When people think of Cambodia travel, they often think of the period between 1975 and 1979 when Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia, resulting in an estimated two million deaths, epitomized by the mass graves of Choeung Ek, more commonly known as the Killing Fields.
These days, what to do in Phnom Penh to experience the Killing Fields means doing so on a headset-guided walking tour. With Cambodia’s dark past now behind museum walls, the ‘Paris of the East’ once again retains its former charm as a leafy South East Asian capital with a nice riverside promenade and numerous Buddhist temples and palaces, guaranteeing plenty of fascinating things to do in Phnom Penh. Whether on a one day tour in Phnom Penh, a two days tour in Phnom Penh, or staying for extended business, the answer to the question, what to do in Phnom Penh? Is, a lot!
When on Cambodia travel and deciding what to do in Phnom Penh, it becomes apparent that modern tourist venues are rare, which makes the city a good place to relax, watch street life and absorb the local color, thus Phnom Penh is the perfect destination for those interested in genuine South East Asian people and culture. A large tourist-friendly infrastructure makes a Phnom Penh city tour easy to do, and many consider it one of the friendliest capitals in Asia. One favorite place to visit in Phnom Penh is the “Riverside”. The best and widest range of restaurants and pubs are found here along the waterfront, with Western pubs and restaurants next to traditional Cambodian places plus many other cuisines. The highest concentration of hotels are found in this area too, along with the most beautiful views of the city, making Riverside your first place to visit in Phnom Penh. While ticking off your list of things to do in Phnom Penh one finds that the Khmer temples and monuments found here are some of the most stunning examples of Buddhist architecture and art found anywhere. Cambodia travel cannot be experienced without getting immersed in its Khmer culture, the art and music scene is extraordinary, making modern-day Phnom Penh a friendly and youthful place that is far removed from its recent dark past.
A lot can be seen in just a one day tour in Phnom Penh. Because of its relaxed yet colorful street-life, one of the best things to do in Phnom Penh is to take in the French-colonial buildings along the waterfront. Another place to visit in Phnom Penh is the Central Market, where you can shop for silks and ceramics, sample local delicacies at the street food stalls, and much more.
No one day tour in Phnom Penh would be complete without strolling Sisowath Quay, an attractive boulevard running along the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Sap. It’s fronted by a long open space with manicured lawns, palm trees and open paths. The esplanade is popular with Cambodians, who definitely know what to do in Phnom Penh. It starts at the riverfront park opposite the Royal Palace, and is perhaps best experienced during the cool, end of the day.
Wondering what to do in Phnom Penh if you have time for at least a two days tour in Phnom Penh? One of the most worthwhile things to do in Phnom Penh is a Cambodian Living Arts Theatre show. The Traditional Dance Show takes audiences from Angkor’s palaces to the villages of today with music and theatre. This worthy organization brings traditional arts back to life and steers them in a new, modern direction by training artists and performers to help them make a living from their craft.
1) Still pondering what to do in Phnom Penh? Take a Phnom Penh city tour with a walk along the river from north to south, where you come to a compelling place to visit in Phnom Penh, the magnificent Royal Palace. Within the palace is the Silver Pagoda, named for its gleaming silver floor. The Silver Pagoda and adjacent Temple of the Emerald Buddha were built in the 19th century with a mix of French and Cambodian designs. Guided tours can take you around the halls, gardens and the most glamorous rooms. The Royal Palace serves as the king’s residence, a venue for court ceremonies and a symbol of the Kingdom. Some sections are open to the public, so one of the more interesting things to do in Phnom Penh is to stroll through the manicured gardens and discover ornate temples, libraries and galleries inside the palace grounds.
2) Need another place to visit in Phnom Penh? The most important museum in the country, the National Museum of Cambodia, contains an excellent collection of art, statues and relics going back to the 12th century. Located next to the Royal Palace, the National Museum is home to more than 5,000 artefacts dating back to the Angkorian period.
3) Another essential place to visit in Phnom Penh is the Genocide Museum, a school that was converted into Cambodia’s most notorious prison in 1975. More than 14,000 people were tortured here before being killed here or at the Killing Fields. The museum is on every Phnom Penh city tour and compulsory for everyone interested in Cambodia’s horrific recent past.
4) No Phnom Penh city tour is complete without visiting Wat Phnom. Though the “Hill Temple” isn’t cherished for its form, its historical importance marks it as one of the oldest and most sacred places in the city.
5) Cambodia travel means water, and there’s no better way to start an evening than with a sunset cruise along the Mekong or Tonle Sap as the sun melts into the horizon. When narrowing down what to do in Phnom Penh there are plenty of Phnom Penh city tours to choose from, offering a range of venues, buffet dinners and entertainment – along with the picturesque city skyline.
Phokeethra Sport Club’s annual memberships translate to just $3 per day, but if you’re on a two days tour in Phnom Penh, or even just a one day tour in Phnom Penh, you can still indulge in any of the following programs with a day pass for only $18.
YOGA, PILATES Attend an array of fitness classes offering aerobics, core-training, Pilates, and our special 45-minute meta-fit class to push you to your limits. In each group course our instructor will work alongside you for personal instruction.
SQUASH COURTS Our 2 indoor squash courts grant the perfect forum to meet friends for a casual game or aggressive match. The courts are available free to members, with gear available for rent.
TENNIS COURTS – Lush gardens offer a stunning backdrop for our 4 tennis courts. Tennis tournaments and championships are held throughout the year, and during the weekends tennis coaches are available for people looking to up their game.
POOL – Cambodia travel can get hot, but there’s no doubt that what to do in Phnom Penh afterwards is cooling off in the most inviting pool in Phnom Penh. After all the things to do in Phnom Penh, nothing beats relaxing on a sun-lounger, cocktail in hand, while enjoying our cool garden surroundings.
SPORT CLUB BAR – After a two days tour in Phnom Penh you could do no better than visit our Sports Club Lounge and Bar. Our famous chefs offer wholesome selections like sushi, quinoa and salads, along with refreshing drinks such as smoothies and protein shakes. If your Cambodia travel brings you here on business, the Lounge’s co-working spaces and iMac can help you catch up on your emails while on the move.
Cambodia travel reaches its pinnacle at SoSpa, combining bold Khmer design with classic French flair. After the rigors of Cambodia travel it’s the place to visit in Phnom Penh to melt away the stress and strains of travel. Our massage program and regular promotions invite you to experience the natural products and innovative treatments of SoSpa, the ultimate indulgence.
Would you like to know what to do in Phnom Penh if you have a passion for contemporary art? If this means you, the Gallery is your place to visit in Phnom Penh. Featuring Cambodian talent, the Gallery displays a new exhibition every quarter with diverse collections of stories and topics. The Gallery is also available for private functions for up to 30 people — ensuring a memorable occasion surrounded by beautiful artwork. Artistically, few things to do in Phnom Penh can beat our High Tea, served at Le Bar next to the gallery where you can enjoy our handmade culinary delights while speaking with the artist.
OUT OF CONTROL EXHIBITION
BY CHANNY CHHOEUN
Kbach Gallery prime objective is to promote and support the street art in Cambodia. It gave many opportunity to Street artist to showcase their talents and to build their name in local stage. While display local artist’s work, It also puts on exhibits of international artists’ pieces too. Kbach Khmer is situated at 42E street 178, Songkhat Chhey Chomneas, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia +855 (o)70 956 888.
META HOUSE is a creative space in the heart of the city that was opened in 2007 by German filmmaker Nico Mesterharm. The two-storey building is home to a ground floor gallery. Meta House is situated at 37 Sothearos Boulevard, Songkhat Tonle Bassak, Khan Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, +855 (0)10 312 333 (mobile) or +855 (0)23 224 140.
Institut Français du Cambodge is an art gallery, school, and music venue, operated since 1992 under the name the Institut Français du Cambodge (IFC), later changed Centre Culturel Français. This was the first art centre to reopen in Cambodia after decades of cultural stagnancy brought on by civil unrest. The spacious grounds house gardens and a sprawling minimalist-style building. It holds regular exhibitions, workshops and classes, live entertainment, screenings and mini festivals. Institut Français du Cambodge is situated at 218 Street 184, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, +855 (0)10 312 333 (mobile) or +855 (0)23 224 140.
Would you like to know what to do in Phnom Penh if you have a passion for contemporary art? If this means you, the Gallery is your place to visit in Phnom Penh. Featuring Cambodian talent, the Gallery displays a new exhibition every quarter with diverse collections of stories and topics. The Gallery is also available for private functions for up to 30 people — ensuring a memorable occasion surrounded by beautiful artwork. Artistically, few things to do in Phnom Penh can beat our Artist’s High Tea, where you can enjoy our handmade culinary delights while speaking with the artist.