What to do in Phnom Penh, the Heart of Cambodia

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In Phnom Penh, itineraries are almost arbitrary. This happens because there’s no such thing as perfect decision when it comes to what to do in the capital of Cambodia. And this is not only true for one or a couple of days; it’s equally valid for longer stays.

Ironically, Phnom Penh carries the mark of a French city (due to the French protectorate which was active in Cambodia for decades, influencing local lifestyle and having a major authority in the architecture and the urban planning of the town), even if, in the light of those who know the surroundings well, it’s a really Asian city: markets are extended to the point when they enter residential streets, promenade and local traffic intermingle, and you can actually see fishermen walking along business men on the Mekong riverside.

1-Day Stay in the Heart of Cambodia

  • Morning: Visit the Silver Pagoda and the Royal Palace.
  • Afternoon: Lunch out, at a local Khmer restaurant. We suggest Khmer Borane Restaurant or Bopha Phnom Penh Restaurant.
  • Evening: Short visit at Wat Ounalom, followed by a walk in the Old Town area.

Wat Phnom Phnom Penh - Cambodia

2-Day Stay in The Pearl of Asia

  • 1st day
    • Visit the Mekong Island; enjoy unique water sceneries.
    • A walk on the Mekon embankment, followed by a dinner at a restaurant facing the river (there are many).
  • 2nd day
    • Learn about the koki tree legend at Wat Phnom.
    • Shop for traditional Cambodian crafts (Phsar Thmey).

3-Day Stay in Cambodia’s Capital

  • 1st day
    • Visit the Old Town and the Mekong and Tonlé Sap riversides.
    • Try a traditional massage. Services vary and so do prices.
  • 2nd day
    • Visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda.
    • Take a boat trip on Mekong River.
  • 3rd day
    • Shop for Khmer pottery. Apart from Phsar Thmey, try Phsar Toul Thom Pong
    • Enjoy superb recipes of cocktails in one of the sophisticated local clubs located in the downtown area.

Boys Phnom Penh Day Out - January 20 2008

7-Day Stay in Phnom Penh

  • 1st day
    • See the Royal Palace. If there is enough time, visit the Chatomuk Theatre, located nearby.
    • Shoot pictures of Wat Phnom and Wat Ounalom.
  • 2nd day
    • Full-day trip on Mekong. Shoot pictures with local fishermen, go to the Mekong Island, and see the city from the river. A splendid panorama.
  • 3rd day
    • Take Cambodian cooking classes at Frizz Restaurant.
    • Enjoy a Khmer dinner at Khmer Surin. Make sure you make a reservation in time for this one if it’s touristic season.
  • 4th day
    • Rent a quad or a bike and visit the city and the surroundings by yourself.
    • Try Chinese restaurants (like Hua Nam). They’re nothing like the ones in the West.
  • 5th day
    • Visit the National Museum. You can learn about the history of the country a great deal in a short time.
  • 6th day
    • Learn more history at Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek. Not suitable for children.
    • Take short trip to Oudong, one of the former capitals of the country. Enjoy the sight of old royal ruins.
  • 7th day
    • Get your hair done on the Hairdressers’ Street.

Enjoy the evening out at one restaurant or bar on the Mekong riverside. You should expect many people and, generally, a joyful crowd chattering on terraces long after midnight.