Chaotic and captivating, Phnom Penh is Cambodia’s energetic capital and filled with charm. Once named The Pearl of Asia, ancient and modern worlds have collided in the city. Find yourself surprised by the numerous food stalls, sprawling markets and painted pagodas that appear around every other corner. From the glinting palace spires and saffron-hued markets to the serene, orange-robed monks, your holiday in Phnom Penh welcomes you with a vibrant splash of colour and culture.
Phnom Penh truly is the exotic, mystical Asia that you dreamed about with its many turreted landscapes. Wander the banks of the powerful Mekong River, and take in the intricate architecture of the Royal Palace. Within the palace compound, visit the exquisite Silver Pagoda, a Buddhist Temple with vast silver floors and huge emerald and diamond-embellished Buddha statues.
While you’re roaming, head to the National Museum - which is beautiful inside and out - and relax in its picturesque courtyard or peruse the masterful Khmer sculptures.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum - a former high school turned prison during the regime of the Khmer Rouge - offers a more sombre experience, but is an integral part of your holiday in Phnom Penh., helping you to understand the country’s tumultuous history. Outside the city, the Killing Fields of Choueng Ek serve as an important history lesson and memorial to all those killed during the genocide.
Phnom Penh holidays are history and culture, flavour and colour
As well as ancient intrigue and architectural wonder, Phnom Penh boasts all the delights of a cosmopolitan city. Here, you’ll discover the delicious authentic Cambodian cuisine, whether roadside at steaming stalls or in world-class restaurants.
You will find that Phnom Penh enthralls you with its intoxicating energy. Phnom Penh is abundant with dynamic local markets, from the city’s sprawling heart - the Art Deco Central Market - to the Russian Market, perfect for discovering traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. Wind down at beautiful Wat Phnom, perched on Phnom Penh’s only hill and home to an ornate Buddhist temple. Wat Phnom is interlaced with exquisite shrines and surrounded by immaculate tropical gardens.
Twin your stay with a visit to Siem Reap - famed for its ancient temples and crumbling ruins of Angkor Wat - or head to Ho Chi Minh City to see what Vietnam has to offer. The possibilities are endless - and our Destination Specialists are here to help you navigate through them and craft a tailor-made itinerary just for you.
Great sample itineraries
Here's a selection of popular itineraries to give you some ideas. But almost anything's possible so call us now and we'll create an amazing holiday just for you.
Luxury Tour Cambodia Vietnam Laos
Temple Tour Cambodia
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Explore Phnom Penh
Although sometimes overlooked in favour of Siem Reap, there are certainly enough attractions in Phnom Penh to warrant staying for a couple of days. Whether it's exploring the city's temples and markets by tuk tuk or learning more about the harrowing history during the Khmer Rouge regime at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. The vibrant riverfront area is also worth exploring with its selection of restaurants and cafes providing the ideal place for lunch or dinner.
Phnom Penh City Tour by Tuk Tuk
Begin your tour of the capital with a visit to the city's namesake, Wat Phnom, the Royal Palace and right next door the Silver Pagoda. Continue to the nearby National Museum, built in 1917 it is an exceptional example of traditional architecture and is exclusively devoted to preserving and displaying Khmer art and sculptures.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh is the site of a former high school which was used as the infamous Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime in its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979.
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“Take a one and a half hour’s drive from Phonm Penh, and enjoy a day at Tamao Zoological Park & Wildlife Rescue Centre. Spend the morning here, before heading to Tonle Bati, which is a popular destination for local people and is teeming with authentic daily life. Visit the ruins of Ta Prohm, and tuck into a picnic on a bamboo hut over the water before taking part in a spot of fishing.”
“While in Phnom Penh, we highly recommend you try a Khmer BBQ. You can't go wrong with plastic chairs, metal tables and big beer towers on the table. Oh, and the food is delicious as well! Drop in wherever you see a big crowd or find a nice restaurant in our welcome booklet.”
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful occasions to visit a city, providing a glimpse into authentic culture and traditions. Phnom Penh’s Water Festival is one of Cambodia’s most significant events and has been celebrated for centuries.
Bon Om Tuk
While Phnom Penh is deserted during Khmer New Year, it is packed during Bon Om Tuk (Water Festival), the largest and most celebrated festival in Cambodia. Towns and villages across the country spend all year decorating and designing their boats for the race. The celebration takes place in November, over three days, and thousands of locals and tourists flock to the capital to watch three days of colourful pirogue (boat) races on the Mekong River. Expect firework displays and elaborate parades.
Cambodian cuisine is diverse and delicious, and Phnom Penh is the perfect place to sample some of the country’s most sumptuous authentic dishes. From street food to gourmet restaurants, there’s a world of flavour to explore on your Phnom Penh holiday. Here are a few of our favourite foodie hotspots and dishes.
Amok is one of Phonm Penh’s signature dishes and is served in a banana leaf bowl. This fragrant coconut creamy curry is made with fresh fish fillets that have been marinated in coconut milk, eggs, palm sugar and fish sauce, before being steamed with kroeung, a fragrant paste made with shallots, kaffir lime, turmeric and lemongrass. Amok can also be made with chicken and pork.
Khmer curry is a mild, sweet curry that is both herby and fragrant, with its base flavours of coconut, garlic and ginger and normally made with chicken. The curry is usually served with rice or, with a nod to its colonial history, a French baguette.
Phnom Penh local markets
Some of the most delicious food can often be found at local markets. Phnom Penh’s markets are famous for their morning noodle soups - inquire at your hotel for where to find the best ones and join the locals for breakfast.
Kuy Teav Restaurant
Kuy Teav is a local restaurant in Phnom Penh, created by Chef Luu Meng, that offers truly traditional Cambodian dishes. It is named after a popular noodle dish, Kuy Teav: a hearty noodle soup with spicy pork stock and various toppings.
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