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10 best things to do in Phnom Penh

The Cambodian’s capital boasts a rich history, a unique culture, and beautiful monuments to visit. From awe-inspiring historical landmarks to hidden gems that capture the essence of local life, this article depicts a city that seamlessly blends tradition and progress.

Things To Do in Phnom Penh

1. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek

To delve into Cambodia’s poignant history, a visit to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek is a must. This somber site, located about 17 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh, serves as an important reminder of the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime.

The impressive commemorative stupa is a towering memorial housing over 8,000 skulls, a haunting tribute to the victims.

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  • Opening Hours: Everyday from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: Around $6-8 including an informative audio guide.
  • How to visit: You can either join an organized tour and have a guide or listen to the audio guide which shares poignant histories.
  • How to get there: Hire a tuk-tuk, or taxi, or join an organized tour. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes from the city center.

2. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S21 prison)

Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former school turned prison during the Khmer Rouge era. Explore the prison blocks that once held thousands of prisoners. The rooms contain haunting remnants of the past, including torture beds and restraints. You will also learn about the survivors’ stories, as well as the few who managed to escape the prison’s horrors.

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  • Opening Hours: Everyday from 7 AM to 5:30 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: Around $5-8 including an audio guide to navigate the museum.
  • How to visit: You can either join an organized tour and have a guide or listen to theaudio guide.
  • How to get there: Hire a tuk-tuk, taxi, or join a guided tour. The museum is situated in central Phnom Penh, making it easily accessible.

Phnom Penh Night Market

The Phnom Penh Night Market comes alive every night. Located near the riverside, it’s a great place to taste some Cambodian food and see Phnom Penh at night. There are also some stands selling everything from jewelry, and handicrafts to fabrics and Cambodian art. Sit on the large mats among the locals with some delicious Khmer street food (lots of seafood dishes) and a refreshing drink!

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phnom penh night market 4 3

The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda 

Marvel at the Royal Palace, the official residence of the King. Explore the adjacent Silver Pagoda, adorned with silver tiles and housing precious artifacts, including the Emerald Buddha. Respect the dress code (shoulders covered, skirts or dress under the knee) when visiting this symbol of Cambodia’s royalty.

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  • Opening Hours: Open daily from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM and from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: $10 per person in cash only.
  • How to get there: located in central Phnom Penh, easily accessible.

Night out in Bassac Lane 

Bassac Lane is a popular street in Phnom Penh for its trendy bars, cafés, and restaurants. Located a couple of streets away from the Independence monument, Bassac Lane has become one of the liveliest streets with a bustling nightlife loved by locals and expats. 

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You will find delicious restaurants serving Khmer Food, international food, and great wine or cocktail bars. 


  • Malis Restaurant 
  • Piccola Italia de Luigi Pizzeria 
  • Gorkha Palace Indian and Nepalese Restaurant
  • Namaste India Restaurant
  • Elia Greek Kitchen Bassac Lane


  • Hub Street Cocktails
  • Backstreet Bar
  • LittleWine Bistro
  • Cloud
  • The Den
  • Aura Phnom Penh

Boat ride on the Mekong 

Enjoy a serene boat ride along the Mekong River, exploring floating villages and catching glimpses of local life. Several operators offer tours, providing a unique perspective on Cambodia’s culture and landscapes.

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National Museum 

Immerse yourself in Cambodia’s rich history at the National Museum, home to an extensive collection of Khmer artifacts. Guided tours are available, offering insights into the ancient Angkor era and the evolution of Khmer art.

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Discover Cambodia’s history at the National Museum near the Royal Palace. It opens from 8 AM to 5 PM, with a $10 entrance fee. Enhance your visit with a guide or audio guide, easily accessible by tuk-tuk or taxi.

  • Opening Hours: Everyday from 8 AM to 5 PM.
  • Entrance Fee: $10 per person.
  • How to get there: The museum is situated in central Phnom Penh near the Royal Palace so it’s easily accessible.

Stroll in Sisowath Quay

Stroll in Sisowath Quay: Take a stroll along the picturesque Sisowath Quay, lining the Tonle Sap River. Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, with riverside cafes, shops, and beautiful views, making it a perfect spot for a relaxing day or evening in Phnom Penh.

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Central Market 

Dive into the bustling Central Market, a landmark known for its unique architecture and diverse array of goods. Explore the vibrant stalls selling everything from traditional crafts to fresh produce, offering an authentic Cambodian shopping experience.

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Cambodia Shooting Ranges

For an unconventional experience, visit Cambodia Shooting Ranges to try your hand at various firearms. Located on the outskirts, it provides a unique and controlled environment for those interested in recreational shooting.

Expect to pay between $20 to $100 depending on the package you choose.

Best Restaurants & Bars

  • David’s Restaurant Homemade Noodles
  • Pizza 4P’s 
  • Malis Restaurant
  • Bassac Street with many cocktail bars, wine bars, and pubs
  • Phnom Penh Night Market – lots of Seafood and Cambodian specialties 
  • Eclipse SkyBar
  • Sora Skybar 
  • VEHAA Restaurant & Bar 

Where to Stay in Phnom Penh

There is a great selection of hotels, Airbnb, and hostels in Phnom Penh. We stayed 2 nights in an Airbnb in the same building as the cool Mecon Skybar on the riverside and Phnom Penh’s night market. However, we preferred our stay at the Mad Monkey hostel because it was more central and had a better vibe. 

How to get to Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh’s international airport is located 20 minutes from the center. There are no direct flights from Europe or North America, so you’ll need a connecting flight with another Asian hub. You can grab a taxi at the airport or walk outside and order a grab or a Tuk-tuk. It costs between $10 to $15. 

You can also fly into Siem Reap, which also has an international airport, and take a direct bus to Phnom Penh. The drive takes 6 hours, and costs between $10 to $15 depending on the transport company.

Finally, the easiest and most convenient option if you travel from the neighboring country Vietnam is to take a direct bus from Ho Chi Minh City. Many buses are running every day. The bus company arranged everything from the border control to stopping on the way for a meal!

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Getting around

Phnom Penh is spread out, but most attractions are gathered in the center. The best way to get around is by tuk-tuk or taxi. You can order a tuk-tuk on the Grab app – it is safe and convenient, or you can hail one in the streets. For the second option, always remember to negotiate the price before the ride. 

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best time to visit Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has a dry and rainy season. The best time to visit the capital is during the dry season from November to April when the temperatures are cooler with very little rain. We went in early April, and we did not have a single day of rain but the temperatures were very hot (38 degrees). 

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