Phnom Pehn City is the capital of Cambodia. You may either get here by plane or by land if you are traveling most of South East Asia. For travelers who does not want to go on travel tours, here are some tips and itinerary I followed during my visit here.
- Information about Visas for foreigners: Cambodian Visa
Upon Arrival on the Airport:
- Free maps of the city is available in almost all Hotels and Hostels, including the airport.
- Small booths line at the entrance of the airport selling local sim cards for phones and it costs around 2 USD each. The price of load credit of local sim card varies from 1 USD up to 10 USD depending on what suits you.
- There are also booths for buying Riel money. Riel is the official currency of Cambodia, however USD is also commonly used. Cambodia uses both USD or Khmer Riel.
- Usually the exchange rate is 1 USD = 4,000 Riel.
- Tuk-tuks are found in front of the airport and can charge you up to 7 USD to drop you off to your hotel.
- Most tourists choose their hotel or hostels near Wat Phnom or the River front (Tonle Sap River) because it’s within the tourist hub areas of Phnom Penh. Agoda website, helped us a lot on finding nice and cheap hotels.
1. Toul Sleng Genocide Museum: The area was called Toul Svay Prey High School before it was turned into an enclosure designed for detention, interrogation, inhuman torture, and killing of khmer detainees during the democratic Kampuchea, S-21 regime. (1975-1979).
- My sister and I first visited Toul Sleng Museum before going to other tourist spots. I roamed almost all the corners of the school. I had mixed emotions. I felt sad because a lot of people suffered from that place, I felt angry because a lot of innocent died without justice and also afraid because I felt the chills and I think the place is hunted.
- Now, this place is a museum visited by hundreds of tourist everyday.
|Most of the 14,000-20,000 prisoners (estimated number) were kept here during year zero (pol-pot regime), only seven prisoners survive.|
The museum consist of:
- The prisoners mug shots are displayed inside the rooms.
- Painting depicting the atrocities of the khmer rouge.
- In one of the buildings, you can see the classrooms that were turned in to dungeon like cells where the prisoners were kept.
- On the other buildings you an see the classrooms converted in to torture chambers and on some, you can still see dried blood spatters on the floor.
|Mugshots of the prisoners in Toul Sleng|
Entrance Fee: 3 USD
English speaking tour guides are available.
|View of one of the temples in Wat Lanka|
3. Independence Monument: Just beside Wat Lanka Temple. Symbolizing the cambodian independence from the french in 1953.
|Independence Monument, Monks on Tuk-tuk|
4. National Museum:
The National Museum is filled with ancient Khmer sculptures where it’s evident that they have been influenced by Hinduism. Taking photos inside the museum is not allowed however you can pay 1 USD to take pictures in the central garden.
Entrance Fee: 3 USD
Open at 8:00 am and closing time 5:00pm.
|Front Entrance to the National Museum
5. Kabbas Restaurant: If you are hungry and needed a place to eat lunch, Kabbas restaurant is just at the corner, in front of the National Museum. They cater western and asian cuisines. Many tourists also dine here. The staffs are nice and welcoming. There is also a free wifi. The food is great and affordable. There are also other food establishments in the area.
One of my favorite cambodian cuisine is the Lok-lak. You can choose between beef, chicken or pork as the main recipe of your lok-lak.
6. Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda: Royal Palace is just a couple of blocks away. You can probably walk from National Museum if you’re into sight-seeing. At the time we went to the Royal Palace, it was in the middle of January 2013. The Royal Palace was close at that time because of the death of King Norodom Sihanouk, only the Silver Pagoda was open but with the same entrance fee of 6 USD.
|Silver Pagoda Compound|
7. Wat Phnom: Is a place of worship for buddhist. The Prominent stupa contains the ashes of King Ponhea Yat. The Stupa is 88 feet high above the ground. The place is also a park where you can rest and sit on the bench admiring nature.
Entrance Fee: 1 USD for tourist
The main stairs leading to the temple.
8. River Side: The river side is the mecca of tourist in Phnom Pehn. There are a lot of Bars and Pubs, open until late at night. A variety of restaurants are also alined in the area, a little more expensive but it’s worth trying after a long day tour. There are boat cruises along the Tonle Sap river famous among the tourist. Cruises are also available. The Night Market is also within the area, where you can buy souvenirs and affordable clothes.
Hotels and restaurants along the river side.
|Right: The Tonle sap some also called it the mekong river|
1. Central Market: Located at the center of the city. The central market’s architecture is great. Designed like a dome with four entrance. Inside you can buy cheap souvenirs and jewelries of different kinds
|Inside the Central Market|
2. Russian Market: The russian market is popular among the tourists. This is the place where you can find different kinds of art work like paintings, woven materials, handicrafts and wood carvings. The locals are also selling RTW export over runs.
|Inside the russian market|