Things To Do In Phnom Penh

explore phnom penh s attractions

Phnom Penh is a city where ancient temples meet modern nightlife, and street food stalls rival upscale eateries.

Explore the Independence Monument, Royal Palace, and serene Wat Botum temple. Discover the National Museum, Chan Chaya Pavilion, and Kbach arts space. Indulge in affordable street food, local drinks, and socially conscious eats.

Take a scenic stroll along Sisowath Quay, visit the stunning Wat Moha Montrei, or explore the vibrant Night Market. And, there’s so much more to experience in this enchanting city – get ready to uncover its hidden gems.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore Phnom Penh’s historical landmarks, including the Independence Monument, Royal Palace, and Wat Botum.
  • Discover Cambodia’s rich culture at the National Museum, Chan Chaya Pavilion, and Kbach Contemporary Art Space.
  • Indulge in local cuisine at Street Food Frenzy, try Khmer iced coffee, and explore socially conscious eateries.
  • Enjoy scenic views at Sisowath Quay, visit Wat Moha Montrei, and experience the vibrant Night Market.
  • Relax at rooftop bars like Le Moon, Lumiere, or Cloud 9, offering stunning views and diverse drinks.

Phnom Penh Historical Landmarks

historical landmarks in phnom penh

As you explore Phnom Penh’s rich history, you’ll uncover a treasure trove of historical landmarks that showcase the city’s storied past, from the grand Independence Monument to the serene Wat Botum temple.

  • The Independence Monument, a central symbol of national celebrations, marks Cambodia’s independence from France in 1953. This iconic landmark is a must-visit, especially during national celebrations when it’s adorned with colourful flags and decorations.
  • Next, head to the Royal Palace, a majestic complex that serves as the official residence of the King of Cambodia. Although you can’t enter the palace itself, the surrounding gardens and buildings are open to visitors, offering a glimpse into the country’s royal heritage.
  • After exploring the palace, make your way to Wat Botum, a tranquil Buddhist temple known for its saffron robes and peaceful atmosphere. This temple is a serene oasis in the heart of the bustling city, providing a perfect spot to relax and reflect.

These historical landmarks offer a fascinating glimpse into Phnom Penh’s rich history and culture, making them a must-visit during your trip.

Phnom Penh Cultural Attractions

Beyond the city’s historical landmarks, Phnom Penh’s vibrant cultural attractions await your exploration, offering a fascinating glimpse into Cambodia’s rich heritage and contemporary creative spirit. As you discover the city’s cultural scene, you’ll uncover a treasure trove of traditional and modern expressions.

  • Visit the Royal Palace, home to the National Museum of Cambodia, which showcases an impressive collection of Khmer art and artefacts.
  • For a taste of traditional Khmer culture, head to the Chan Chaya Pavilion, where you can witness classical dance performances that will transport you to a past era. Alternatively, explore the Kbach contemporary art space at Factory Phnom Penh, which features modern Cambodian art that will leave you mesmerized.
  • Take a stroll through the serene atmosphere of Wat Botum, a Buddhist temple adorned with vibrant saffron robes, or visit the Pavilion for Royal Celebrations, a significant cultural landmark that hosts Khmer festival celebrations.
  • Finally, pay respects to the revered former king of Cambodia at the Shrine of King Norodom Sihanouk.
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Phnom Penh Culinary Delights

Indulge in Phnom Penh’s culinary landscape, where the aromas of sizzling street food, the sweetness of sugarcane juice, and the richness of Khmer coffee beckon you to explore the city’s vibrant food scene. As you wander through the streets, you’ll discover an array of traditional Khmer cuisine, from spicy curries to fragrant fish dishes.

Embark on a culinary adventure and try these must-try experiences:

  1. Street Food Frenzy: Sample affordable and delicious dishes from street vendors, like grilled meats, noodle soups, and crispy fried insects.
  2. Local Drinks: Refresh with Khmer ice coffee, sugarcane juice, and other local beverages that’ll quench your thirst and energize your exploration.
  3. Socially Conscious Eats: Visit restaurants like Knyay and Samaky, which support social enterprises and local causes, and offer tasty vegetarian options.

Experience the unique blend of flavours and spices that define Cambodian cuisine, influenced by neighbouring countries. From bustling markets like the Russian Market to riverside dining options, Phnom Penh’s culinary delights will leave you craving more.

Phnom Penh Shopping Destinations

You’ll find a shopper’s paradise in Phnom Penh, where bustling markets, iconic landmarks, and vibrant night bazaars await your exploration. Get ready to engage yourself in the city’s shopping scene, where you can find everything from unique souvenirs to antiques and fresh food.

Here are three must-visit shopping destinations in Phnom Penh:

  1. Central Market (Phsar Thmey): This iconic Art Deco dome market offers a vast array of products and crafts, making it a shopper’s dream come true.
  2. Russian Market (Toul Tom Poung): Experience local life and culture at this bustling market, where you can find everything from souvenirs to clothing and accessories.
  3. Night Market: Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening, the Night Market comes alive with local street food, handicrafts, and a vibrant atmosphere that’s perfect for a cultural shopping experience.

From exploring local markets to discovering unique souvenirs, Phnom Penh’s shopping scene has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for an authentic cultural experience or simply want to take home a piece of Cambodia, you’ll find it all in this shopper’s paradise.

Phnom Penh Outdoor Activities

As you step away from the bustling markets and shopping districts, Phnom Penh’s great outdoors beckons, offering an invigorating change of pace and a chance to connect with the city’s natural beauty and vibrant cultural heritage.

  • Take a leisurely stroll along Sisowath Quay, where the scenic riverside views of the Tonle Sap River will leave you enchanted. Visit the serene Wat Moha Montrei, a stunning pastel-coloured temple that serves as a monastery, school, and community centre.
  • In the evenings, experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Night Market, open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, where you can savour local street food and shop for souvenirs.
  • For a peaceful escape, participate in free meditation classes at Wat Langka, where sessions last for an hour and provide a serene oasis in the bustling city. You can also witness the daily morning ritual of monks collecting alms and food offerings as they walk through the streets of Phnom Penh.
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Rooftop Bars With City Views

Frequently, after a day of exploring Phnom Penh’s bustling streets, visitors seek out rooftop bars with breathtaking city views to unwind and take in the vibrant atmosphere.

  • You’ll find some of the best views in the city at Le Moon Rooftop Bar, where you can sip on signature cocktails while overlooking the Mekong River and the Royal Palace.
  • For a luxurious dining experience, head to Lumiere Rooftop Bar, known for its elegant ambience and creative cuisine.
  • If you’re looking for a trendy spot to relax, Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar is the place to be, with its diverse drink selection and lively atmosphere.
  • Whatever your style, Phnom Penh’s rooftop bars have something for everyone.
  • Take in the panoramic views of the city skyline at the Eclipse Sky Bar, or engage yourself in the vibrant nightlife at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) Rooftop Bar, a historical venue with stunning city views.

Whatever you choose, you’re sure to find a rooftop bar that suits your taste and leaves you with unforgettable memories of Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh Day Trips and Excursions

exploring phnom penh s surroundings

Beyond the vibrant streets of Phnom Penh, a world of exciting day trips and excursions awaits, offering a chance to uncover the region’s rich history, serene landscapes, and diverse wildlife.

  • Take a day trip to the Killing Fields and S-21 Genocide Museum to learn about Cambodia’s tragic history under the Khmer Rouge regime. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of the country’s past and its impact on the present.
  • For a serene escape from the city, head to Silk Island (Koh Dach), known for its clear waters and traditional silk-weaving villages. You can also explore the Mekong Delta, the rice bowl of Asia, where you’ll experience floating communities, rich birdlife, and lush mangroves.
  • If you’re interested in wildlife, join a private tour to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center to see rescued animals and support conservation efforts. Alternatively, unwind on a sunset cruise along the TonlĂ© Sap River, enjoying unlimited drinks, live music, and stunning city views.

Phnom Penh Local Festivals and Events

Experience the vibrant pulse of Phnom Penh’s cultural scene by diving into its local festivals and events, where traditional ceremonies, lively street performances, and mouth-watering local cuisine come together to create unforgettable memories.

Buddhist HolidaysCelebrate Visaka Bochea Day, Bonn Pchu, Ben Day, and Bonn Om Touk with traditional ceremonies and festivities.
Cultural EventsWitness Cambodian royal traditions at the Royal Palace Parks, the official residence of King Sihamoni.
Night MarketEnjoy local cuisine, Cambodian souvenirs, and vibrant street performances at the Night Market, open on weekends.
Freedom Park GatheringsReflect on the city’s active political and social scene at Freedom Park, a common site for protests and gatherings.

As you explore Phnom Penh’s festivals and events, you’ll uncover the city’s rich cultural heritage. From the historic riverside area of Sisowath Quay to the lively Night Market, every experience is a reflection of the city’s vibrant energy.

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Phnom Penh Family-Friendly Activities

exploring phnom penh with kids

As you explore Phnom Penh’s vibrant cultural scene, why not engage your loved ones and create lasting memories with a range of family-friendly activities that cater to all ages?

  • You can start with a visit to Wat Phnom, a hilltop temple offering stunning views of the city and a serene atmosphere perfect for families.
  • Next, head to the Royal Palace Parks, where kids can explore the beautiful grounds and learn about Cambodian royalty and history.
  • For a more relaxed outing, take a leisurely stroll along Sisowath Quay, a historic riverside promenade with scenic views and a lively atmosphere.
  • If you’re looking for some retail therapy, explore the Central Market, a bustling Art Deco structure offering a wide range of products and souvenirs for the whole family to browse.

By participating in vibrant Buddhist holidays like Visaka Bochea Day, you can involve your family in local culture and traditions.

Tips for Exploring Phnom Penh

When exploring Phnom Penh’s bustling streets, grab a map, slip on comfortable shoes, and get ready to fully engage yourself in the city’s rich history and vibrant culture.

As you wander, you’ll discover a mix of modern and traditional architecture, from the stunning Royal Palace to the Art Deco Central Market.

To make the most of your adventure, follow these tips:

  1. Plan your day: Beat the heat by exploring indoor attractions like the Royal Palace and Central Market during the hottest part of the day.
  2. Respect local customs: Dress modestly when visiting temples like Wat Phnom, and remove your shoes when entering sacred areas.
  3. Stay hydrated: Bring refillable water bottles and take breaks in shaded areas to avoid heat exhaustion.

As you explore, keep an eye out for hidden gems, like street food stalls serving delicious local cuisine or tiny shops selling handmade crafts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Phnom Penh Worth Visiting?

You’re wondering if Phnom Penh is worth visiting? Absolutely! This vibrant city has undergone a stunning transformation in recent years, blending modern amenities with a rich history.
You’ll find a unique atmosphere and pace of life that’s perfect for relaxation. With its diverse attractions, including historical sites like the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh offers a wealth of experiences that’ll leave you enriched and enthusiastic for more.

What to Avoid in Phnom Penh?

When travelling to Phnom Penh, you’ll want to avoid a few key things to guarantee a smooth and respectful trip.
First, ditch the revealing clothes when visiting temples – you want to show respect for the religious sites.
Be mindful of your belongings in crowded areas, and steer clear of sensitive topics like politics with locals.

How Many Days Should You Spend in Phnom Penh?

You’re wondering how many days to spend in Phnom Penh. Well, it really depends on your travel style and interests.
If you’re looking for a quick taste of the city, one day can give you a glimpse into its history and vibe.
But if you want to dig deeper, 2-3 days is ideal for a relaxed exploration of its key attractions and cultural landmarks.

What Is Special About Phnom Penh?

As you explore Phnom Penh, you’ll discover what makes it so special. This city seamlessly blends modernity with tradition, boasting stunning temples, vibrant markets, and a picturesque riverside setting.
You’ll experience the rich history and cultural significance of landmarks like the Royal Palace and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The city’s unique blend of old and new will leave you captivated and enthusiastic to explore more.


Phnom Penh, a city where ancient temples meet modern vibrancy, offers a wealth of experiences that blend history, culture, and cuisine.

From exploring iconic landmarks like the Independence Monument and Royal Palace to indulging in local street food and shopping at bustling markets, this enchanting city has something for everyone.

Whether you’re relaxing at scenic spots like Sisowath Quay or unwinding at rooftop bars, Phnom Penh promises unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for Cambodia’s rich heritage.

As you leave, you’ll carry the essence of this vibrant city with you, eager to return for more.

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