It’s always a good idea to have a list of Top Things to do in Phnom Penh Cambodia. As a busy, bustling Asia city it’s easy to get lost (which can be fun) and wander the streets. But if you’re short on time it’s great to have a list of the best things to do especially having just arrived. Here’s our list of Top Things to Do in Phnom Penh from our many visits to this Cambodian city.
Top Places to Eat & Drink in Phnom Penh
There is no shortage of cafes and great places to eat in Phnom Penh. And the coffee is good, very good. Phnom Penh is a relatively easy and compact city for tourists to walk, so it’s always handy to have a great cafe to drop into to rest your legs, grab some WIFI (!) or just enjoy a moment to relax. Here’s just a few, some of which are destinations worth visiting themselves.
Feel Good Cafe.
Great philosophy of employment, education & empowerment. And a pretty good place for a coffee as well. There’s two sites in Phnom Penh. Perfect if you’re missing some home comfort lattes and espresso style coffee.
Farm to Table.
Farm to Table offers a lush garden laden with jackfruit trees, and with an old tractor for kids to clamber around on. It aims to promote organic farming methods and has a healthy menu of all-day breakfasts, salads, sandwiches and shakes.
This is the best cafe around for quality coffee, healthy salads and smoothies and all the comforts of home. Founded by Australian owners, and run by locals, enjoy the green leafy oasis located near the Russian Market and Independence Monument.
The best place in Phnom Penh to try tarantulas! This vocational training restaurant offers the very best of Western friendly Khmer food, so head here if you want to experience genuine local Cambodian cuisine.
The home of healthy food in Phnom Penh with heaps of vegetarian, vegan and raw options to choose from.
A relatively new entrant, clean and modern feel with a mix of fruit smoothies, good cafe and a lovely ambient place to relax. It’s also 100% vegan so you’re doing the planet a favour too.
Hops Brewery & Craft Beer.
Perfect if you love a craft beer. With their own beer brewed on site, there a great range of flavours and international beers with international prices. It also has a good outdoor beer garden, pool tables and a mix of seated and standing areas.
Friends the Restaurant.
First social enterprise training restaurant, established by Friends International NGO. Vocational training to empower disadvantaged youth. Western friendly dishes that do good and taste great.
Top Cultural Experiences in Phnom Penh
The Killing Fields.
Everybody should do at least one of either the Killing Fields or Genocide Museum. The audio tours give an incredible insight into the horrific recent history of the Khmer Rouge. Allow half a day, including transport (14km from city). This is included in Tour de Vines’ cycling tour in Cambodia. Do be prepared to be shocked and saddened by this experience.
S-21 Genocide Museum.
If you’re just going to visit one museum, this is the one to see. Allow a few hours for a sobering experience. Excellent audio tour and something everybody should learn about. Just 3.5km from the centre, near the Russian market. US$8 entry.
Literally translating to ‘temple on the hill’, this pagoda is the tallest in the city, standing at 27m. Built in 1372, this temple is worth the walk if you’re looking to fill in your afternoon.
One of the world’s largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, Khmer ceramics, bronzes & ethnographic objects. Its collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during and after the Khmer Empire. Located right next door to the Royal Palace. $US10 entry. There is a very good cafe inside and the building itself is incredible.
The Royal Palace.
If you want to see how the other ‘half’ live, then this is a great place to visit. Make sure to wear full length short and have your shoulders covered. Check times for opening hours as it is not open all day. $US10 admission fee applies.
Top Places to Shop in Phnom Penh
Even if ‘shopping’ isn’t your thing, especially when travelling, Phnom Penh’s markets are an amazing experience. Whilst some of the smells can be less than fragrant in the meat markets, the vast array of items being bought and sold is staggering. The atmosphere is lively and shopping at markets can be a great way to interact with the locals, who are (largely) very friendly and fun.
Central Market Phnom Penh.
Easily the best market in Phnom Penh. Great place to find some local food stalls for lunch and the huge roof allows a reasonably cool temperature whilst you browse the jewellery, technology, fashion and other items. Not really designed for tourists but you will see plenty of travellers in the aisles.
Established in the 1980’s and often frequented by tourists, mainly Russians, Toul Tum Market is also known as the Russian market. Good for souvenirs and tourist orientated presents. Can be quite hot, busy and crowded at times but that’s all part of the fun!!
The social enterprise arm of Friends International, this shop is the perfect place to buy presents for folk back home. Upcycled materials produce ethical fashion that supports social programs. Don’t give money to kids, shop here instead.
This is more a street than a specific place. Street 240 is a quiet street behind the Royal Palace, with a lot of shops and eateries in old French colonial houses. You’ll find a mix of boutique fashion & souvenir shops, cafes, shops belonging to charities and NGOs promoting fair trade and goods made by locals. Shaded by gnarly century old trees with views to the Palace it has a nice ambience to wander around.
We discover all of the above and much more in our Cambodia Cycling tours. Choose from cycling Vietnam to Cambodia or Cambodia from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, or combine the 2 tours on a 14 day cycling tour.