 10:00 AM - Visit Wat Ounalom
  • 12:00 NN - Lunch
  • 01:00 PM - Explore The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
  • 04:00 PM - Enjoy at Royal Palace Public Square
  • 07:00 PM - Dinner at the Night Market
  • 09:00 PM - Enjoy Phnom Penh's Nightlife

DAY 2 - PHNOM PEHN CITY TOUR (PART 2)

  • 08:00 AM - National Museum of Cambodia
  • 10:00 AM - Shop for Great Finds at the Central Market (Souvenir Shopping)
  • 12:00 PM - Lunch
  • 01:00 PM - Independence Monument
  • 02:00 PM - King Father Norodom Sihanouk Statue
  • 04:00 PM - Stroll at Sisowath Quay
  • 05:00 PM - Be Mesmerized by the Sunset
  • 07:00 PM - Dinner at the Night Market
  • 09:00 PM - Enjoy Phnom Penh's Nightlife

DAY 3 - GENOCIDE MUSEUM

For ease and convenience, I highly recommend that you book Genocide Museum Tour with a local tour operator in Phnom Penh. BOOK HERE!.
  • 08:30 AM - Hotel pick up
  • 09:00 AM - Tuol Sleng Museum
  • 11:30 AM - Killing Fields
  • 01:00 PM - Back at the hotel, check out
  • 02:00 PM - Russian Market (Souvenir Shopping)
  • 04:00 PM - Go to the airport or to the bus station for your next destination

Recommended Tours in Phnom Penh


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


Phnom Penh Travel Guide For First-timer in Cambodia
Photo from Klook.com

Phnom Penh Tuol Sleng Museum & Choeung Ek Memorial Half Day Tour


  • Learn about the somber history of Cambodia in this half day tour of two poignant landmarks
  • Explore the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21), the largest former detention center run by the Khmer Rouge
  • Visit the Choeung Ek memorial filled with more than 5,000 human skulls
  • A convenient hotel transfer will take you to and from your hotel to your destination

SEE MORE DETAILS / BOOK THIS TOUR!


Phnom Penh Travel Guide For First-timer in Cambodia
Photo from Klook.com

Phnom Penh City Day Tour


  • Go on a full day tour to see Phnom Penh's finest sightseeing destinations
  • Visit the impressive National Museum and learn of the treasures and history it holds
  • Explore the lavish Royal Palace, which is home to the royal family of Cambodia
  • See the dazzling Silver Pagoda, located within the grounds of the Royal Palace, and see its treasures
  • Stroll around the central market where you can find numerous trinkets and gift ideas
  • A convenient hotel pick up and drop off will take you to your destination and back safely

SEE MORE DETAILS / BOOK THIS TOUR!


Phnom Penh Travel Guide For First-timer in Cambodia
Photo from Klook.com

Sunset Cruise in Phnom Penh


  • Witness the golden colors of Phmom Penh's sunset skyline on a romantic cruise
  • Unwind in a scenic cruise along the Mekong River as you marvel at Phnom Penh's skyline
  • Cruise along Phnom Penh's landmarks like the Royal Palace and the floating villages of Tonle Sap
  • Relish in a delicious optional barbeque dinner and enjoy a refreshing welcome drink while on board

SEE MORE DETAILS / BOOK THIS TOUR!


Phnom Penh Travel Guide For First-timer in Cambodia
Photo from Klook.com

Plae Pakaa Cambodia Living Arts Show in Phnom Penh


  • Watch as 30 talented artists relive Cambodian culture through dance at the Cambodian Living Arts Show
  • Get front seats to cultural performances such as the Apsara dance, Moni Mekhala dance, and many more!
  • Witness the daily life of locals expressed through various folk and ritual dances
  • Enjoy a sumptuous dinner before or after the show and avail of the combo package
  • Don't miss out on a Phnom Penh cultural show highlight!

SEE MORE DETAILS / BOOK THIS TOUR!


Phnom Penh Travel Guide For First-timer in Cambodia
Photo from Klook.com

Silk Island Half Day Cruise and Tour


  • Cruise along the Phnom Penh riverfront to enjoy the view from the upper deck or down on the main deck
  • Pass by the Royal Palace, see the junction of the Tonle Sap, Mekong, and Bassac rivers
  • Up the Mekong River, see floating villages and fishing families living on their boats
  • Dock at Silk Island to visit a few silk farms, where you can watch the intricate process of silk being made
  • Relish in a delicious lunch made from fresh, local, organic food prepped and cooked on board
  • Order your favorite cocktail, imported beer or locally grown coffee at the bar

SEE MORE DETAILS / BOOK THIS TOUR!


Phnom Penh Travel Guide For First-timer in Cambodia
Photo from Klook.com

Kirirom National Park Trip from Phnom Penh


  • Explore the scenic Kirirom National Park with its 35,000 hectares of lush greenery
  • Witness cascading waterfalls and breathtaking views of the Cardamom Mountains
  • Stroll along the walking trails, lay under the picnic shelters and enjoy local flavors in a lakeside lunch
  • Comfortable transfers will take you safely from your hotel to Kirirom National Park

SEE MORE DETAILS / BOOK THIS TOUR!


Phnom Penh Travel Guide For First-timer in Cambodia
Photo from Klook.com

Phnom Baset and Udong Mountain Excursion


  • Enjoy a private tour of two significant, cultural locations in Cambodia
  • Explore the former royal city of Udong and discover its rich historical background
  • Admire the hills of Udong, which have several impressive stupas and panoramic countryside views
  • In Phnom Baset, visit the pre-Angkorian temple from the 8th century, and the pagoda
  • Drive to Kampong Tralage Leu Pagoda and be mesmerized by the beautiful paintings and frescoes
  • Stroll though a silver craft village in Kampong Young

SEE MORE DETAILS / BOOK THIS TOUR!


Where to Stay in Phnom Penh?


During our trip to Phnom Penh, we stayed at Sundance Riverside which is conveniently located within the city center.

Sundance Riverside

Address: 79 Sisowath Quay, Voat Phnum, Doun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Room Rates:
  • Standard Double - ₱890.11 per night
  • Deluxe Double - ₱ 1,113.18 per night
  • Premium Double Room, 1 King Bed - ₱ 1,113.18 per night

MY REVIEW: Sundance Riverside is a good place to stay in Phnom Penh because it is conveniently located along the main road facing the river and near the night market and Wat Phnom. Restaurants, night clubs, and convenience stores are also just a few meters away. We booked the Standard Double room for less than one thousand pesos per night for 2 persons and it also includes breakfast for 2 persons. It is owned by a foreigner (I think British or Australian) and communicating in English is not a problem. They have a restaurant at the ground floor which also serves as the reception of the hotel and turns into a bar at night. They have good to excellent user ratings and reviews on the Traveloka App and Tripadvisor.

CHECK HERE TO BOOK A ROOM AT SUNDANCE RIVERSIDE


Top-Rated Hotels, Resorts, and Hostels in Phnom Penh


There are many accommodation options in Phnom Penh. From luxury hotels and resorts, to mid-range and budget hotels, to backpacker's inns and cheap hostels, you'll definitely find a good hotel that will suit your budget and needs. Compared to other What I love most is that Phnom Penh offers a lot of cheap, yet decent hotels ideal for families, group of friends, couples, and even for solo travelers.

NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex

Location: NagaWorld, Samdech Techo Hun Sen Park, Tonle Basak, Chamkar Mon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Guest Rating: Very Good
Room Rates: starts at ₱ 3,141.27
Book Here: Check room rates and availability



Hotel Zing Phnom Penh

Location: 105 - 107 Street 126 Sangkat, Khan Daun Penh, Phsar Thmei Pir, Doun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Guest Rating: Very Good
Room Rates: starts at ₱ 1,035.64
Book Here: Check room rates and availability



Pacific Hotel, Phnom Penh

Location: 234 Monivong Blvd, Sangkat Phsar Thmei II, Ou Ruessei Buon, Prampi Makara, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 12208
Guest Rating: Very Good
Room Rates: starts at ₱ 1,888.85
Book Here: Check room rates and availability



Rachana Hostel

Location: #142 A12 and A13 Street 19 Sangkat, chey chumneas khan daun penh, Phsar Kandal Pir, Doun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Guest Rating: Excellent
Room Rates: starts at ₱ 1,366.76
Book Here: Check room rates and availability



Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel

Location: Street Keo Chenda, Phume 1, Sangkat Chroy Changvar, Chrouy Changva, Ruessei Kaev, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 12110
Guest Rating: Excellent
Room Rates: starts at ₱ 5,346.30
Book Here: Check room rates and availability



B52 Hostel

Location: #54, Street 172, Daun Penh, Phsar Kandal Pir, Doun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Guest Rating: Very Good
Room Rates: starts at ₱ 209.38
Book Here: Check room rates and availability



Aura Thematic Hostel

Location: 205A, Street 19, Chey Chumneah, Doun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 12207
Guest Rating: Excellent
Room Rates: starts at ₱ 314.05
Book Here: Check room rates and availability


Note: Room rates are subject to change and depends on your booking dates. Room rates were taken from the current rates in the Agoda. Guest reviews were based on Agoda and Tripadvisor user reviews.

CHECK HERE TO SEE OTHER HOTELS & RESORTS IN PHNOM PENH




Cheap Flights to Phnom Penh, Cambodia


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!


For your airport transfer from Phnom Penh International Airport to your hotel, you may
book a private car transfer via Klook.com.

CHECK HERE TO SEARCH FOR CHEAP FLIGHTS TO PHNOM PENH


Where to go next?


After exploring Phnom Penh, you may go to Siem Reap Cambodia which is just about 5-6 hours away by bus. For ease and convenience, I highly recommend that you book your bus tickets in advance. You can also book it via Giant Ibis Bus thru Klook.com.

BOOK A BUS TICKET TO SIEM REAP HERE


But if you are in a group, and prefer a more private transfer from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, you may also opt to book a private car transfer. You can choose between a sedan that can seat up to four people, or a larger van, depending on your travel needs.

BOOK A PRIVATE TRANSFER TO SIEM REAP HERE


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

Don't Leave Yet...

Check out these blog articles for more travel guides for your future travels:


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


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