Pnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, will welcome you with the Royal Palace, national museums, golden temples and more. It will take you back to 1970s when Cambodia suffered a lot under Pol Pot’s regime. This city is extremely interesting in terms of Khmer culture and history and there are many places worth seeing. However, you might not have days or weeks to get to all of them, so here is the list of places you definitely must see (according to us) and things you definitely need to do when visiting the “Pearl of Asia” also known as the “City of Four Faces” (situated where the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers collide).
Must see in Phnom Penh
The Royal Palace
- Opening time: it is usually open in the morning (between 8am and 10 am) and in the afternoon (from 2pm till 5 pm) and it is surrounded by amazing square from where you can take some photos and enjoy the view of busy streets and locals passing by.
- Why go there? It attracts tourists with its stunning architecture with some French influences and the Silver Pagoda will take your breath away by its beauty.
- How much does it cost? The entrance costs about US$6 and you can stay there as long as you wish.
- Things to remember: you can get to the Silver Pagoda at the same entrance fee and you should wear decent clothes without showing your arms, legs and shoulders etc.
The National Museum of Cambodia
- Opening time: from 8 am till 5 pm.
- Why visit it? You can explore a stunning collection of Cambodian art from its golden age and enjoy your time at courtyard at the center.
- Admission fee – US$3.
- Things to remember: You might be asked to pay additional $1 for taking photos inside the museum.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison)
- Opening time: it is open every day between 7:00-11.30 and 14:00-17:30
- Why go there? This place is for everyone who is interested in horrific Cambodian history. The place used to be a prison where thousands of people were tortured before they were murdered.
- Admission fee – $3.
- Additional info – there is a documentary movie available to purchase for $2.
Must Do in Phnom Penh
Go cycling across the busy city
You can rent a bike from a hostel for $2 per day and explore the city with your camera on a bike. It is a great way to get to local places where not all tourists go to and easily access any hot spots.
Go for a cruise on the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers
Take a bunch of fellow travelers and go for a cruse together. You can take awesome photos and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Take cooking classes
There is a restaurant called Frizz (telephone no. is 012-524801) where you can take a cooking class and make some delicious Cambodian dishes. Classes are held every day, from Monday to Sunday, on a rooftop terrace. You will be taken to a local market for a small shopping to get what you need and then you can start cooking with some professional Cambodian chefs (you will make 2 or 3 dishes).
Enjoy Khmer massage
For $3 you can get a 30 minute relaxing massage which is not that expensive. Well, depending on the type of massage, it may not be relaxing. If you think those little skinny girls have no strength -you’re wrong. When they start to twist your imbs and fingers, you’ll beg them to stop. Nevertheless, afterwards your body will thank you and you can really feel that you had a massage.
As you can see there are plenty of things to do in Phnom Penh on a budget. Don’t waste your time and go explore it!