Situated at the crossroads of three great rivers - the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac - Phnom Penh is the heart of a country steeped in tradition, overflowing with rice paddies, jungles and still untouched rural communities.
Once a sleepy backwater, Phnom Penh is buzzing today with commercial activity, as the country develops after years of isolation. It is dotted with monumental landmarks in a surreally beautiful environment. Old French colonial mansions stand alongside newly emerging designs, which make the city’s mixed architecture and communities fascinating sites to explore.
Cambodian Riel (KHR): 1 KHR = 10 kak = 100 sen
Ambulance: +855 023 724 891 (or 119 if you have a Cambodian phone number)
Police: +855 023 366 841 - +855 023 720 235 (or 117 if you have a Cambodian phone number)
Fire: +855 023 723 555 (or 118 if you have a Cambodian phone number)
The Cambodia Daily
The Phnom Penh Post (bi-monthly)
The Southeast Asia Weekly
Most shops are open Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 7 pm. Markets open from 6 am to 5 pm. Stores and markets are only closed on public holidays.
Tourist Information Center in Phnom Penh
262 Monivong Boulevard
Khan Daun Penh
+855 023 218 585
Phnom Penh took its name from a legend after a woman called Penh, thought to have found four Buddha washed ashore by the great river.
The French took over in 1869 and ruled until King Norodom Sihanouk declared independence in 1953. The colonial regime left behind impressive villas and large avenues, which form today's city centre. By the 1960s, the town was swinging and cafés were overflowing the streets.
April 17, 1975 is the day Phnom Penh changed. It emptied in one day as the Khmer Rouge took over the country. After four years Cambodians came back from across the country to reinvigorate their capital city. From a small riverside village it grew to become the country’s commercial hub. Today it is a burgeoning Asian capital crawling with activity; the landscape still void of skyscrapers. Phnom Penh remains an untouched Asian gem where cyclo drivers get lost in a sea of motorbikes.
Spend a day walking through the historical streets surrounding the Royal Palace, ride a tuk-tuk hopping from market to market, and end your day gazing at the shimmering lights reflecting off the Tonle Bassac. The city’s life never ceases as the old and the new live alongside each other.
Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda
Tuol Sleng Museum
Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture
National Museum of Cambodia
The Killing Fields & Choeung Ek Memorial
The Flicks Community Movie Houses
Phnom Tamao Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC)
Phnom Chisor Temple
Sovanna Phum Art Association & Art Gallery
Yoga Phnom Penh
Kids City Asia
Composed by a mix of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, Cambodian cuisine is varied, simple and delicious. A diet is usually based on fish and soups while the local food offers healthy and abundant Asian surprises. Khmer highlights are fish amok (fish cooked in coconut) and barbecued beef, which can be found on most street corners in the early evening around the Central Market. As the city is made up of many communities including Vietnamese, Chinese and Expatriates, there is a variety of delicacies and restaurants catering to a large expatriate community.
FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club)
Pho Paris Restaurant & Guesthouse
Yi Xian Chinese Restaurant
Friends the Restaurant
Dine in the Dark
The Lost Room
Phnom Penh is a haven for fruit lovers, from mangoes of all shapes and sizes to delicious mangoustines. All markets have a fruit section and sellers walk along most main streets selling fresh papaya, pineapple and whichever fruit is in season. However, you will still find cafés serving a strong cup of coffee and western style pastries.
Feel Good Cafe & Coffee Roasters
Story Coffee Roasters
Known to be a city without limits, Phnom Penh’s reputation as a nightspot rings true. With the local population out and about at night, after years of unrest, bars and clubs have mushroomed in the last years.
The Riverhouse Lounge
Heart of Darkness
Score! Bar & Grill
Le Moon Rooftop Bar
Phnom Penh has an eclectic shopping scene. Some major international clothing chains have already hit the town, and with the several bustling markets and diverse communities, everything is here - from fragrant markets to modern malls.
Tuol Tom Pong Market (Russian Market)
Phka Kn'jay Fashion Boutique
Passport / Visa
Visas for Cambodia are available at airports and land borders, and are easy to obtain for citizens of most countries (see below). In order to obtain one, make sure you can provide a passport valid for at least six months and a passport-sized self photo for your visa.
Citizens from the following countries will need to make advance arrangements for their visa: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Sudan. Visitors from an ASEAN member country do not need a visa to enter Cambodia, as long as they have a valid passport.
Be aware that overcharging can be an issue at land borders with Thailand and Laos. To avoid that, you may want to arrange a visa in advance.
Online e-visas are only accepted at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports, and at the land borders of Bavet/Moc Bai (Vietnam), Cham Yeam/Hat Lek (Thailand) and Poipet/Aranya Prahet (Thailand).
Best Time to Visit
Cambodia has rainy weather for half of the year and dry weather for the other half. The seasons can be subdivided into dry-cool (November-January), dry-hot (February-May), rainy-hot (May-September) and rainy-cool (October-November).
You'll find the best weather in the dry-cool season, with an overall average temperature of 26°C - this is the most popular time to go.
The rainy-cool season can be an alternative if you want to avoid the crowds of tourists, and the green landscapes boast incredibly beautiful colours during this time. However, so much rain might be uncomfortable for some, and if you're planning day trips be aware that water may flood the streets and make it impossible to reach smaller, remote places.The rainiest months are August and September.
Health and Safety Advice
Vaccinations are not mandatory to enter Cambodia, but they are highly recommended. If you will need essential medications during your stay, bring enough of them from home - you might not find them in Phnom Penh.
A good travel insurance is extremely important. Health care is not cheap in Cambodia, and at the hospital, payment is required up front, which can be a very serious problem in emergency situations. Moreover, you might have to be transported to another country for bigger issues, and it's very expensive (and still requires upfront payment). Please make sure you gather as much information as possible on the topic, and be safe.
Avoid tap water, even if purified - stick to bottled water, which is available everywhere. Bring a good insect repellent in order to avoid mosquito borne diseases.
Phnom Penh International Airport
Phnom Penh International Airport (PNH) lies approximately 10 km from Phnom Penh. The easiest way to get to and from the airport is by taxi. It takes around 20 - 40 minutes depending on traffic. You can also take a tuk-tuk, which costs about $5. Whatever alternative you choose, you can buy a coupon inside the airport terminal to avoid the hustle outside.
Address: Phnom Penh International Airport, Russian Federation Boulevard, Phnom Penh
Phone: +855 23 862 800
Although many visitors still often use tuk tuks, cyclos or taxis to move inside the city, the municipality of Phnom Penh has recently re-opened "Phnom Penh city bus", an efficient public bus service that is a bit slower, but more comfortable than the alternatives. Moreover, they don't require you to negotiate prices with the driver, as other means of transport do. Bus tickets are very cheap, and you can find transport apps for your phone.
You can find an alternative, private bus company at:
Giant Ibis Transport
+855 969 993 333
Tuk Tuks, Cyclos, and Motorbikes
A good way to get around in Phnom Penh is hiring a tuk-tuk, a motor vehicle combining a motorcyle and a trailer, which has become traditional in Cambodia. Make sure to agree on a price before getting on. At night the price can increase.
Cyclos, usually driven by elderly men from the countryside, are slower but provide a relaxing way to view the city and are slightly cheaper than moto-taxi drivers.
Phone apps are also available to hail tuk tuks and taxis.
Hailing a motorbike driver is also popular, but be aware: although this is a nice way to explore the city, cautious driving is required to avoid accidents. Phnom Penh’s traffic can be dangerous and road regulations are not followed by most drivers. Beware of traffic police on major crossroads. If they stop you, a money transaction might be necessary.
Lucky Lucky Motorcycles has been renting bikes for years and has the largest variety of motorbikes. Find the company at:
Address: 413Eo, Preah Monivong, Phnom Penh
Phone: +855 23 212 788
There are two types of taxis in Phnom Penh, those with a meter and those without. You find them outside major hotels or close to the tourist attractions. If you choose a taxi without a meter, always agree on a price before you start the journey. Two of the taxi companies offering metered taxis are Global Taxi and Choice Taxi:
674, Street 271 (Yothapol Khemarak Phoumin), Phsar Doeum Thkov Commune, Phnom Penh
+855 092 889 962
A13, Confederation de la Russie, Phumi Phlov, Phnom Penh
+855 023 923 923
At the main post offices in the city you can find stamps and receive help for sending parcels etc. Always watch the carrier put the stamp on your postcard, letter etc., otherwise there might be a risk it will not reach its destination.
Find a post office at:
Address: Corner of Street 13 and Street 102, Sangkat, Phnom Penh
Phone: +855 023 428 080
One of the biggest pharmacies in Phnom Penh is Pharmacie de la Gare, which is is found next to the railway station, at:
124Eo Preah Monivong Boulevard (93), Phnom Penh
+855 092 711 771
UCare Pharmacy is part of a recently opened pharmacy chain and offers one of the largest stock of medicine (from France) in town. You find one of their stores at:
Address: 26-28 Sothearos Boulevard, Corner of Street 178, Phnom Penh
Phone: +855 023 222 499
More Information: In front of National Museum
Country code: +855
Area Code: 023
230 V, 50Hz