Phnom Penh is the vibrant bustling capital of Cambodia. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap, what was once considered the 'Gem' of Indochina. The capital city still maintains considerable charm with plenty to see. It exudes a sort of provincial charm and tranquillity with French colonial mansions and tree-lined boulevards amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. Phnom Penh is a veritable oasis compared to the modernity of other Asian capitals. A mixture of Asian exotica, the famous Cambodian hospitality awaits the visitors to the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Here in the capital, are many interesting touristy sites. Beside the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, the Choeng Ek Killing Fields and Wat Phnom, there are several market places selling carvings, paintings, silk, silver, gems and even antiques. Indeed, an ideal destination for a leisurely day tour. The whole area including the outskirts of Phnom Penh is about 376 square kilometres big. There are currently 2,009,264 people living in Phnom Penh.
The city takes its name from the re-known Wat Phnom Daun Penh (nowadays: Wat Phnom or Hill Temple), which was built in 1373 to house five statues of Buddha on a man made hill 27 meters high. These five statues were floating down the Mekong in a Koki tree and an old wealthy widow named Daun Penh (Grandma Penh) saved them and set them up on this very hill for worshiping. Phnom Penh was also previously known as Krong Chaktomuk (Chaturmukha) meaning "City of Four Faces". This name refers to the confluence where the Mekong, Bassac, and Tonle Sap rivers cross to form an "X" where the capital is situated.
Phnom Penh is also the gateway to an exotic land - the world heritage site, the largest religious complex in the world, the temples of Angkor in the west, the beaches of the southern coast and the ethnic minorities of the North-eastern provinces. There are also a wide variety of services including five star hotels and budget guest houses, fine international dining, sidewalk noodle shops, neighbourhood pubs international discos and more.
Phnom Penh, like other Asian-City tourist destinations, is in the midst of rapid change. Over the past few years the number of restaurants and hotels have grown considerably and in the last year there had been a huge increase in the number of visitors. Come and see a real original as it won't be the same in a few years.
Phnom Penh is located in the southern heard of the country and fully surrounded by the Kandal Province. The municipality consists of the typical plain wet area for Cambodia, covering rice fields and other agricultural plantations. The province also features three of the biggest rivers of the country the Tonle Bassac, the Tonle Sap and the mighty Mekong.
All three rivers cross to form an "X" at their confluence, where the capital is situated. These rivers provide potential freshwater and other resources. The city, located at 11.55 N 104.91667? E (11?33' North, 104?55' East) covers an area of 375 square kilometres (145 sq mi) which some 11,401 hectares (28,172 acres) in the municipality and 26,106 hectares (64,509 acres) of roads. The agricultural land in the municipality amounts to 34.685 square kilometres (13 sq mi) with some 1.476 square kilometres (365 acres) under irrigation.
The current population in this municipality is about 2,009,264 people or 14 % of the country?s total population (14,363,519 person in Cambodia, 2007, provincial government data), with 621,948 male and 658,833 female. The population density is therefore 5,343.8 people per square kilometre. The population is Original Khmer 60%, Chinese 15%, Vietnamese 20% and 5% other. The population growth in the city is about 3.9%.
The country has a tropical climate - warm and humid. In the monsoon season, abundant rain allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of crops. This year-round tropical climate makes Cambodia ideal for developing tourism. Travellers need not to fear natural disasters such as erupting volcanoes or earthquakes, and the country is not directly affected by tropical storms.
Climate: Cambodia can be visited throughout the year. However, those plans to travel extensively by road should be avoided the last two months of the rainy season when some countryside roads may be impassable. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius; the minimum temperature is about 16 degrees. December and January are the coolest months, whereas the hottest is April.
General information about the provincial climate
- Cool season: November- March (22-28c)
- Hot season: March- May (28c -38c)
- Rainy season: May - October (24-32c, with humidity up to 90%.)
The city temperatures range from 15 to 38 C and experiences tropical monsoons. Monsoons blow from the Southwest inland, bringing moisture-laden winds from the Gulf of Thailand and Indian Ocean from May to October. The northeast monsoon ushers in the dry season, which lasts from November to March. The city experiences the heaviest precipitation from September to October with the driest period occurring from January to February.
Double-digit economic growth rates in recent years have triggered an economic boom, with new hotels, restaurants, bars, and residential buildings springing up around the city. Phnom Penh's wealth of historical and cultural sites makes it also a very popular tourist destination. The main economy is based on commercial such as garments, trading, small and medium enterprises. The property business is booming since the past few years. Real estate is now getting very expensive. The two new sub-cities are under construction, where investors from Korea and Indonesia join with Cambodian investors. The investment project of Camko-city is estimated about more than 200 millions and will be finished in 2018.
Because of its budget airlines flying from nearby countries directly to Phnom Penh, the leisure and business travellers are coming to enjoy themselves or to look for investment opportunities in Cambodia. So also the hotel business is likely more and more improving.
As Kandal province is around Phnom Penh it serves as an economic belt of the capital. For instance Cambodia has become the sixth largest garment exporter in the world in 2007 (most of these factories are in Kandal Province). The industry created job opportunities for about 0.5 million Cambodians and generated some 0.3 billion U.S. dollars of monthly payment for the employees. Also agricultural exports flourished in 2007, as palm oil, peanuts, rice, pepper and other rural products became ever more popular in the international markets.
Finally, luxury real estate project like the Longing Resort in Kandal province was demolished on July 31, as it expanded its land illegally and in effect constituted menace to the safety of the capital. The Asia Development Bank put Cambodia's economic growth rate for the past year at 9.5 percent and nine percent in 2008, while the Cambodian government gave a conservative estimation of seven percent both in 2007 and 2008.
Phnom Penh offers plenty of things to see and do – you'll often be surprised when making a stop in the Cambodian capital heading to or from Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat. Those who don’t make a stop off in Phnom Penh will often miss out on so many interesting historical, cultural and environmental attractions in the city.
It’s not all about the Khmer Rouge or Cambodia’s tragic past either. Khmer-era temples, wildlife sanctuaries, theatrical performances and museums are all easily accessible and tours are reasonably priced. Enjoy our personally researched guide to the best attractions in Phnom Penh.
Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda are set adjacent to each other, spanning 174,870 square metres of breathtaking Khmer architecture and lush greenery. Although the king of Cambodia still occasionally resides in The Royal Palace (if the blue royal flag is flying, the king is in residence), visitors can explore several buildings within the palace grounds from US$6.50 and guided tours are available from around US$10.
Located in Sisowath Quay, highlights at the Royal Palace include the Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion. Meanwhile, entrance to the Silver Pagoda is free of charge, where you can visit the Emerald Buddha, which dates back to the 17th century and is adorned with Baccarat crystals.
Location: Samdech Sothearos Boulevard (between 184th Street and 240th Street), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Monday–Thursday and Saturday from 8am to 5pm, Fridays from 8am to 6pm, Sundays from 8am to 5.30pm
National Museum of Cambodia
The National Museum of Cambodia is where you can find the cultural side of Cambodian history that dates back to the 4th century. The museum is housed within an impressive red sandstone structure and inaugurated in 1920 as the Musée Albert Sarraut during the French colonial period. It stands out as a fine illustration of traditional Khmer architecture.
There are over 14,000 interesting exhibits, arranged according to prehistoric, pre-Angkor, Angkor, and post-Angkor eras, each of which comprises bronze and wooden sculptures, ceramic items, ethnographic items and stone articles. Check out spectacular exhibits such as the 6th-century, 8-armed statue of Lord Vishnu.
Location: Preah Ang Eng Street 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 8am to 5pm
Phone: +855 23 217 643
Cambodian Living Arts – Apsara and Traditional Khmer Dance
Cambodian Living Arts is a non-profit organisation that hosts Apsara and traditional Khmer dance performances at the National Museum of Cambodia. Tickets are priced from US$15 and shows are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and weekends from 7pm onwards. The organisation preserves traditional Khmer dance that dates back to the 18th century but was almost lost under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Cambodian Living Arts revived the art by gathering surviving master artists to train and pass on their knowledge to younger generations. The troupe comprises live singers and musicians in traditional Khmer costumes, performing eight classical dances of ethnic minorities from all over Cambodia.
Location: Blvd Samdach, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 7pm onwards
Phone: +855 23 986 032
Central Market (Phsar Thmey)
Central Market (Phsar Thmey) caters to just about any traveller, whether you’re a shopping enthusiast who wants to gauge your haggling skills, a tourist interested to be a part of a bustling crowd, or simply keen to explore, and photograph, Phnom Penh’s unique architectural designs.
Designed by French architects Jean Desbois and Wladimir Kandaouroff, this indoor market was the largest of its kind in Asia when it was constructed in 1937. You can find a wide assortment of goods in Central Market (Phsar Thmey), from men and women’s clothing, jewellery, flowers and shoes to gemstones, local handicrafts and fresh produce.
Location: Street 130, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 7am to 6pm
Children Park Koh Pich Amusement Park
Children Park Koh Pich is an amusement park at the South Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh. It can get quite packed and offers colourful ways to have fun, including a rollercoaster, a roller skating area with a big wavy floor section and lots of booths where punters try to burst balloons with darts.
It is, of course, nowhere near as extravagant as Disneyland, but this is a great place for people-watching, especially watching the locals enjoying life with friends and family – a reminder to outsiders that there is now much more to Cambodia than the grim history of the Killing Fields.
Location: Koh Pich St, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phone: +855 81 617 977
Golf in Phnom Penh
Golf in Cambodia is relatively new and the number of golf courses is limited. The first club to open in Cambodia, in 1996, was the 18-hole course at the Cambodia Golf & Country Club. On the outskirts of Phnom Penh, about 33 km west of the city centre, it is set among 120 acres, and also has a clubhouse, swimming pools, tennis courts, convention facilities and villas.
Another golf course near Phnom Penh is the Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club. To get there, take Route 4 towards Sihanoukville and keep an eye out for a big sign for the club about 14 km from the city.
Independence Monument is an iconic landmark that’s set in the heart Phnom Penh City Centre. Locally known as Vimean Ekareach, it signifies Cambodia’s liberation from the French who have colonised the nation between 1863 and 1953.
As a result, vibrant celebrations of national festivities such as Independence Day (November 9th) and Constitution Day (September 24th) are held here. On most days, the best time to visit is at night as that’s when Independence Monument and its surroundings are illuminated by blue, red and white floodlights.
Location: Sangkat Boeng Keng Kang Ti Muoy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Mekong Island (Koh Dach) near Phnom Penh
Mekong Island is where to head to if you wish to take a break from the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh and venture into a world of peace and tranquillity. The island is about 15 km north of the city centre. Bounded by views of rice paddies, vegetable farms and fruit orchards, Mekong Island not only serves as a venue for an enjoyable day trip or picnic but also enables you to experience the country’s authentic culture at its best.
This island occupies an area of about 10 hectares of land and is one of the prominent centres of traditional handicrafts in Cambodia, with artisans engaged in silk weaving, pottery, woodcarving and dyeing in its villages. One of the best ways to get there by cruise boat from Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh (usually a 2.5-hour round trip). You can also hire a tuk-tuk from the city to the Japanese Bridge, from where you can continue your journey to the island by ferry.
Location: Koh Dach, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Oudongk is a town at the foot of the hill of the same name approximately 40 km north from Phnom Penh. The destination offers an escape to the rural countryside with the hilltop overlooking vast plains.
This site is also famous for cultural patrimonies and used to serve as a capital city between the years 1618 and 1866.
Location: Oudongk, Cambodia
Phnom Tamao Zoo near Phnom Penh
Take a tour to Phnom Tamao Zoo and Wildlife Rescue Centre (PTWRC) – the country’s largest zoo and wildlife sanctuary that is located about a 45-minute drive outside town. Opened in 2000, it is more a wildlife rescue centre than a zoo, serving as a safe refuge to rare and endangered animals rescued from the clutches of poachers, traffickers and illegal wildlife traders.
The wildlife centre's residents now include over a thousand animals plus hundreds of exotic birds and reptiles. Managed by the Ministry of Agriculture’s Forestry Department with support from WildAid and Free the Bears Fund, the zoo occupies about 1,200 hectares land out of a 2,500-hectare forest protected area of Phnom Tamao that enjoys picturesque surroundings comprising mountains and ancient temples such as Phnom Tamao Temple and Thmor Dos Temple.
Location: National Road No 2, Tro Pang Sap Village, Tro Pang Sap Commune, Ba Ti District, Takeo Province, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 8am to 5pm
Phone: +855 95 970 175
Frizz Cooking Class
Frizz Restaurant is a great place to learn about Khmer cuisine, including its history that goes back a long way. In more recent times, the cuisine of Cambodia has been influenced by nearby countries as well as by the French.
But go back 1,000 years to when the Khmer Empire ruled over most of Southeast Asia and, some historians argue, the food in the subject countries was itself influenced by Khmer cuisine. Get a hands-on experience of cooking authentic Khmer dishes to learn more about the ingredients from local experts.
Location: #67 Oknha Chhun St. (240), Phnom Penh 12207, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm
Phone: +855 23 220 953
Sisowath Quay in Phnom Penh
Sisowath Quay is one of Phnom Penh's most bustling areas, with a row of boutiques, bars, cafes, restaurants and luxury hotels lining its length. The boulevard spans about 3 km long, at the intersection of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers.
Sisowath Quay's cool and relaxing atmosphere lets you enjoy a delightful getaway, and serves as a central meeting point of almost all roads that lead to the city’s key attractions.
Location: Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Sovannaphum Arts Association & Art Gallery
Phnom Penh is not as active as Siem Reap when it comes to Khmer performing arts. Even so, you can find some of the performing arts schools in the city are open to the public during the day, allowing you the opportunity to observe dancers in training.
Among these, a must-see is the Sovannaphum Arts Association & Art Gallery on 111 Street 360 (corner of Street 105). Started in 1994 by a group of students from the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh, the association has a theatre where traditional cultural shows are staged every Friday and Saturday night at 7.30 pm.
Shows include shadow puppet theatre, classical Apsara dancing, and folk and mask dances. On sale at the gallery at the theatre are shadow puppets made from leather, musical instruments and more. Another fine theatre to visit is the Chatomuk Theatre at Sisowath Quay.
Location: 166 St 99, Phnom Penh 12307, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 8am to 9pm
Phone: +855 10 337 552
Ta Prohm Temple at Tonle Bati
Ta Phrom Temple at Tonle Bati dates back to the late 12th century, featuring well-preserved stone carvings and bas-reliefs of Hindu mythology – this temple is similar in style to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Accessible within an hour’s drive from Phnom Penh City Centre in the Takeo Province, there’s an entrance fee of US$3 to visit the temple, making it affordable and convenient option for travellers who are staying in the capital of Cambodia.
Other attractions in Tonle Bati include Yey Peo Temple (located 200 metres north of Ta Phrom Temple) and Tonle Bati Lake, a popular picnic spot among locals. Great for unwinding after visiting the temples, you can also rent huts and hammocks at relatively low prices.
Location: Tonle Bati, Cambodia
The Killing Fields
The Killing Fields, also known as Choeung Ek Memorial, is a bone-chilling reminder of Cambodia’s tragic history. About 17 km south of Phnom Penh City, it is one of the many killing fields or execution and burial grounds used by the Khmer Rouge regime during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979.
Mass graves were discovered after the Khmer Rouge fled the city, leading to the construction of a Buddhist memorial for over 15,000 victims in The Killing Fields. Half-day tours to this memorial and S-21 Prison feature informative audio guides in many languages as well as testimony from survivors and guards of the regime.
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 7.30am to 5.30pm
Phone: +855 23 305 371
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison)
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was formerly Tuol Svay Pray High School before it was turned into an interrogation, torture and execution centre by the Khmer Rouge regime. Also known as S-21 Prison, an estimated 17,000 Cambodians entered this notorious venue. Only 7 managed to survive until the end of the regime.
Most rooms have been left in the state they were found in January 1979, including classrooms divided into tiny cells. An essential stop while visiting Phnom Penh, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum also displays 6,000 haunting portraits of its prisoners for travellers to understand the recent tragic Cambodian history. It's an intense experience touring the old prison and will no doubt give you plenty of food for thought.
Location: St 113, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 8am to 5pm
Phone: +855 23 665 5395
Wat Langka, nearby Phnom Penh’s Independence Monument, is one of the 5 pagodas founded by Ponhea Yat in 1442. This colourful shrine was established as a library of Buddhist scriptures as well as a meeting place for Cambodian and Sri Lankan monks, but it was also used as a storehouse during the Khmer Rouge’s regime.
Unlike most Buddhist temples in Cambodia, the stupas here are kept in a great condition and entrance to the temple is free of charge. Every Sunday at 8.30am, you can participate in Wat Langka’s meditation sessions which are supervised by English-speaking monks.
Location: Street 282 (Samdach Louis Em), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 6am to 7pm
Wat Ounalom offers visitors an in-depth look into the spiritual teachings, philosophies and history of Buddhism in Cambodia. The most prominent and oldest of 5 pagodas in the country, Wat Ounalom is the centre of Cambodian Buddhism and serves as the abode of the Patriarch of the Mahanikai School of Buddhism.
Built in 1443 to enshrine an eyebrow hair (ounalom) of Lord Buddha, the shrine housed over 500 monks and the Buddhist Institute’s library that held over 30,000 titles in its collection before they were wiped out by the Khmer Rouge regime. The displayed Buddha’s eyebrow miraculously survived, making it the main draw among travellers from all over the world. A 10-minute walk from The Royal Palace, entrance to Wat Ounalom is free of charge.
Location: 172 Ly Yoat Lay Street, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 6am to 6pm
Phone: +855 12 890 010
Wat Phnom is a temple that sits on a hill to the north of Phnom Penh. The temple was restored and reconstructed through several years, namely in 1434, 1806, 1894 and 1926.
Wat Phnom is a symbol of the Cambodian capital city and is regularly visited by local devotees who either come for prayers, bring small offerings, or participate in meditation.
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Cambodian Country Club Equestrian Center
Cambodian Country Club Equestrian Center, which opened in 2003, is in the Northbridge International School. An international-standard riding school and club, it offers riding and riding lessons for adults and children of all abilities and all ages from 5 years old and up. The centre also stages showjumping events, exhibitions and a riding camp for kids.
Location: 2004 Street, Group 6, Sangkat Toeuk Thla, Khan Sen Sok, Phnom Penh 12101, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 8am to 6pm
Phone: +855 93 885 591
French Institute Cambodia
Institut Francais du Cambodge or French Institute Cambodia can be a great place to watch French films, apart from the several big-screen cinemas in town which mostly show films in the Khmer language. Head down to Street 184 for the Institute's French Cultural Center Cinema. This shows French films, most of them with English subtitles.
Location: 218 Keo Chea, Phnom Penh 12211, Cambodia
Open: Monday–Saturday from 8am to 9pm (closed on Sundays)
Phone: +855 23 985 611
Phnom Penh restaurants are emerging as culinary surprise packages to match larger and more established Southeast Asian neighbours. Traditional Khmer street food surrounds the footpaths of haute cuisine restaurants, and cafés and bistros of every variety sprout in alleys and old colonial houses.
Of course you’ll want to try the local food while you’re here, but don’t miss the chance to let Phnom Penh’s foodies delight you with something different, or something you never would have expected to find here. Like most things in Cambodia, dining is cheap so the bill in even the priciest restaurants in Phnom Penh will probably leave a smile on your face.
ARTillery Café Phnom Penh is an ideal dining option for health-conscious travellers. When you find yourself craving a real salad or something lighter and fresher than the fried meats and heavy curries you’ve been devouring from street food vendors and markets, ARTillery is the place to go.
Both locations serve the same menu of organic, chemical-free, fair trade ingredients, with a wide range of vegan and raw dishes. Don’t shy away if you’re a carnivore – they also serve great meat dishes, including their pork sausage and scrambled eggs on a toasted sesame bagel for breakfast. If you’ve still got some room for dessert, try the raw key lime pie.
Location: Street 240 1/2, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 7.30am to 9pm
Phone: +855 78 985 530
Boat Noodle Restaurant
Boat Noodle has got to be one of the most unusual restaurants in Phnom Penh. It's set in an old wooden house with many large and small rooms filled with an eclectic mix of Cambodian and other antiques. Each room is different, and a pleasant surprise. Some rooms have low tables where you can lean on pillows and really relax while you eat. There's also a leafy garden with many water features.
They serve Khmer and Thai cuisine, such as tom yam, Khmer curry, spring rolls, steamed fish and much more. The staff are very welcoming and pleasant. In the evening, musicians play traditional Khmer music. This place is more of an experience than just a restaurant. Even if you don’t eat there, it's worth a visit.
Location: #57 Samdach Sothearos Blvd (3), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 7am to 10pm
Phone: +855 12 774 287
Chiang Mai Riverside
Chiang Mai Riverside is the place to go for some of the best authentic Thai food in Phnom Penh. They also serve excellent Khmer, Asian, western, and vegetarian dishes. For lunch and dinner, the delicious food makes this is one of the most popular restaurants in Phnom Penh. Catering, takeaway, and delivery are also available.
Location: 227Eo Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 10am to 10pm
Phone: +855 81 872 858
Foreign Correspondent’s Club (FCC)
The Foreign Correspondent’s Club is a Phnom Penh institution. Housed in a French colonial-era building overlooking the river and Sisowath Quay, FCC is a great spot for a good western meal, a fancy tropical cocktail, or just to sit at the rooftop bar with a beer and watch the people of Phnom Penh go past.
The menu is all fancy enticing fare, with vegetarian options, at prices that may be higher than the average for a Phnom Penh restaurant but remain reasonable. The tempura prawn shooters are a great appetiser or snack to accompany one of their signature cocktails, like the Kampot Snapper or Hemingway Special. If you’re going to FCC for dinner, make sure you arrive early enough to catch the sunset over the Mekong.
Location: 363 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 7am to midnight
Phone: +855 23 724014
Friends the Restaurant (Mith Samlanh)
Friends the Restaurant is operated by the Mith Samlanh organisation, which trains former street kids and poor children in the cooking and service skills needed by the hospitality industry.
They offer tapas, vegetarian dishes, seafood, Khmer dishes, and a variety of set menus. They're known for delicious fruit shakes, margaritas and daiquiris. At Friends, the food is great and the prices are reasonable.
Location: House 215, Street 13, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 11am to 11pm
Phone: +855 12 802 072
Le Deli Bistro Gourmet
Le Deli Bistro Gourmet offers fresh and handmade items, with the bread, yoghurt, jam, and even the mayonnaise all being homemade. They serve a wide selection of gourmet salads, soups, hot and cold sandwiches, paninis, burgers, wraps, patés, and omelettes. Refreshing beverage selections include fruit juices, smoothies and vegetable juices, among others. Delivery and catering are also available.
Location: 178 13 Street, Phnom Penh 12000, Cambodia
Open: Monday–Saturday from 11am to 2pm and from 6pm to 9.30pm (closed on Sundays)
Phone: +855 12 851 234
Lemongrass Restaurant in Phnom Penh offers a very pleasant decor and atmosphere, greeting diners into its chic dining setting. Serving authentic classical Thai and Khmer cuisine, all the usual dishes are here, such as pad Thai, tom yum gung, som tam, and lok lak.
They also specialise in some Thai and Khmer dishes that may not be familiar, such as koh tiou (caramelised pork with Kompot pepper) and gai hor baiy takhai (marinated chicken breast wrapped in lemongrass and pandan leaves).
Location: #14, Street 130, Phsa Kandal 1, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 10am to 11pm
Phone: +855 12 996 707
Lucky Burger is the largest and most popular fast food chain in Cambodia. LB for short, the local company serves up surprisingly good food, somewhat comparable to international chains.
As the name implies, Lucky Burger offers a selection of burgers, but they also have items like fried chicken, chilli dogs, popcorn chicken and pizza. Individual set menus and family sets are available, with discount promotional offers from time to time. They are in several locations spread throughout Phnom Penh.
Location: Street 274, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 9am to 9pm
Piccola Italia Da Luigi
Piccola Italia Da Luigi is arguably the best place for pizza in Phnom Penh. Also referred to as Luigi’s, Piccola is the star of the Tonle Bassac bar and restaurant district on Street 308. With Napoli-style thin crusts and margaritas (both the pizza and the cocktail), you’ll also find delicious pesto and deli products available to dine in or take away.
Run by one of Phnom Penh’s many Italian restaurateurs-turned-locals, Luigi’s is busy most nights, and on weekends it’s best to book to ensure a table. Moderately priced for Phnom Penh, definitely try a Piccolapizza with your favourite topping.
Location: Street 308, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11.30am to 2pm and from 5.30pm to 10.30pm (closed on Mondays)
Phone: +855 17 323 273
Romdeng (Friends International)
Romdeng will fill your karma bank, as well as your stomach, with goodness. Part of the Friends International programme, all the staff have been trained in hospitality, food service and management as part of their programme to help poor and at-risk Cambodian children break the poverty cycle. Even the cushions you sit on are made by the students.
Add to that Romdeng’s menu that features recipes from some of the country’s most remote areas and you have a unique, delicious and worthwhile dining experience. If you haven’t had them anywhere else, give the deep-fried tarantulas a try (served with black pepper and lime sauce) from the mid-range priced menu with a good selection of international wines and drinks.
Location: 74, Street 174, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 11am to 10.30pm
Phone: +855 92 219 565
Sesame Noodle Bar
Sesame Noodle Bar is not so much a traditional Asian noodle bar as it poses as a modern, hip hangout with food to match. The freshly made noodles, coupled with salads and meats of your choice, are a refreshing change from the often heavily fried street variety, but the prices are still backpacker-friendly.
It’s a little off the regular tourist track, but well worth the visit if you’re checking out Russian Market or BKK1 while you’re in Phnom Penh. The pork (“Mighty Thor”) buns are great, and if you have a sweet tooth, make sure you try the chocolate sesame balls!
Location: #9 Street 460, Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 11.30am to 2.30pm and from 5pm to 9.30pm
Phone: +855 96 868 5780
ST 63 BASSAK Restaurant
ST 63 BASSAK Restaurant offers good simple food at amazing prices in Phnom Penh. You’ll find expats, backpackers and trendy locals all enjoying the cheap and tasty dishes from their Khmer, pasta and pizza menus. You’ll also find an outrageously long cocktail menu. You can eat here for less than US$4, which includes draft beer.
The fried noodles and rice are good staples, and ST 63’s version of Khmer roasted eggplant with pork is also a tasty favourite. The indoor-outdoor dining area is small, so its popularity sometimes means sharing a table with other diners if you want to eat straight away.
Location: #02 Street 308, Phnom Penh 12301, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 11am to 11pm
Phone: +855 15 647 062
Taj Mahal Restaurant
Taj Mahal is an Indian restaurant tucked away in the Sihanouk/Monivong area. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food is excellent. All the best of great Indian and Pakistani food is served here.
Meat and vegetarian dishes include curry, dal, allo, masala, tikka, tandori, pakora, samosa, briyani, pratha and more. All authentic and all delicious. Of course, they serve great value thali meals, along with refreshing yoghurt lassi.
Location: 136 Street, # 125E0, Phnom Penh 12000, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 11am to 11.45pm
Phone: +855 23 215 432
Freebird Bar & Grill
Freebird Bar & Grill is a comfortable American bar and grill that has an authentic neighbourhood feel to it. It has a beautiful wooden bar, and comfortable seating encourages good conversation in a friendly atmosphere.
The extensive menu features a selection of American, Tex Mex and other western cooking. On the menu are pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, pasta, stews, steaks, chilli and much more. Breakfast is served all day, too. It's a great place to satisfy your American food cravings. Happy hours are usually between 3pm and 9pm. Take-out and free home delivery are also available.
Location: 240 69 Oknha Chhun St., Phnom Penh 12101, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 9am to 11pm
Phone: +855 17 222 712
Warung Bali is where you can find exotic flavours, especially if you’ve never had Indonesian food, but want to try. You can head to this small restaurant near the Royal Palace for a delicious treat.
Some of the dishes include rendang daging (stewed beef in coconut sauce), ayam goreng kecap (deep fried-chicken with soy sauce), ikan bumbu bali (fried fish with sweet soy bean and chilli), telor dadar (Indonesian omelette with onion and chilli), and cumi tepung (fried squid with tomato sauce).
Location: #25Eo Street 178, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 9am to 9pm
Phone: +855 12 967 480
Enjoying a night out in Phnom Penh comes in many choices, with more added every year. Anyone who has visited Phnom Penh more than a few years ago will tell you how much the city has changed. Not only are there more people living and visiting here, but there’s also more of everything opening all the time. That includes bars and interesting nightlife venues.
Whether you prefer a quiet drink overlooking the river, or you're looking for something with a little more action, you'll find somewhere to suit your style of nightlife in Phnom Penh. We’ve put together a list of what we think is Phnom Penh’s top picks for some nightlife. Most bars in and around the city have happy hours, so check the times to make your travel budget stretch further without sacrificing the fun factor.
Cadillac Bar & Manhattan Lounge
Cadillac Bar & Manhattan Lounge is both a bar and restaurant in one place. It offers a great atmosphere with laidback music from the '60s, a full bar, and an extensive menu of tasty cuisine. Just some of what the homemade menu has to offer includes Texas chilli, pot pie, meatloaf, gumbo, chicken parmesan, roast beef, lasagna, pizza, burgers, and a whole lot more. You can also enjoy an all-day breakfast here.
For drinks, there are cocktails, ciders, mojitos, a good selection of beers, and more.
Location: 219E Preah Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 7am to midnight
Phone: +855 87 513 045
Candy Bar regularly has over 100 beautiful hostesses and has become one of the best 24-hour bars in Phnom Penh. The music is mostly hip-hop and rock but at a volume level you can talk and hear people over.
Saturday usually features a live DJ. It’s a fully air-conditioned sports bar and restaurant with cushioned seating and a relaxed atmosphere. They serve a good selection of western, Khmer and Thai food, western breakfasts, pizzas, burgers, and more. You can also enjoy a game of pool and other games, together with live sports feeds.
Location: #24-25 Street 136, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phone: +855 12 255 425
Club Love is an inexpensive nightlife spot in Phnom Penh’s central backpacker district of BKK1. This casual nightclub occupies the top floor of Duplex Café, where clubbers can enjoy Khmer and western fare before dancing the night away.
Open daily, the music policy ranges from hip-hop, trap, and house to pop and alternative tunes. Happy hours are usually between 11 and midnight while ladies can often enjoy great deals on drinks as well as a free shot upon arrival every Wednesday evenings.
Location: 3, Street 278, Wat Langka, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 10pm to 4am
Eclipse Sky Bar
The Eclipse Sky Bar on the 23rd floor of the Phnom Penh Tower is the highest rooftop bar and restaurant in the city. The sky bar has a fully open-air setting, so heading up there isn't advisable during the wet season. Even so, you may decide the view in every direction over the city is worth the trip to the top, be it rain or shine.
The bar is open 24 hours but the best time to visit is at the end of the afternoon, just in time to enjoy the sunset. A live band regularly complements the chilled out atmosphere from 9pm onwards. Happy hours are usually between 5pm and 7pm with 30% off all drinks except bottles of spirits or wine. Like most rooftop bars in the world, drinks are pricier than other bars, especially those in Phnom Penh.
Location: Phnom Penh Tower, 23rd Floor, Sangkat, 455 Preah Monivong Blvd (93), Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phone: +855 23 964 171
Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC)
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club or FCC is a landmark in Phnom Penh, situated in an old French colonial building that is still somewhat popular with expats and tourists. The bar and restaurant is on the 2nd floor, and the open balcony gives good views of the riverfront. FCC has a full bar with draft beer, cocktails, and offers a good selection of western and Asian food, but is somewhat pricey.
Location: #363 Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh 12206, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 7am to midnight
Phone: +855 23 210 142
PitStop is a small but very friendly late-night bar with draught beer, cocktails, pool table, free Wi-Fi, music on request, and simply good company. The staff are also friendly and everyone is made welcome.
Location: #48Eo Street, Rue Pasteur No. 51, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 6pm to 4am
Phone: +855 97 943 1189
Pontoon is a popular nightclub with a massive dance floor, a very large bar and many seating areas to chill out in. It’s open 7 nights a week and each night has a different theme and music from various DJs. Regular events include ladies nights on Wednesdays with 50% discount on cocktails and groups of 5 ladies getting a free jug of frozen margarita.
They also have a popular cabaret and live drag show on Thursdays and regularly feature well-known international DJs. Pontoon attracts a mix of locals and travellers. You'll often have to pay an entrance fee (which includes 1 drink) on weekends and special events.
Location: 80 Jayavarman 7 St. (172), Phnom Phen City, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 10pm to 5am
Phone: +855 10 300 400
Riverside Bistro is one of Phnom Penh's most long-running and popular spots for dining and drinking. This hotspot is in a French colonial-era building on the riverfront and regularly has live music played by a Philippine band from Tuesday through Sunday every week.
There's plenty of sidewalk seating available at Riverside Bistro. Their extensive menu includes Khmer food, Asian dishes, pasta, BBQ, and pizza. They have a full bar and cocktail menu with a good selection of beers and wines as well. For fun, there's a pool table as well as free Wi-Fi.
Location: House 273A Oknha Ouk Lonn St. (148), Phnom Penh 12204, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 7am to 1.30am
Phone: +855 23 213 898
Score Sports Bar & Grill
The Score Sports Bar and Grill is one of the few sports bars in Phnom Penh but claims to have the largest screen (5.8 x 4.5 metres). Most major sports (English and German football leagues, rugby, boxing, basketball, and hockey to name a few) are featured and they stay open after their normal hours for special events.
As well as the live games on the many LCD screens, they also have 3 bars, 4 slate pool tables and ample seating areas, including a terrace and a lounge. Drinks are reasonably priced, with good local and international beers on tap, and a selection of wines and cocktails. Happy hours are Monday to Friday from 5pm to 7pm. You can find Score on Street 282, between Streets 51 and 57.
Location: #5 Street 282, Wat Lanka Phnom Penh, 12302, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 8am to midnight
Phone: +855 23 221 357
This late-night bar is one of the longest-established bars in the city, and one of the most popular. Established in 2000, it's popular with both residents and tourists alike. There are many friendly hostesses, lounge seating, 2 pool tables, and large-screen TVs. Drinks are half price during happy hour from 4pm to 7pm.
Location: #21 Rue Pasteur No. 51, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 4pm to late.
Phone: +855 21 804 836
Sharky's Bar & Restaurant
Sharky's is located in a large upstairs area, and can often get noisy and boisterous, which is good if that's what you're looking for. Sharky's has been a part of the Phnom Penh nightlife scene for many years.
There is, of course, ample seating, and an extensive bar, and balcony seating overlooking the street. It's also a restaurant, and the menu includes bar snacks, salads, Tex-Mex, burgers, sandwiches, Thai food, and complete dinners.
Location: 126 Street 130, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 5pm to 2am
Phone: +855 93 848 318
Street 136 – Hostess bars
Just off Riverside, the first 3 blocks of Street 136 is one of Phnom Penh’s hostess bar streets, and certainly the most popular. Apart from finding some female (or transgender) company and entertainment in one of the many neon-lit venues like Candy Bar, there are also some other bars and clubs offering more traditional pub entertainment.
Sharky’s, just one block away, has live music and a reputation for good local bands playing live rock. Drink prices will vary for each bar, and obviously, expect to pay extra for your hostess’s drink. You can reach Street 136 off Sisowath Quay.
Street 308 is Phnom Penh’s latest hot spot, with new bars and restaurants opening regularly. Also known as Bassac Lane, Street 308 is south of Independence Monument, just off Norodom Boulevard. Most bars in the area close at 11pm out of respect for their neighbours. Happy hours are generally between 5pm and 7pm .
Several themed “micro bars” in the middle of the street offer a very cool vibe. They each have a small speciality drinks menu, mostly of cocktails, but you can order your favourite even if it’s not on the menu. Check The Library for daiquiris, Hangar 44 for cocktails and custom motorbikes, or Seibur for aperitifs. The more established Red Bar is a cheaper option, relaxed and always busy at the entrance of the street. With the 11pm curfew for most venues, this is an ideal way to kick off the night before moving on.
Location: St 308, Phnom Penh 12301, Cambodia
Street 51, north of 178, is buzzing at night. Phnom Penh’s biggest nightclub, Pontoon, is around the corner and there are many hostess bars on both sides of the street, together with a few smaller bars worth checking out.
The Heart of Darkness
The Heart of Darkness has been open since 1993 and is one of the most famous bars in Phnom Penh, regularly packed with visitors, locals, and expats alike. More of a club than a bar, this venue has much more of a local Khmer feel to it with rustic-style interiors adorned with statues that you'd often find at temples, but with ear-splitting music, dancing, and pool tables available. It can get rather packed over the weekends.
Location: #38 Street 51 Pasteur, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 9pm until late
Phone: +855 77 837 777
The Mad Monkey
The Mad Monkey is Backpacker central! It's away from the main tourist area but still located centrally in BKK1. Well known as a backpacker hostel, the place also has 2 bars including a rooftop “beach” bar overlooking the city, with over 40 cocktails on offer. Don’t miss the Phnom Penh Bazooka while watching the sunset!
The prices are a bit more expensive than many backpacker bars in the city but the chilled out atmosphere and quality service make it a good choice. While times for happy hours can change, they have been known to have free beer promotions as well.
Location: # 26 Street 302 Sangkat, 12302, Cambodia
Phone: +855 23 987 091
Zeppelin Café is a real after-hours bar and the bar that other bar owners go to after their bars close. For rock music lovers of the '60s, '70s and '80s, the owner/DJ can choose from over 1,000 real albums of rock, blues, and punk.
Customers can make music requests and choose from 47 kinds of cocktails. It’s also a great place to eat, with a varied selection of dishes: Chinese dumplings, spring rolls, fried noodles, sweet and sour pork, fried eggplant, great French fries, and more.
Location: 7 St 278, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Open: Daily from 6.30pm to 4am
Phone: +855 12 881 181