The Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh is on the rise – both literally and metaphorically. Little more than a decade ago, the sole “skyscraper” in the city centre was 32-storey Canadia Tower. Today, hundreds of blocks pierce the sky, with the hum of construction heavy in the air.
While development in Cambodia is to be embraced, sadly swathes of history and culture are being sacrificed for the sake of modernisation. However, don’t let this put you off as Phnom Penh is a bustling metropolis where old collides with new, and there is plenty to pack into your time there.
As with the majority of capital cities, Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s economic hub that is home to more than 2.2 million people. While Covid-19 drove many of its residents back to the provinces, the capital is once again filling up and business is pretty much back to normal. In fact, many eateries and bars relocated from Siem Reap to the city during the pandemic, adding to its appeal.
This is our guide of things to do in Phnom Penh.
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Some of the sights you can enjoy when you explore Phnom Penh city
If you are looking for ideas of things to do in Phnom Penh you could try our suggestions;
- Visit the Royal Palace and National Museum before walking down to the Riverfront
- Discover more about the Khmer Rouge at S21 and the Killing Fields
- Escape for a day on Silk Island
- Enjoy the vibrant nightlife on Bassac Lane
- Immerse yourself in the great arts scene from dance to art galleries and even hip hop
Where to Go After Enjoying Phnom Penh?
The obvious place to go after visiting Phnom Penh is Siem Reap, the gateway to Angkor. There really are few, if any places, on earth that can compare with Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, Bayon and the rest of the magnificent temples within the temple complex.
Siem Reap itself is a great little town with a lively and cosmopolitan restaurant and bar scene, as well as great eco boutique hotels.
Oudong Temple is a great day-trip from the capital or a perfect cultural stop if you’re heading that way.
From Phnom Penh you could make the Mekong your guide and follow the mighty river north through Kampong Cham, then on to Kratie where you can see the endangered Mekong Freshwater Dolphins, and Stung Treng.
All that without mentioning the deserted islands off the coast. Cambodia is a country with so much to explore.
Let our Cambodia Map help you plan your journey.