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Phnom Penh Guide

Undoubtedly Southeast Asia’s least developed, yet fascinating, capital city, Phnom Penh is a gleaming mix of colonial charm and attempted modernity. The boulevards that line the city have an unmistakable French feel to them, although most are sprinkled with local food stalls and street vendors, which together creates the unique setting of the city. The grand temples and shrines that dot Phnom Penh are certainly part of the charm of the place. However, the ever-growing nightlife and café culture also play an important role in the city’s blossoming tourism sector.

Don’t Miss

Phnom Penh is presently considered a little off the beaten track as a destination compared to its neighbours, but has plenty of interesting sites to explore.

The markets here are unforgettable, and there is an abundance to choose from. Central Market is the main market in town, and sells everything from silks to toys. A local favourite is Orussey Market, and the Night Market is a fantastic place to explore after dark.

The Royal Palace is by far the most prominent building and most visited site in the city. There are stunning pagodas inside the palace grounds, including the site of the Emerald Buddha. Just across from this eye-catching building is the National Museum of Cambodia. History and culture enthusiasts can spend hours inside this landmark.

Several war-time attractions are still available for sightseeing. However, these sites can be quite upsetting. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is the former S-21 Prison, once the most feared building in Cambodia. Also, about 13kms from the centre of the city are the infamous Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

Restaurants and Bars

Travellers can find almost anything when it comes to dining in Phnom Penh. French-influenced cuisines, Vietnamese food, Thai, Indonesian and local Khmer restaurants are popular. The area around the Riverfront, in particular , is where tourists will find a range of eating options, from inexpensive street stalls to more up-market dining establishments. This is also where Phnom Penh’s most exciting nightlife awaits too. Street 104 and Street 136 both have a large number of bars and pubs, including the ever-popular hostess bars.

Shopping

The markets are great places to pick up a bargain. However, be aware that cheap goods don’t necessarily last. The Central Market and Orussey Market are two of the best places to find bargains on just about anything. Tourists should head to the Russian Market to pick up cheap yet top quality designer clothes. There are several Western-style malls in the Phnom Penh city too, including the City Mall, Sorya Mall and the most-recent Sovanna Mall.