Phnom Penh, Cambodia: One day Tourist Itinerary

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.

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.

Itinerary:

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).

toul

Toul Sleng Genocide Museum
Upper Left: a flag pole turned into a torture device
Upper Right: Sorroundings of the Musem
Lower: Classroom turned into prison cells
classrooms were turnes in to small cells for the prisoners

  • 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.

The tombs are the last fourteen victims found on the school.

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.

2. Wat Lanka: Showcasing the innate cambodian talent for architectural relief.  A buddhist temple.

   Free Entrance

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
Central Garden

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.

Kabbas’ menu

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.

Testomonials of the restaurant from different nationalities. One of which is from my kababayans the Filipinos

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
Silver Pagoda Compound
Map of the Royal Palace

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.

The main stupa of 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

Additional:

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
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6 responses to “Phnom Penh, Cambodia: One day Tourist Itinerary

  1. Hi! This is helpful for me and my friends. I’d like to ask, did you join in a tour group or hire a guide for this one day tour?I’ve searched in the net and most one day tour in Phnom Pen is expensive. We’ll be there by end of October.Thanks

    • Hi boyen, Its a DIY day tour in Phnom Pehn. I only search in the internet some nice tourist spots and its cheap. Most of it does not have any entrance fee and if it does it only cost you 2-5 USD and for the tuk-tuk rides its about 2-5 USD average.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this. Im also Filipina and me and my college besties are visiting Phnom Penh this month for a day before heading out to Siem Reap and Bangkok; we were also at a loss how to experience PNH for just one day until I found this article. 🙂

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for posting this and it has been really helpful! Can I check with you how do you travel to these places? Do you cab from one place to another? Roughly how much will it cost?

    Thank you so much for your help!

    • Hi Lambert,

      My sister and I is very keen on walking but if its a little bit far we use the “tuktuk” its like a cab in Cambodia, its our transportation from one place to another it costs around 2-5 dollars one way depending on your negotiation skills. If you’re alone you can hire a motorist to take you to places and its much cheaper that a tuktuk but comfort wise tuktuk is better.

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