Are you planning a trip to the charm-filled kingdom of Cambodia? Discover the best areas to stay in Phnom Penh!
Nestled in the south-east of Cambodia at the confluence of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong rivers, sits the vibrant and bustling city of Phnom Penh. The capital and economic hub of Cambodia, Phnom Penh is the country’s most populous city. Located in the south-central region of Cambodia, Phnom Penh has a population of 1,501,725 inhabitants (2015) spread over 290 km². Stay in Phnom Penh to have a chance to discover Cambodia’s rich historical heritage. Explore exceptional and world-famous sites, including the archaeological site of Angkor, wats (local Buddhist temples), and relax on the golden sands of the beaches of Sihanoukville.
Once known as the “Pearl of Asia,” Phnom Penh has experienced a high influx of tourists in recent years. Travelers looking for a place to stay in Phnom Penh will come across a wide array of accommodation options, both comfortable and affordable. Here is where to stay in Phnom Penh.
Khan Doun Penh (or “Daun Penh”)
A human-sized city, Phnom Penh is known by travelers as a more pleasant place to live in than its neighbors such as Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. (It can be hard to find a cheap and quiet place to stay in Kuala Lumpur.)Although the city is only a stopover on the road to Siem Reap, it’s definitely worth staying in Phnom Penh for a few days. In the central district, not far from the banks of the Mekong River, you will find yourself literally connected to the city’s past. As if it were an open-air museum, the city of Phnom Penh is packed with museums, markets, and old French colonial edifices, as well as vestiges of the Khmer Rouge dictatorship and 30 years of civil war.
If you’re keen to shop for souvenirs or simply indulge in delicious local food, don’t miss a visit to the Russian market: you will find everything you need. Be sure to visit Wat Phnom Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in the city, and take the time to explore the National Museum of Cambodia – a must-see.
End your day with a walk at the Royal Palace (pictured above), the king’s official residence. In the evening, wander around the big market, especially if you’re looking to enjoy a good meal. Not far away, Sisowath Quay – often compared to the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France – is a 3-kilometer strip filled with vendors, locals, tourists. Lined with hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops, the Quay offers a beautiful view of the Mekong and Tonle Sap. Home to many Buddhist parks and temples, Khan Doun Penh is an extensive district that extends from the Preah Put Khusa Pagoda to the Independence Monument. Very central and offering a wide range of accommodation options (hotels, guest-houses, and apartments), Khan Doun Penh is a convenient area to stay in Phnom Penh.
Sangkat Boeng Keng Keng Kang Ti Muoy
South of the city center sits a district nestled between the Olympic Stadium and the Mekong River quays: a small area concentrating a wide array of bars and restaurants. Around the statue of King Norodom Sihanouk, you will find most of the capital’s nightlife hotspots.
This area is the best place to stay in Phnom Penh if you enjoy partying and meeting people of all nationalities. On its western flank, S-21 Prison (Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum) is a former school converted into Cambodia’s most important prison by the Khmers Rouges. This museum commemorates the atrocities committed during the Khmer regime: despite the gloomy atmosphere, this visit is a must-see for anyone interested in learning about Cambodia’s horrific recent past. In short, this is an excellent neighborhood to stay in Phnom Penh if you’re keen to combine vibrant nightlife with cultural visits.
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