Phnom Penh is a beautiful Southeast Asian city and the capital of Cambodia. Once the capital of the French colony of Cambodia and Manchuria, Phnom Penh has an interesting pre and post-colonial history, giving rise to a plethora of things to do in Phnom Penh. Its great boulevards are still lined with old colonial French villas and buildings but the country’s Buddhist heritage endures in the many gorgeous monasteries and pagodas located here. As a busy capital and major economic and cultural center, Phnom Penh gets a lot of visitors. So, become one of them and witness a culture trip to experience Combodia like never before.
18 Best Things To Do In Phnom Penh
Let’s discover what all you can do on your trip to this marvelous city in Cambodia for a fun and frolic vacation:
1. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum: Illuminating Hours
The Killing Fields of Cambodia is a horrifying part of the history of the country. The museum used to be a highschool-turned-torture-center where almost 17,000 Cambodians were killed. The place has been preserved in the state it was found when the city was liberated in January 1979. Almost 6,000 haunting photographs from labor and extermination camps run during the Pol Pot regimes are displayed here. While not the most cheerful of places, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is an essential part of the history of the place and that makes visiting it one of the most essential things to do in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Location: Street 113, Tuol Sleng, Phnom Penh
Timings: 7 AM – 5.30 PM
Entry fee: INR 400 (guided tour)
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2. Royal Palace And Silver Pagoda: A Royal Tour
Cambodia is a monarchy, and the Royal Palace is a stunning architectural masterpiece of the 19th century. The palace is still sometimes used by the King, which is when the royal blue staff is flown. On days that he is not there, you can get an intimate look inside the opulent palace on guided tours that are run here. The Throne Hall and the Moonlight Pavillion are two places that you can not miss. Entry to the gardens and the Silver Pagoda that stands right outside is free.
Location: Riverside, Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh
Timings: 8 AM – 5 PM
Palace entry fee: INR 450
3. Phsar Thmey: Bargains And More!
The central market in Phnom Penh has a uniquely different history from most inner city markets in South Asia, making it one of the most popular activities to do in Phnom Penh! Designed by French architects Jean Desbois and Wladimir Koundorouff, it was the biggest indoor market anywhere in Asia when it was built. The market now houses everything Cambodian, including clothing, jewelry, local vegetables and fruits, handicrafts, and so on. An authentic look at Khmer culture, you can check your haggling skills here and buy the best souvenirs during your trip. Also, Phsar Thmey is a great place to take awesome photographs of Cambodia.
Location: Street 130, Phnom Penh
Timings: 7 AM – 6 PM
4. Killing Fields: Paying Homage
If you are looking for some unusual things to do in Phnom Penh, this is where you must head to. S-21 prison was the most brutal of Khmer Rouge extermination camps. It is the site of the mass killing burial of over 15,000 people. After its discovery, a Buddhist monument called the Choeung Ek was built as a mark of respect for their souls. You can get half-day tours of the Killing Fields where you are provided with informative audio guides as well as tours of the prison facility that housed the victims. This is a must on your Phnom Penh itinerary.
Location: 17 kilometres outside Phnom Penh city
Timings: 7 AM – 5:30 PM
Entry fee: INR 400/- for 12 years and above
5. Ta Prohm Temple: Glancing Heritage
This 12th century temple is a glorious snapshot into the Cambodian culture before the arrival of the French. An impressive stone monument in Hindu mythology that dominated the country at the time, the temple complex bears similarities to the more famous Angkor Wat. The Ta Prohm is a popular tourist attraction for people who are staying in Phnom Penh City.
Location: 32 kilometres from Phnom Penh
Entry fee: INR 200/-
6. The Cambodian Living Arts: Entertainment
Watch traditional dance performances at The Cambodian Living Arts. A not-for-profit that seeks to popularise the Cambodian living arts of Apsara and Khmer dance, the Cambodian Living Arts hosts cultural events at the Cambodian National Museum. Events are usually scheduled inside the museum premises. The show features live musicians as well as traditional costumes of the people of Cambodia. Since serving a philanthropic cause while traveling is usually not on the mind of most tourists, it may seem like one of the most non-touristy and yet best things to do in Phnom Penh!
Location: National Museum of Cambodia
Timings: 7 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays and weekends
Ticket cost: INR 1000/-
7. National Museum Of Cambodia: Peeping The Past
Take a tour of the National Museum of Cambodia. The National Museum of Cambodia is the largest collection of archaeological artifacts recovered from the country. Touring it, is amongst the free things to do in Phnom Penh for travelers! Even though it was built during the French colonial days, the red sandstone building is a great example of the traditional Khmer architectural style. There are more than 14,000 exhibits here, and a guided tour of the museum will offer a glimpse into the heart of Cambodia.
Location: Preah Ang Eng Street (13), Phnom Penh
Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM
Entry fee: Entry and guided tours are free
8. The Vibe Cafe: Scrumptious Meals
Enjoy a dinner at The Vibe Cafe. This is the only totally vegan restaurant in the Cambodian capital. There are plenty of homemade recipes that are a rage here. At dirt cheap prices, this is your destination for the great and the healthy. No wonder, it makes it to our list of top 10 things to do in Phnom Penh! The restaurant is located in a trendy locale with chic interiors and terrace seating as well, so it is a great place to have dinner if you are staying in Phnom Penh city.
Location: Russian Market
Timings: 7:30 AM – 9 PM
9. Long After Dark: Endless Drinks!
Witnessing the nightlife of Cambodia at Long After Dark is one of the most fun things to do in Phnom Penh. Featured on Lonely Planet, this great bar in the Russian Market has some interesting drinks to offer and a trendy patron base. You can find single malt whiskies that are so hard to find these days here, and also different Cambodian craft beers that can get you spinning. Happy hours apply after 5 PM on Fridays. If you’re looking for things to do in Phnom Penh at night, exploring the nightlife will blow your mind like none other.
Location: Russian Market
Timings: 12 PM to 2 AM
10. Visit The Independence Monument: Sightseeing
If you are wondering what to do in Phnom Penh before catching that late evening flight, a trip to Independence Monument should top your list of things to do in Phnom Penh near the airport. Built to mark Cambodian independence from the French rule, the monument is a surreal sight, right in the heart of Phnom Penh city. The panels and nagas of the seven-tiered memorial are an immortalization of Khmer architecture.
Location: Angkat Boeng Keng Kang Ti Muoy
11. Phnom Udong: Glimpse Of Nature
Visiting is one of the best things to do near Phnom Penh. Phnom means mountains in the Khmer dialect. Before establishing Phnom Penh as the capital of Cambodia, Udong was the capital for a long time. The palace still remains as an attraction along with Mount Udong. There are humps left of this mountain, and each has a stupa built on it. Phnom Vihear Leu (small sanctuary), Phnom Preah Reach Throop (Hill of the Royal Fortune), stupas of Damrei Ang Doung, Sam Poan and Mak Proum are a must visit. The peak also has several Buddha temples, statues, relics and carvings decorated on it.
12. Wildlife Alliance: Rare Friendships
Wildlife Alliance is another interesting place to explore in Phnom Penh Cambodia. It is an enormous animal sanctuary and conservation center that was established in the year 1995. It is taken care of by a non-profit organization which work dedicatedly to spread awareness about these extinct species and measures required to preserve them.
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Timings: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
13. Wat Phnom: The Four Statues Temple
Wat Phnom, a popular traditional Buddhist temple that was constructed in the early 14th century, is one of the most popular places to visit in Phnom Penh Cambodia. The temple comprises 4 statues of Buddha and is regularly visited by locals of the area. The lush green ambiance and serene environs of this attraction will surely revive your soul.
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Timings: 7:00 AM-6:00 PM
14. The Old Market: Best Organic Mangoes
Still wondering what to do in Phnom Penh? The Old Market in Phnom Penh is known as Phsar Chas. This traditional Cambodian market is quite popular for its organic mangoes mangoes. The market is located in the Old French Quarter and is a perfect spot to hop in for breakfasts and other meals. You can check out the awesome collections here apart from relishing the scrumptious local delicacies.
Location: Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Timings: 7:00 AM-8:00 PM
15. The Olympic Market: Fabric Stores
Are you interested in buying fabrics from Phnom Penh Cambodia? If yes then you must surely head to the Olympic Market. The place is known for offering fantastic fabrics and have numerous fabric stalls where you can find really fine collections. Don’t forget to check out local delicacies from the food stalls here!
Location: 95 St 286, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Timings: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM
16. Silk Island: For Silk-Lovers
Silk Island offers the exclusive quality of silk and cotton outfits including scarves and a lot more. The place is also known as Koh Dach and is a hub of traders and silk weavers who gather from all across Cambodia. Don’t forget to bargain here before grabbing your favorite one back home.
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
17. Sisowath Quay Boardwalk: Reviving Steps
You can head to Sisowath Quay Boardwalk to witness the mesmerizing scenes of sunsets. It is a perfect picnic spot with numerous vendors selling popcorn, coconut water, beer, peanuts, snacks, etc. Its an ideal spot for clicking photographs.
Location: Intersection of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers
18. Phocea Mekong Cruises: Beautiful Memories
Phocea Mekong Cruises are the best to make your Cambodian vacation a memorable one! This two and a half hour excursion will make you capture the best memories with your significant other. You will also be crossing the Royal Palace while enjoying your cruise ride.
Timings: 5:00 PM-10:00 PM
Price: INR 1600 onwards
The list can go on and on, considering there is much more to explore in this delightful Cambodian city. For the best experiences of these things to do near Phnom Penh and in the capital, plan your trip to Cambodia and head to the city of Phnom Penh to enjoy exploring the architectural remains of the Khmer Empire and French colonialists and strolling on the gorgeous riverfronts.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Phnom Penh
Is one day enough in Phnom Penh?
No, 24-hours is quite a little time to explore the capital city of Cambodia. If you wish to capture the true vibe of this lively city then you must stay for at least 2-3 days here. Generally, the place serves to be a gateway to travelers heading to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, but there are numerous attractions such as Royal Palace And Silver Pagoda, National Museum Of Cambodia, Ta Prohm Temple, Killing Fields, Phsar Thmey, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, etc. are worth exploring sites in Phnom Penh.
Do and don'ts in Cambodia?
Keep the following things in mind while exploring Cambodia: 1. Do not use feet to point at someone or something. 2. Do dress decently while visiting temples and royal abodes. 3. Ask for permission before taking any photographs of local people. 4. Do not visit secluded places alone during late hours.
Is it safe to visit Phnom Pehn during Covid times?
You need to follow all the mandatory safety guidelines mentioned by the authorities to ensure a safe travel experience. Remain masked while stepping out and maintain social distance. Avoid visiting crowded places and keep sanitizing your hands after touching surfaces.
What are some of the cool things to do in Phnom Penh?
There are numerous interesting things to do in Phnom Penh such as visiting the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, shopping at Phsar Thmey, and trying their local delicacies are some of the cool things to do in Phnom Penh.
What are the best things to do in Phnom Penh in 2 days?
You can choose to go for a guided tour to ancient temples, Mount Chisor, and Takeo silk village and also check out the live traditional dance performances at the Cambodian Living Arts.
Is Phnom Penh safe?
Yes, the city is completely safe for visitors. The government of Cambodia ensures a safe ambiance for visitors.
Is there any temple in Phnom Penh?
Yes, there are many Buddhist temples in Phnom Penh. The most popular temple are Wat Langka & Wat Phnom. Silver Pagoda, Wat Ounalom, Wat Moha Montrey, Wat Saravan, Wat Botum, etc. are other prominent temples in Phnom Penh.
Is Phnom Penh safe at night?
Yes, the city is safe at night. However, there had been past cases of armed robbery in the area but according to the data by the government, the city is completely safe, and strict rules are followed to maintain the same in the city.
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