8 Things to Do in Phnom Penh

It’s no secret that the capital of Cambodia is an eventful city, bursting with sights, smells, and activities to get lost in. Brimming with historical treasures, culinary adventures, and cultural endeavours, the Pearl of Asia has it all. But with so much to do, just where do you go to get the best experience? From wandering the city markets to cruising the river, we have a list of things to do in Phnom Penh to satisfy every type of wanderlust.


The Royal Palace

Sitting in the bustling heart of the city, the gorgeous Royal Palace is one of Phnom Penh’s most striking landmarks. Serving as home to the King of Cambodia, the architectural design of the palace itself screams royalty. The nearby Silver Pagoda gets its name from its silver flooring, but its interior holds even more treasures from ancient religious pieces to a glistening emerald Buddha. If not for all its over-the-top decor, the palace grounds have a well-manicured garden to explore and relax in.

Wat Phnom

For a tranquil afternoon, head to Wat Phnom and its serene temple grounds. The temple sitting atop the park’s small hill has artwork and artefacts relating to Cambodian Buddhism to uncover, but visitors should beware of the monkeys roaming the grounds with them. Take a walk along the peaceful trail on the temple grounds to the gorgeous garden sitting in this sacred site.

Visit Silk Island

Koh Dach, or Silk Island, is a peaceful area just an hour away from the busy city of Phnom Penh. Take a ferry ride to get to this rural village known for Cambodian silk weaving. This slower paced area is great for wandering Cambodia’s scenic countryside without heading too far away from the city. While you’re there, visit the weaving villages to get a first-hand lesson in silk weaving or just to watch the silk weavers work on creative designs.

Visit the Central Market

Markets are a norm in Cambodia, but Phnom Penh Central Market is worth a special visit. This interesting art-deco building hosts one of the city’s main markets with anything you need in reach. From local produce to craft and handiwork, you’ll be sure to find the perfect memory within the number of Central Market stalls. Built in 1937 by French architect Louis Chauchon, this once swampland is now a market of treasures.

National Museum

A key part of travelling is learning about the country’s history and culture. A trip to the National Museum in the capital city will help you get in touch with Cambodia’s long and ancient history. Browse the collection of over five thousand rare and antique artefacts dating back to the Angkor era including a bronze Vishnu from the 11th century – even the building and museum grounds in itself is stunning.

The Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre, or the Killing Fields, gives visitors a more complex glimpse into Cambodia’s past. Once a site where citizens met a brutal fate during the Khmer Rouge empire from 1975 until 1979, this site now serves as a memorial featuring thousands of human bones from the country’s vicious past. Guests will be able to roam the memorial grounds to see the graves of those who lost their lives during the Khmer Rouge reign.

The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is another somber site located in Phnom Penh’s core. Once a high-school, this site was taken over during the Khmer Rouge reign and transformed into a prison resulting in the survival of just seven prisoners. While this museum may be shocking and emotional, it gives an insight into Cambodia’s much more recent history.

Stroll the Riverside

In the day, Phnom Penh’s Riverside offers the perfect setting for a relaxing stroll and a great place to see the sunset on the city. But by the evening, the Riverside (or Sisowath Quay) becomes vibrant and full of energy from both locals and tourists. The promenade is filled with restaurants, bars, and cafes for visitors to relax and have a bite to eat, while the street vendors give you the opportunity to grab authentic Cambodian dishes as you view the street performances and games, or visit the night market on the weekend to try a bite of kabobs, or for the more adventurous, fried insects.


Cambodia’s culture is vibrant, colorful, and full of life and a visit to the Cambodian Living Arts allows you to experience some of the best of Cambodian culture. The Traditional Dance Show takes place from Monday to Wednesday displaying traditional Khmer dance that dates back to the 18th century. If you can’t make it to the show some of the performing arts school in Phnom Penh offers visitors a chance at getting a look into their practice during the day.



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