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Phnom PenhCambodia

Phnom Penh lures visitors with its ancient relics and temples, deep and turbulant history and modern day energy.

Phnom Penh’s complicated and brutal history makes it a fascinating place to visit. Wander the streets and witness a city that is slowly bouncing back from decades of turmoil. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia and later the headquarters of the French colonial administration. In 1975 it was taken over by the Khmer Rouge and subject to years of brutal rule, before the Vietnamese toppled the regime in 1979.

Today it is the economic and political capital of Cambodia and is home to some of its most spectacular temples and harrowing museums. You’ll see bustling street markets, wild traffic, and buildings from throughout its history. Check out Wat Phnom to see the temple that gave the city its name. For a look at some of its more impressive structures, visit the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Wander through immaculately-maintained gardens, among gold and crystal Buddha statues, and over silver floors.

To see more ancient temples, visit Wat Sarawan or Wat Ounalom. Brush up on your local history with some time at the National Museum of Cambodia. There are statues and artifacts from the Angkorian era and beyond. Anyone looking to understand the country’s troubled recent past should head to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. Inside the school Pol Pot converted into the infamous S-21 Prison, you’ll see moving exhibits and what remains of the cramped cells.

Take a trip out to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek to learn more. There are pits where murdered prisoners were buried, as well as a Buddhist stupa packed with victims’ skulls.

Back in the city, take a trip to the art deco Central Market. Shop for everything from clothes and jewellry to flowers. For a nice evening stroll, head to Sisowath Quay. There are some good restaurants, decent cafés, and a few bars.

Popular places to visit in Phnom Penh

Royal Palace
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Royal Palace

4.5/5(67 reviews)

Befitting the home of Cambodia’s royalty, the glittering golden roofline of this palace dominates Phnom Penh’s skyline.

Central Market
Image for Central Market

Central Market

4/5(72 reviews)

Whether you’re looking for fresh food or a new watch, you can buy just about anything imaginable within the walls of Phnom Penh’s famous cross-shaped market. 

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
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Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

4.5/5(59 reviews)

This former prison outside Phnom Penh brings to light the brutality of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge and honors the 17,000 people who lost their lives here. 

Top things to do in Phnom Penh

Bus Tour to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum & Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
Image for Bus Tour to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum & Khmer Rouge Killing Fields

Bus Tour to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum & Khmer Rouge Killing Fields

RM63
Per adult
72% of travellers recommend
One Day Private Guide History & Killing Fields Phnom Penh
Image for One Day Private Guide History & Killing Fields Phnom Penh

One Day Private Guide History & Killing Fields Phnom Penh

RM654
Per adult
94% of travellers recommend
One-Way Cruise/Road Transfer from/to Phnom Penh - Siem Reap
Image for One-Way Cruise/Road Transfer from/to Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

One-Way Cruise/Road Transfer from/to Phnom Penh - Siem Reap

RM499
Per adult
74% of travellers recommend
Copper Metal Bracelet Workshop in Siem Reap
Image for Copper Metal Bracelet Workshop in Siem Reap

Copper Metal Bracelet Workshop in Siem Reap

RM134
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend
Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda & Independence Monument Tour
Image for Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda & Independence Monument Tour

Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda & Independence Monument Tour

RM226
Per adult
Private Taxi From Phnom Penh To Siem Reap With Reliable Driver And A/C Car
Image for Private Taxi From Phnom Penh To Siem Reap With Reliable Driver And A/C Car

Private Taxi From Phnom Penh To Siem Reap With Reliable Driver And A/C Car

RM563
Per adult
100% of travellers recommend

Reviews of Phnom Penh

3.9

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
40
5 - Excellent 27.972027972027973%
4 - Good
63
4 - Good 44.05594405594405%
3 - Okay
34
3 - Okay 23.776223776223777%
2 - Disappointing
4
2 - Disappointing 2.797202797202797%
1 - Terrible
2
1 - Terrible 1.3986013986013985%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

24 Mar 2020

not a place to play

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

15 Feb 2020

Make sure you have enough US $ with you

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

21 Jan 2020

Dirty and once seen the sights, would not go again

2/5 - Disappointing

Verified traveller

17 Jan 2020

Very disappointing, will not go back. Will settle for Thailand every time

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

16 Jan 2020

The killing fields and museum was well worth visiting for a truly historical educational experience

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

6 Jan 2020

We only had time to visit for one day as we wanted to move onto Siem Reap. But we spent New years eve here and it was really fun outside the Royal Palace. The only reason I give an OK and not excellent is the air quality. Just like Vietnam shocking!

Independence Monument featuring motorbike riding and a monument

Boeung Keng Kang