How many days do you need in Phnom Penh?

How many days do you need in Phnom Penh?

How many days do you need in Phnom Penh?

I would not miss visiting Phnom Penh when you travel to Cambodia. A good 3 full days might already help you to get a clear view of the city attractions, the typical Mekon riverside area, exploring The Royal Palace, The National Museum, Toul Sleng genocidal museum, the colorful nightlife, a sunset dinner cruise on the Mekong River.

Best to visit during the dry season but can be fascinating also during the rainy season, as you will be there to enjoy city life!


Siem Reap or Phnom Penh Capital


For many travelers to Cambodia, the capital Phnom Penh is, however, an afterthought to the principal appeal of Siem Reap-Angkor Wat, but the Phnom Penh capital still keeps its personal unique attractiveness to pay a visit. We located it to be a pretty modern town, growing right away and reminded of a smaller Bangkok.


Phnom Penh Capital


Phnom Penh, the crowded capital of Cambodia, is located at the intersection of the Mekong Rivers and the Tonle Sap. In spite of being a bit tough on the edges, Phnom Penh retains its former allure as a leafy South East Asian capital with a pleasant riverside promenade and numerous beautiful Cambodian Buddhist pagodas, Royal Palace, and different other artifacts.

A large infrastructure catering to vacationers makes it without problems accessible, and many think about it to be one of the friendliest capitals in Asia, as Cambodians have no longer but turn out to be jaded by mass tourism.  


How many days do you need in Phnom Penh?


How long to plan a visit to Phnom Penh Cambodia?


It’s not really a simple question as we don’t know what you like, what you want to do and see in and around Phnom Penh.

However, you could effortlessly spend per week within the Cambodian capital city Phnom Penh if you are not in a rush to set on the next trip. And for the ones driven for time, 2 to 3 days is virtually extra than enough to get a flavor of Phnom Penh, a feel for Cambodia and its bloody historical site.  


How many days do you need in Phnom Penh? A view of the Mekong river with cruises waiting to depart.
How many days do you need in Phnom Penh? A view of the Mekong river with cruises waiting to depart.


What to see in Phnom Penh?

The Royal Palace


Cambodia’s Royal Palace provides intriguing perception into Cambodia’s history.

Sprinkled with history, the beautifully manicured grounds and ornate constructions also provide a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of surrounding capital lifestyles, and that is a captivated reason making a day trip to the Royal Place a must on every visitor’s itinerary.  


Which part of the Royal Palace can you access?


Big parts of the sprawling grounds and formal gardens are open to the general public, presenting inventive topiary, fanned palmyra, colorful bougainvillea and Parisian-stimulated paths.

Nonetheless, the prohibited spot, which is for the royal residence, committed to being closed for visitors to log in.

Buildings that are open to the public encompass the golden-spired Throne Hall, which is painted yellow to symbolize Buddhism, the fundamental religion in Cambodia, and white to represent Hinduism, the dominant faith at some stage in Angkor era.  


Silver Pagoda


Attached to the Palace compound, The Silver Pagoda, or what is named Wat Preah Keo Morokat in the Cambodian language, is considered as one of the most important places for you to observe.

This valued spot is known as the grandest precise amongst the capital’s pagodas. So named for its silver tiled ground, and it’s wherein the King meets with clergymen.

It is normally used for the Royal ceremonies and for a collection of priceless Buddhist and historical objects.

The temple building, library, and galleries have been first built between 1892 and 1902.  


The National Museum


The National Museum in Phnom Penh is the biggest cultural history in Cambodia and the major historical and archeological museum in the country.

The museum suggests the cultural aspect of Cambodian history, which dates back to the 4th century.

It was 9naugurated in 1920 as the Musée Albert Sarraut at some stage of the French colonial period. George Groslier, a well-known author, historian, and architect who also served as the first curator of the museum, initiated the reopening of the museum.  


How many days do you need in Phnom Penh? A visit to The National Museum is a must!
How many days do you need in Phnom Penh? A visit to The National Museum is a must!


Central Market (The art-deco central market of the city)


The Art Deco Phsa Thmei, which is also referred to as the Central Market or New Market, is a reference to its location and size. It was once built-in 1935-37, and it was colored in a dark yellow background.

The Art deco building is fashioned in the structure of a pass with the best central dome. It has four wings filled with retail outlets selling gold and silver jewelry, vintage coins, fake name-brand watches, and such different items. Phsa Thmei is denounced as the cleanest and has the widest range of products for sale in Cambodia.  


Phnom Penh. The Central Market


 What are the items you should buy at The Central Market?


Shopping in Phnom Penh is a predominant enchantment for vacationers who love to buy back some souvenirs from this distinctive Asian land. Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh is one of those busy bazaars that are constantly stuffed with an ebullient crowd from one stop to the other.

The stalls that located surrounding the building provide stationery, household items, clothes, second-hand products, and fresh food section with good value and quality, etc.  


Historical Tourist Sites in Phnom Penh


It really cannot be forgotten to list down these sites in your itinerary. To go depth into Cambodia history from 1975-1979 is what most of the tourists who have been to Phnom Penh always attempt for.

Cambodia was in a shadow of civil war for many years and the bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot was remembered and remained doubts to Cambodian people. A day should be dedicated to Phnom Penh exploring Choeung Ek’s Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Prison (S21).


The killing fields of Choeung Ek (Genocide Centre)


Cheung Ek is situated 15 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh. It is the moving mass graves of the Khmer Rouge.

This is one of the many horrific places where the Khmer Rouge troops actually beat new-born infant and adult people to death while bullets have been regarded too steeply-priced to use. It was nearly 3 million amongst 8 million populations who had been killed from 1975 to 1979.  


Why try to experience something sad?


It is such an experience that may make you feel awful and extraordinarily sad; however, I think it’s significant to get an idea of how badly the war and how Cambodians have been suffering.

And the suffering is not only for Cambodian people alone, but the world. Thousands of men, women, children, and infants including westerners were tortured to extermination to death at the place.  


Tuol Sleng torture prison (S21) or Toul Sleng genocidal museum


In 1975, Pol Pot’s soldiers took over Tuol Svay Prey High School and made this school to become a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21).

It quickly became the country’s biggest such detention and torture center. During the Khmer Rouge Regime, approximately 17000 people were detained and tormented at S21 prison (Now Tuol Sleng Museum).  


Toul Sleng genocidal museum


Tuol Sleng is a profoundly depressing experience.

There is something about the sheer ordinariness of the region that makes it even greater horrific; the suburban setting, the undeniable school buildings, the grassy playing place where various kids kick around a ball, ousted beds, contraptions of torture and wall after wall of harrowing black and white images conjure up photographs of humanity at its worst.

Then Tuol Sleng is not for the squeamish but visits there to express an indication of apathy for those who died in the Khmer Rouge Regime.  


What else can you do in Phnom Penh Cambodia?

Wat Phnom


Wat Phnom is located on the 27 meters height hill in Phnom Penh city. It is the only hill in town. Referring to the legend, the first pagoda on this site was built in 1373 raised as a house for four Buddha statues deposited here by the Mekong waters and found by a lady named Penh. Wat Phnom’s primary entrance is through the large western staircase, which is guarded by lions and balustrades of Naga (snake).  


What does Wat Phnom mean to Cambodian People?


At the present time, it is a popular place for those who come to pray for good luck and success in business affairs.

When the wish of a petitioner is given, he or she returns to create the offer promised when the proposal was made (such as a garland of jasmine flowers or bananas that the spirits are said to be particularly fond of).  


Phnom Penh in the evening

Sunset dinner cruise on the Mekong River


You can spend your evening time on a cruise on the Mekong River.

Sailing and relaxing along the Mekong River is what I highly advised.

Before engaging in a delicious dinner and flow of beverages, enjoy cocktails onboard your cruise as the sun sets across the water.


Nightlife in Phnom Penh Cambodia


There are many options to enjoy a night out in Phnom Penh. Whether you choose a quiet drink at a waterside, or you’re looking for something with a little more action, you’ll find somewhere to suit your style of nightlife in Phnom Penh.

I have put together a listing of what I suppose is Phnom Penh’s top picks for some nightlife.  

  • Cadillac Bar & Manhattan Lounge

  • Candy Bar

  • Street 136-Hostess bars

  • The Mad Monkey

  • Pontoon

  • Eclipse Sky Bar

  • Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC)

  • Shanghai Bar

  • Sharky’s Bar & Restaurant

  • The Heart of Darkness


Nightlife in Phnom Penh Cambodia


When is the best time of year to visit?


I would advise you to visit Phnom Penh from November to January. It is actually a perfect time of the year to go to visit Phnom Penh capital.

These months are the driest, least humid and coolest months.

This coincides nicely with Thailand’s local weather and these months are the satisfactory time of the year to go to both countries. Which means you can engage in the period of celebration for both countries.

The Water Festival is the biggest festival in the Cambodia calendar and occurs on the full moon in the middle of November. As well as, Loi Krathong, which is a Siamese festival, celebrated annually throughout the Kingdom of Thailand every November.  


A typical street view of Phnom Penh. Nearby Toul Sleng


Find the best hotels at the lowest prices in Phnom Penh Cambodia?


Tourism in Phnom Penh is speedy increasing, so you will no longer struggle to discover properly excellent accommodation. And the hotels listed below are places I would recommend for you to seek.  

  • Longlin Guesthouse

  • City Centre Hotel

  • Billabong Hostel

  • Pacific Hotel, Phnom Penh

  • Ohana Phnom Penh Palace

  • Number 9 Hotel

  • Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh

  • Eman Bkk Hotel

  • Sla Boutique Hostel

  • Sarina Boutique Hotel




NOTE: Tuk Tuk to get around the city

As you arrive, download one of the many mobile apps such as Grab, We Go, PassApp. You will find very easy to get by Tuk Tuk or taxi everywhere you need at some of the lowest prices in all Asia.  


How do you go to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap?


It is quite simple, quick and easy to get from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh in Cambodia! You have several modes of transport options to choose; including bus, plane, boat, taxi, and mini-bus.

Let say if you don’t want to spend much time on your traveling, then getting on a plane is the first option.

However, the only 45 minutes flight would cost you around 60$ higher than 5 hours on the bus or taxi.  




As a personal tip!


Visit-the Panda-cafe


Visit the Panda cafe before or after you are at the Toul Sleng museum, it is just 50 meters from the museum entrance and it will offer you a great range of refreshments and really good coffee, with also great opportunities for funny pictures.  


Panda cafe


Visit-the Panda-cafe


As a personal tip!

After you have tried out some of the famous Khem style cuisine restaurants, if you are looking for some different tastes, the Katanashi restaurant would be my favorite choice!  


The Katanashi restaurant


The Katanashi restaurant


The Katanashi restaurant


The Katanashi restaurant


Related to:

How to get from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh

Kampot Cambodia, the destination for my weekend

Best things to do in Siem Reap

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