8 Things To Do in Phnom Penh

As a traveler who has had the privilege of visiting Phnom Penh, I can attest to the city's captivating allure. Stepping foot into this vibrant metropolis feels like embarking on a journey through Cambodia's past, present, and future all at once. The bustling streets are alive with energy, while the rich tapestry of history woven into every corner invites exploration and discovery.

8 Things To Do in Phnom Penh

8. Try The Cambodian Food

One of the first things you should do when arriving in Phnom Penh is try the unique Khmer cuisine. Heavily influenced by the country's geography and history, dishes reflect the abundance of freshwater fish, rice, and tropical fruits. 

Our top picks include fish amok, which is a fish curry; beef lok lak, a stir-fried beef dish served with rice, vegetables, and a fried egg; Saraman curry, which is a rich coconut curry; and stir-fried noodles or rice. There are tons of great restaurants in the city that serve these dishes at affordable prices. But for a more local experience, head to the night market or one of the food stalls scattered around the city. 

7. Stroll Sisowath Quay

Sisowath Quay is Phnom Penh's most popular waterfront promenade, stretching 3km north from the Royal Palace. Lined with palm trees, restaurants, cafes, and street stalls, it's a great spot for a relaxing stroll. It's also a good place for taking photos of local boats on the river. you easily combine the walk with the nearby Royal Palace, National Museum, and temples.

6. See The Important Buddhist Temples

Buddhism is the predominant religion of Cambodia and Phnom Penh is home to a number of Buddhist temples. We visited Wat Ounalam and Wat Phnom, which are both located in the heart of the city. Wat Ounalam is the most important Buddhist temple in Cambodia and is also home of the head monk in the country. Wat Phnom on the other hand is one of the oldest temples in the city. Both temples are worth visiting for their cultural and historical significance as well as their beautiful architecture. 

5. Visit The National Museum of Cambodia 

The National Museum is home to a large collection of cultural artifacts from Cambodia's prehistoric times to the post-Angkor Period. It's, therefore, a must-visit for anyone with an interest in the country's history. You can find an array of statues, religious objects, and household utensils made from stone, metal, wood, and ceramics. As a bonus, the exhibit is housed in a traditional building with a beautiful garden, so the setting itself is a work of art. 

4. Go On A Sunset Cruise

Phnom Penh is a city on the river and one of the most relaxing ways to see it is by boat. Take a sunset cruise for a closer look at local river life, the city's skyline, and important landmarks. Boats depart from the riverfront quay between 4:30 and 5:00 PM and generally last about 1.5 hours. Some tours also include free drinks, food, pickup, and an English-speaking guide. 

3. Admire The Royal Palace 

One of Phnom Penh's highlights is undoubtedly the Royal Palace, which is the official residence of the king of Cambodia. Built-in the 19th century, the complex is a beautiful example of traditional Khmer architecture. You'll find a number of important buildings here, such as the Silver Pagoda which is home to the Emerald Buddha, 

Another interesting building to visit is the Throne Hall, which is used for coronations and other royal ceremonies. If you're interested in learning more about each building, you can hire a local guide at the entrance. But be aware that the palace is sometimes closed for important events or ceremonies, so come on your first day in the city to avoid missing your opportunity to see it. 

2. Art and Architecture

From ancient temples to modern art galleries, Phnom Penh is a city that celebrates creativity in all its forms. Whether you're admiring the intricate carvings of a centuries-old pagoda or exploring the vibrant street art scene, there's no shortage of beauty to behold. And with each new discovery, you'll find yourself falling more and more in love with this captivating city.

1. Health and Wellness

In the midst of all the excitement and adventure, don't forget to take some time to unwind and recharge. Whether you're indulging in a relaxing spa treatment or practicing yoga by the river, Phnom Penh offers plenty of opportunities to nurture your mind, body, and soul. So take a deep breath, let go of your worries, and embrace the tranquility that surrounds you.

Also Read: Best Things To Do in Phuket


Phnom Penh is a city like no other, where ancient traditions and modern amenities coexist in perfect harmony. Whether you're exploring its storied past, indulging in its culinary delights, or simply soaking in the beauty of its natural surroundings, you're sure to be captivated by everything this vibrant metropolis has to offer. 

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