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Visiting Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Updated on March 25, 2012

Central Market in Phnom Penh

The unique design of the Central Market.
The unique design of the Central Market.

Exploring Phnom Penh City

Finally, after a six hour journey by bus from Siem Reap, we reached the capital city of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Our very first stop here was the Central Market or Psar Thmei. This market is well designed with different sections catering to different goods, ranging from jewellery, shoes, women's clothes, children's clothes and so on.

Nearby the Central Market, is the Sorya Shopping Mall. Here, you can escape from the heat and relax while shopping in comfort. There are also various restaurants here and a food court on level 4. The food court runs on a coupon basis and the food prices average about 8000 riel or 2 USD. If you need to stock up on snacks or water, there is also a Lucky Supermarket here.

Cheong Uk Killing Fields

A monument full of skulls and pieces of clothes stands tall at the Cheong Uk Killing Fields.
A monument full of skulls and pieces of clothes stands tall at the Cheong Uk Killing Fields.

Heading Out to the Cheong Uk Killing Fields

The next day, we booked a tuk tuk for the whole day for USD20. Our first destination was to head out of the city to the Cheong Uk Killing Fields. The place is located about 15km away and takes about 30 minutes via tuk tuk. When we reached the Killing Fields, it was time for an educational one hour tour. We paid USD2 for the entry fee and another USD3 for the audio guide. As you walk about, you can listen to stories by survivors. There is also a small museum at the side with exhibitions. Right in the middle, is a monument which stores many skulls which were unearthed from the many graves. Without knowing the history of this place, you would have felt that it was a really peaceful area. However, the many sad, true stories behind the killings can chill even the hardiest person.

The Independence Monument

From the Russian Market to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

From the Killing Fields, we then headed back to the city area for a short shopping stop at the Russian Market. This market is smaller and older compared to the central market. Just outside the market, you will also find factory outlet stores selling tops from brands like Levi's and Aeropostale from USD5 onwards.

As were hungry, we ate lunch first at Sinh Foo, a cafe facing the waterfront area, before continuing our tour. While heading to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, we stopped at the Independence Monument for a photo. At the Genocide Museum, you will see the former prison cells and some torture instruments on display. The place was formerly a high school and hence, the museum itself is divided into various blocks.

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace and National Museum

Another must visit in Phnom Penh is the Royal Palace. Do note that the opening hours are from 7.30am to 11am, then it closes for lunch and only reopens at 2pm till 5pm. Also, the entry fee has increased to 25,000 riel or USD 6.25. The grounds are huge and as we were there in March, it was super hot! Even from far, we would see how majestic the palaces were. On the grounds, you will also see various stupas dedicated to the prince and princess. The Silver Pagoda which houses the Emerald Buddha is also located here. My favourite part of the visit was seeing the Throne Hall (Preah Tineang Tevea Vinichhay).

Just nearby, you can also visit the National Museum. It is not a huge museum. However, you can still admire many sculptures and learn more about Cambodia's history here for just USD3.

Spa at Nagaworld

Besides the casino, you can also enjoy the spa at Nagaworld.
Besides the casino, you can also enjoy the spa at Nagaworld.

Relaxing at Nagaworld

On our last day in Phnom Penh, we visited the Nagaworld Hotel and Casino. The hotel is well decorated and once you pass the lobby area, you will see the casino. As it was our last day in Cambodia, we decided to splurge by eating lunch at an upmarket restaurant, Fortune Palace, here. Indeed, the food, service and ambience was good but it was the most expensive meal we had in Cambodia! Soon, it was time to rush to the airport, We paid USD6 for a tuk tuk to bring us there and without realising it, it was time to say goodbye to Cambodia for now....

Map of Phnom Penh

show route and directions
A markerKilling Fields -
Choeung Ek - The Killing Fields, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
get directions

B markerIndependence Monument -
Independence Monument, Samdach Preah Sihanouk Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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C markerTuol Sleng Genocide Museum -
Tuol Sleng Prison Museum, 113, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
get directions

D markerRoyal Palace -
Royal Palace, Samdach Preah Theamak Lethet Ouk, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
get directions

E markerNational Museum, Phnom Penh -
National Museum, Preah Ang Eng, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
get directions

F markerWaterfront at Sisowath Quay -
Sisowath Quay, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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    • lilian_sg profile image

      lilian_sg 4 years ago from Singapore

      Indeed, it is a grim reminder of how horrible humans can become. We should always aim to live in peace =)

    • scraw profile image

      sean crawford 4 years ago from los angeles

      Hello fellow hubber, great job in listing the sights in this city. I heard it was a hardcore place to live and need to go visit it to see for myself. The killing fields are a great representation of the dark past the country had. Hopefully it will teach people not to make the same mistake again.