48 Hours in Phnom Penh, Cambodia: 10 Cool Things To Absolutely Do

1. Explore the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda

Begin your visit to Phnom Penh with a trip to the Royal Palace, a stunning complex that embodies Cambodia’s rich history and culture. Marvel at the intricate architecture while exploring ornate buildings such as the Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion. Within the palace grounds, you’ll also find the Silver Pagoda, which gets its name from the 5,000 silver tiles that cover its floor. Adorned with precious artifacts and statues, it is a truly captivating sight.

For more information, visit: www.tourismcambodia.com/attractions/royal-palace.htm

2. Pay homage at the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Although a somber experience, a visit to the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is an important aspect of understanding Cambodia’s past. The Killing Fields, just outside of Phnom Penh, serve as a chilling reminder of the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, located in the city, was once a high school turned into a prison where thousands were imprisoned, tortured, and killed. Both sites offer insight into the country’s dark history and are important in remembering and honoring the victims.

For more information, visit: www.killingfieldsmuseum.com and www.tuolslenggenocidemuseum.com

3. Wander around the bustling Central Market

Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by exploring Phnom Penh’s Central Market, also known as Psar Thmei. This bustling market offers a wide range of goods, from clothing and accessories to fresh produce and delicious street food. Take your time to browse the stalls, engage with friendly locals, and soak up the lively atmosphere. Don’t miss the stunning Art Deco architecture of the market, an iconic landmark in the city.

For more information, visit: www.tourismcambodia.com/attractions/central-market.htm

4. Enjoy a riverside sunset cruise

One of the most enjoyable ways to experience Phnom Penh is by taking a sunset cruise along the Tonle Sap River. Relax on a traditional Khmer boat as you sail past the city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Royal Palace and Wat Ounalom. Witness the enchanting colors of the sunset painting the sky and reflect off the water while enjoying a refreshing breeze. This serene experience offers a different perspective of the city and is perfect for creating lasting memories.

For more information, visit: www.phnompenhrivercruises.com

5. Indulge in Khmer cuisine with a food tour

Embark on a culinary adventure through the streets of Phnom Penh by joining a food tour. Sample a wide range of traditional Khmer dishes, such as fish amok, beef loc lac, and Nom Banh Chok. Let knowledgeable guides introduce you to local flavors and hidden gems, while also learning about the cultural significance behind each dish. This immersive experience is a fantastic way to discover the city’s gastronomic delights.

For more information, visit: www.phnompenhfoodtours.com

6. Explore the vibrant art scene

Phnom Penh’s art scene is blossoming, with numerous galleries and creative spaces showcasing the works of talented local artists. Take a stroll through the bustling streets of Street 178 and Street 240, home to several art galleries and workshops. Discover contemporary paintings, sculptures, and traditional crafts that beautifully reflect Cambodian culture and artistic expression. Engaging with the local art community and supporting local artists is not only cool but also contributes to the preservation of Cambodian art and culture.

For more information, visit: www.cambodianlivingarts.org

7. Grab a drink by the riverside at Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC)

Head to the iconic Foreign Correspondents’ Club, a historic venue that has hosted journalists and travelers for decades. Enjoy a refreshing drink or a delicious meal while soaking up the breathtaking views of the Tonle Sap River. The FCC is known for its relaxed ambiance, live music, and its important role as a meeting point for locals and expatriates. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploration.

For more information, visit: www.fcccambodia.com

8. Cycle along the Mekong River

Rent a bicycle and embark on a leisurely ride along the scenic Mekong River. As you pedal along the riverbank, you’ll witness the daily lives of the locals, fishermen going about their work, and stunning riverside views. The peaceful atmosphere and lush landscapes provide a delightful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. Make sure to explore Koh Dach, also known as Silk Island, where you can observe the silk production process or purchase unique handmade souvenirs.

For more information, visit: www.adventure-cambodia.com

9. Experience traditional performances at the Apsara Dance Show

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Cambodia by witnessing the traditional Apsara Dance Show. This captivating performance showcases the graceful movements and beautiful costumes of the ancient Khmer dance form. Accompanied by traditional music, the dancers bring to life stories from Cambodian mythology and folklore. The Apsara Dance Show is a must-see to appreciate the country’s unique performing arts.

For more information, visit: www.cambodianlivingarts.org/apsara-dance-show

10. Discover Cambodian history at the National Museum

End your 48-hour adventure in Phnom Penh by delving deep into the country’s fascinating history at the National Museum of Cambodia. Marvel at the extensive collection of Khmer art and artifacts, including sculptures, ceramics, and ancient treasures. Gain a comprehensive understanding of Cambodia’s rich past, from the Angkorian era to the present day. The stunning architecture of the museum itself is a testament to the grandeur of Cambodia’s cultural heritage.

For more information, visit: www.cambodiamuseum.info

Embark on a whirlwind 48-hour adventure in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and immerse yourself in the city’s captivating history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. From exploring the grandeur of the Royal Palace to somber visits to the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Phnom Penh offers a myriad of enriching experiences.

Remember to carve out time to wander through bustling markets, indulge in Khmer delicacies, and immerse yourself in the city’s burgeoning art scene. Whether you’re enjoying a sunset cruise along the Tonle Sap River or appreciating traditional performances at the Apsara Dance Show, every moment in Phnom Penh is cool and memorable.

So pack your bags, put on your exploring shoes, and get ready to embrace the unique charm of Phnom Penh, Cambodia!