My first four-day trip to Cambodia was pretty exciting. A short flight from Bangkok to Phnom Penh by Air Asia. I landed safely, and immigration was smooth at Phnom Penh Int’l Airport. Next, I flagged down a tuk-tuk to my hotel. I was not looking for luxury, so I stayed in Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra for a few nights (on Street 172) before heading towards Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, by bus.

Independence squire, Phnom Penh
Independence squire, Phnom Penh

My Experience in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh is a laid-back city once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’; for many, it could be boring unless you know what to look for and where. It was a little rough city, but things are improving, though roads remain run-down and dusty, traffic chaotic, and there are periodic electricity issues. If you can handle dust, noise, and reckless driving, then it’s a worthwhile city destination. 

Phnom Penh
The entire family on two wheels, Typical view in Phnom Penh !
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Street view of Phnom Penh

Things To Do & See

Visit Phnom Penh Riverfront Park

The city’s nicest and most pleasant place is the riverfront area, where many restaurants and bars are located. A few places target tourists, which are lovely places to be in the evening. I really liked the restaurant and bar scene. The only thing I did not do was try food from one of those makeshift roadside restaurants. You can go for boat cruise in the Tonle Sap River from here.

Phnom Penh Riverfront Park
Visit Phnom Penh Riverfront Park

Central Market in Phnom Penh

The Central Market is the heart of Phnom Penh. It is huge and popular among tourists. It is great place to visit and try out local food.

Central Market, Phnom Penh
Having my lunch – not sure what are the ingredients
Central Market, Phnom Penh
In front of Central Market, Phnom Penh

Royal Palace of Phnom Penh

The iconic Royal Palace is located in the center of the city, next to the river. and is considered one of the most visited attractions. Part of the complex is open to the public as the king still resides at the palace.

Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Royal Palace, Phnom Penh

Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh

The Buddhist Wat Phnom Temple is popular in the center of Phnom Penh. If you are visiting the city, visiting this temple is not a bad idea. The temple is located on a hill about 27 meters above the ground.

Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

National Museum in Phnom Penh

The National Museum of Cambodia is the most prominent historical and archaeological museum. The museum also contains displays of pottery and bronzes, some artifacts dating from the 4th to 9th centuries. Note that visitors are not allowed to photograph the display.

Phnom Penh
National museum in Phnom Penh

I planned a road trip to Vietnam, applied at the Phnom Penh consulate, and received the visa on the same day, which was much easier than New York City consulate. Three days went by so fast, and time for me to get on the bus heading toward HCMC, Vietnam.

Helpful Information

How Many Days Do I Need to See Phnom Penh

I stayed in Phnom Penh for three nights and could see most of the attractions in the city.

Is It Safe in Phnom Penh

Like many cities, Phnom Penh could be a dangerous travel destination if you let your guard down. I didn’t have any problems or didn’t feel unsafe, but I know some people who had bad experiences. So you need to be extra careful with your smartphone, camera, and wallet.

Getting Around

For me, Tuk-tuk was the only mode of transportation in and around the city. I made friends with one of the tuk-tuk drivers outside our hotel and after that never felt any problem moving around the city. The driver was friendly and spoke English. I was impressed, so I hired him for the next two days. He gave me a city tour and took me to all the places on my list.

Phnom Penh, Cambodia
My transportation in Phnom Penh

Where to stay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra

Located in Phnom Penh’s Old Quarter featuring colonial-style architecture, Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra features an outdoor swimming pool. Airport transfers and shuttle services are available at additional charges. Rooms are fitted with a Sofitel MyBed and equipped with a flat-screen TV. There is also a fully-equipped fitness center. La Coupole restaurant overlooks the river and serves a spread of Asian and Western dishes, while Do Forni offers Italian fare in a more private setting.

Pavilion, Phnom Penh

Located in central Phnom Penh, The Pavilion offers adult-only accommodations with free WiFi throughout the property. This property is dedicated to responsible tourism, urban heritage conservation, and cultural promotion. It features two poolside bar restaurants. In addition, it has both an outdoor and shaded pool and provides in-house spa facilities. Riverfront Park is 1 mi from the property. The nearest airport, Phnom Penh International Airport, is 5.6 mi away. The property offers airport transfer services at additional charges.

My Opinion and Last Word

Have you been to Phnom Penh, Cambodia? Any cool tips to share?

loved being in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and want to go back again. I hope my story has motivated you to visit Cambodia.

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

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