By Harry Sutiono
Holla travellers, are you looking for what to do, what to see, or what to eat in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh? Here is my suggested one-day itinerary, inspired by my recent trip, which I hope can give you some ideas in planning your visit to this lovely city.
9.00am – Eat kuy teav for breakfast like a local
Many hotels in Phnom Penh serve this noodle soup for their breakfast. If they don’t, you should ask the receptionist where the nearest kuy teav-selling stall is and seriously consider moving to another hotel.
The oh-so-good broth is usually made out of pork, so you better check first if you are a Muslim. The toppings can vary from place to place and you can add in fish sauce and sliced chilli if you prefer stronger taste for the soup.
$$$: USD 2 or less
Where: Various places across the city
10.00am – Of course we have to start with the famous Central Market
Central market is so huge and it offers a wide variety of goods ranging from seafood, fake watches, cosmetics, precious stones, clothes, and many more. Whatever you would like to buy, they probably have it there. The place is hectic early in the morning as the locals do frequent the dome-shaped market for their daily shopping, so you can snap a lot of interesting pictures while shopping along!
I would also recommend you to visit the nearby FOS (Factory Outlet Store) to purchase branded apparel at discounted price. They carry brands such as the North Face, A&F, and Cath Kidston.
$$$: Angkor Wat T-shirt @Central Market = USD 2.50; A&F T-shirt @FOS = USD 20
Where: Central Market – Neayok Souk; FOS – along Kampuchea Krom Blvd
12.00pm – Thai food or Cambodian food for lunch? You can have both at Olympic Khmer Thai Restaurant
The Khmer Thai Restaurant, located nearby Olympic Stadium, is very popular among the locals because of their appetizing food and reasonable price. I would recommend you to try either Prahok (Cambodian fermented fish paste) or Kapi (Thai shrimp paste) to savour the local taste. They are usually served with meat and raw vegetables.
$$$: about $10-15 per pax
Where: Central Market – No. 27Eo, St. 205, | Sangkat Toul Svay Prei II, Khan Chamkamorn, Phnom Penh
1.00pm – Understand a little history of Cambodia at Toul Sleng Genocide Museum
Toul Sleng is a former high school which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) through Cambodia’s darkest years under Pol Pot regime. The museum shows how the 20,000 prisoners went through torture and extermination.
It is definitely a great place to visit if you would like to know more on the historical period that has so huge an impact on Cambodian society. Well, the place can be a bit eerie for some because you can’t help but to imagine the gruesome reality that happened there in the past, with the help of the original tools and bed frames displayed in the museum for all visitors to see.
$$$: USD 3 for the entrance fee
Where: Street 113
3.00pm – Visit the King at the Royal palace
Unlike the Grand Palace in Bangkok that can be really crowded, Cambodia Royal Palace is a calm and beautiful place. The majestic architecture of the various buildings inside makes this place definitely worth visiting.
Dress code for visiting the palace is knee-length shorts or skirts, and tops that cover shoulders and upper arms.
$$$: 25,000 riel or about USD 6 for the entrance fee
Where: Samdach Sothearos Boulevard
5.00pm – Enjoy the river breeze, dinner and booze at Sisowath Quay
When the sun is still up, you can just walk along the river or take the boat to enjoy the cool breeze. After that, you can start looking for place to settle your dinner and alcohol craving.
There are many restaurants along the river and I would recommend Titanic Restaurant (for local food), FCC, River Crown, and Metro Rahu (Asian fusion). If you are looking for a more lively night, the smaller alleys have tonnes of bars and pubs 😉
$$$: depends on what you would like to eat and drink but thank God beer is cheap in this country
Where: Preah Sisowath Quay (just outside the Royal Palace)
9.00pm – Get the best view of Phnom Penh at night at Eclipse Sky Bar
Eclipse Sky Bar is one of the hidden gems of Phnom Penh. Located at the top of Phnom Penh Tower, the bar offers a mesmerising view of the city at night as well as a wide array of foods and drinks while you chill out on a cozy sofa in the breezy Phnom Penh night. What a perfect end of an amazing day!
$$$: USD 3.50 for local beer (Angkor Beer FTW); USD 6 for a glass of house wine
Where: #445, Monivong Blvd