Phnom Penh – Cambodia

Phnom Penh Cambodia

Phnom Penh

So far this year, I have gone to three new countries, and one of those countries happens to be Cambodia. While I did not spend as much time as I would have liked in the country, I did enjoy my time and highly recommend it. It is a country that has yet to be severely commercialized, and everything is extremely cheap. I only spent my time in Phnom Penh, which is all I will focus on in this post.

Something negative I noticed was how much poverty was very easily visible. While we would eat our meals on whatever restaurant patio we decided to visit, we would be approached by very young kids asking if we wanted to buy a bracelet or some other kind of trinket that they happened to be hawking. These kids would be by themselves or with a sibling who would usually be younger than them. They were excellent salesman, and while I never bought anything from them, I was still convinced to either give them some money (I don’t particularly enjoy buying little trinkets as souvenirs) or just get them some food.

This city is actually enormous, with endless amounts of street markets. Like everywhere else in South East Asia, learning how to negotiate and bargain is a skill you really need to have. Almost everything you want to buy can be gotten for about 50% off what they initially told you because they see a foreigner.

I am getting a straight razor shave, and a straight razor head shave from a street barber. 

Shave and a haircut with a straight razor from a street barber.

Quick Facts
Capital and Largest city of Cambodia
Population: 1.502 Million
Land size: 678.46 square kilometers
Currency: Cambodian Riel (US Dollar is accepted almost everywhere in Cambodia)
Language: Khmer

Top Things to do in Phnom Penh

  • Get a tuk-tuk to give you a tour of the city. I am always a big advocate of getting an initial overall tour before doing anything else when you are in a new city. This will help you get your bearings and give you a general idea of where different things are. In Phnom Penh, you can ask a tuk-tuk driver to give you a tour for about half a day or so for $20, most likely less, depending on how good of a negotiator you are. You get a private tour for however many people you can fit in the tuk-tuk, and the driver doesn’t have to stress about finding fairs. The tuk-tuk drivers also know where everything is and can generally find you a deal or anything and everything you are looking for. If you want to shoot a cow with a grenade launcher (not that I am advising you to do so, nor did I actually do this), they will know where you can go and how much it will be. This is actually something one of my drivers offered me.
  • See the Royal Palace; this is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Visit the National Museum
  • Take a walk along Sisowath Quay. This is where I spent most of my time, as most of the foreigner-friendly restaurants and cafes are. This street runs along the river and makes for a very good spot to enjoy a meal on a patio.
  • Enjoy the nightlife. The nightlife in Phnom Penh is very laid back, and the beers are cheap. Mostly, everyone is friendly and open to making new friends. If you want something wilder, the only place I can really talk about is Naga World. It is a Hotel, Casino, Bar, and Nightclub. It’s very pricey as you will be paying foreign prices for everything and because of this I do not recommend it. Enjoy the much friendlier and cheaper local scene if you are on a budget.
  • Finally, for a more interesting cultural experience. Eat at a North Korean restaurant. No pictures were allowed inside.

If you have any questions about or recommendations for things to do in Phnom Penh, post it in the comments below.


Phnom Penh Cambodia Pinterest

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