Phnom Penh Holidays

Cambodia’s colourful, swirling, ever-growing capital on the banks of the Mekong River has a charm that’s impossible to resist.

In buzzy, forward-looking Phnom Penh, the past is all around. Discover the more glorious reminders of its rich and often turbulent history at the resplendent Royal Palace, built in Khmer style in the 1860s and still home to Cambodia’s royal family. Get a sneak peek into kingly life in the imposing Throne Hall topped by a tower inspired by the temples of Angkor, then move on to the Silver Pagoda, once covered in glittering tiles and still crammed with priceless Buddha statues made of gold and precious stones. Or step back even further in time at the National Museum of Cambodia, whose extensive collection of exquisite Khmer art and artefacts dates to the prehistoric era.

As you wander through the city’s French Quarter with its air of faded grandeur, browse the vibrant markets where the tantalising smell of street-food favourites hangs in the air, or join the riverside evening strollers on Sisowath Quay, it’s almost impossible to imagine the city completely emptied of people as it was soon after the Khmer Rouge overran it in 1975. Take a journey through Pol Pot’s four-year reign of terror at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, set in a former school turned high-security prison, and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. It’s a sobering experience that makes the city’s resurgence and irrepressible energy all the more inspiring.

Talk to us about adding a stay in Phnom Penh to your dream Cambodia or Indochina adventure.

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Phnom Penh Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Phnom Penh

Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh

Delve into Cambodian history at Phnom Penh’s eclectic and landmark hotel, in a superb central loc...

La Rose Suites

A tranquil retreat at the heart of the city, just a short walk from the Independence Monument.

Get to know Phnom Penh and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.


GMT +7 hours


Cambodian Riel


15 hours (not including stopover time)





Where is Phnom Penh?
Home to around a sixth of Cambodia’s population, Phnom Penh is by far its largest city. The ‘Pearl of Asia’, as it used to be known, is in the country’s south-central region where the Mekong, Tonle Sap and Bassac rivers meet, and is a major transport hub. Its international airport lies less than 5 miles west of the centre; from here, you can fly to Siem Reap (for Angkor Wat) and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. Though less important now that the road network has improved, the rivers were once vital shipping highways, connecting Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and the Mekong Delta with the South China Sea; passenger ferries still operate along them.

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City highlights
The two main attractions are the resplendent Khmer-style Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda, which sits in the palace’s extensive grounds, features a dazzling floor of over 5,000 silver tiles and is famous for its solid gold Buddha and an emerald Buddha. Make your way to the neighbouring National Museum of Cambodia to discover a collection of Angkorian and pre-Angkorian artefacts including stone sculptures, bronze statues and ancient ceramics. Phnom Penh's oldest temple, Wat Phnom was built in the 14th century and sits on a hilltop with its distinctive white spire rising above the surrounding trees. Stroll around the pretty gardens and admire the bright murals and collection of Buddhas.

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Modern history
Explore Cambodia’s more sombre past at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Here you will discover the dark stories associated with the Khmer Rouge. This is a sobering experience but an essential one to help fully understand and appreciate this enchanting country.

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Getting around
With many of the city’s most interesting sights concentrated in the centre, walking is very much an option, though for a uniquely local experience – and one that’s increasingly rare – you could travel almost as slowly, but in old-fashioned style, in a cyclo, a three-wheeled rickshaw powered by bicycle. A (slightly) faster alternative is the country’s take on a tuk-tuk: essentially a little carriage for up to four people towed by a motorbike. For longer, speedier journeys, there are taxis or you may prefer to hire a car and driver for the day to take you where and when you want.

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Food & drink
Over the centuries, Cambodian cuisine has been shaped by influences from what is now Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, along with China, India and France, as well as the ready availability of ingredients such as freshwater fish, rice and wild herbs. Often regarded as the national dish, amok is a fragrant – and not too fiery – curry made with coconut milk, Cambodian spice paste and whatever fish is on hand. Find other local specialities at street-food stalls around the city or seek out updated versions in one of the many cool, modern eateries and cafés.

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Phnom Penh Weather

Nov - Mar