The Cambodian capital is awash with cultural activities that give an insight into the country. Here’s our guide to Phnom Penh culture and art.

Phnom Penh is a great place to soak up Cambodian culture and history. The National Museum of Cambodia houses the largest collection of ancient Khmer art and is a must for those planning on visiting the temples in Siem Reap. The neighbouring Royal Palace is another top attraction.

The Killing Fields, or Cheung Ek, is a sobering but essential visit to learn about Cambodia’s gruesome past. It is where hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were sent to their death under the Khmer Rouge regime. S-21 is another sombre activity. The genocide museum was a former school turned into prisoner camp by the Khmer Rouge. Only seven out of the tens of thousands of people held there survived.

Things to do in Phnom Penh National Museum of Cambodia
National Museum of Cambodia

Art fans can satisfy themselves at the smattering of galleries across the capital. Sra’Art Studio is a commercial contemporary art gallery dedicated to promoting the country’s burgeoning contemporary art scene. Meta House has been serving the city with all forms of art since 2007 from various homes. It also regularly screens free independent films and documentaries.

Java Creative Café is another stalwart on the scene. As well as hosting regular exhibitions, it serves great coffee and snacks, and its Toul tom Poung branch boasts a black box theatre that regularly hosts performances. N O W H E R E Art Studio is an independent creative space that regularly runs workshops. Contemporary gallery, SA SA BASSAC prides itself on promoting local contemporary artists and regularly holds exhibitions.

Really there is so much culture to discover in Phnom Penh that you will just wonder how you are going to find time to fit it all in during your stay – that is unless you decide to move to the Cambodian capital. Try our other ideas for things to do in Phnom Penh.