“Phnom Penh isn’t that good. You’ll want to be in and out as quickly as possible. ” – What every traveller said to me when I told them I was going to Cambodia. I’ll be honest, I was slightly nervous to visit Phnom Penh, simply because it seems to have a bad reputation amongst backpackers. In actual fact, I was pleasantly surprised by Phnom Penh (although that could be that I was pleased to not be crammed into the back of a minibus, and I enjoyed what the city had to offer.
Here are a few sights to help you make the most of your trip to Phnom Penh:
1.The Killing Fields and S21
Most tourists will visit The Killing Fields and S21 when in Phnom Penh. It’s awful to see what Cambodia went through a mere 40 years ago. I think it’s important for all people to remember the terrible parts of history so we can hopefully stop repeating them.
Entry to The Killing Fields and S21 is $6 each and includes an audio guide. Hiring a tuk-tuk for the day costs $18 and 4 people can fit in one tuk-tuk. I booked through the hostel I was staying in.
2. The Royal Palace
The Cambodian Royal Palace may not be as beautiful as the Thai Grand Palace, but it has a fraction of the visitors! The Cambodian Royal Palace is very beautiful and it’s easy to walk around. At no point are you trapped in a crowd, unlike the Grand Palace in Bangkok. It’s $6 entry to the palace and Silver Pagoda, which includes a map.
There’s plenty of markets to visit in Phnom Penh for keen shoppers. I went to the Weekend Night Market which was a great way to experience Cambodian food, as the market is mostly visited by local people. There’s also the Russian Market and the Central Market which are both popular.
Cambodia lags behind the rest of South East Asia when it comes to development. 1 in 40 girls will be trafficked in this country. Really think about that number, and how high it is. A charity which I think does a great job is Daughters of Cambodia. DoC helps victims of trafficking by training them in a different industry and giving them an alternate way to make money other than in the sex trade. DoC has 9 different FairTrade businesses in Cambodia. I went to the Sugar ‘n Spice Cafe which had delicious food available to order (pictured above).
5. Sunset Cruise on the Mekong
Unfortunately for me, almost every day was cloudy in Cambodia, making a sunset cruise a little pointless. However, if you happen to be visiting when the weather is good, a sunset cruise would be ideal! The hostel I stayed in offered a sunset cruise for $10.
Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!