Phnom Penh is the capital and largest city of Cambodia, located at the confluence of the Mekong and the Tonle Sap rivers.
Despite being a bit rough on the edges, Phnom Penh retains its former charm as a leafy South East Asian capital with a nice riverside promenade and numerous beautiful Cambodian Buddhist wats, palaces, and other artifacts. A large infrastructure catering to tourists makes it easily accessible, and many consider it to be one of the friendliest capitals in Asia, as Cambodians have not yet become jaded by mass tourism. Widespread poverty can still be seen, as in all of Cambodia, and increasing traffic can be a problem at certain times of the day.
It is a bit unfortunate that one of the tourist industry's selling points for Phnom Penh has to do with wars that took place in the 1970's (i.e. Killing Fields, Toul Sleng), as tourists may associate the city with these historical events when in fact Cambodian culture, including its art and music is quite remarkable and modern day Cambodia is a friendly and youthful place that has nothing to do with remote dark chapters in the country's history.
Phnom Penh is slowly gaining high rise buildings, traffic lights, and Western style shopping malls, but overall remains one of the most undeveloped capitals in Asia. It does not have the huge colonial British architectural heritage like Yangon in Myanmar, and is light years behind Bangkok.
The beauty that made it a 'Paris of the East' before 1970 is hidden beneath the reality of modern day Cambodia, though there are a few French colonial buildings remaining. The wide boulevards and promenades envisaged by the French are mostly used as parking spaces and market stalls: pedestrians are not in favour. The Khmer temples and monuments found here are some of the most stunning examples of Buddhist architecture and art, and Phnom Penh has no shortage of these.
The innermost part of the city, known as "riverside" is where most tourists will go, as it hosts cafés and restaurants aplenty. Standard tourist sights are few, which makes the city a place to relax, watch the street life and absorb the local colour. Phnom Penh is a worthwhile destination for those who enjoy an 'edgy' experience as well as those interested in authentic South East Asian people and culture.
Tuk tuk and motorcycle drivers and beggars abound, especially in the tourist strip along the river. Cambodian drivers have a bad habit of engaging every single foreigner they see, so walking around you will constantly get stopped with offers for rides. Even expats living in the city have to deal with this constantly. The best strategy is: 1) keep your head down and walk briskly past drivers not making eye contact 2) if the driver who calls you is not close, just pretend you don't hear or yell "no thanks" 3) if he is right next to you, just say "no, thanks" or if you really want to act like an expat say "aht-tey bohng" (for men up to age 50) or "aht-tey pooh" (for men over 50). This means no in Cambodian with the proper address. As soon as you make eye contact with them they see you as a serious customer and will try to sell you trips or make friends with you.
Weather in Phnom Penh, simply put, is of three types: 1) hot 2) too hot, and 3) too hot plus too humid. The Khmer call these the cold season, the warm season, and the rainy season, respectively. As of 2016 unfortunately the "cold" season seems to be disappearing and even when it should be hot, it's actually too hot. This might be due to the El Nino phenomenon this year and hopefully following years will be back to the "cold" (i.e. 30 degrees celsius) again.
Weather is pleasant during the "cold season" from November to January, highs are around 30 degrees C. Staring February the temperature begins to rise, and by March the daily highs are 35-38 degrees C, making it hardly bearable. This is followed by the rainy season, which is more humid than rainy, as on most days it just rains briefly in the afternoon. Arguably, the humid heat of rainy season is even worse than the extreme heat of hot season. Occasionally, there are massive downpours that cause major flooding, making parts of the city inaccessible.
Motor vehicle generated pollution level could get very high, especially in the popular tourist area and therefore, you will feel your lung capacity drop after a few days. If you take any medication for issues such as asthma, take them with you.
The Khmer people have a very rich and ancient history in the region, including the famous Angkor Empire which extended over a large part of South East Asia.
Unfortunately the 20th century was not kind to the Khmers, as they experienced possibly the worst genocide outside of World War II (looking at the percentage of population killed), committed by brutal and psychopathic dictator Pol Pot and his Red Khmer, who wanted to institute an agrarian communist system.
In 1975 Phnom Penh was choked with up to 2 million refugees from the war between the then US-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's henchmen, or fled into exile.
Cambodia's developing economy and institutionalized 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.
The unfortunate history of the Khmers in the late 20th century is, however, just one part of their history dating back to ancient times, and modern day Cambodians are upbeat and look to the future as opposed to dwelling on the past.
All of Phnom Penh's streets are numbered. Though some major thoroughfares also known by their names and not numbers. 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 find two completely unrelated houses with the same number in the same street.
Ordinary Visas (class 'E', sometimes misleadingly also called 'business visas') are the best choice for those wishing to stay for over two months with multiple entries, as an ordinary visa can be extended indefinitely. An ordinary visa costs US$35 at the border. Make sure you have the exact amount to hand it over. If you are asked for more money firmly insist that this is the correct price, it is also printed on the visa sticker; if it is missing there, it is missing for a reason. You might hear arguments that 'some document is missing' - just ignore it, smile, and very politely insist that this is the correct amount, hand it over, and deny any requests for more money.
Visa extension: The official prices for the extension of an ordinary visa (not a tourist visa!) in the immigration office next to the airport in Phnom Penh are:
US$30 for 1 month,
US$60 for 3 months,
US$100 for 6 months (multi-entry),
US$150 for 12 months (multi-entry),
Visa extension requests are only processed in the morning, every weekday between 8am and 12pm.
The waiting time is 7 days, for the 12 months extension it might be longer; also, in case there are any Khmer holidays inbetween.
In reality you might have to feed corruption by using a 'visa agency' with hugely inflated prices, e.g. because the officer determines that 'a document is missing' or the like, or in case you need the extension faster. These 'visa agencies' might be able to reduce the waiting time to 4 days.
- See Cambodia | Get in for general information on getting into Cambodia.
- See Cambodia | Get in | Visas for detailed visa information.
Phnom Penh International Airport (IATA: PNH) is the largest airport in Cambodia, located 7km west of the city.
The following airlines operate service to/from Phnom Penh:
The new terminal is a thoroughly pleasant and modern facility, and features a post office, bank (including ATMs), restaurants, duty-free shop, news stand, 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.
Fingerprinting is now in operation at the airport for International visitors arriving from outside of Cambodia and departing.
As of October 2016 all of the ATMs at the airport (both landside and airside) charge at least $5 for withdrawing USD. 1 exchange office in the baggage claim area, but has bad rates.
Duty Free prices in Cambodia seem to be horribly inflated - alcohol and cigarettes 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 USD21 at the airport, and USD11 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!
Getting from/to the airport
Bus on the Phnom Penh BRT network
There are now air conditioned public city buses: Line 03 of the Phnom Penh City Bus line which began service in 2014. This new line runs between the Night Market and Chom Chav Roundabout. The fare for using the bus irrespective of distance is KHR1,500 (USD0.37) to the city centre. The bus stop is just outside the airport on the same side of the road, 100 meters from the gate. Operation hours is from 5.30 am (starting from the night market area - on the Preah Sisowath Quay road between St 106 & 108) to 8:30 pm.
Taxis from the public taxi stand at the airport cost a flat USD12 (October 2016), and tuk-tuks cost USD7 officially. Cash Only. If you are willing to lug your bags outside the airport fence you can catch a tuktuk into town for USD5-6 depending how hard you bargain. For visitors on a budget without a lot of luggage, you can catch a motorcycle officially or unofficially, though be aware this ride can be extremely uncomfortable especially if you arrive during the afternoon or morning rush hour the trip can take about an hour in stop and go traffic. If you do catch a motorbike, the older types with the large flat seats are much more comfortable than the never ones. A motorbike ride during rush hour on the back of a small seated newer bike is likely to be a very strenuous experience and highly not recommended. An expressway is in the works but in the meantime, it may take an hour to an hour and a half to get from the airport to the city depending on the severity of rush hour traffic.
Be aware during rush hour (3-8 pm) riding in on a tuktuk can be very dusty and polluted with traffic fumes. If you are sensitive to this, taking a bus or taxi is recommended.
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. The other bus station is next to the night market, at the Northern end of riverside road (Sisowath Quay). Don't rely on the displayed bus timetable, buy your ticket the day before and confirm the departure time with staff.
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.
To avoid getting scammed, you can try the online ticket aggregator CamboTicket.com. Camboticket has partnered with most of the top bus operators and allows online search, selection and payment for bus tickets and e-tickets get delivered to your inbox. The site is secure and has received positive feedback and reviews for prompt service.
Stray Asia Bus is a reliable company and offers flexible travel passes which allow passengers to hop-on and off along their Southeast route. Stray buses are safe, have an english speaking guide on board and run to a reliable time schedule. Stray is a reputed New Zealand travel company who also operate in Southeast Asia.
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.
- Ho Chi Minh City (US$10, around 6 hrs) no change of bus. Beware of border bus scams, see Cambodia section. Sapaco Tourist arrives close to the Olympic stadium. From there a tuktuk ride to North of the Royal Palace is available for around 1.5 USD (August 16).
- 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. A third option is to catch a bus from Nong Khai to Nakhon Ratchasima and then a bus un to the border at Arunyaprathet from there you can catch a bus to Phnom Penh for around $7-10. If you get your connections right, you can do the journey in less than 20 hours. You will likely need to buy multiple tickets, but timetables are generally accurate and available on online.
Buses arriving from Pakse enter the city at night (around 7:30 to 8:00 pm) via Monivong Ave, leaving tired and emotional travellers prone to being preyed on tuktuk touts. Watch out!
Phnom Penh is the domestic transport hub and direct buses run to just about every provincial capital, including far flung town like Pailin, Samraong, Banlung and Sen Monorom. The crowded peasant mover Paramount Angkor specializes in out-of-the-way towns, avoid it for intercity travel as it's the same price as more genteel companies but does not guarantee a seat.
More frequently visited destinations include:
- Siem Reap ($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.
Ferries connect Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and usually take 6 hr; tickets for foreigners cost US$35. 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
- Mekong Tour Slow Boat, leaves at 7hr 30 min, takes 7-8hours, price US$12
- Cawaco hydrofoil from Can Tho ( contact directly for cost)
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.
Phnom Penh bus approaching BRT station
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.
Bus rapid transit network in Phnom Penh
Since 2014, air conditioned buses have run along three main bus routes across the city. Line 01 travels north/south along Monivong Boulevard going around Wat Phnom (stop 21), the Central Market (stop 30), near the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Stop 41), Olympic Stadium (stop 37) and with some walking, the Royal Palace and National Museum (stop 35). Line 02 serves the western side along Mao Tse Tung Boulevard, going much further south to Ta Khmao, the closest stop (yet not walkable at 12km) to the Choeung Ek Killing Fields and the capital of the Kandal Province from, where 60% of residents travel to work in the city daily. Line 03 goes east/west Phnom Penh along the Russian Confederation Boulevard, stopping at the Phnom Penh International Airport, Central Market and Night Market. The fare for the public buses is 1500 riel (0.35USD) per voyage irrespective of distance. Students (provided you have your student photo ID), senior citizens, the physically disabled and Buddhist monks travel free as of 2015. Ensure you have the correct amount as no change is provided since you put the money inside a box near the front door, before being issued with a ticket. There are two bus stations on Line 03 that stop outside Phnom Penh International Airport connecting the airport to the city centre. The terminus station for Lines 02 and 03 is the Night Market in central Phnom Penh.
Public transport operates between 5:30am to 8:30pm and is supposed to run every 10 minutes on the high frequency Line 01. Outside these hours, other means of transport need to be found with a night time premium added when you haggle over the fare. Be aware of valuables when using the public buses, as they may get crowded during rush hour. The driver and ticket inspector usually speaks little English so refer to key landmarks when asking about when to get off, or else ask around as it's likely other passengers are able to help. Younger passengers, especially students are likely to speak English. Even better, use your smartphone's GPS to keep track of the route and to know when to get off. To get off, push the bell button or else pull the string near the window. More information on buses can be founded on the Phnom Penh City Bus Wikipedia page
To locate a bus stop, look for an advertisement board with a large map of the bus routes on one side. Larger bus stops have shelters and sometimes queuing lines. As there is no dedicated bus lane, buses may come at irregular intervals earlier or later than the stated 10 minute frequency during peak time, depending on traffic congestion. Exit the bus using the rear door and have a map on hand so you know which direction to take to get to your destination.
|| Monivong Boulevard Kilometre 9 ↔ Okaha Suy Sophan Bus Terminal
|| Monivong Boulevard
|| Wat Phnom, Central Market. Further walking: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Olympic Stadium, Royal Palace and National Museum
|| Takmao ↔ Night Market
|| Mao Tse Tung Boulevard
|| Ta Khmao
|| Chom Chay Roundabout ↔ Night Market
|| Russian Confederation Boulevard
|| Royal University of Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh International Airport
Transport tip for safety and budget conscious travelers
If the thought of riding a motorbike taxi through Phnom Penh's suicidal street traffic and breathing in noxious carcinogenic fumes in Cambodia's sweltering tropical heat isn't your cup of tea, consider using the air conditioned public buses for most of your journey, and completing the final leg with a tuk-tuk or motorcycle taxi. Given the informal price hierarchy starting from:
- Locals - who usually stick to drivers they know
- Expats - who get charged slightly higher, depending on their bargaining skills
- Tourists - who like in neighboring countries, are charged more
this should save a couple of dollars, enough to buy a few extra cans of beer, have spare change for physically disabled and land mine victims begging near tourist landmarks, or pay excess to your insurance company for that trip to Bangkok you never intended to make.
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. If you're not experienced with a motorbike, just don't do it, as each year visiting foreigners die from motorbike accidents. Two rental shops are in Monivong Boulevard - Lucky Bike Rental and New Bike Rental. Vannak Motorcycle is in 130 street, near the riverside. 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.
To wear a mask, or to not wear a mask?
One noticeable trend in recent times amongst motordup passengers in Phnom Penh is the wearing of masks. Unlike Bangkok, no real time air quality monitoring station has yet been installed in the city so there currently is no data of PM10 or PM2.5 concentration, though given the rate of development, it is likely to be at similar levels to its neighbors. Surgical masks will not protect against micro pollutants, but will reduced the amount of dust in your nose at the end of the day, since Phnom Penh is a very dusty city
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.
As of 1 Jan 2016, helmets for passengers are compulsory, or else the transport police can issue a USD$3.75 fine for non-compliance. Transport police tend to target tourist so bring your own helmet, as accidents are common on Phnom Penh's roads.
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 run 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 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".
Tuk-tuks consist of a motorcycle with a cabin for the passengers hitched to the back. They are cheap (Per tuk-tuk: US$1-3 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 usually speak some English, but if going to a destination that is not well known it is best to make sure the driver really understands. 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). Tuk tuk drivers going the wrong way and driving around for long periods are unfortunately common. They don't do this on purpose, they just don't know where the place is and desperately want your business. If you see the driver going the wrong way, best to stop him and make him get a map or ask. If not possible, best to cut the trip short and find another one.
Cyclos are three-wheeled pedal cycle-rickshaws. They are slow, scenic, traditional and romantic, though waning in number.
Cycling can extend the horizons of the city. Ride slowly and be visible and predictable by avoiding quick turns. Bicycles can be hired for $1 to $3 per day or if staying longer you can buy a cheap Chinese style bike for $30-$50, new or second hand. A good place to buy is in the area around the top of St105, near St182. Having a bike greatly reduces the amount of annoying verbal ride offers by tuk tuk and moto taxi drivers. There are plenty of repair places in town to fix a puncture, pump up tires or do any repair work at cheap prices. A puncture repair costs $1.
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. Walking alone late at night can be very dangerous (bag snatching is common - be careful). Traffic signals and pedestrian crossings are generally ignored by drivers.
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.
Sisowath Quay as seen from FCC
- The Royal Palace, (Bus Line 01 stop 37). 08:00-11:00 & 14:00-17:00. 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 (legs must be covered to knees and shoulders must be covered), you can rent sarongs for KHR1,000 (plus USD1 deposit) and buy t-shirts for USD2 at the entrance. As of late August 2016 (for more than two years now, so may be they gonna finish it soonish), the Napoleon III Pavilion is currently under renovation, and is completely covered by construction netting. In general, the Palace complex has a more structured, formal, organized and harmonious layout with a clear and specific architectural style compared to that in Bangkok, which has more styles. USD10/KHR40,000. edit
- The National Museum of Cambodia, Street 13, Sangkat Chey Chumneas, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh (opposite the Royal Palace, Bus Line 01 stop 37), ☎ +855 23 211753, +855 12 621522 (mobile) ([email protected], fax: +855 23 211753), . Daily 08:00-17:00, last admission 16:30. 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. 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 predicted. You may have heard stories of sightseers carrying umbrellas inside to avoid showers of bat droppings, but the bats have long moved out, after the renovation of 2002. US$5. edit
- Wat Phnom, (on a hill at the centre of a small park near Sisowath Quay, on St. 94. Bus Line 01 stop 21). 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. There is no longer any elephant ride, because 'Sampo' is retired. Admission: USD1. edit
- Sisowath Quay aka Riverside, (Bus Line 01 stop 21 or Terminus of Line 02 and 03). 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. 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. See A Stroll on Sisowath Quay for a self-guided tour. edit
- Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison), Street 113, Boeng Keng Kang 3, Chamkar Morn (Bus Line 01 stop 41), ☎ +855 23 300-698, . 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. (which is a misconception, as you will learn in the museum) 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 USD1.50-2. 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 28, Street 330) is a little shop called CHA that provides inexpensive handmade goods that are made by women disabled from polio and land mines. If you ask, you will also be able to tour the shop, meeting the female workers and seeing where they study English. Admission fee is USD 3 and free for student with an ID-card (April 2015). USD3. edit
- The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, (About 17 km south of Phnom Penh, 40min by taxi or moto or tuktuk. Bus Line 02 Terminus Ta Khmao Market and tuk-tuk transfer). 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 . A tuk tuk to the site should cost USD9-11 return (after haggling, of course), including stopping at the Genocide Museum on the way and waiting for you at both places. Admission cost is 3 USD, although the advertised price is USD6, but that includes the (very good) audio tour, with a choice of several languages. If you don't want to do the audio tour, just say so and then you only have to pay 3 USD. US$6. edit
- Wat Botum, (about three kilometres south of Wat Phnom, near the Royal Palace. Bus Line 01 stop 37). Historically the wat favoured by royalty. In the 1930s it housed a charming young novice named Saloth Sar, who later in life changed his name to Pol Pot. edit
- Independence and Liberation memorials, (Bus Line 01 stop 35). 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. edit
- Olympic Stadium, (Bus Line 01 stop 37). 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. KHR6,000 to get in, KHR500 to check your things. edit
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 Building, 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.
- Bicycle Tours and Rental, ☎ +855 89 834704 or +855 15 696376 ([email protected]), . Sa-Su 09:00-17:00. During the week upon request. Take a short trip to the other side of the Mekong River or into the countryside. USD2. edit
- Cambodia Cooking Class, frizz Restaurant, #67 Street 240, ☎ +855 12 524801, . Classes are held every day on a rooftop terrace.. Begins with a tour around a local market, then return to the restaurant to make at least three different Cambodian dishes. edit
- Cambodia Golf and Country Club, Rte #4, 35km south of Phnom Penh, ☎ +855 23 363666. 18 hole course spread over 120 acres, palm trees, several water features. Restaurant, swimming pool, tennis courts. edit
- Cruises on the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers, Book a river cruise with Phoceamekong, located at Sisowath Quay, Titanic Tourism port, ☎ +855 12 221 348 ([email protected]), . 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. edit
- Donate Blood, Preah Norodom (St. 41), corner of Kramuon Sar (St. 114), 12202 Phnom Penh. 24/7. March 2013: Blood can be donated at the National Blood Transfusion Centre. The paperwork takes about 5 minutes, and the donation itself about 10. Afterwards, you are given bananas, drinks, sugary snacks, a T-shirt, and a lot of thanks. Donations can be given 24 hours a day. edit
- The Empire Movie House, #34, Street 130 (Just off Riverside Blvd near corner street 5), ☎ +855 774 68243 ([email protected]), . M-F 16:00-23:00, Sa-Su 13:30-23:00. Arthouse Cinema with its own bar and restaurant. Screens recent releases, indie films, festival movies, classics and documentaries on big screen with air conditioning. USD3.50 per day, weekly pass USD10, monthly pass USD15. (11.5716,104.9284) edit
- Escape60, #9, Street 147 (Toul Tum Poung (Russian market)), ☎ +855 98 481 210 ([email protected]), . Mo-Su 09:00-20:00. Real life escape game for groups of 2-5 persons per room. Offers two rooms: "Night City Prison" (level of difficulty: expert) and "The Shelter - Private Investigator" (level of difficulty: medium). The rooms are air conditioned. Duration of the game is one hour or less (if you manage to escape the room before time runs out). USD20 per person. edit
- Hash House Harriers, . A running club ("Drinkers with a running problem") that meets every Sunday at 2PM at the railway station. US$5. edit
- Help the Needy with CHOICE, . A great way to help some of the local poor people in a positive and rewarding way is to help the expat run charity called CHOICE. They help provide food and basic supplies to about 190+ extremely poor families as well as medical assistance. They also provide vocational training and feed and send many children to local schools. Volunteers are always welcome to help for a day or more, such as delivering fresh water supplies to poor villages. edit
- Institute Francais, . Open Tue-Sat. La Cinéma is under construction until May 2014. Shows fewer English subtitles than previously. edit
- Interactive Wildlife Tours at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, (Book at www.phnomtamaotours.com), ☎ +85595970175, or 095970175 from within Cambodia ([email protected]), . Interact with rare wildlife rescued from the illegal wildlife trade: Walk with elephants in the forest, interact with baby macaque monkeys, enter keepers' private areas such as the tiger dens and get up close with some of Cambodia's last tigers, meet baby animals at the nursery in the private rehabilitation area, have the chance to bathe an elephant and get painted in a t-shirt, observe how the animals are trained with humane positive reinforcement, visit & hear the rescue stories of the leopards, pythons, binturongs and other animals, many of them rescued by the official Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team established by the government and Wildlife Alliance. Lunch, transportation, water and park entry all included (details on website). 100% of profits go directly to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wildlife in Cambodia. www.phnomtamaotours.com edit
- Khmer Cooking Class at Feel Good Cafe, 79 Street 136, ☎ +855 982 52533 ([email protected]), . Feel Good Cafe offers a Khmer cooking class which will teach you the ins and outs of preparing your own Khmer multi-course meal from scratch. The owner, Nara, speaks fluent English and is a hoot (as well as an excellent chef and instructor!). Classes last several hours, beginning with a coffee on the house and a trip to a local market, and ending with you devouring the scrumptious meal Nara has helped you prepare! If you're feeling extra-adventurous, Nara also offers a street-food tour in the evening. US$29. edit
- Mekong Islands Bicycle Tour, 29 Street 130 (diagonally opposite Indochine 2 Hotel), . 08:00-12.:30. 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$29. (11.571105,104.924884) edit
- Meta House - Cambodian German Cultural Center, #37 Sothearos Blvd, ☎ 023-224140), . Art and media gallery hosting regularly scheduled events in the arts - exhibitions, films and lectures. Check schedule on LadyPenh.com  edit
- Both House - Cambodian German Cultural Center, #37 Sothearos Blvd, ☎ 023-224140), . Art and media gallery hosting regularly scheduled events in the arts - exhibitions, films and lectures. Check schedule on LadyPenh.com  edit
- NagaWorld Casino, Samdech Hun Sen Park (End of Sihanouk Blvd, near the river.), ☎ 023-228822, . The only casino in Phnom Penh. edit
- Plae Pakaa/Fruitful, National Museum, Sothearos Blvd. and Street 178, ☎ 023-986032 ([email protected]), . Monday to Saturday, 7:00pm - 8:00pm at the National Museum. Monday & Thursday: Classical & folk dance / Tuesday & Friday: Yike Opera / Wednesday & Saturday: Theater and music.. A series of three rotating performances, showcasing a range of traditional Cambodian performing arts. Featuring more than Apsara dances, offering the chance to discover the diversity of Cambodian culture In the garden of the National Museum. Plae Pakaa also aims to create regular, well-paid work for emerging arts professionals in Cambodia. Adult: US$15; Children (Under 12): US$6. edit
- Sakura Japanese Massage and Esthetic, 150 Eo. Street 63, Sangkat Chatomuk,kjan daun Pemh, Phnom Penh, ☎ +855-977-950-826. 11:00 to 24:00 (closed Tuesdays). Phnom Penh has a large number of massage and spa places and these seem to be popular among locals and tourists alike. The staff are trained in the shiatsu technique by the spa's owner, a master shiatsu practioner. 75 minutes: 9 USD. edit
- Nika's Seeing Hands Massage Therapy Center, #75D, St. 95 Sangkat Boeung Keng Kang III, ☎ 012-948088, . 8:00 to 21:00 everyday. Professional blind massage therapy with Japanese shiatsu and anma trained therapists run by Cambodia's first and most well known female blind massage practitioner, Tath Nika. US$7 for one hour of massage therapy. edit
- Sovanna Phum Art Association, #166 Street 99, ☎ 023-987564, 012-846020, . Performance: 19:30-20:30. Classical, Folk and Contemporary dance, Shadow theatre, Circus and Music. Adult : $5; Children: $3. edit
- Scuba Nation Diving Centre, #18Eo, Street 3 (Close to the FCC), ☎ +85512715785 ([email protected], fax: +85523211850), . Mon to Fri 09:00 - 18:00 Sat 9 am - 17:00 Sun 11:00 - 18:00. Provides a range of diving and snorkeling services, day trips, live-aboards, nitrox and a full range of PADI courses from beginner to instructor. edit
- Tarantino Movie Theater & Restaurant, #8, Street 258;, . Three screenings per day from September 2017, with more at the weekends. One of Phnom Penh's finest little movie theaters, screening the better films on a 5m wide screen in an uber-comfy AC movie room, which can be enjoyed with a diverse selection of food options from our own kitchen. $3.50 per day. (11.549552,104.920704) edit
- 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 everything from pistols to machine guns at paper targets. Firing automatic weapons such as AK-47 or M-16 costs around US$40 per magazine. edit
- 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. There are few 'straight' orphanages in Phnom Penh: many, perhaps most 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. The practice of taking foreigners on orphanage visits and voluntourism at orphanages is so lucrative that it has been a major factor in the explosion in the number of orphanages in Cambodia. Officials estimate that as many as 70% of ‘orphans’ have at least one living parent. Many Cambodian children need your help, so don't let this put you off from helping deserving kids, just do it either directly by paying their school fees or buying them clothing, or do it by supporting one of the organizations, such as Mith Samlanh or the Children's hospital Kantha Bopha. These organization do a tremendous amount of work to help poor kids and even save numerous kids' lives (Kantha Bopha hospitals treat 80% of seriously ill Cambodian kids each year free of charge). If you are a returning visitor to Cambodia, the best you can do is pick a child and sponsor him or her to go to school, buy them clothing or some essential items for the family, or if not, then donate to something like Kantha Bopha children's hospitals.  edit
- Veasna In The Kitchen, Riverside, Phnom Penh, . Offers private cooking classes including market tours in a large kitchen overlooking the Phnom Penh riverside. Private dining experiences also available. Website includes large library of 'how to' cooking videos on classic Cambodian dishes, these are regularly updated. edit
Cambodia has a dual currency system, where the US dollar (USD) and the Khmer riel (KHR) are used simultaneously. The Khmer riel is not usually used for large purchases. Cents of the US dollar are not in use, so change below 1 dollar is always given in riel. Prices for most products and services worth above a couple of dollars will be quoted in US dollars, especially to foreigners. If you carry US dollars, money changers are usually not necessary, except perhaps getting rid of extra riels before leaving the country. They 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. Larger, more established businesses like supermarkets, set their own rates, which is usually between KHR4100-4200. 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 USD1.25 in change, you will either receive USD1 plus KHR1000, or KHR5000. Paying in this form is also acceptable. When accepting money in change or exchange, inspect the bills. Marred riel are acceptable tender, but the tiniest tear in a large US note (especially $50 and $100 bills) renders it unusable in Cambodia.
There are plenty of ATMs. They dispense US dollars and accept international cards. Most banks charge US$4-5 per withdrawal (your own bank at home may also add fees). ANZ Royal bank charges USD4 per transaction. Union Commercial Bank plc charges USD2 per transaction (Feb 2011). Inside Capitol Guesthouse there is an ATM for Canadia bank where you can make a safe withdrawal. FTB is also fee-free - there is one opposite the main terminal on Sisowath Quay.
Cashing traveller's cheques can be problematic; even major banks may refuse to exchange traveller's cheques of above USD100.
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 USD20 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.
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.
- O'Russey Market, (in Cambodian called Psar O'Russey) is very popular with the locals, particularly for buying bicycles and uniforms. Anything you can think of (stationery, jewelry, business shirts) is sold here, wholesale. Definitely worth a visit for the thrifty shopper.
- Sorya Mall, currently Phnom Penh's main Western-style mall, is nearby. Sorya (similarly to all other malls in Phnom Penh) 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, City Mall is a western-style mall in Phnom Penh (but does not look too new any more). The 3-floor mall contains a number of clothing stores, a branch of Lucky Supermarket, some electronics, as well as a couple of local pizza, hamburger and coffee outlets. There is also a Japanese restaurant on the third floor. The mall is a bit more spacious but not much bigger than the Sorya Mall, and less busy due to its less central location.
- 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.
- Aeon Mall. Opened in 2014, this is the latest and biggest western-style mall. There is a movie theater, ice skating ring, food court, and brand-name shops. There are 4 stories. Parking and getting in/out of the mall can be a challenge due to traffic.
- Hidden Treasures, #9 Street 148, has antiques, art and curios from Cambodia's past and nearby South-East Asian cultures.
Alcohol is not expensive in Cambodia. Most of the people from expensive alcohol countries (eg. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia) return to their home country using their full alcohol duty free allowance. Best to avoid last minute shopping at the airport since duty free prices are much more expensive than prices in town.
- The Warehouse, #32 Street 240, ☎ +855 23 986 641 ([email protected]), . Has a large choice of international wines and beers, but also local beverage like Sombai. edit
- Monument Books, 111 Norodom Boulevard (near the corner with Street 240), ☎ +855 23 217617 ([email protected], fax: +855 23 217618), . 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. edit
- Bohr's Books, 5 Sothearos Boulevard (Street 3), ☎ +855 12 929148 ([email protected]). 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 edit
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- 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) ([email protected], fax: +855 23 721368), . 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. edit
- 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) ([email protected], fax: +855 23 211753), . 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. edit
The pirated books that children try to sell for US$5 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 the one 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]
- Seng Kong Optic, #48,50. Street 61, Psar Tmei I, Khan Daun Penh (In front of Cafe Mondulkiri). They have a wide range of choice of eyes wear from optical to sunglasses, goggles, clip-on, etc. What even cooler is that they even have vintage sunglasses and optical frames in reasonable price and the service is brilliant, you can get your glasses done in just 10 minutes! Most importantly, they have skillful optician who can fit your progressive lenses perfectly. Last but not least, they also have an up-to-date facebook page for you to hunt for the glasses you want before heading to the shop. Definitely a place not to miss.
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.
- Friends 'n' Stuff, 3 locations: #215 street 13, #74 street 174, Russian Market and Intercontinantal Hotel. Friends 'n' Stuff shops sell products made by beneficiaries from various Friends-International projects as well as other consignment items.
- 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), . 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), . 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.
- Apple Macs, . 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  near the Central Market. edit
Phnom Penh offers some interesting culinary treats not found elsewhere in the country. These include French-influenced dining and Thai, Vietnamese, and Indonesian dishes. Khmer street restaurant are also found throughout the city, where a typical meal costs 2-4 dollars. Pizzas, banana pancakes and fried rice are always easy to find.
The riverfront hosts everything from stand-up stalls to fine French bistros. Stalls and street restaurants often 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. Additionally, there are two Cambodian fast food chains BB World and Lucky Seven, each having a handful of locations in the city.
Central Market is a hawker food centre, food is cheap and the street eateries add to the area's bustling atmosphere.
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 100g. 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.
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$2-3.75. 2 large rooms can be used for conferences, training and other events and a smaller room for meetings and private dinners. As of October 2012 they no longer do buffets.
- bbq, a Korean franchise with 3 locations in Phnom Penh (Airport, Sorya mall and a very hip one in BBK). Reliably good Korean dishes (their Bibimbap was better than many I've tried in Korea), but also really good charcoal grilled and olive-fried chicken, steak, sandwiches and desserts. Quite affordable set menus of 3-4 dishes at around 15$, more than enough for a rich meal for 3.
- Camory Cookie Boutique, 167 Sisowath Quay (between St. 110 and 118), ([email protected]), . 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. edit
- Café Mith Samlanh, street 184, inside the French Institute, ([email protected]). 7am to 5pm. Whether you want to improve your French, taste Khmer and French cuisine or surf the internet with a coffee – Le Café Mith Samlanh is your choice. Situated in the lush garden of the French Cultural Center, the café serves breakfast from 8.00am onwards and offers an extensive à la carte menu with Khmer and French dishes starting from 10,000R. All proceeds will go towards the development of Mith Samlanh's (see Friends-International) programs. edit
- 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 11:00 til 02:00. Happy hour until 18:00. 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.
- Cocina Cartel, No 198b Street 19, located behind Royal Palace. Burrito bar style Mexican restaurant with full bar. Offers a free taco with cocktail purchase on Tuesday nights and all you can drink free beer with food purchase on Thursday nights.
- Happy Herb Pizza, southern end of riverside restaurant strip. There are four happy pizza places clustered together with very simular names. While it's illegal to smoke marijuana it's fully legal to use marijuana as a flavouring/pizza topping. Pizza's come in three sizes and an option of happy or very happy. Standard pizza $8.
- 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.
- L'Irresistible Coffee, N°174 Street 454, Russian Market. Coffee and Shop of the NGO Action Cambodge Handicap who works with peole with mental disabilities, and ever well-known in Pnhom Penh with their jams, syrups and biscuits under the brand L'Irresistible. Tuesday to sunday From 7h30am to 6h30pm. Delicious home-made cakes and pies, cold and hot drinks and good mood.
- The Local Restaurant and Bar, #39c, Street 454 (near Russian Market), ☎ +855 23996592, . 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. edit
- The Mediterranean Zone, #119-121 Golden Sorya Mall, Street 51, hours: 1PM-6AM, price US$2.50-4.50. Air-con restaurant with great selection of food from the Mediterranean. Delicious. WiFi.
- 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 [email protected] 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, ([email protected]), . 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. edit
- 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 ([email protected]). 6AM-7PM. English speaking staff will serve you breakfast, lunch, dinner, Vietnamese snack, coffee, tea, shake, juice, fruit yogurt. US$0.50-2. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. Clean toilet 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), ([email protected]). Excellent and plentiful Indian food, both vegetarian & non-vegetarian, in a convenient central location. Also rents rooms from US$8. Set meals US$4. edit
- Dosa Corner, (near the side entry of Wat Langka and fairly close to the Independence monument). Small Indian eatery with excellent dosas (large thin pancake) and other Indian favourites.
- Duplex, Street 278, (Wat Langka). A cafe-restaurant with vegetarian dishes and meat specialties. Kombucha tea, homemade spirits and ice teas, djs and events at night.
- Equinox, Street 278, (near Street 51), . 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, ☎ 089392921 ([email protected]), . 16:30-late. Movie House/Bar/Restaurant. Jumbo Hot Dogs, Nachos, Chili and other American style comfort treats as well as great traditional style Khmer dishes developed with foreign tastes in mind, also bar and arthouse cinema. Relaxed modern styling. (11.571609,104.928360) edit
- Friends Restaurant, #215 Street 13 (50m north of the National Museum), ☎ +855 12 802 072 ([email protected]), . Tue-Sun 11:00-21:00, closed Mondays. Run by a NGO that trains and educates former street children. Western and Asian dishes. Nice garden terrace, stylish interior. Good choice of vegetarian dishes. US$3-6. edit
- Frizz Restaurant, 67 Street 240, ☎ +855 23 220 953, +855 12 845 525 (mobile), . 10:00-23:00. Traditional Cambodian cuisine. The restaurant also operates the Cambodia Cooking Class . US$5-10. edit
- Garuda Khmer Restaurant, No.21, Street 466, Sangkat Tonle Basac, Khan Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh, ☎ ++855 92 877 345 (mobile), . 11:30-14:30, 17:00-22:00. Serves authentic Khmer cuisine in an authentic Khmer decorated residence environment, featuring authentic Khmer culture via photography and art. Also offers excellent WiFi connection, good choice of music and friendly staff. . US$5-15. edit
- 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 ("south), ☎ +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. edit
- 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), , ?+855 23 217262. The coffee has Starbucks prices with hour-old taste. The baked items are not fresh -- you will know for sure when the staff asks if you want your muffin or brownie heated.
- 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, . Nice gallery, German pfannkuchen (flat pizzas) and interesting documentaries about Cambodia. edit
- 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.
- Open Wine Restaurant (French Cuisine since 2005), #219 street 19, Phnom Penh (Behind the Royal Palace), ☎ +855 97 610 7766 ([email protected]), . 11am - 10pm. $$. (11.5608689,104.9290912) edit
- 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. 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. edit
- Riverside Bistro, #273a Sisowath Quay . In an old colonial style building withcomfortable outdoor dining and views of the Tonle Sap. Popular with local expats, tourists and affluent locals.
- Romdeng, #74 Street 174, ☎ +855 (0) 92 219 565 ([email protected]), . Monday to Saturday 11:00-21:00, closed Sundays. A true taste of Cambodia in cuisine and décor, Romdeng serves Cambodian food that ranges from almost forgotten recipes from the provinces to contemporary creative Cambodian cuisine. US$6-10$. edit
- Samovar, #11, Street 108 (at Riverside near Night Market), ☎ +855 (15/77) 89 2525 ([email protected]). Mon-Sun 14:00-23:00. Newly opened Russian restaurant with wide selection of authentic Russian food cooked by Russian chef. Cozy atmosphere and stylish interior. Reasonable prices. Free Wi-Fi. Main dishes US$3-7. edit
- The Shop, 39 Street 240, ☎ +855 23 986964, +855 92 955963 (mobile) ([email protected]), . 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. edit
- Yumi Restaurant, No 29a, Street 288, BKK1, ☎ +855 92 163903 ([email protected]), . noon-14:00, 18:00-22:000. Japanese tapas including fresh seafood and meats cooked on a yakitori grill. Has a bar for sakes and wines. US$5-15. edit
- 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 works and has a small cinema. Free wi-fi. US$1.75-4.5. edit
- The Fifth Element, 123 Street 110, Corner Street 19, Sangkat Wat Phnom (opposite Vat Phnom), ☎ +855 23 222780 ([email protected], fax: +855 23 222791), . Located on the rooftop of the 5 star hotel "La Maison d Ambre", the restaurant offer a stunning 360 degree view of the city. Perfect combination of a high standard French and Khmer cuisine with a Tapas Lounge bar. $20-$40. edit
- FCC Phnom Penh (Foreign Correspondents' Club), 363 Sisowath Quay, ☎ +855 23 724014 ([email protected]), . 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. edit
- 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, . 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. edit
- Xiang Palace, (Hotel Intercontinental). Chinese, expensive fine dining including dim sum.
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. They are the wild children of the rich and powerful - magnates, politicians, police chiefs and military generals. They are almost always armed, and will always have a team of (armed) bodyguards ready to jump on anyone. If you're there with a friend, stick to him / her. If you're alone and looking, keep this in mind - anyone you see could be 'owned' by the said elite children. Proceed with caution! If in the rare case you're told to 'go away' (they'll mostly call their guards or become confrontational) - take the hint and go. These children, much like the rest of their family, are exempt from the law - even more so club entrance searches.
Places to hang out after dark are located mainly at the riverside area behind Sisowath Quay, including Street 104 and 136 with a high concentration of hostess bars. After midnight the nightlife concentrates around Street 51's Golden Sorya Mall, where the two main discos Pontoon and Heart of Darkness and several hostess bars and beer bars are found. Some other bars and bar clusters that remain active after midnight are on street 136, 104, Sharky's bar and Martini's bar. A large part of the Phnom Penh nightlife is oriented towards male travellers and expats looking to meet local girls, this coupled with the vendor children, beggars and touts of all types definitely gives Phnom Penh's nightlife an "edge" feel.
include Street 104, Street 278, and Street 108 around the Street 51 corner, which all feature restaurant bars, hostess bars, and guesthouses.
- 69 Bar , . 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: [email protected] One of the most popular gay bars in town.
- Caress Bar, . Where the Tonle Sap, Mekong and Tonle Basac rivers meet each other. Cruise the Mekong with style.
- DV8 Bar,  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). 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 17:00-20:00.
- 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 06/00-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.
- Le Moon (Rooftop lounge of the Amanjaya Pancam Suites Hotel), 1, street 154 (Corner with riverside), ☎ +855 23 214 747, . 5pm - 2am. $$. (11.5689787,104.9301851) edit
- 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 08:00-late, daily.
- Loco Bar; Hostess Bar, #31, Street 130, Phnom Penh's newest hostess bar.
- 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. 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, . Popular low-key hostess bar. The bar has a good range of single malt whiskies.
- One3Six Bar, Street 136. Popular hostess bar. Good range of drinks plus they keep their 42 Below and Grey Goose Vodka in the freezer.
- 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), . 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".
- Show Box, #11 Street 330, (next to Toul Sleng Genocide Museum) A two storey bar in an otherwise quiet neighborhood, Show Box bills itself as a venue for the Khmer contemporary alternative music and art scenes. Local punk bands, spoken word artists and international musicians perform regularly. $1 beer all day, everyday.
- 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 good 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.
- Quealy's, #209, St 172 (near St 13). 16:00 until late. Friendly little bar run by well known English lady Jess. They also make burgers and bratwurst hot dogs with a free beer (11.56715,104.92882) edit
Phnom Penh has a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from budget guesthouses (about USD5-20) to good quality mid-range hotels (USD20-50) to extravagant palaces with extravagant prices to match.
The former Boeung Kak Lake with demolished guesthouse in 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 USD4/night and USD3/night respectively. Services include laundry, internet, money exchange, ATM and restaurants, including an excellent Indian restaurant.
Street 258 (near the Cambodia/Vietnam Friendship Park), Street 51 (near Wat Langka) and Streets 111 and 172 also have some good budget options.
- Sla Boutique Hostel, #15, Street 174 (Okhna Ket Street), ☎ 023997515, . checkin: 14:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM. A modern hostel nestled conveniently in the center of Phnom Penh city that offers travelers a place to unwind and meet people in a community environment that is clean, friendly, and affordable. Features a lounge bar, a community kitchen and fridge, travel and visa desk, hot water and air con, wifi, and free fruit, toast, coffee, and tea in the mornings. USD9 (dorm) includes breakfast. (11.5656,104.924953) edit
- Angkor Bright Guesthouse, No. 84GHI, Trasak Paem (St. 63), corner of Dekcho Damdin (St. 154), 12210 Phnom Penh (Near the Central Market), ☎ +855 17 924017 ([email protected]), . Air-conditioned hotel rooms. The guesthouse is located near the Central Market of Phnom Penh where everything is walking-distance away. Free Wi-Fi. From USD20. edit
- Basac Guesthouse & Restaurant, #128 F2, 3 Street( Sothearos Blv) (Near Russian Embassy), ☎ +855 97 6342156, +855 12 646156 ([email protected]), . 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 Wi-Fi. USD5-15. edit
- 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. edit
- Dream colors Guesthouse, 69d, Street 70 near French Embassy, ☎ +855 97 8785762, . TV, DVD, WiFi, laundry, motorbike rental, bus and flight tickets and visa extention services. French, English and Khmer spoken. US$14-20. edit
- Europe Guesthouse, No 51 Street 136, ☎ +855 23 6918 883 ([email protected]), . checkin: 12pm; checkout: 2pm. A clean conveniently located guesthouses. Flat TV, solar hot shower, free WiFi, laundry, visa services, airport pick up, bus and boat tickets. French, English and Chinese spoken.Family room for 4-6 people possible .Room without windows are very quiet. US$10-25. edit
- The Green House, #48FGH, St. 488, Village III, S/k Phsar Deum Thkov, Chamkamorn District, ☎ +855 23 217998, +855 17 200030, . Simple, newly built and mildly furnished rooms and suites. Air-con, insulated window, cableTV, broadband Internet, IDD telephone, newspapers, 24 hr security, laundry and valet service, credit cards accepted, 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. edit
- Happy 11 Backpackers (or 11 Happy), 87-89 Street 136, ☎ (012) 999 921 ([email protected]). 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 clean, however the nights can be loud with bar patrons. Cheap draught towers of beer available at the rooftop bar. Dorms $5, windowless cold water ensuite single $8, up to $15 for aircon doubles. edit
- 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. edit
- Lazy Gecko Guesthouse & Restaurant (Near the Hotel Cambodiana), #1 Street 258, ☎ +855 078786025 ([email protected]). Short stroll to Riverside, Sihanouk Boulevarde, Monivong Boulevarde and the Royal Palace. Recently renovated & under new ownership, the Lazy Gecko team brings with them 13 years of combined industry experience from across Cambodia. They've pulled together to remodel the rooms for freshness & comfort; introducing king-sized single dorm beds with AC, various private lockers, individual power sockets & luxury bathroom fittings. The bar area has been opened up to provide an airy & relaxed social space, plenty of top notch spirits, an impressive collection of board games, beer pong & even a basketball hoop! Hang out & try our new menu, developed under the collaboration of Khmer and international chefs, enjoy hosted events, DJ nights, BBQs & happy hours. US$5-15. edit
- Long Lin Guesthouse, N. 159, Ang Yukanthor, Street 19 (Within short walking distance to the riverside), ☎ +855 23 992 412 ([email protected]). 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. Does not include pick-ups. US$6 to $12 for a spacious double or twin. edit
- Mad Monkey Hostel Phnom Penh, N. 26 Street 302, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (In BKK1 Area), ☎ +855 23 987 091, . British & Khmer owned hostel, with a great rooftop bar (cheap, strong & delicious drinks/shots/beers), awesome restaurant, very friendly and attentive staff, safe area, free WiFi, reception offers several bus tours/can arrange visas. Very socially responsible - takes pride in helping out the community. Always busy, great place to meet people travelling. Tuk Tuks parked outside (connected to the hostel) with drivers that all speak English. Short distance from the river/markets. US$7 (dorm room) to $23 (private room with bathroom). edit
- 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 ([email protected]), . 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). edit
- 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 films each 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. 8 - 25 $. (11.5699012,104.9225229) edit
- Rory's Guesthouse (Facing the Royal Palace and National Museum and 100 m from the riverfront), #33 Street 178, Riverside, ☎ +855 12 425702, . Free WiFi. US$10-30. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. 10/8/13 doesn't seem to exist. cheapest hotels seem to be $4 around here but dangerous area full of drugged out and down on their luck people. edit
- SuperStar Hotel, #26 Street 172, ☎ +855 11 399 123 ([email protected]). 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. edit
- Top Banana Guesthouse, #2 Street 278 (tell the moto to take you to Wat Lanka), . Once a small, laid back guesthouse popular with backpackers, this iconic establishment has reinvented itself as one of the city's most happening bars, complete with DJ sets and occasional live music. Popular with the younger expat crowd. Dorms and rooms are still offered, but book ahead. US$7-15. edit
- Khmer City Hotel (One street south of the Sorya bus terminal), "#90H,, ☎ +855-23 22 45 38, . Surprisingly good for the price. Appears to have been recently refurbished. Free WiFi. US$15-20. edit
- Velkommen Backpackers, #17 St 144 (In the centre of Phonm Phen river side), . 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. Double rooms downstairs are mouldy and noisy. Check them out before paying. Extremely central location. dorm beds from US$4.50 Doubles 10$. edit
- Central Mansions, A-B One Building, Street 102 (near Wat Phnom) (100m west of U.S. Embassy, across the street from Vattanac Capital, down the street from Wat Phnom and Central Market), ☎ +855 23 986 810 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. a beautiful building that serves as an oasis in the heart of the commercial/cultural part of the city. Central Mansions is actually a serviced apartment building, but they also offer short-term stays. This makes it ideal for families because you can get a multi-room apartment for less than 2 hotel rooms. Central Mansions has 2 pools and a rooftop Jacuzzi. There is also a restaurant with a bar that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The staff are extremely helpful and efficient. The staff speak English and can also help in French, Japanese and Chinese. Rooms come with aircon, kitchenette, cable TV, furnished living area, balcony. $65+. edit
- St. 288 Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Street 288, # 70AB(1,5 Km from Independence monument), ☎ +855 (0)23 995 288/+855 (0)95 333 288 ([email protected]), . checkout: noon. St. 288 Hotel & Serviced Apartments have 21 rooms with boutique style design. There is a coffee shop and mini mart present in the building. Staff is helpful and will do the best to make sure you will enjoy your stay. They speak English, Khmer, Vietnamese, a little Malay and also Norwegian. All the rooms have cable TV with flat-screen, WiFi, 24 hour reception & security, aircon,kettle for making coffee, mini bar and ticket-service. Some also have private balcony. Area is central, but also quiet at night time. Also only 400 metres from the famous S-21 prison which is a big tourist attraction $25-40. edit
- Angkor International Hotel, #38-50, Street 148 (100m west of kandal market, 300m from the river and national museum, 400m from royal palace, 700m from central thmei market), ☎ +855 23 217 609 ([email protected]), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. English and French spoken, Breakfast possible. Western and Asian restaurant, free Wi-Fi , easy reservation and secure payment online possible, 100 rooms renovated in 2012, clean and stylish Khmer furnishings, aircon. Non-smoking floor, Ticket bus, taxi and mini cruise, Ticketing service (fee and subject to availability), warm , helpful, friendly, fast and efficient room service 24/7, Massage. single from $15 double/twin from $25, family 40 square metres 2 Singles and 1 Double / One extra bed available on request $40. edit
- Hotel Nine, #48, street 9, ☎ +855 23 215 964 ([email protected]), . 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. edit
- Boutique Hotel The 252, #19 Street 252, ☎ +855 23 998 252 ([email protected]), . 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. US$45-65 including breakfast, free WiFi and includes taxes. edit
- The Billabong Hotel, 5 Street 158, Sangkat Boeung Raing, ☎ +855 23 223703, . Breakfast included. Alfresco dining poolside. US$36-65. edit
- One Up, Banana Hotel, z9-132 Street 51, Sangkat Boeung Keng Kang 1, ☎ +855 23 6320479, . All rooms Including: Air-con, Wi-Fi, 32 inch LCD TV, kitchenette with fridge, hot shower. US$15-40. edit
- 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) ([email protected]), . 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 WiFi. US$40-50, including continental breakfast. edit
- Bougainvillier Boutique Hotel, 227 Sisowath Quay, ☎ +855 23 220528, . 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. edit
- California 2 Guesthouse, 79 Sisowath (North of the night market on the riverfront, across from the port), ☎ +855 77 503144, . 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. edit
- Cambodia Uncovered, 11B Boeng Keng Kong (Street 370), ☎ +855 12 507097 ([email protected]), . 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 be arranged. singles US$50, doubles US$60, including breakfast. edit
- Hotel Cara, 18 Street 47 & 84, Sangkat Srass Chork, ☎ +855 23 430066, . 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. edit
- 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. edit
- Frangipani Villas, 20R Street 252, Sangkat Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh (near Pizza World), ☎ +855 12 687717, +855 23 212100, . 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. edit
- Golden Gate Hotel, 9 Street 278, Sangkat Beng Keng Kang 1, Khan Chamkarmorn (near the Independence Monument), ☎ +855 23 427618, . US$15-40. edit
- King Grand Suites Boutique Hotel II, #11, Street 57, Beung Keng Kang (near the Independence Monument), ☎ +855 23 224218. New second branch of an upscale hotel with large air-conditioned rooms, flat screen TVs, and big bath rooms. One block from the 278 street tourist restaurants. US$80+. edit
- The Lone Star Saloon Bar and Guest House, #30,st. 23 (In between St.172 & St. 154 near Cyclo Bar), ☎ +855 12 577860, . 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 WiFi, mini fridge stocked with drinks at bar prices. Caters to local expats and provides travel info. US$25. edit
- Hotel Luxury World, 35 Street 200, Sangkat Boeung Rang, Khan Daun Penh (along Monivong Boulevard), ([email protected]), . 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. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. edit
- The Library Hotel (www.library-hotel.com), #16, St. 178 (one block from the French Alliance), ☎ +855 (0) 19 688 777, . A trendy boutique library hotel in an old colonial house. 24 stylish rooms, WiFi, air-con and a swimming pool. Good breakfast included. US$40-70. edit
- Villa Srey (www.villa-srey-boutique-hotel.com), #16, St. 306, BKK 1, ☎ +855 (0) 23 213 219 ([email protected]), . 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. edit
- The Pavilion, 227 Street 19 (near the Royal Palace), . 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$50-120. edit
- PKD1 Guesthouse, 40 Street 136 (just off the riverfront), ☎ +855 12 769920, . Clean and secure accommodation with fan or air-con, en suite bathrooms, cableTV and refrigerators. US$10-15. edit
- Rory's Guesthouse (Facing the Royal Palace and National Museum and 100 m from the riverfront), #33 Street 178, Riverside, ☎ +855 12 425702, . Rooms US$10-30. edit
- Velkommen Guesthouse, #18 St 144 (In the centre of Phonm Phen river side), . 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. If you're willing to pay a bit more, the Executive Suites on the top floors are very beautiful with airy rooms and beautiful balconies. US$16-45. edit
- Frangipani Fine Arts Hotel, #43 St 178 (50 m from the Royal Palace and National Museum), . 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. edit
- Frangipani Villa-90s Hotel, #25 St 71 (50 m from the Toul Sleng Museum), . 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. edit
There are a number of 4-5 star hotels in Phnom Penh.
- Raffles Le Royal, 92 Rukhak Vithei Daun Penh (off Monivong Blvd), ☎ +855 23 981888, (Fax:+855 23 981168), . 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 have baths and light switches from 1929 (plus broadband internet and walk-in showers). US$150/300 low/high season.
- La Maison d Ambre (Located), 123 Street 110, Corner Street 19, Sangkat Wat Phnom (opposite Wat Phnom), ☎ +855 23 222780 ([email protected], fax: +855 23 222791), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. $90-160$. edit
- Intercontinental Hotel , 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 ([email protected]), . $66-$79 edit
- Phnom Penh Hotel  , Monivong Blvd (just south of the French Embassy), ☎ +855 23 991868, (Fax:+855 23 991818),. Newly renovated with very nicely appointed rooms and suites.
- Sokha Club Hotel, No 63, Preah Norodom Blvd Sangkat Phsar Thmey III, Khan Daun Penh, (Opposite Lux Cinema), ☎ +855 23 990 123 ([email protected], fax: +855 23 990 151), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. $84-$89. edit
- La Rose Suites, 4B, Street 21, Sangkat Tonle Bassac Khan Chamkarmorn (Not far from the Independence Monument), ☎ 023 222 254 ([email protected]), . Phnom Penh's first five star boutique hotel. A mix of modern luxury and traditional Khmer hospitality. Shady outside area with a saltwater pool and bar. An oasis in the centre of the city. From $175. edit
- Kravan Hotel, No 58, Street 228, Daun Penh (Near Monivong Boulevard), ☎ +855 23 228 558 ([email protected]), . Kravan Hotel is a new and modern hotel located in the heart of Phnom Penh. from 60$. edit
As in any big city, be wary walking alone at night.
Daytime bag-snatching and smartphone-snatching is common; western and local women are often targeted, but men are also targeted. Robbers usually drive towards you on a motorbike from behind and will snatch while continuing to drive - you will have no way to react fast enough to protect yourself once this is happening. Therefore, it is important to take precautions. When walking, don't stare into your smartphone to look something up on the map - better go inside a restaurant or cafe and memorize your way there. 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.
Beware of guest house staff stealing from your bags in your room when you are away. Even not their safes are safe even thought in the case you use your own padlock. Padlocks can be opened within minutes by use of pick locks. If you are going to lock in your valuables, it is better you use your own lock than the lock the guest house or hotel provides you. Smartphones, cameras and cash is what hotel staff look for. One such guesthouse where they steal from their guests is Monorom Inn next to Capitol Guest House. Police is rarely of any help, usually you need to bribe (the tourists) police 5-20 dollars to file a report and they will still appear lazy even thought you know who is the suspect. At Monorom Inn they will give typical excuse that some tourists tried to break into the room or that other tourists have copied the hotel room keys. They may deny that some of the valuables you left in their deposit were never left in their saftey box. This kind of behavior is not new, it happened 20 years ago and it still happens, even in Cambodia and in other Asian guest houses (for example in Khao San road in Bangkok). It is not difficult to know that staff is stealing when they play with the same smartphones that were lost in different occations. Hotel staff target especially drunk guests who may not remember what has happened, so if you leave something in the safety box when drunk they may claim you didn't. And if you fetch something from the safety box while drunk they may not give you all your items. So stay alert! Also few of the (english speaking and healthier looking) tuktuk drivers around Capitol Guest House pick pocket from drunk tourists. If you are drunk, make sure that the change in dollars you get from tuktuk or taxi drivers are not printed with a laser printer, you easily know fake from real by feeling paper of the dollar notes.
SCAM WARNING: As of April, 2015 Scammers are actively targeting foreigners to scam in Phnom Penh. If anyone tells you they like your shirt or something similar, it's them. Cambodians will never do this. It will always be a non-Cambodian. If this happens to you take a photo of them, If we start doing this this will freak them out. They are everywhere and really good at pretending to be normal people. They look for targets at malls, fast food places, on the riverside. They will always begin their conversation with a praise for your clothing or something you are wearing, followed by asking you what country you're from, followed by when are you leaving?. The best way to end this conversation is to tell these people your flight is soon (give them a random time an hour or two from the current time) or alternatively say your chauffeur is waiting for you outside while you just get some things done. These replies almost always work.
Scammers and conmen sometimes work the tourist areas such as the riverfront, Hun Sen Park and the Sorya Mall. A group of scammers, operating, around the riverside target tourists. Their 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 and perhaps dropped at a hospital.
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. You will often be able to distinguish two types of ice if you pay attention, the safe type of ice is cylindrical with a hole through it, you will usually be served with this kind of ice in drinks in common restaurants.
HIV is carried by up to one in eight of Cambodia's female sex workers. As many Asian clients refuse to use condoms, unprotected sex with a sex worker is extremely dangerous. 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.
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 patchy and Skype calls from abroad to mobiles in Cambodia are sometimes dropped, so be prepared to redial frequently.
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. Most of the major networks have kiosks at the Phnom Penh airport located just after walking through customs where you can buy a local sim card, some credit and an Internet data package. If so, check that it all appears to be operating OK before heading off, such as by loading up a web page and checking your balance.
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 ([email protected]). A modern internet cafe with 3Mb fiber optic cables. Opened 24 hours with promotional rates at night. US$0.50/hr. edit
- 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).
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.
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
- Australia, 16B National Assembly Rd, Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Kahn Chamkamon, ☎ +855 23 213 470 (fax: +855 23 213 413), . M-Th 8AM-noon, 1:30PM-5PM, F 8AM-noon, 1:30PM-4:15PM. edit
- India, No.5, Street 466, ☎ +855 23 210912 / 210913 ([email protected], fax: +855 23 213640 / 210914), . M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM. edit
- United Kingdom, 27-29 St 75, Sangkat Srah Chak Khan Daun, ☎ +855 23 427124, . edit
- United States, #1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, ☎ (855-23) 728-000, . edit
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 largest. 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. The following clinics and hospitals are up to international standards:
- Dr Marissa Regino-Manampan, (Filipino MD @ 262B, Street 63), ☎ +855 23 217349. Family medicine. edit
- IMI Dental Clinic, (#193 Street 208), ☎ +855 23 212909, . General dentistry. European trained Cambodian dentist. English spoken. edit
- 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. edit
- 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. The doctors here are foreign-trained and competent. It is French operated, but at least one doctor is fluent in English. edit
- Royal Phnom Penh 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. edit
- Tropical & Travellers Medical Clinic: Dr. Gavin Scott, (#88 Street 108), ☎ +855 23 306802, . British doctor. General Medicine. Tropical medicine. edit
The cost of a blood test for malaria in Calmette Hospital is around US$27.50.
Sihanoukville, Battambang, and Siem Reap are within a few hours reach. Watch out for guesthouses profiteering on bus tickets. Several tour companies offer day-trips to Tonle Bati, which includes Ta Prohm, an Angkor-era temple not to be mistaken for the Angkor-area temple of the same name.
Koh Dach : Just north of Phnom Penh, 3 km after the Japanese bridge is the small island of Koh Dach (500 riels ferry access). Nicknamed the "Silk ,Island", this small, rural island in the Mekong is known for the many weavers who live and work on old silk looms. There are also a small beach and many temples, a good way to experience the Cambodian countryside.
Rates at May 2012, from Mekong Imperial Int. Travel&Tours Co. Ltd. at #339 Sisowath Quay (Riverside) Tlf:0235550401/092341732/095793232, they do free pickup, it could be 1US$ cheaper to buy directly from the bus company station.
||Bus Company (comments)
| Siem Reap
|| Mekong Express (air-con, snack, water, toilet, tour guide)
||7:00 8:30 12:30 14:25
|Apsara Khmer Travel (air-con, water)
||7:00 9:00 13:30 15:30
|Gold VIP (air-con, snack, water)
||7:00 8:30 13:30 14:30 (5 hr) 20:00 24:00 (6 hr)
|Selia Angkor (air-con, snack, water)
||7:00 9:00 14:00 15:00
| Virak Buntham
||11:30 (5hr) 18:00 20:00 24:00 (6 hr)
|Sok Sokha (cold towel, air-con, snack, water, toilet)
||7:30 8:30 12:30 13:30
||6:15 7:30 8:30 10:15 12:00 13:30 14:30
|Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||7:00 7:45 8:45 11:30 12:45 15:15
| Sihanouk Ville
|| Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||7:00 8:00 9:00 11:30 12:45 15:45 17:00
||7:15 8:45 9:45 11:15 12:15 13:30 14:30
||7:15 8:15 12:30 13:30 13:15
|Virak Buntham (blanket,water, air-con)
|| Capitol (air-con)
|Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||6:45 7:30 9:30 12:45 13:45
|| Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||6:45 7:15 8:00 10:30
|| Virak Buntham (air-con)
||7:00 until 14:45 (every hr)
|Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||6:30 7:45 8:45 10:45 12:45
| Koh Kong
|| Virak Buntham (air-con)
|Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
| Kampong Cham
|| Capitol (air-con)
|Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||From 7:15 until 15:45 every hr
| Poi Pet
|| Virak Buntham (air-con)
||20:00 21:00 24:00
|Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||6:15 6:30 7:45 7:30
||6:30 8:00 10:00
||Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
||Phnom Penh Sorya (air-con)
Slow boats to Vietnam (US$9-10) are a scenic alternative to the bus (US$10, 6 hr). The 8 hour journey begins at 07:30 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:
||Bus Company (comments)
| 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
|Sapaco Tourist (air-con, water, toilet)
||6:00 7:00 8:00 9:00 11:30 13:00 14:00 15:00
|Khai Nam transport
||5:30 7:00 8:00 9:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00
|Virak Buntham (blanket, air-con)
||00:30 (night bus)
||6:45 8:00 13:30
|Phnom Penh Sorya
||5:45 6:45 8:30 11:45 13:30
|| Champa Mekong (minibus, air-con)
| Phu Quoc
|| Champa Mekong (minibus, air-con)
Buses to Don Det (US$19, 12 hr) leave at 06:45. 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 heading 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:
||Bus Company (comments)
|4000 islands / Don Khong (boat not included probably)
||Phnom Penh Sorya
||Phnom Penh Sorya
||Phnom Penh Sorya
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:
||Bus Company (comments)
|| Virak Buntham (through Koh Kong border)
|Virak Buntham (through Poipet border)
||21:00 21:30 24:00 24:30 (night bus)
|Gold VIP (through Poipet border)
||20:00 24:00 (night bus)
|Angkor Express (through Poipet border)
|Capitol (through Poipet border)
|Phnom Penh Sorya (through Poipet border)
|Routes through Phnom Penh
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