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Phnom Penh

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The Royal Palace

Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia, located at the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap rivers.

Understand

Despite being liberated from the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese back in 1979, Phnom Penh has long remained a bit rough. However, things are improving, though roads remain shabby, traffic chaotic and electricity strained.

The city is slowly gaining high rise buildings and traffic lights. The beauty that made it a 'Paris of the East' before 1970 is unfortunately well hidden, though there are few French colonial buildings remaining. The wide boulevards and promenades envisaged by the French have become parking spaces and market stalls: pedestrians are not in favour.

The most pleasant strolling is to be done along park-like riverfront, which hosts cafés and restaurants aplenty. Standard tourist sights are few, which makes the city a place to relax, watch the streetlife and absorb the local color. Phnom Penh is worthwhile destination for those who enjoy an 'edge' experience and can brave the downsides of reckless driving, noise, dust and perennial theft. Touts and beggars abound, the worst area is the tourist strip along the river. Be firm, though a polite refusal should work.

Older or disabled beggars will be happy to accept 500 riel, though bear in mind that anyone old enough to have survived the Khmer Rouge has had a tough life. Generosity here is no bad thing. Some older people may even invoke a blessing on you for your gift. Do not give to child beggars.

Weather is hot and humid, with showers in the late afternoon in the rainy season.

History

In 1975 Phnom Penh was choked with up to 2 million refugees from the war between the then U.S.-backed government and the Khmer Rouge. The city fell to the Khmer Rouge in 1975, who completely emptied it of civilians and allowed it to crumble for several years. The city's small class of skilled or educated professionals was systematically murdered by Pol Pot, or driven into exile. Cambodia's developing economy and institutionalised corruption have concentrated wealth into a new rich class that now supports Phnom Penh's new fancy hotels and restaurants. Increasing tourist numbers are also bringing about improving tourist infrastructure.

Orientation

All of Phnom Penh's streets are numbered, some major thoroughfares also have names. The scheme is simple: odd-numbered streets run north-south, the numbers increasing as you head west from the river, and even numbers run west-east, increasing as you head south (with some exceptions, e.g. the west side of what was Boeung Kak lake). House numbers, however, are quite haphazard. Don't expect houses to be numbered sequentially in a street; you might even find two completely unrelated houses with the same number in the same street.

Get in

Business Visas
Business Visas are the best choice for those wishing to stay for over two months with multiple entries, as a business visa can be extended indefinitely (approximately US$140 per 6 month extension and US$285 per 12 month extension) and have multiple entry status when (and only when) extended. For faster and reliable processing of your long term Business Visa application, it is advisable to contact reliable and reputable travel agents who have better knowledge and understanding of the system for prompt visa application processing and delivery. Business people and travellers can contact Amandeep Travel Agency for their long-term Visa requirements at the following phone numbers: 097 236 2092 or 097 236 0947.


See Cambodia | Get in for general information on getting into Cambodia.
See Cambodia | Get in | Visas for detailed visa information.

By plane

Phnom Penh International Airport [1] (IATA: PNH | ICAO: VDPP) is the largest airport in Cambodia, located 7 km west of the city. The following airlines operate service to/from Phnom Penh:

AirAsia (Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok), Asiana Airlines [2](Seoul-Incheon), Bangkok Airways (Bangkok), Cambodia Angkor Air (Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap), China Airlines (Taipei), China Eastern Airlines (Kunming, Nanning), China Southern Airlines (Beijing, Guangzhou), Dragonair (Hong Kong), EVA Air (Taipei), Jetstar Asia Airways (Singapore), Korean Air (Seoul-Incheon), Malaysia Airlines (Kuala Lumpur), Shanghai Airlines (Shanghai), SilkAir (Singapore), Thai AirAsia (Bangkok), Thai Airways International (Bangkok), Tiger Airways (Singapore), Vietnam Airlines (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vientiane)

The new terminal is a thoroughly pleasant and modern facility, and features a post office, bank (including ATMs), restaurants, duty-free shop, newsstand, tourist help desk, and business centre. As of April 2011 there is no more departure tax to be paid at the airport - all taxes are now incorporated into the ticket price. Taxis from the public taxi stand at the airport cost a flat US$9, and tuk-tuks cost US$7 officially. If you are willing to lug your bags outside the airport fence you can catch a tuktuk into town for US$3. For visitors on a budget without a lot of luggage, it's worth catching an official motorcycle taxi for US$2.

Duty Free prices in Cambodia seem to be horribly inflated - alcohol and cigarettes cost cost half as much at shops and supermarkets in the city, like the Lucky Supermarket - so stock up on alcohol (put it in your checked baggage due to liquid restrictions for carry on baggage) and cigarettes before you come to the airport. For example, 1L of Absolut Vodka is US$21 at the airport, and US$11 at supermarkets in the city. Electronics are also overpriced (but at least they're the genuine article) - and check out some of the antique shavers that are still on sale!

By bus

Cambodia is finally aiding its development through improving its roads. Since around 2008, asphalt has been blazing trails into unexpected and remote places making for faster, year-round accessibility. The main highways that run on either side of the Tonle Sap from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Battambang, Sisophon and Poipet (for Thailand) are both well paved and in good condition.

The quality of buses runs the gamut, with the less desirable buses being a few dollars cheaper than more comfortable buses (for example on-board movie). Safety standards are low and crashes (not always reported) are common with both 'quality' and 'cheapie' bus line alike.

The rather chaotic bus station at the southwest corner of the Central Market is the base for buses run by Mekong Express, Phnom Penh Sorya Transport, Capitol Tours, Giant Ibis, and GST Express.

Tickets are available at the bus station. Guesthouses and travel agents throughout the city will also arrange tickets for a $1-2 commission.

Some passengers have experienced valuables being stolen from their luggage when stored out of sight.

International services

Borders are not open 24 hrs: some night buses will wait at the border until it opens. If entering Cambodia, watch out for visa scams and avoid the Kumho Samco if coming in from Vietnam.

  • Bangkok (US$15, around 14 hrs) change of bus required at the Poipet border.
  • Vientiane (around 27 hrs) A generally inconvenient and stressful trip. Shambolic border procedure, multiple bus changes, through tickets not being honoured and nocturnal groping should all be expected. Travelling via Bangkok (theoretically also around 27 hrs but with tight connections) should be seriously considered as the 8PM Bangkok-Nong Khai (Laos border, 20 km from Vientiane) sleeper train (13 hrs) will be safer and more comfortable than any overnight bus through Southern Laos.

Buses arriving from Pakse enter the city at night (around 7:30 to 8:00 pm) via Monivong Ave, leaving tired and emotional travellers prone to being preyed on tuktuk touts. Watch out!

Domestic services

Phnom Penh is the domestic transport hub and direct buses run to just about every provincial capital, including far flung town like Pailin, Samraong, Banlung and Sen Monorom. The crowded peasant mover Paramount Angkor specializes in out-of-the-way towns, avoid it for intercity travel as it's the same price as more genteel companies but does not guarantee a seat.

More frequently visited destinations include:

  • Siem Reap ($US5-10, 6 hrs) Capitol Tours (US$5) is the only company that runs buses to central Siem Reap. Other companies leave travellers at the mercy of tuk-tuk touts in an out of town bus station.

By boat

Ferries connect Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and usually take 6 hr; tickets for foreigners cost US$32. Many, but not all, of these ferries offer the option of sitting on the roof, which makes for a much more scenic, albeit less comfortable ride than the bus; take sunblock, a hat, and enough water to last you for several hours just in case the boat gets stuck.The boat leave 7:30am. Fast boats leave every morning around 8AM from Chau Doc in Vietnam's Mekong Delta and take 5 hr to reach Phnom Penh. The boats make the return journey the same day and leave Phnom Penh around 1PM arriving in Chau Doc in the early evening.

There are 3 choices of boat to Chau Doc:

  • Hang Chau Speed Boat (no pickup, tour guide, water, snack, insurance), leaves at 12:00, takes 4hours, Price US$22
  • Dalta Adventure, leaves at 08:30, 5hours, price US$21
  • Mekong Tour Slow Boat, leaves at 7hr 30 min, takes 7-8hours, price US$12

By train

There is a limited freight service running from Kampot to Phnom Penh on the Southern Line. Track repair is underway and passenger services on both the Northern (to Battambang and Poipet (for Thailand) and Southern (to Kep, Kampot and Sihanoukville) Lines are set to resume by 2013. Bamboo trains operate in various towns along the line, though the one most pushed to tourists is just outside Battambang.

Get around

Phnom Penh's main streets are in good shape; however some smaller streets and footpaths are rutted and pot-holed, clogged with garbage, stagnant water, parked motos, sleeping people and building materials. Many smaller streets bear either no or misleading signage, however Phnom Penh is logically laid out (see orientation) and navigating is not too difficult.

Tuk tuk sir?
Not having a ride will necessarily entail being pestered for one. Phnom Penh's lack of coordinated public transport gives jobs to many poor provincial immigrants, who - with their wheels - harangue any pedestrian in the city centre, particularly tourists.

  • Agree a fare in advance. Be clear whether it is for one way or return and in total or per person.
  • "Do you know where this address is?" will always be answered by "yes". Put it to the test and show a driver a recipe, while claiming it's an address. Be patient and expect the driver to pull over mid-trip to ask passers by for directions even to the most obvious of destinations.
  • Don't leave possessions exposed to snatchers. Women are often targeted.
  • The tuk tuk drivers outside the Foreign Correspondent's Club are notoriously pushy and aggressive. Avoid them: walk half a block and hire someone else.

If you don't want a lift saying "no thanks" generally works, better still try it in Khymer: "otday awkunh".


Motorbikes (but not self-drive cars)

Motorbikes can be rented for US$5-6 per day, sometimes through guesthouses. Traffic is chaotic and dangerous, even by Southeast Asian standards - wear a helmet and drive carefully. Two rental shops are in Monivong Boulevard - Lucky Bike Rental and New Bike Rental. Accept that paying US$1-2 police 'fines' is part of driving. Theft is common: park in designated guarded areas and pay a small parking fee or use a lock and chain, which should be provided.

Motorbike-taxis (motodops or simply motos)

Motorbike taxis should take you anywhere cheaply. A trip from Sisowath Quay to Central Market costs about 2,000 riel (US$0.50). Fares are higher at night and with more than one passenger. Often little English is spoken. No helmets are provided.

Taxis

Taxis are growing much more common with well more than 100 meter taxis now operating in the city. They can be found in tourist areas such as the riverfront and Street 51 bar area in the evening. Easier, call one of the taxi companies for pick-up. Non-meter taxis still trun throughout the city and can be found along the riverfront tourist area and near major hotels. Fares must be agreed in advance. Fares vary; your accommodation provider may help.

Tuk-tuks (aka remorque moto)

Tuk-tuks consist of a motorcycle with a cabin for the passengers hitched to the back. They are cheap (Per tuk-tuk: US$2-3 for a trip in the city, $7 to the airport) and plentiful. Negotiate the price ahead of time and make sure the driver knows how to get to your destination. Driving standards vary. Drivers in tourist areas may speak some English. Drivers generally do not know their way around and may stop to ask for directions. Most tuk-tuk drivers can be hired for the day (~$20-$25) or half day (~$12-$15).

Cyclos

Cyclos are three-wheeled pedal cycle-rickshaws. They are slow, scenic, traditional and romantic, though waning in number.

Cycling

Cycling can extend the horizons of the city. Ride slowly and be visible and predictable by avoiding quicking turn.

Walking

Walking can be a challenge. Remember little gives way to big here, pedestrians come last, even on the now cluttered, once grand, wide, French-built pavements! To cross safely, judge gaps in the traffic and proceed with care - give oncoming vehicles ample time to see and avoid you, or try to cross with the brightly coloured and revered monks. There is almost no street lighting off the major boulevards, and walking at night is not recommended. Traffic signals and pedestrian crossings are generally ignored by drivers.

Car

Phnom Penh is notorious for its massive traffic jams, and rightly so. In addition, traffic is chaotic and motorcyclists seemingly suicidal. Therefore, most tourists consider driving in Phnom Penh a nightmare, and it is highly recommended that you stick to public transport and not try to drive yourself around.

See

Sisowath Quay as seen from FCC
  • The Royal Palace. 8:00AM-10AM & 2:00PM-5PM. ***NOTE*** The Royal Palace is closed for 3 months as of October 2012 due to the death of the king. The Silver Pagoda is still accessible at the same entrance fee. Including the two magnificent pagodas in the Palace Grounds, the Silver Pagoda and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, are among the few public buildings in Phnom Penh really worth seeing. They were built in the 19th century with French technology and Cambodian designs, and have survived the traumas of the 20th century surprisingly well intact. See them early in the day before it gets too hot. No photography is allowed inside the Silver Pagoda and some of the Palace buildings. You're expected to dress decently (no bare legs or shoulders), but you can rent sarongs and oversized T-shirts for 1,000 riel (plus US$1 deposit) at the entrance. US$6.25 or 25,000 Riel. The Napoleon III Palace is currently under makeover and is covered by construction netting (Feb'12). In general, the Palace complex has a more structured, formal, organised and harmonious layout with a clear and specific architectural style compared to that in Bangkok, which has more hodge podge of styles.
  • The National Museum of Cambodia, Street 13, Sangkat Chey Chumneas, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh (opposite the Royal Palace), +855 23 211753, +855 12 621522 (mobile) (, fax: +855 23 211753), [3]. 8AM-5PM daily, last admission 4:30PM. Contains an excellent collection of art from Cambodia's "golden age" of Angkor, and a lovely courtyard at the centre. A main attraction is the statue of King Jayavarman VII (1181-1219) in mediation pose; other exhibits worth seeing include graceful statues of Hindu gods, ancient stelae (tablets) inscribed in Sanskrit and Old Khmer, and artefacts from a prehistoric burial site. Unfortunately, no photos may be taken inside the museum, although photography is allowed in the central courtyard upon payment of a small fee (cameras: US$1, videocameras: US$3). In the middle of the courtyard is the original statue of the "Leper King" (actually Yama, the Hindu god of death) from the Terrace of the Leper King in Angkor Archaeological Park. The pleasant little park in front of the Museum is the site of the annual Royal Ploughing Ceremony, at which the success or otherwise of the coming harvest is determined. You may have heard stories of sightseers carrying umbrellas inside to avoid showers of bat droppings, but the bats moved out after the renovation of 2002. US$3.
  • Wat Phnom, (on a hill at the centre of a small park near Sisowath Quay, on St. 94). Name means "Hill Temple". The temple itself is notable more for its historic importance than physical structure, but the park is a pleasant green space and a popular gathering place for locals. A few monkeys keep quarters there as well and will help themselves to any drinks you leave unattended. The access to the temple was limited in mid-2011 whilst under renovation. Admission: US$1; elephant ride: US$15.
  • Sisowath Quay aka Riverside. an attractive boulevard running along the banks of the Mekong and Tonle Sap. It's fronted by a large, long open space with manicured lawns, palm trees and open pathways, all recently re-done as part of a Japanese funded project to upgrade the flood infrastructure along the river. The built-up side of the street is home to cafés and shops and the better class of bar, and is popular with tourists and expat Westerners prepared to run its gauntlet of touts selling drugs, girls and tuk tuk rides. Unfortunately the riverfront (once seen as Phnom Penh's 'safe' area) is no longer entirely safe for tourists. Tourist police are supposedly present in plainclothes. The esplanade along the river is also popular with Cambodians, who come here in the cool of the evening to enjoy the quasi-carnival atmosphere. It begins at the riverfront park opposite the Royal Palace, and is perhaps best experienced in the early evening. Dawn at Sisowath Quay is also a busy time, with locals doing calisthenics in front of the Royal Palace, and the sun rising over the river. In addition to the recent brick attacks on foreigners, there are supposedly child gangs and pickpockets - so extra caution is warranted. See A Stroll on Sisowath Quay for a self-guided tour.
Tuol Sleng Prison
  • Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison), Street 113, Boeng Keng Kang 3, Chamkar Morn, +855 23 300-698, [4]. A school converted into Cambodia's most important prison in 1975. More than 14,000 people were tortured here before being killed here or at the Killing Fields; only 8 prisoners survived. The museum is easily accessible and a must-see for everyone interested in Cambodia's horrific recent past. The infamous "skull map" has been dismantled, although there are still skulls stacked in cabinets, implements of torture and disturbing photographs of people dying. For an introduction and further reading, try David Chandler's "Voices from S-21" (ISBN 0520222474). Documentary movie "S-21" can be purchased throughout Phnom Penh for US$1.50-2. Some of the entrance fee will go into the pocket of the museum's director, who is the son a government minister. And a warning to those who patronise the souvenir shop: don't get conned into buying a vintage Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega watch as, despite the convincing claims of the owner that they are husbands, they are fakes. Instead, opposite the museum (No 54 & 56, Street 113) is a little shop called CHA that provides inexpensive handmade goods that are made by women disabled from polio and landmines. If you ask, you will also be able to tour the shop, meeting the female workers and seeing where they study English. US$2.
The Killing Fields
  • The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, (About 17 km south of Phnom Penh, 40 min by taxi or moto or tuktuk). A former Chinese cemetery, this is where the Khmer Rouge killed many thousands of their victims during their four-year reign of terror. Today the site is marked by a Buddhist stupa packed full with over 8,000 human skulls - the sides are made of glass so the visitors can see them up close. There are also pits in the area where mass graves were unearthed, with ominous scraps of clothing still to be found here and there. It is a serene yet somber place. Regularly throughout the day, a small museum screens a documentary with gruesome video images of human remains that were unearthed when the mass graves were found in 1979. Recommended to visit after learning more about the Khmer Rouge terror at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, however, like the Genocide Museum, this place is not for the squeamish. As millions were killed during the traumatic genocidal regime of Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge, as a sign of respect you should wear respectable clothing such as long trousers with sleeved shirts or tops. Flowers and incense can be bought in front of the stupa. In 2005 the memorial site was sold to a private company [5]. A tuk tuk to the site should cost US$9-11 return (after haggling, of course), including stopping at the Genocide Museum on the way and waiting for you at both places. Costs US$5 which includes a very good audio tour. US$5.
  • Wat Botum, (about three kilometres south of Wat Phnom, near the Royal Palace). Historically the wat favoured by royalty. In the 1930s it housed a charming young novice named Saloth Sar, who later in life he changed his name to Pol Pot.
  • Independence and Liberation memorials. Impressive Buddhist-style Independence Memorial, commemorating the departure of the French in 1953, dominates the centre of the city. Nearby is the Stalin-style Liberation Memorial, marking the Vietnamese capture of the city in 1979. The area is especially popular on weekend nights with locals when the multi-coloured fountains are activated and communal music is played.
  • Olympic Stadium. Built in the 1960s for an Asian Games that never happened, this interesting complex in a modern style has been sold off to a Taiwanese company in a murky deal by the Cambodian government. The new owners have recently renovated it and it has begun to be used once again as a venue. However, in the evenings a walk around the top perimeter is worthwhile: you can see hundreds attending exercise and dance classes, and get a view of the abandoned track below. There is also an Olympic-size swimming pool and diving pool with a 10-metre platform open to the public opposite the main building, across the track. 6,000 riel to get in, 500 riel to check your things.

France's Cambodian colony was acquired late, and was generally neglected. Consequently there are not many colonial-era buildings, and those which remain are largely decayed. Notable exceptions are The Grand Post Office Builfing, Central Market and Raffles Le Royal Hotel. Generally any building in good condition, old or new, will be behind a big wall and security guards.

Do

  • River cruises on the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers, Tourist boats are clustered together on the river along Sisowath Quay just north of the Passenger Port. (Near Wat Phnom). Short river cruises and sunset cruises along the riverfront. A tour cruise typically takes about 1 - 2 hours and runs up the Tonle Sap River along the central riverfront area providing a picturesque view of the Royal Palace, National Museum, and Phnom Penh skyline, and then across the Tonle Sap and up the Mekong River to view floating fishing villages. Arrange directly with the boat operators or through your hotel/tour agent. Starting at around US$10-US$15/hour, depending on the duration and number of passengers..
  • Motorcycle Tours Go for a ride with Ride Cambodia Motorcycle Tours. Although based in Sihanoukville, where they can do day trips, they also run multiple day trips across the whole country which can start/finish in Phnom Penh.
  • Mekong Islands Bicycle Tour, 23 Street 144, [6]. 8AM-12.30PM. Daily 20 km bicycle ride with Grasshopper Adventures, along small trails along the rivers and criss-crossing the islands (4 ferry hops) to explore the lush green countryside around Phnom Penh. US$33.
  • Thunder Ranch Shooting Range, (near Killing Fields of Cheoung Ek). Shooting range run by a unit of the Royal Cambodian Army. For a pretty hefty fee you can fire pistols, rifles & machine guns at paper targets. Firing automatic weapons such as AK-47 or M-16 costs around US$ 30 per clip.
  • Bicycle Tours and Rental, (Phnom Penh), +855 89 834704 or +855 15 696376 (), [7]. Sat-Sun from 9AM-5PM. During the week upon request. Take a short trip alone or with your family, friends and colleagues to the other side of the Mekong River or into the countryside. US$2.
  • Sovanna Phum Art Association, #166 Street 99, 023-987564, 012-846020, [8]. Performance: 7-30PM-8:30PM. Classical, Folk and Contemporary dance, shadow theatre, circus and music. Adult : US$5; Children: US$3.
  • Cambodia Golf and Country Club, Rte #4, 35km south of Phnom Penh, 023-363666. 18 hole course over 120 acres with palm trees & several water features. Restaurant, swimming pool, tennis courts.
  • Meta House - Cambodian German Cultural Center, #37 Sothearos Blvd, 023-224140), [9]. Art and media gallery hosting regularly scheduled events in the arts - exhibitions, films, panels and lectures.
  • Institute Francais, [10]. Open Tue-Sat. With fewer English subtitles than there once were.
  • The Flicks Community Movie House, #39b, Street 95 (South of Sihanouk Blvd, between Str 310 and 360), [11]. and The Flicks 2 @ The Empire, #34, Street 130 (Just off the Riverside Blvd). At least 2 screenings per day, more in weekends. Screening art house, film festival movies, documentaries and classics on a 6 m wide big screen on the 2nd floor of an original Cambodian wooden house, which is equipped with air conditioning. US$3.50 for adults, US$2 for under 18, for all day. US$3.50 for adults, US$2 for under 18, for all day.
  • Cambodia Cooking Class, frizz Restaurant, #67 Street 240, 012-524801, [12]. Classes are held every day on a rooftop terrace.. Begins with a tour around a local market, then returns to the restaurant to make at least three different Cambodian dishes.
  • Hash House Harriers, [13]. A running club that meets every Sunday at 14:00 at the railway station. US$5.
  • Kingdom Breweries tours, #1748, National Route #5, Russei Keo district, 023-430180-2. Tours are available Mon - Sat, 1:00PM-7:00. Tours of its brewery facilities at Kingdom Breweries, brewers of Kingdom Pilsner. Complete tour of the brewery and stop in a the brewery bar the Taproom overlooking the Tonle Sap River.
  • Massage. Phnom Penh has a large number of massage and spa places, and are popular with both locals and tourists. Generally, do not expect the sort of "services" you are likely to be offered in Bangkok; however they may be available selectively. 1 hour: US$4-50.
  • NagaWorld Casino, Samdech Hun Sen Park (End of Sihanouk Blvd, near the river.), 023-228822, [14]. The only casino in Phnom Penh.
  • Visit an Orphanage. If considering visiting one of the orphanages do be aware that they may be exploitative and poorly run. Your money may go to the owner rather than the children. Most, if not all. orphanages in Phnom Penh are scams. Also, accepting impromptu visits from unscreened foreigners is often a sign of a substandard orphanage which does not have the children's best interests at heart. If you want to help, contact organisations running educational programmes. For more information see ChildSafe International [15]
  • Choice-Cambodia, [16]. Volunteer opportunities, including kindergarten assistance & delivering safe water to rural villages. Choice-Cambodia meet most afternoons at the Sundance Inn [17] on Street 172.
  • Scuba Nation Diving Centre, #18Eo, Street 3 (Close to the FCC), +85512715785 (, fax: +85523211850), [18]. Mon. to Fri. 09:00-18:00, Sat. 09:00 -17:00, Sun. 11:00-18:00.. Provide diving and snorkeling services, day trips, live-aboards, nitrox and a range of PADI courses from beginner to instructor.

Buy

The Khmer Riel is not used for any large purchase. Prices for anything more substantial than a plate of rice will be quoted in US Dollars. Money changers are plentiful near the central market and display their rates on boards. The Cambodian Central Bank maintains the Riel at approximately 3900 - 4100 to the dollar, be wary if rates are outside this range. Most vendors will accept US dollars and Khmer riel interchangeably at a rate of 4000 riel to the dollar. If paying in US dollars, you will receive change in the form of riel instead of in coins. For example, if a vendor owes you $1.25 in change, you will either receive $1 USD plus 1000 riel, or 5000 riel. Paying in this form is also generally acceptable.

Caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). Electronics will likely fail within days, fake watches abound, especially in the Central Market. Only upmarket places will accept plastic (normally with a 3% surcharge). Changing dollars into Riels is generally unnecessary, though the parsimonious will notice a small benefit. Small purchases with notes above US$20 can cause problems, though vendors will manage. Do not worry if a vendor runs off with your large note, they are finding change not robbing you. Torn, damaged, or old series US currency may not be accepted.

There are plenty of ATMs. They dispense US dollars and accept international cards. Canadia Bank ATMs are fee-free, as is the ATM is inside the Mekong Bank at 220 Sisowath Quay. ANZ Royal bank charges US$4 per transaction. Union Commercial Bank plc charges US$2 per transaction (Feb 2011). Inside Capitol guesthouse there is a ATM for Canadia bank where you can make a safe withdrawal. Cashing traveller's cheques can be problematic; even major banks may refuse to exchange traveller's cheques of above US$100. Popular tourist buys include silk, silverware, handicrafts and curios (including Buddha figures), and made-to-order clothes (which are often of good quality). If you want to support businesses that are noted for supporting Cambodia's culture and heritage, look for the Heritage Friendly Business Logo from Heritage Watch, an organization that promotes the preservation of Cambodia's cultural legacy.

DVDs and CDs in Phnom Penh have a 20-30% failure rate; sunglasses from street vendors do not give full UV/polarized protection and will likely disintegrate within 2 weeks.

The Art Deco dome of the Central Market
  • Central Market, (in Cambodian called Psar Thmei - "New Market") is a 1930s Art Deco covered market near the Riverfront (Sisowath Quay) district. The market is well set out, and sells everything from flowers to video games. It has recently been beautifully renovated and its architecture alone is worth admiring.
  • Sorya Mall, currently Phnom Penh's main Western-style mall, is nearby. Sorya is rather drab by Western standards, and is crowded with stalls (like a traditional market - a strange juxtaposition). But it is air-conditioned and contains a range of cheap fast-food outlets as well as a well-stocked supermarket named Lucky Supermarket. Sorya Mall is on Street 63, close to the corner with Street 154. (NB: Don't leave a moto with the Sorya parking people, who are known to steal helmets, and double the parking charges on a whim.) On the south-west edge of town is the even newer Sovanna Mall. Freezing air-con and modern shops make this popular too.
  • City Mall, Monireth Boulevard, (near the Olympic Stadium). Opened in September 2009, making it the newest and biggest western-style mall in Phnom Penh. The mall contains a large branch of Lucky Supermarket, as well as many fast-food outlets and modern shops, mainly catering to Phnom Penh's growing middle-class population.
  • Russian Market, (Cambodian: "Psar Toul Tom Poung"). The "Russian Market" moniker following the Vietnamese occupation of the city in the 1980s, but many motodops are not familiar with the name. Real designer clothes at a huge discount price. A lot of the factories for Levis, CK, Ralph Lauren and many other brands are in Phnom Penh, however a lot of the clothes sold here are deemed unfit to be shipped abroad due to very small fault in the clothing which a majority of people wouldn't even notice, therefore they are sold at the Russian market. You can also purchase fake Swiss watches and pirated software at low prices. It also has the best ice coffee in the city. Russian Market is located away from normal tourist areas, but motodop drivers who cater to tourists will know it.
  • Olympic Market, (Psar Olympic). Olympic Market was built in 1994 and is a local favorite with shoppers looking for wholesale fabrics, everyone day wear, religious paraphernalia and traditional Khmer dresses. Buyers can look forward to big discounts in this market especially if they are buying in bulk. The market is well laid out and is one of the more modern multi-story market complexes. Buyer should definitely give this market a visit.

Antiques and home decor

The Cambodia Antiquities Law (1996) bans the sale, purchase and export of Cambodian antiques, and since 1999 the United States has banned their import into that country. Consequently, most of the "antiques" sold in Cambodia are reproductions.

  • Hidden Treasures, #9 Street 148, has antiques, art and curios from Cambodia's past and nearby South-East Asian cultures.

Books

  • Monument Books, 111 Norodom Boulevard (near the corner with Street 240), +855 23 217617 (, fax: +855 23 217618), [19]. Has the most extensive collection of new books in Phnom Penh, including fiction and non-fiction, children's books, non-English-language works (in French and Khmer, for instance), magazines and newspapers. There is a particularly good collection of books from and about Cambodia, for instance, on Angkor Wat, the Khmer Rouge regime, and the history of Cambodia. Prices can be very very high--often above the list price and can be purchased cheaper elsewhere in town. However, you can also get a good tea or coffee and cake there, if the serving staff are awake and it's a nice place to sip and read without being pestered. Monument Toys upstairs has a collection of children's toys and games. There is a branch of the bookshop at the airport.
  • Bohr's Books, 5 Sothearos Boulevard (Street 3), +855 12 929148 (). A small store offering a large, diverse collection of books. Easy to find, it is only one block from the Royal Palace. A second store now operates in Street 172, 400m from Wat Unalom
  • Boston Book Company, 8 Street 240, Chaktomuk Duan Penh (just around the corner from Monument Books), +855 92 214452. A secondhand bookshop that, as of October 2009, had just opened. Has a good collection of fiction and non-fiction works, including texts for teachers and students. Situated in an attractive building, it will eventually have a cafe.
  • D's Books, 79 Street 240, and 363 Sisowath Quay (near the Foreign Correspondents' Club). A chain of secondhand bookshops dealing mainly in mass market paperbacks. Uncommunicative, monosyllabic staff.
  • International Book Centre, 154 Sihanouk Boulevard (Street 274, between Monivong Boulevard and Street 63); 250 Preah Monivong Boulevard (near Central Market); 43-45 Kampuchea Krom Boulevard (at the corner with Street 215), +855 23 218352, +855 23 222822 (Sihanouk) (, fax: +855 23 721368), [20]. A large barn-like bookshop concentrating mainly on textbooks and other educational works. Has a small classic literature collection. Also sells stationery, electronic devices, sporting goods and souvenirs.
  • The National Museum of Cambodia, Street 13, Sangkat Chey Chumneas, Khan Daun Penh (opposite the Royal Palace), +855 23 211753, +855 12 621.22 (mobile) (, fax: +855 23 211753), [21]. 8AM-5PM daily, last admission 4:30PM. Has a small selection of books on Cambodian archaeology, art, culture and history. Remember that money you spend at any Cambodian government-run institution will end up in officials' pockets.

The pirated books that children try sell for US$5 for need to be haggled down (they buy them for US$1). Spend a minute or so leafing through before buying, quality varies: pages can be in the wrong order or missing, or the book is not that described on the cover.

Clothes and accessories

  • Beautiful Shoes, #138 Street 143, Boeung Keng Kong 3, (one street behind Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and about 10 min from the Riverside). They will make you a good quality pair of men's business shoes for US$35-60.

Throughout the city, but especially in the Russian Market, there are tailors willing to make custom made clothes. A man can get a medium quality custom made shirt for US$12, or a high quality custom made shirt for US$15. Definitely worth the purchase, as you'll never have a shirt that is as perfect of fit.


  • BR Shop, #54 Street 426, Tuol Tum Pung I, (one street in front of Tuol Tum Pung High School and about 15 min from the Riverside). They will bring you many good quality of men's and boy clothes for US$15-30. Visit [bronlineshop.com]

Handicrafts and souvenirs

Street 178, just north of the National Museum, is known as Artist Street and has many interesting boutiques.

  • Colors of Cambodia, 373 Sisowath Quay. Handicrafts from around the country.
  • Kravan House, #13 St. 178. Has a wide range of Cambodian silk products, including a wide range of ladies' handbags at a fraction of the price you would pay in a hotel gift shop.
  • Stef's Happy Painting, Sisowath Quay (near St. 178, directly under FCC), [22]. Features brightly-colored fun and funky paintings of Cambodian life - a welcome relief after visiting some of Cambodia's more heart-breaking attractions.

Russian Market - jewellery

There are many booths that sell fake jewellery and synthetic gemstones in the Russian Market. Don't buy from a booth which cannot issue a certificate of warranty. Make sure you are entitled to a full refund if the item is different from what you were told. Don’t buy a 5-carat, 'flawless' chicken-blood ruby for US$500 and think that you have hit the jackpot. If your instinct tells you that the price is too cheap, remember the saying, “If it’s too good to be true then it probably is”. Buy jewellery and gemstones from a reputable shop established for many years, with a reputation to protect. Cambodian Handicraft Association, (CHA), No 54 & 56, St 113, (across from the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum), [23]. Handmade silk goods, jewellery, accessories and clothing made by women disabled from polio and landmines. If you ask, you will also be able to tour the shop, meeting the female workers and seeing where they study English. The products are absolutely beautiful and the majority of the silk is sourced from a local village, where it is all hand woven. The costs of running the project are covered by selling the artists' work in the shop, they receive no grants or aid.

Electronics

  • Apple Macs, [24]. Cambodia is a cheap place to buy a Macbook, iPad or iPod. Prices are in US dollars at similar rates to other countries, but without added tax. iPhones are still not available officially, and any that are will have been unofficially imported. Uniyang is a recommended Mac retailer, and is located [25] near the Central Market.

Eat

Phnom Penh offers some interesting culinary treats not found elsewhere in the country. These include French-influenced dining and Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian dishes. Pizzas, banana pancakes and fried rice are always easy to find. The riverfront hosts everything from stand-up stalls to fine French bistros. Stalls likely lack hygienic practices: eating peeled fruit and vegetables and anything uncooked may have unintended consequences.

McDonald's is not yet in Phnom Penh; Kentucky Fried Chicken is. Central Market is a hawker food centre, food is cheap and the street eateries add to the area's bustling atmosphere. Beggars can make eating there uncomfortable.

Exotic treats

Duck embryo eggs are sold at the southwest corner of Sokun Mean Bun Street (Street 178) and Norodum Monivong Boulevard, in front of the green SSN building inside a large, high school compound. Also sold are days-old hatched chicks & frogs, all of which are eaten rather than just the legs. Skewered & grilled pigs ears, chicken claws, and gizzards are sold in the Central Market. Pigs intestines, cut into pieces & covered in sauce, costs US$1 for 100 gm. Grilled small crabs, lobsters, prawns are also sold in the market. Chicken feet are also sold in the open air restaurants along Street 154. Grasshoppers, crabs, worm-type animals and pupae are sold along Sothearos Boulevard from 184 Street to 178 Street.

Budget

Take the cross river ferry to sit on mats and eat cheap hawker food while watching the sunset over the city. The most recommended on this type are the Muslim restaurants at 86 St. north of Phnom Penh Hotel. Halal Foods Mumina on the north side of the street (in front of South China Airlines office) is recommendable. The guesthouses around this area are some of the cheapest offering rooms from US$4 per night. This area although in the farther north end is favored mostly by the French and Brits for their embassies are located nearby.

  • Asian Spice Cafe Pub #79 St 111, (50 m off Sihanouk Blvd and opp. Sport shop). Cafe established in 2006 with a Pub upstairs. Owned by a Singaporean, an ex-Chef of Intercontinental Hotel, Phnom Penh. With the help of his Khmer wife & family it has become very popular with local expats and tourists. Chinese, Malaysian, Singaporean, Western and some Khmer Dishes. From US$1.40-2.80
  • Baitong Restaurant, No. 7 St. 360, (opposite the International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP)). Authentic Khmer, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. They also have breakfast express and lunch buffet set around US$2-3.75. 2 large rooms can be used for conferences, training and other events and a smaller room for meetings and private dinners. As of October 2012 they no longer do buffets.
  • Camory Cookie Boutique, 167 Sisowath Quay (between St. 110 and 118), (), [26]. 9AM-8.30PM. A cafe-cum-development project that trains chefs and plows back money into humanitarian causes. The Sreh T'nout cookie, made from a rich combo of chocolate, nuts and palm sugar, is their best seller.
  • Comme a la Maison, No. 13 St. 57, In a pleasant garden terrace. Laid-back but stylish French feel with warm service. Pizza and salads, ice-cream desserts.
  • Cavern Pub, No 19 St. 104, English style pub with English style food. Open from 11am til 2am. Great happy hour til 6pm. Live music/open mic night on Monday, British comedy night Tuesday, Live sport on the weekend.website
  • C'est Wat Restaurant and Guesthouse, No. 9 St. 118, Located 2 min walk from the riverside. Check out the massive US$7.50 Sunday Roast with free glass of wine, or the huge $4 all day breakfast - pork sausages, back bacon, mushrooms, eggs, potato fritters, beans, toast, tea or coffee. US$0.75 beer 10AM-3PM.
  • Home Away From Home, Street 93. Small family run restaurant. Service is very friendly, but you may have to be patient if a bunch of people just ordered before you. US$2-3
  • K.K. Tandoor, Sothearos Blvd, (opposite vietnamese monument and next to Pannasastra University campus). Moderately priced Indian food with chicken tandoori, butter chicken and Naans. Air-con. You can get draft beer for a dollar.
  • La Croisette, cnr Sisowath Quay and Street 144. French pavement café, Open all day.
  • La Lotus Blanc, 402 Stung Mean Chey and n152 St51 Boeung Keng Kang. French and the Asian cuisines and quite a popular neighborhood hub. The food is prepared and served by students from the PSE.
  • The Local Restaurant and Bar, #39c, Street 454 (near Russian Market), +855 23996592, [27]. The Local, yes that is its real name, consists of a front courtyard, lounge area and thatch bamboo rooftop bar and dining area with a 3/4 slate pool table and sweeping views over Phnom Penh. On weekends they fire up a BBQ on the rooftop.
  • P&K Restaurant, #319 Sisowath Quay Blvd. Khmer & Chinese restaurant on the riverside, formerly 'Old Ponlok.' Good service and authentic and absolutely delicious Khmer takes on Chinese cuisine, with everything in between - the beef tripe with teouk prahok is especially delicious. Apparently open since 1984 and quite popular with locals. $3-12. $0.50 draft Angkor.
  • Evergreen Vegetarian House, #109, Street 130, between st 15 & 19 email evergreenvegetarian@yahoo.com hours: 6.30AM-2PM, 3.30pm-9pm, price US$1.5-8. Small restaurant with big selection of Asian (Japanese, Thai, Cambodian) vegetarian dishes, with and without mock meats. Delicious. Air-con. Free tea served with the meals.
  • Tom Yum Kung Thai Restaurant, #10, Street 278, (), [28]. 7AM-10PM. Thatch-roofed Thai/Khmer restaurant in the BKK1 area, popular with locals and visitors alike. Big selection of authentically prepared Thai and Khmer dishese. As one might expect, the tom yum kung is recommended. Provides air-con upstairs, fans downstairs.
  • Warung Bali, #3D Street 178 No. 25 E0, Royal Palace. Small traditional Indonesian restaurant in one of Phnom Penh's touristic area.
  • NOW Snack Shop, 69H Street 101, Boeng Trabek ward, Chamkar Mon dist (near Rock entertainment centre, Royal university of Law&Economics), +855 97 949 8853 (). 6AM-7PM. English speaking staff will serve you breakfast, lunch, dinner, Vietnamese snack, coffee, tea, shake, juice, fruit yogurt. US$0.50-2.

Mid-range

  • Amok Restaurant & Cafe, 2 St 278, (near Independence monument), ☎ +855 12 912 319. Nice cozy decor, with open air dining. Traditional Khmer dishes and other styles. The classic fish amok is well done, and the servings are large.
  • Anise, 57th St (near corner of Sihanouk)and 278 St,. Comfortable, nicely decorated corner restaurant with free WiFi and some good dishes from a varied menu, including Southeast Asian. Their Club Sandwich is excellent, if a little over-priced.
  • Atmosphere, No. 141C, Norodom Blvd. Fancy French restaurant. Quiet on an ordinary day but popular with expats.
  • Aussie XL, 205A 51st (Pasteur) St. About the only thing Aussie about this place is the owner, but the food is good and the wood-fired oven pizza matches anything found in Italy.
  • Blue Cat, Street 110. Comfortable and friendly. Suitable for family dining with an international and Khmer menu, and a respectable wine list. Free WiFi
  • Cafe Yejj, #170 Street 450, (southeast corner of the Russian Market, less than 50 ft east of the corner of Streets 155 & 450). Indoor and outdoor seating both ground level and second floor. Pasta, panini, burritos and Cambodian food. Particiaptes in breaking the cycle of poverty by training women-at-risk as employees. Service very good. Very clean bathroom upstairs. Most dishes less than US$4. Sit inside if you do not want to be bothered by beggars.
  • Casa Italia,STREET 1 in front of hotel cambodiana, 092230207, delicious salads, pasta, and pizza made with fresh ingredients. Indoor dining with air-con
  • Chi Cha Restaurant, #27, St. 110 (near the riverfront in the café and bar area), (). Excellent and plentiful Indian food, both vegetarian & non-vegetarian, in a convenient central location. Also rents rooms from US$8. Set meals US$4.
  • Dosa Corner, (near the side entry of Wat Langka and fairly close to the Independence monument). Indian restaurant withexcellent dosas (large thin pancake) and other Indian favourites.
  • Equinox, Street 278, (near Street 51), [29]. Pizzas, baguettes, burgers, pastas and other western dishes. Meat and salads come from a local organisation who encourage and teach farmers in organic growing methods..
  • The Empire, No.34 St 130, (), [30]. 16:30-late. Great traditional style Khmer dishes developed with foreign tastes in mind, also bar and mini cinema. Relaxed modern styling.
  • Friends Restaurant, #215 Street 13 (50m north of the National Museum), +855 12 802 072 (), [31]. Mon-Sat 11:00-21:00, closed Sundays. Run by a NGO that trains and educates former streetchildren. Western and Asian dishes. Nice garden terrace, stylish interior. Good choice of vegetarian dishes. US$3-6.
  • Frizz Restaurant, 67 Street 240, +855 23 220 953, +855 12 845 525 (mobile), [32]. 10:00-23:00. Traditional Cambodian cuisine. The restaurant also operates the Cambodia Cooking Class [33]. US$5-10.
  • Green Mango Restaurant and Bar, #170E Street 63. (corner of street 278, Boeung Keng Kang I), ☎ +855 23 720470. Western, Khmer and Mediterranean dishes. Excellent WiFi connection, good choice of music and friendly staff.
  • Jars of Clay, #39B Street 155, +855 23 300 281. Closed Sundays. Cafe managed only by women near to the Russian Market. Convenient place to relax after a visit to the market. English-style breakfast, quiches, sandwiches, soups, delicious cakes. Smoothies, ice cream and good coffee. Has air-con. US$4-10.
  • Java Café, 56 Sihanouk Blvd. Soups, salads and sandwiches in a cozy setting overlooking the Independence Monument. Good vegetarian options. Has a rotating art exhibition.
  • Brown Coffee and Bakery, #17 Street 214, (next to Old Pencil Supermarket), [34], ☎+855 23 217262. Great Coffee with good barista. The bakery chef was trained in Le Cordon Bleu, and the sandwiches are recommended.
  • Khmer Surin, #11 Street 57, (south of Sihanouk Boulevard). Romantic restaurant that serves delicious Khmer and Thai food. The traditional Khmer seafood dish, amok, stands out.
  • Le Duo, Street 228, (between Monivong and Street 63). Italian food. Sicilian-born Luigi makes great pastas and pizzas.
  • Meta House, #37 Sothearos Boulevard (across from the Australian Embassy), +855 23 224 140, [35]. Nice gallery, German pfannkuchen (flat pizzas) and interesting documentaries about Cambodia.
  • Metro Café, cnr of Sisowath Quay and Street 148, (opposite Riverside Bistro). Stylish fusion of Asian and Western culture. Air-con. Good selection of small tapas-style dishes from US$1 and good steaks for about US$12. Free WiFi.
  • Nature and Sea, Corner of Street 278 and 51, +85512 879 486. Relaxed restaurant on a 2nd floor rooftop opposite to Wat Langka that promotes health food. Delicious salads, crepes, fruit juices. US$3-7.
  • Open Wine 219 St. 19. Outdoor restaurant with a good selection of imported wine.
  • Paris Bubble Tea, 285-287 Preah Monivong, (not far from the New York Hotel), ☎ +855 23 990 373. Pleasant and has fun and refreshing bubble tea. Try the classic Pearl Milk Tea.
  • Penny Lane Cafe, Corner of St. 111 & St. 242, (not far from the Town View Hotel). Italian style cafe with air-con and outdoor areas where they take great pride in their coffee and provide free WiFi.
  • Pop Cafe, No. 371 Sisowath Quay. Small modern Italian restaurant renowned for its fresh pasta.
  • The Rits (Boutique hotel-restaurant), #71, St. 240. quiet place with garden and handycraftshop, run by NYEMO NGO, a bit old fashion and sad, but the food is excellent Western with an Asian touch three course daymenu US$6.
  • Riverside Bistro, #273a Sisowath Quay [36]. In an old colonial style building withcomfortable outdoor dining and views of the Tonle Sap. Popular with local expats, tourists and affluent locals.
  • The Shop, 39 Street 240, +855 23 986964, +855 92 955963 (mobile) (), [37]. 07:00-19:00. A popular place with a good selection of sandwiches, quiches, salads and freshly baked goods. Has a cosy and quiet courtyard seating area. Has a good range of breakfast options. Less than US$5.
  • Yumi Restaurant, No 29a, Street 288, BKK1, +855 92 163903 (), [38]. noon-14:00, 18:00-22:000. Japanese tapas including fresh seafood and meats cooked on a yakitori grill in relaxed, stylish surroundings. Yumi has daily changing menus using fresh local ingredients cooked by one of London’s top chefs and a bar for sakes and wines. US$5-15.
  • 50Cents Cafe, No 105, Street 19 (a street behind Lux cinema, close to the corner), +855 16 386094or 097 222 6666. 08:00-22:00. Thai food, western food with affordable price. Cocktails, coffee and soft drinks; fresh fruit salad, crepes, ice cream. Displays art work and has a small movie room. Free wi-fi. US$1.75-4.5.

Splurge

  • The Fifth Element, 123 Street 110, Corner Street 19, Sangkat Wat Phnom (opposite Vat Phnom), +855 23 222780 (, fax: +855 23 222791), [39]. Located on the rooftop of the 5 star hotel "La Maison d Ambre", with a 360 degree view. The lou ge area and bar are combined with a restaurant that serves French and Khmer cuisine to a high standard. $20-$40.
  • 102, 1A, St. 102 (one block south of Le Royal), ☎ +855 23 990880. Probably Phnom Penh's top French restaurant, set in a modern, European-style surroundings. The food is quite competent and the onion soup is superb. Almost entirely undiscovered by tourists but popular with Phnom Penh's moneyed elite, so reservations are recommended. US$30.
  • FCC Phnom Penh (Foreign Correspondents' Club), 363 Sisowath Quay, +855 23 724014 (), [40]. 7AM-midnight. A favourite expat hang-out, exhibiting modern colonial-style charm with superb views of the river. No air-con and rather spoiled by the unseemly gauntlet of touts one has to battle through to leave. FCC does particularly good desserts. Their signature cocktails are the Tonle Sap Breezer and Burmese Rum Sour are US$4.50 each. Over US$20.
  • La Luna d'Autunno, #4D, Street 29. Italian cuisine in a beautiful old villa with lovely garden setting, air-con inside.
  • Le Bistrot, #4D, Street 29. French and Italian in an old villa.
  • Le Quay, Corner of Sisowath Quay & St.110, +855 23 213582, [41]. Seating by a relaxing water feature or by our terrace enjoying the Phnom Penh riverside's activities, Le Quay is an ideal venue for lunch and dinner. Western and Asian style dishes.
  • Le Wok, 33 Street 178 (near the National Museum of Cambodia), +855 98 821857. 9AM-11PM. Delicious French and pan-Asian cuisine in a tastefully decorated venue. Over US$20; lunch special US$10.
  • Xiang Palace, (Hotel Intercontinental). Chinese, expensive fine dining including dim sum.

Drink

Superficial security
Most of the time, Phnom Penh bars and clubs are safe enough and a lot of fun - however, some of the more "hip" places are popular with the notorious local "elite" youth (and their minders) who carry firearms and other weapons, and who are allowed to pass through so-called "security" checks without being searched.

Places to hang out after dark include Street 104, Street 278, and Street 108 around the Street 51 corner, which all feature restaurant bars, hostess bars, and guesthouses.

  • 69 Bar , [42]. Popular dance orientated hostess bar, bar top and balcony dancing.
  • Barbados, (south of Street 104 near the river), Hostess bar. Buy 5 beers and get 1 free.
  • Blue Cat, Street 110, (just off the riverside). Classy bar, friendly staff, fun popular place with free pool and a night club upstairs. cheap cocktails.
  • Blue Chili, 36Eo, 178. Str. (behind the Nationalmuseum), mobile: +855 012-566353, email: bluechillipub@gmail.com. One of the most popular gay bars in town.
  • Caress Bar, [43]. Where the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Tonle Basac rivers meet each other. Cruise the Mekong with style.
  • DV8 Bar, [44] on Street 148 (near the riverfront). Popular hostess bar with a good selection of spirits and company.
  • Elephant Bar, (Raffles Le Royal). The classy bar at the classiest hotel in town, with frescos on the ceiling and live piano in the evenings. Try the Femme Fatale, a mix of cognac and champagne dreamed up for Jacqui Kennedy in 1967. Expensive.
  • Equinox, Street 278, (near Street 51)[45]. One of the best live music venues in town with weekly concerts from locals and expat bands. It's also a 2 story cocktail bar featuring monthly art exhibitions by local and international artists, gaming room with a pool table and the unique bonzini foosball table of Phnom Penh, cool tunes, good food. Increasingly popular with expats. Happy hours 5PM-8PM.
  • FCC and Guesthouse, Sisowath Quay. Overlooking the river. Excellent place to meet professionals and travelling people. Happy hour 5-7PM.
  • Golden Vine, Street 108, (next to VooDoo Lounge). Hostess bar with 8 ball table.
  • Green Vespa, 95 Sisowath Quay, (near street 102). Open from 6AM-late. Friendly pub and great single malt collection.
  • Heart of Darkness, Long established and infamous nightclub in Phnom Penh. It has a dangerous reputation, particularly after a fatal shooting in August 2005. The pistol-packing gangsters seemed to have moved on to other hangouts in recent years, still, discretion is advised, particularly where your pockets are concerned. Saturday nights are always packed.
  • Liquid, #3B street 278. (next door to Equinox). Polished concrete, gun-metal grey floor, chocolate leather seats and fabulously backlit bar serving some of the best and most inventive cocktails in town. One of the only genuine slate pool tables in town. As much a mid-week bar as a weekend bar. Open 8AM-late, daily.
  • Martini Pub & Disco, Street 95 (one block off Monivong Blvd, across from the Total Gas Station). Infamous girlie bar. 2 full bars, food US$2-6, burgers & fries, pizza, Asian dishes, gaming room, disco, outdoor big-screen showing movies or sports. There some copycat Martini bars in other places like Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, but this is the original. A place for single men and loose ladies.

A note on hostess bars
Surveys have found that the HIV rate among Cambodian female sex workers is about 13%.


  • OneZeroFour Bar, Street 104, [46]. Popular low-key hostess bar. The bar has a good range of single malt whiskeys.
  • One3Six Bar, Street 136. Popular hostess bar. Great range of drinks plus they keep their 42 Below and Grey Goose Vodka in the freezer, so the shots are really smooth.
  • Pit Stop, Street 51. Popular hostess bar.
  • Rubies, Street 240. Wine bar favoured by young ex-pats working for local NGOs. Busy with a cliquey atmosphere on a weekend night.
  • Sharky's Bar & Restaurant, #126 Street 130, (about three 1/2 blocks from the "Psar Thmei" (new market), [47]. Since its opening in 1995, Sharky's has been rocking & rolling. Located upstairs on the first floor above street level. Large space, huge centre bar, outside balcony, and plenty of available seating. Most moto taxis will understand "Shockeee Bah".
  • The Terrace pub, (just off the main riverside road, look for the big British flag on the right hand side of the street). Relatively new British-owned pub. US$0.75/beer and friendly staff.
  • UpDownbar, Street 136, (across the famous 136 bar). Relaxed atmosphere, with a bar upstairs and groundfloor.
  • VooDoo Lounge, Street 51, (near street 108). New bar with a great range of drinks, nice decor, air-con, happy hostesses, and a pool table. Two other hostess bars nearby.
  • Walkabout, Street 51. Food and good pool tables. Many freelance girls congregate here. Popular after hours bar, also has rooms available. Open 24 hr.
  • Zanzibar, Street 104. High energy hostess bar with reasonable prices and a pool table upstairs, very popular among expats.
  • Zapata Bar, Street 108, (next to VooDoo Lounge). Stylish air-con hostess bar with a good range of drinks, and no pool table or food to distract you from the lovely ladies.

Sleep

Phnom Penh has a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from budget guesthouses (about US$5-20) through good quality mid-range hotels (US$20-50) to extravagant palaces with extravagant prices to match.

Budget

The former Boeung Kak Lake with demolished guesthouse, Phnom Penh, Oct. 2011

A good range of accommodation is available around the city. The budget traveller centre was the area still known as Lakeside, near the now filled in Beoung Kak lake. The colony of guesthouses has been decimated but not eradicated. Remaining businesses are desperate for clients, which makes prices very cheap. Guesthouses 10 and 11 still exist and offer rooms from US$4/night and US$3/night respectively. Services include laundry, internet, money exchange, ATM and restaurants, including an excellent Indian.

Street 258 (near the Cambodia/Vietnam Friendship Park), Street 51 (near Wat Langka) and Streets 111 and 172 also have some good budget options.

  • Basac Guesthouse & Restaurant, #128 F2, 3 Street( Sothearos Blv) (Near Russian Embassy), +855 97 6342156, +855 12 646156 (), [48]. 40 remodelled rooms with air-con and fan, hot water, big screen cableTV, fridge and window (both not in every room) with a view. Comfortable rooms. No WiFi. From US$5-15.
  • Boddhi Tree Umma Guesthouse, #50, Street 113 (directly opposite to Tuol Sleng), +855 23 211397 (), [49]. 12 tastefully decorated rooms with fan, WiFi. It is a rather quiet guest house with a very personal atmosphere and also has a good restaurant. It is however a bit far from the city centre and so you will need use a taxi or tuk tuk. From US$9-32.
  • Capitol 3 Guesthouse, #207Eo, Street 107, Sangkat Beng Prolit, 7 Makara (next to the Capitol Tours office), +855 23 211027. Warm, friendly staff and quick laundry service. 5 floors of squeaky-clean rooms that are out of the direct sunlight and never seem to get too hot. No elevators. Free WiFi Single fan room with shared bathroom US$3, private bathroom US$4 (which always seem to be full), + cableTV US$5, + hot water and air-con US$8.
  • Dream colors Guesthouse, 69d, Street 70 near French Embassy, +855 97 8785762, [50]. TV, DVD, WiFi, laundry, motorbike rental, bus and flight tickets and visa extention services. French, English and Khmer spoken. US$14-20.
  • Europe Guesthouse, No 51 Street 136, +855 23 6918 883 (). One of the cleanest and most conveniently located guesthouses you can find. TV, WiFi, laundry, bus and flight tickets. French, English and Chinese spoken. Often the more expensive rooms are full. US$11-20.
  • The Green House, #48FGH, St. 488, Village III, S/k Phsar Deum Thkov, Chamkamorn District, +855 23 217998, +855 17 200030, [51]. Simple, newly built and elegantly furnished rooms and suites. Air-con, insulated window, cableTV, broadband Internet, IDD telephone, newspapers, 24 hr security, laundry and valet service, credit cards accepted, mini bar, 24 hr check in, check out and 24 hr housekeeping, ticket reservation, city tour arrangements, pick up service and transfer upon request. Standard single US$13, standard twin US$15, VIP room US$20.
  • Happy 11 Backpackers (or 11 Happy), 87-89 Street 136, (012) 999 921 (). Formerly lakeside and now near the river, this place sports large rooftop and ground floor bar/restaurant/lounge areas with wifi, pool table, and lots of comfy sofas and hammocks. Large screen television with dvds available on the roof otherwise listen to the endless Jack Johnson and reggae. Rooms are decently clean and nights can be loud with bar patrons. Staff are rather serious about the no sex tourists rule, kicking people out as they see fit on the multiple cameras. Cheap draught towers of beer available at the rooftop bar. Dorms $5, windowless cold water ensuite single $8, up to $15 for aircon doubles.
  • King Guesthouse, 141th Street (off Sihanouk Ave), 855 12 220 512. Daily bus service to and from Ho Chi Minh City but if you get their bus from Vietnam they take you directly to the guesthouse and you are not allowed to get off the bus before arriving there. The bus may then park across the entire open front of the place blocking the exit to potential guests that may consider seeking other alternatives.
  • Lazy Gecko Guesthouse & Restaurant (Near the Hotel Cambodiana), #1, Street 259 [Warning - street address may be incorrect], +855 078786025 (). Short stroll to Riverside, Sihanouk Boulevarde, Monivong Boulevarde and the Royal Palace. Good value rooms, most with air-con and many with hot water. Restaurant is downstairs and has daily specials and a Sunday roast. Free WiFi. US$5-15.
  • Long Lin Guesthouse, N. 159, Ang Yukanthor, Street 19 (Within short walking distance to the riverside), +855 23 992 412 (). Clean, spacious and well-decorated. The owner is very friendly and helpful, as is the service. Tours, buses and boats can also be booked through the guesthouse and may include pick-ups. US$6 to $12 for a spacious double or twin.
  • Mad House, Street 454 (near Russian Market), (), [52]. Very friendly guesthouse with western management, Aussie/USA. So join in the madness and stay a few nights at the "Mad House". They have very good free wifi as well as a bar and restaurant. US$5 dorms, US$15 rooms.
  • Mini Banana, #136, Street 51 (head south along Street 51 from Sihanouk Blvd., small alley on the left after Street 282), +855 23 726 854 (), [53]. The new sister guesthouse to the famous Top Banana offers a more relaxed atmosphere than it's older brother. From dorms to double rooms, very clean and a friendly atmosphere. [Note - the 'dorm room' is a large room with mattresses on the floor. No bunks, gear storage area, etc.] Breakfast and lunch served, but you can also order from Top Banana's menu. Easy walk to Street 278, Independence Monument, Sihanouk Boulevarde. Free WiFi. US$4 (dorm) - US$17 (air-con).
  • Okay Guesthouse, #5 Street 258 (Royal Palace area, near Hotel Cambodiana). Large and busy guest house with restaurant, terrace, internet cafe. A good place if you like hanging out with other travellers. They show movies every evening. The rooms are basic but clean, the cheaper rooms are sometimes very small and do not have a window, the more expensive rooms on the 2nd floor are generally a bit better. Somewhat quiet in the evening. It is the 'high density feed lot' for tourists. They provide food, rooms, buses & tours. The rooms are rather bleak and sad by Cambodia guesthouse standards, but its relatively clean and cheap. From US$6-12. (11.5699012,104.9225229)
  • Rory's Guesthouse (Facing the Royal Palace and National Museum and 100 m from the riverfront), #33 Street 178, Riverside, +855 12 425702, [54]. Free WiFi. US$10-30.
  • Simon II Guesthouse, (Next to Simon'). Comfortable rooms with air-con and bathrooms. Extra charges for WIFi and toilet paper. Have been some reports of of rats and cockroaches and mosquitoes. From US$12.
  • Simon's Guesthouse, #11 Street 93, Boeung Kak Lake, +855 12 884650. Tricky to find but the layout of the rooms allows for a nice, cool breeze. Both shared and private bathrooms available Rooms US$2-3.
  • SuperStar Hotel, #26 Street 172, +855 11 399 123 (). Family run hotel and restaurant. US$15 a double room with air-con and WiFi. Street 172 is relatively quiet with few western bars, restaurants, groceries and a bookshop.
  • Top Banana Guesthouse, #2 Street 278 (tell the moto to take you to Wat Lanka), [55]. A very laid back small guesthouse on the 2nd and 3rd floor with a cozy, sociable atmosphere and friendly staff. The cheaper rooms are very noisy. Surprisingly good food. US$7-15.
  • Khmer City Hotel (One street south of the Sorya bus terminal), +855-23 22 45 38, [56]. Surprisingly good for the price. Appears to have been recently refurbished. Free WiFi. US$15-20.
  • Velkommen Backpackers, #17 St 144 (In the centre of Phonm Phen river side), [57]. Nice backpackers guesthouse with a friendly and helpful English and Norwegian management. Dorm beds & private rooms. A large stylish bar and kick back area. Great for meeting other backpackers, with regular events & live music Free WiFi. dorm beds from US$4.50.

Mid-range

  • Hotel Nine, #48, street 9, +855 23 215 964 (), [58]. checkin: noon; checkout: noon. a very relaxing spot in the middle of the city (next to the independence monument on street nine) and with a very good asian fusion kitchen and local chef! (breakfast included) All rooms are equipped with air-con & fan, 22 inch LCD TV with international channels, DVD player, .. US$40-70.
  • Boutique Hotel The 252, #19 Street 252, +855 23 998 252 (), [59]. Boutique hotel with 19 spacious and stylish rooms decorated by Tendance Khmère. Overflow 13x5 m swimming pool surrounded by a leafy tropical garden, garden restaurant and bar. All rooms are equipped with air-con / fan, 22 inch LCD TV with international channels, DVD player, dock speaker system for iPod/iPhone and line-in for mp3 players. US$45-65 including breakfast, free WiFi and includes taxes.
  • The Billabong Hotel, 5 Street 158, Sangkat Boeung Raing, +855 23 223703, [60]. Breakfast included. Alfresco dining poolside. US$36-65.
  • One Up, Banana Hotel, z9-132 Street 51, Sangkat Boeung Keng Kang 1, +855 23 6320479, [61]. All rooms Including: Air-con, Wi-Fi, 32 inch LCD TV, kitchenette with fridge, hot shower. US$15-40.
  • Blue Lime, 42 Street 19z (small cul de sac off Street 19, across the street from the Royal Institute of Fine Arts, ehind the National Museum of Cambodia and the Royal Palace), +855 23 222260, +855 12 447057 (mobile) (), [62]. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12 noon. 14 rooms with a lush exotic garden and a salt-water swimming pool. The rooms, garden and pool are modern minimalist, with concrete furniture. Free 1 Mb/s WiFi. Its sister property is The Pavilion (see below). US$40-50, including continental breakfast.
  • Bougainvillier Boutique Hotel, 227 Sisowath Quay, +855 23 220528, [63]. In Quay Sisowath. All rooms have a view of the Mekong River and suites are all equipped with air-con, cableTV, private safes, minibars, IDD telephones, and free access to internet. US$60-120.
  • California 2 Guesthouse, 79 Sisowath (North of the night market on the riverfront, 3 doors north of the Mekong Express Bus), +855 77 503144, [64]. The original hotel at 317 Sisowath Quay closed as of May 2008. After a year and a half closure it re-opened further north on the riverfront. 24 hr bar and restaurant with WiFi and pool table. Rooms have WiFi, a safe, air-con, ceiling fan, hot water, fridge, and a 26" flat screen TV. Breakfast is included. US$25-35.
  • Cambodia Uncovered, 11B Boeng Keng Kong (Street 370), +855 12 507097 (), [65]. Self-contained apartment for up to 4 people, along with satellite TV, DVD player, and a small veranda. Advance booking required. Off-the-beaten-track boat trips, up-country travel, and cooking classes can also be arranged. singles US$50, doubles US$60, including breakfast.
  • Hotel Cara, 18 Street 47 & 84, Sangkat Srass Chork, +855 23 430066, [66]. Hotel near the river and port. Good rooms with hot showers, TVs and a quiet ambience. Some rooms have balconies. Very helpful staff. Free internet access in the office area near the lobby. Some rooms are completely renovated, sound-proofed, upgraded and have added amenities. US$28-50.
  • Changi Ville Guest House and Cafe, 137B Street 330 (in Chamkarmorn District, about 15 mins' walk from the Independence Monument). In a residential neighbourhood. Clean double rooms with attached baths. Friendly staff. Might occasionally have power outages due to its location. US$25.
  • Frangipani Villas, 20R Street 252, Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh (near Pizza World), +855 12 687717, +855 23 212100, [67]. 1960s building with small garden and granite bathroom. Clean and environmentally-friendly. Free high-speed internet in each room, free laundry, breakfast. US$30-60.
  • Golden Gate Hotel, 9 Street 278, Sangkat Beng Keng Kang 1, Khan Chamkarmorn (near the Independence Monument), +855 23 427618, [68]. US$15-40.
  • The Lone Star Saloon Bar and Guest House, #30,st. 23 (In between St.172 & St. 154 near Cyclo Bar), +855 12 577860, [69]. Texas themed restaurant with 3 apt. sized rooms upstairs available as guest house rooms. Located on a quiet street near the riverside. air-con, hot water, free fast WiFi, mini fridge stocked with drinks at bar prices. Caters to local expats and provides travel info. US$25.
  • Hotel Luxury World, 35 Street 200, Sangkat Boeung Rang, Khan Daun Penh (along Monivong Boulevard), (), [70]. There is an affordable massage parlour on the lower levels of the hotel. There also an open-air restaurant with a live band on the roof of the hotel which provides a cosy ambience at night. Free WiFi is available. US$27-47.
  • Okay Guesthouse, #5 Street 258 (Royal Palace area, near Hotel Cambodiana. Safe and quite well-run, but if you have arrived in Cambodia to escape Western culture for a while be advised that a large TV in the dining/meeting room is always on, loud.). US$2-12.
  • Paragon Hotel, 219B Sisowath Quay. On riverfront, near lots of good cafés. Rooms have bathrooms, air-con, TVs, fridges. No breakfast. Friendly service and clean. US$15-38.
  • Villa Srey (www.villa-srey-boutique-hotel.com), #16, St. 306, BKK 1, +855 (0) 23 213 219 (), [71]. A mini boutique hotel in an old colonial house. 6 spacious and stylish rooms, WiFi, air-con and a swimming pool. Continental breakfast included. US$30-50.
  • The Pavilion, 227 Street 19 (near the Royal Palace), [72]. Colonial building from 1920, with lush garden, swimming pool, jacuzzi, free WiFi. Some rooms have private swimming pools. Children are not welcome. Its sister property is Blue Lime. US$50-80.
  • PKD1 Guesthouse, 40 Street 136 (just off the riverfront), +855 12 769920, [73]. Clean and secure accommodation with fan or Air-con, en suite bathrooms, cableTV and refrigerators. US$10-15.
  • Rory's Guesthouse (Facing the Royal Palace and National Museum and 100 m from the riverfront), #33 Street 178, Riverside, +855 12 425702, [74]. Rooms US$10-30.
  • Velkommen Guesthouse, #18 St 144 (In the centre of Phonm Phen river side), [75]. Nice guesthouse with a friendly and helpful English and Norwegian management. Spotless air-con rooms with cable TVs, minibars, safety boxes, en suite bathrooms with hot water. Free WiFi. US$16-45.
  • Frangipani Fine Arts Hotel, #43 St 178 (50 m from the Royal Palace and National Museum), [76]. The spacious rooms are examples of contemporary Cambodian design. Spotless air-con rooms with cable TVs, minibars, safety boxes, en-suite bathrooms with hot water. Free WiFi. US$70-80.
  • Frangipani Villa-90s Hotel, #25 St 71 (50 m from the Toul Sleng Museum), [77]. The spacious rooms are examples of contemporary Cambodian design. Spotless air-con rooms with cable TVs, minibars, safety boxes, en-suite bathrooms with hot water. Free WiFi. US$44-66.

Splurge

There are a number of 4-5 star hotels in Phnom Penh.

  • La Maison d Ambre (Located on one of central Phnom Penhs busiest commercial street, La Maison dAmbre opened in December 2011. The elegant white concrete façade typical of the Sankum eras urban heritage has been restored to its former splendor. Ten apartments (60 to 120 sq. m.) have been designed and decorated, each in a unique interpretation around the themes of luxury and travel.), 123 Street 110, Corner Street 19, Sangkat Wat Phnom (opposite Wat Phnom), +855 23 222780 (, fax: +855 23 222791), [78]. checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. $90-160$.
  • Intercontinental Hotel [79], Mao Tse Tung Blvd. A favourite among visiting dignitaries, but rather out of the way in the southwest corner of the city.
  • Lebiz Hotel + Library, 17F Kampuchea Krom (opposite of Central Market), +855 23 998610 (), [80]. $66-$79
  • Phnom Penh Hotel [81] , Monivong Blvd (just south of the French Embassy), ☎ +855 23 991868, (Fax:+855 23 991818),. Newly renovated with very nicely appointed rooms and suites.
  • Raffles Le Royal, 92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh (off Monivong Blvd), ☎ +855 23 981888, (Fax:+855 23 981168), [82]. Phnom Penh's grand old hotel, originally built in 1929 by the French, used as a dry fish store by the Khmer Rouge but given a thorough redecoration by the Raffles group in 1999. Walking distance to Wat Phnom and the river, excellent service, wonderful attention to detail and the "Landmark" rooms in the old wing still use bathtubs and even light switches from 1929 (plus broadband internet and walk-in showers). Beware of credit card fraud here - don't let your card out of your sight when paying the bill. US$150/300 low/high season.
  • Sokha Club Hotel, No 63, Preah Norodom Blvd Sangkat Phsar Thmey III, Khan Daun Penh, (Opposite Lux Cinema), +855 23 990 123 (, fax: +855 23 990 151), [83]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. $84-$89.

Spas and salons

  • Amara Spa, Corner of Sisowath Quay & St. 110, +855 23 998730 (), [84]. Traditional Khmer and Asian therapies including a wide selection of facial and body treatments.
  • The Dollhouse Cambodia, #46AEo, Street 322, Boeng Keng Kang 1 (next to Hamptons Apartments), +855 16 620907 (), [85]. Western style hair salon.

Stay safe

As in any big city, be wary walking alone at night.

Daytime bag-snatching is common; western and local women are often targeted, but men are targeted as well. When riding in a tuk-tuk keep your bag and camera towards the middle of the tuk-tuk to protect against bag snatching. When on a motorcycle taxi, keep your bag between you and the driver or in front of the driver. DO NOT carry/wear your bag on your back!

Scammers and conmen sometimes work the tourist areas such as the riverfront, Hun Sen Park and the Sorya Mall. A group of scammers operate around the riverside, targeting travelers. Their basic method is to start a conversation, make friends, claim to have a relative who is soon moving to your country of origin, and invite you to dinner at their house. Once you get there, they will apparently try to trick you into playing a rigged card game for money, and if that fails then they will give you stories about sick relatives and ask money for that instead. Worse yet, there have been reports of druggings in these situations, after which the guest is robbed blind and perhaps dropped at a hospital.

Stay Healthy

As in most developing world countries, avoiding cold, uncooked food is desirable to prevent stomach upsets. Salads are also suspect at times. Ice is usually OK as it is made from filtered water in factories.

Unsafe sex

There are dozens of girlie bars catering to foreigners in the cross-streets back from the river. Freelance girls are picked up at establishments like Heart of Darkness, Sharkys Bar, Riverhouse Lounge and Martini Pub.

HIV is carried by about one in eight of Cambodia's female sex workers. NGOs have got the HIV rate in the general population down from around 2% to around 1% over the past decade but emerging liberal behaviour coupled with ignorance of safe practices may reverse this gain.

Condoms are strongly advised.

Contact

Telephone

Cheap SIM cards for GSM phones are available on almost any major street. A vendor should have an activated test card to be used to make sure your phone will operate on that network. Calls between mobile networks can be be spotty and Skype calls from abroad to mobiles in Cambodia are sometimes dropped, so be prepared to redial frequently. It's now easier than ever to buy a sim card in Phnom Penh, just have your passport and expect to pay no more than US$2. There are plenty of phone stalls around central market. Mobitel has the best coverage around the whole of Cambodia and seems to have cheaper calls. Be warned when sending and receiving international SMSs and calls as they only have about a 50% success rate of being received.

Internet

WiFi is available in most of the hotels that welcome western tourists and backpackers. Speed and reliability is on par with neighboring countries. There is no shortage of Internet cafés in Phnom Penh. Most are in the 1,500 riel/hour to 2,000 riel/hour bracket (~US$0.50)

  • Cybercity8, #17 & 19, St.271 (in front of Sovanna Shopping Centre and just beside KFC Sovanna), +855 17 307 066 (). A modern internet cafe with 3Mb fiber optic cables. Opened 24 hours with promotional rates at night. US$0.50/hr.
  • Sunny Internet, 178 St, (opp Foreign Correspondents' Club), also Sisowath Quay, (next to the Riverstreet restaurant). Provides a faster service at US$1/hr and is popular with tourists and expats.
  • Galaxy Web, Street 63, (near Sihanouk Boulevard). Excellent service, popular with Westerners.

Wireless and wired connections for laptops are available at a number of outlets. Most five star hotels provide high-speed broadband access, but at a premium. A number of cafés along Sisowath Quay including the Foreign Correspondents' Club (expensive), Fresco Café (under the FCC, also expensive), K-West Café (at the Amanjaya Hotel), the Jungle Bar and Grill, and Phnom Penh Café (near Paragon Hotel) and Metro Cafe (free).

Post

The main, impressive French colonial style post office is located at the intersection of Street 13 and 102, roughly between Wat Phnum and the Riverside, also selling postcards. Another branch is more downtown, at the intersection of Sihanouk and Monivong Boulevard. Both offices offer full range of postal services, including PO boxes for affordable prices, and are open 7 days a week.

Postage for international postcards is 3,000 riel (as of March 2012) - very nice picture stamps are available, philatelists: ask for mix and match options. Letters and especially parcels to Phnom Penh's post office frequently go missing, or are not made available to recipients for up to one year.

Cope

Bring your largest pair of sunglasses: Phnom Penh is dusty year-round (even in the wet season) and riding in tuk tuks means a lot of the dust in your eyes.

Embassies and consulates

  • As-flag.png Australia, 16B National Assembly Rd, Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Kahn Chamkamon, +855 23 213 470 (fax: +855 23 213 413), [86]. M-Th 8AM-noon, 1:30PM-5PM, F 8AM-noon, 1:30PM-4:15PM.
  • Sn-flag.png Singapore, 129 Norodom Blvd, Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh, +855 23 221875 (, fax: +855 23 214578 (administration and consular matters)), [90]. M-F 8AM-12:30PM, 2PM-5PM. Singapore nationals may register online with the Embassy at [91].
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom, 27-29 St 75, Sangkat Srah Chak Khan Daun, +855 23 427124, [92].
  • Us-flag.png United States, #1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, (855-23) 728-000, [93].

Hospitals

Ascertain that the doctor has a Western medical degree. If not, get out: local training is poor and treatment can be fatal. Local hospitals are generally basic, including Calmette Hospital - the city's best. A doctor's appointment should be made at one of the international clinics, which can also arrange transfer to a hospital in Thailand if necessary.

  • Dr Marissa Regino-Manampan, (Filipino MD @ 262B, Street 63), +855 23 217349. Family medicine.
  • IMI Dental Clinic, (#193 Street 208), +855 23 212909, [94]. General dentistry. European trained Cambodian dentist. English spoken.
  • International SOS medical and dental clinic, #161, St. 51 (Pasteur), +855 23 216911. Has local and foreign doctors providing wide ranging standard health care and 24 hr emergency service. This clinic is experienced with foreigners and with travel insurance requirements and will ensure that all documentation for insurance claims are provided.
  • Naga Clinic, N° 11, Senei Vinna Vaut Oum (St. 254), +855 23 211300, Mobile: +855 11 811175. US$30 for foreigners, US$15 for Khmer. Some of the Khmer doctors here are foreign-trained and competent - but abrupt and uncommunicative, in the Asian doctor style. The two French doctors are both competent and communicative, and are favoured by expats. One of them, Dr Garen, speaks good English.
  • Royal Rattanak Hospital, No 11, St 592, Boeung Kak 2, Toul Kok, +855 23 365 555. The second Cambodian hospital of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services PCL, opened in March 2008. Provides full secondary health care services including : emergency medicine, general surgery, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery, anesthesiology, pediatrics, OBGYN, general internal medicine, intensive care and rehabilitation services. Good service and some 'real' doctors, but insanely expensive. A keybone operation with 4 days stay cost around US$4,000 US dollars, you pay around US$190/night.
  • Tropical & Travellers Medical Clinic: Dr. Gavin Scott, (#88 Street 108), +855 23 306802, [95]. British doctor. General Medicine. Tropical medicine.

The cost of a blood test for malaria in Calmette Hospital is around US$27.50.

Get out

Cambodia

Sihanoukville, Battambang, and Siem Reap are within a few hours reach. Watch out for guesthouses profiteering on bus tickets. Several tour companies offer day-trips to Tonle Bati, which includes Ta Prohm, an Angkor-era temple not to be mistaken for the Angkor-area temple of the same name.

Rates at May 2012, from Mekong Imperial Int. Travel&Tours Co. Ltd. at #339 Sisowath Quay (Riverside) Tlf:0235550401/092341732/095793232, they do free pickup, it could be 1US$ cheaper to buy directly from the bus company station.

Destination Bus Company (comments) Departure Duration Cost
Siem Reap Mekong Express (air-con, snack, water, toilet, tour guide) 7:00 8:30 12:30 14:25 6 hr US$12
Apsara Khmer Travel (air-con, water) 7:00 9:00 13:30 15:30 5 hr US$9
Gold VIP (air-con, snack, water) 7:00 8:30 13:30 14:30 (5 hr) 20:00 24:00 (6 hr) US$9
Selia Angkor (air-con, snack, water) 7:00 9:00 14:00 15:00 5 hr US$9
Virak Buntham 11:30 (5hr) 18:00 20:00 24:00 (6 hr) US$9
Sok Sokha (cold towel, air-con, snack, water, toilet) 7:30 8:30 12:30 13:30 6 hr US$8
Capitol (air-con) 6:15 7:30 8:30 10:15 12:00 13:30 14:30 6.5 hr US$7
Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 7:00 7:45 8:45 11:30 12:45 15:15 7 hr US$7
Sihanouk Ville Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 7:00 8:00 9:00 11:30 12:45 15:45 17:00 5 hr US$7
Capitol (air-con) 7:15 8:45 9:45 11:15 12:15 13:30 14:30 5 hr US$7
G.S.T. (air-con) 7:15 8:15 12:30 13:30 13:15 5 hr US$7
Virak Buntham (blanket,water, air-con) 1:30 4 hr US$8
Kep/Kompot Capitol (air-con) 7:30 13:00 4 hr US$7
Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 6:45 7:30 9:30 12:45 13:45 5 hr US$7
Kratie Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 6:45 7:15 8:00 10:30 6 hr US$8
G.S.T. (air-con) 7:00 6 hr US$8
Battambang Virak Buntham (air-con) 5:00 6:30 5 hr US$7
Capitol (air-con) 7:00 until 14:45 (every hr) 5 hr US$7
Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 6:30 7:45 8:45 10:45 12:45 6 hr US$7
Koh Kong Virak Buntham (air-con) 7:45 12:30 6 hr US$9
Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 7:45 11:30 6 hr US$9
Kampong Cham Capitol (air-con) 8:15 14:00 3 hr US$6
Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) From 7:15 until 15:45 every hr 3 hr US$6
Preah Vihear G.S.T. (air-con) 7:30 8 hr US$7
Poi Pet Virak Buntham (air-con) 20:00 21:00 24:00 7 hr US$10
Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 6:15 6:30 7:45 7:30 8 hr US$10
Capitol (air-con) 6:30 8:00 10:00 8 hr US$10
Stung Streng Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 7:15 9 hr US$12
Rathanakiri Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 7:30 13 hr US$12
Mondulkiri Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con) 8:15 8 hr US$10

Vietnam

Slow boats to Vietnam (US$9-10) are a scenic alternative to the bus (US$10, 6 hr). The 8 hour journey begins at 7.30AM with a minibus to the boat, which then goes to Chau Doc in Vietnam, stopping for an hour at the border for immigration and a change of vessel. Faster boats (US$10) to Ho Chi Minh City take around 6 hours and depart 3-7 times per day. The journey can be also stretched into a 2-3 day Mekong tour (US$40-60).

Prices May 2012:

Destination Bus Company (comments) Departure Duration Cost
Ho Chi Minh City Mekong Express (air-con, snack, water, toilet, tour guide) 6:30 7:00 8:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 6 hr US$13
Sapaco Tourist (air-con, water, toilet) 6:00 7:00 8:00 9:00 11:30 13:00 14:00 15:00 6 hr US$12
Khai Nam transport 5:30 7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 6 hr US$11
Virak Buntham 8:30 6 hr US$11
Virak Buntham (blanket, air-con) 00:30 (night bus) 8 hr US$12
Capitol 6:45 8:00 13:30 6 hr US$11
Phnom Penh Sorya 5:45 6:45 8:30 11:45 13:30 6 hr US$15
Hatien Champa Mekong (minibus, air-con) 8:00rr 5 hr US$15
Phu Quoc Champa Mekong (minibus, air-con) 8:00 7 hr US$27

Laos

Buses to Don Det (US$19, 12 hr) leave at 6:45AM. The 27 hour journey to Vientiane costs US$46 and takes four different buses. The first leg is on the Don Det bus. Once over the border you'll spend hours on cramped minibuses heaing to Pakse before the final strech to the capital. The border is slow and bureaucratic, with endless form-filling and small bribes ('fees') to officials, long walks hauling your luggage between windows (500 m), and no-one much to assist with enquiries. There have been reports of various problems on the onward journey to Vientiane, including Lao companies not honouring tickets sold in Cambodia to nocturnal groping.

Prices May 2012:

Destination Bus Company (comments) Departure Duration Cost
4000 islands / Don Khong (boat not included probably) Phnom Penh Sorya 6:45 10 hr US$23
Pakze Phnom Penh Sorya 6:45 12 hr US$30
Vientiane Phnom Penh Sorya 6:45 22.5 hr US$50

Thailand

Through tickets to Bangkok (14 hr, US$15-26) are generally unproblematic. You will change buses at the border. Anything more than US$15 is a bit steep given that Phnom Penh to Siem Reap should cost US$5 and that Siem Reap to Bangkok should cost US$10.

Prices May 2012:

Destination Bus Company (comments) Departure Duration Cost
Bangkok Virak Buntham (through Koh Kong border) 7:45 >12 hr US$28
Virak Buntham (through Poipet border) 21:00 21:30 24:00 24:30 (night bus) >12 hr US$23
Gold VIP (through Poipet border) 20:00 24:00 (night bus) >12 hr US$23
Angkor Express (through Poipet border) 6:30 13 hr US$18
Capitol (through Poipet border) 6:30 13 hr US$18
Phnom Penh Sorya (through Poipet border) 6:30 13 hr US$18
Trat Virak Buntham 7:45 8 hr US$19
Koh Chang Virak Buntham 7:45 9 hr US$23
Koh Samet Virak Buntham 7:45 12 hr US$29
Pattaya Virak Buntham 7:45 11 hr US$29


Routes through Phnom Penh
PoipetPursat  NW noframe SE  END
END  N noframe S  → Takeo → Sihanoukville







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