Once synonymous with one of the 20th century’s darkest episodes, Phnom Penh has recently been reinvented as a vibrant little capital, as its friendly people emerge from the shadows of the past to build a new Cambodia. Compact and easy to travel, thanks to its army of tuk-tuks, Phnom Penh has bags of charm and plenty for visitors from around the world and of every travel style to enjoy.
No visit is complete without experiencing the Khmer Rouge memorial sites at the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng — odes to Cambodia’s horrific recent history. It is only by experiencing the tragedies that occurred here that you will truly be able to understand and appreciate everything that Phnom Penh has evolved into today. Nowadays, there is joy here too, in the sparkling Royal Palace and various other historic temples, and in the city’s lively streets and markets. You’ll meet locals from all walks of life, from friendly shopkeepers and vendors to monks in robes wandering the streets on their daily errands. You can also enjoy a bit of nature by wandering the banks of the Mekong River, one of Asia’s most iconic bodies of water. And for Southeast Asian long-timers, the city’s nightlife scene is legendary, with bars and world-class restaurants on seemingly every corner.
There are activities and sights to see here for every type of traveler — it’s just a matter of deciding what piques your interest the most because you can’t go wrong with whatever side of the city you choose to explore. With its dazzling exotic architecture, constant hum of activity, and diverse and complicated history, Phnom Penh is one of Asia’s most up-and-coming destinations that you won’t want to miss — so get on that tuk-tuk you know you’ve always been curious about and start exploring!