Largely destroyed during the 1970, Cambodia is re-building its capital city as a beautiful place, there is still lots of construction work going on but you can already see the beauty in this fairly new city. The ancient structures that survived give Phnom Penh a wonderful mix of old and new.
Thing To Do:
The Phnom Penh riverfront has been completely re-developed into a beautiful park, it stretches for miles along the river with out door gyms and flower gardens. This is also where you’ll find the majority of bars and restaurants.
The night market is pretty good, located at the north end of the riverside park, you can pick up some great bargains and enjoy cheap food every night of the week.
By the time we got to the royal palace it was closed for the day, and even though we didn’t get a chance to go inside, we were still able to appreciate the beauty of the building through the iron gates.
Independence monument is located in a busy park in central Phnom Penh, locals meet here for exercise classes, music lessons and socialising. As well as independence monument, the park also hosts a number of other beautiful statues.
Wat Phnom is at the northern end of the city, foreign tourists pay $1 to enter the temple, it’s certainly one of the most beautiful and the oldest in the city.
Cambodia’s Dark Past:
I’ve written this part of the blog a few times and keep deleting it, it feels disrespectful to the local people who lost so much for me to repeat a story that isn’t mine to tell. DanFlyingSolo did a pretty good job at summing it up in his post HERE if you want to read more.
S21 Prison – $8/pp
Killing Fields – $6/pp
Both include an audio guide to walk you through. You really shouldn’t miss either when your in Phnom Penh, they are upsetting but very informative and give you a new found respect for the Cambodian people who survived such an awful time.
The killing fields are outside the city, you can hire a driver for the day for $20 (less depending how hard you want to haggle).
Buses run regularly from Siem Reap (about 6 hours) and Sihanoukville (about 5 hours), prices start at around $8.
Alternatively the airport is about 30 minutes from the city centre and costs $10 in a tuk-tuk. AirAsia offer really cheap flights from Phnom Pen to the rest of south east Asia.
Where To Stay:
The Panda Hotel has been recently renovated and costs £26 per night on Hotels.com, that price includes a pretty good breakfast buffet and good wifi. The hotel is a 20 minute walk from the riverfront.