Phnom Penh Sightseeing Options
Cambodia as a country has quite a bit of recent history to share and other than this history; the city of Phnom Penh has few interesting places of attraction apart from the shopping spree this city can offer. For tourists, this city is a lot about spending a long time at an eatery especially from late afternoon or early evening, enjoying good food with chilled foamy beer, then enjoying shopping throughout the day and in between all these, slip out to some short sightseeing. That’s all you have to do in Phnom Penh.. Does that sound interesting?
So let’s see, what are those few things among many in Phnom Penh you should not give a miss:
If you are staying by the river area, then this Royal Palace is just a few minutes walking distance away and a famously visited landmark in Phnom Penh. Covering a huge area, there are various buildings of different sizes scattered all across the boundary. However tourists are not allowed to access the entire area which is still the residence of the king’s family, a small portion comprising the silver pagoda compound and a part of Central compound is allowed for the tourists to visit. The architecture and decor of the buildings are simple Khmer style, many parts of the building have been renovated as and when thought to be necessary.
The opening hours of the palace are quite restricted, hence one has to plan carefully. In the morning the palace is open from 8.00 to 10.00 am & in the afternoon the opening time is 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. (These timings are pre-pandemic) While buying the entrance ticket (USD 10.00 per person, no advance booking required), the ticket has a small map denoting the sections to be visited. One can hire a guide at an additional charge if they want. The entire tour of the palace takes about an hour. Proper clothing is necessary while entering the palace; dress below the knees and no sleeveless is allowed. If you ask how far is the river area from the palace, it’s right behind the palace, so in the evening when you are walking by the river area you get to see the back area of the palace, of course from outside, but there is a whole open garden area right in front of the back gate, where people can sit, relax and enjoy the mellow evening with their family and friends, and then there is the view of the river at the other side of the road!
Again just by the river area, there stands this pure & dedicated street shopping center, it starts after 5 pm. This place is all about economical and fun shopping of clothes and accessories. But if not shopping, do visit here for the evening entertainment, the stage performances and of course for so many Cambodian street-junk-foods and ice-creams.
Russian Market or Toul Tom Poung:
A very short tuk-tuk ride away from the very same rive-side, majorly known as the Russian market and very popular among the locals and foreign tourists. This market has every sort of vendor selling a range of products. Clothing, fashion accessories, stones, jewellery, souvenirs, gift items, home decor, hardware shops, and local street food. This place is a great option for budget shopping and bargain shopping. The variety of things, the exciting tour of the place takes your time so easily and you don’t realise when 2 hours are just gone. Even if you don’t want to shop anything, you still end up buying something, because it’s lucrative and really fun to buy something here.
There are also Central market and Orussey Market in the city quite similar to the Russian market. But all of them are shut by 5 pm, hence plan accordingly.
If you are not planning a tour to the Silk village then a small cruise in the evening is unavoidable. There are many many small-big-decorated boats are available, you may choose as per your choice and enjoy an hour on the river with the tantalizing wind to accompany you and maybe some refreshments and soft music? (Price starting from 5-10 USD Per person)
Phnom Penh is quite a happening and funky city and does have some good nightlife to offer if not as exciting as Siem Reap, but still, this city won’t dispirit you which I was afraid of. My Travel experience always teaches me to be impassively unexpected yet wilfully interested, that’s when the destinations unfurl their charm.
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