Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Asia
Reload this Page >

Phnom Penh tourism advice sought: sights and restaurants

Phnom Penh tourism advice sought: sights and restaurants

Old Jun 26, 10, 5:28 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Shanghai and Bavaria
Programs: Spire RA, Bonvoy Titanium, FB LP, LH SEN, Ctrip Diamond VIP.
Posts: 3,009
Phnom Penh tourism advice sought: sights and restaurants

Hi, maybe someone can give me some suggestions for a three day visit to Phnom Penh. I have never been to Cambodia before, but travelled extensively all over Asia. I have followed the http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/asia/...21-prison.html thread, but maybe there are some other suggestions as well.
I'll be there three full days, and plan to do a full day quad tour incl killing fields and prison (#1 on tripadvisor, www.nature-cambodia.com) and have two more days available. I'm open for any suggestions, they can be well off the beaten track. I'm (unfortunately this time) traveling alone. Angkor is out, since I will be there next year with Mrs. chinatrvl.

Wikitravel (which I have never heard of before until googling Phnom Penh) warns of going to the river promenade and a general high crime rate in the city. Would you share this opinion - or is it similar to other smaller SE Asian cities?

Thank you for all you input!

Last edited by Chinatrvl; Jun 26, 10 at 6:01 am
Chinatrvl is online now  
Old Jun 26, 10, 12:54 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: body: A stone's throw from SFO, mind: SE Asia
Programs: Some of this 'n some of that
Posts: 16,670
The riverfront area is infested with tuk tuks, kids selling things and beggars. It's also the main tourist area (which is why it's infested). I wouldn't worry too much about crime, yes it happens, but it's not something to worry about (except if you're out at 2AM). Of course always keep an eye around you and don't make your belongings easy pickings.
dsquared37 is offline  
Old Jun 26, 10, 1:01 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Snooky
Posts: 2,508
Dsquared knows his town. Kids and every possible version of beggars by the River. PP seems a little intimidating at night since the streetlights are few and far between. Just take a moto or tuk tuk A to B and you'll be fine. If it gets too hot for you, maybe take the bus down to Snooky for a day or 2. wj
whackyjacky is offline  
Old Jun 26, 10, 4:23 pm
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Shanghai and Bavaria
Programs: Spire RA, Bonvoy Titanium, FB LP, LH SEN, Ctrip Diamond VIP.
Posts: 3,009
Thanks for your replies.

"Snooky" is a bit far for day trip, isn't it? I guess I'll go for the palace and maybe a river cruise - and see what else there's to do. I'm on holidays, so there's always the hotel pool
Chinatrvl is online now  
Old Jun 26, 10, 4:51 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Snooky
Posts: 2,508
Originally Posted by Chinatrvl View Post
Thanks for your replies.

"Snooky" is a bit far for day trip, isn't it? I guess I'll go for the palace and maybe a river cruise - and see what else there's to do. I'm on holidays, so there's always the hotel pool
4 hrs on the bus & 3 in a car. Worth it if you overnight. Great little town. Check out these guys: http://www.canbypublications.com/ wj
whackyjacky is offline  
Old Jun 30, 10, 3:36 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: MEL
Programs: VA Silver, VN Titanium, BA Blue
Posts: 3,198
I enjoyed a trip out to Phnom Tamao zoo to see the sun bears. Also, you could spend all day in the markets, especially the Russian market.
Mr H is offline  
Old Jun 30, 10, 8:20 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: body: A stone's throw from SFO, mind: SE Asia
Programs: Some of this 'n some of that
Posts: 16,670
Originally Posted by Mr H View Post
I enjoyed a trip out to Phnom Tamao zoo to see the sun bears. Also, you could spend all day in the markets, especially the Russian market.
You have a high tolerance for pain. All day at the Russian Market??
dsquared37 is offline  
Old Jun 30, 10, 8:37 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: DCA/IAD
Programs: most of them
Posts: 3,249
The markets are crazy, crowded and hot. Worth a look but I wouldn't plan on spending a whole lot of time there. I liked the Dome market...is that the same as the Russian market? It's been a while since I have been there.

I would say, go ahead and do the "Grand" Palace tour and see the Silver Pagoda. The grounds are nice. It's certainly nowhere near as Grand as the one in Bangkok but I think it's worth a visit.

There's also the Wat up on the top of the hill....Wat Phnom (I think). But that is also a rather quick visit. You get a nice view though from being up on the hill.

The National Museum I didn't care for but I know other people like it.

3 days is probably about one day too many with respect to tourist sites in town. But you may want to take a boat trip.

I suppose if you like gambling you could go to a casino, I seem to recall that there are a couple in town.

I never felt unsafe on the river promenade thing. But I was there mainly during the day with a local guide. You have the same sorts of scams and pickpockets that exist in other cities. If you take the usual precautions you will be fine. Violent crime is not an issue.

There are lots of restaurants along the road facing the river. Lots of traffic though so dining al fresco isn't the greatest experience there.
glennaa11 is offline  
Old Jul 1, 10, 4:21 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: body: A stone's throw from SFO, mind: SE Asia
Programs: Some of this 'n some of that
Posts: 16,670
Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
The markets are crazy, crowded and hot. Worth a look but I wouldn't plan on spending a whole lot of time there. I liked the Dome market...is that the same as the Russian market? It's been a while since I have been there.
The dome is psar thmei. It's actually been redone a bit for the outside stalls. There really is very little for a tourist to buy there however except maybe shirts. It's a decent place for cheap plates, cups etc. There's also a fresh market on the south side, but not great for photos.

Russian market is further south and a sauna after 11AM. There's lots of crappy t-shirts and other 'souvenirs' that westerners like. There's also a myriad of DVD shops. I use one in particular that is pretty good. In that area are a few shops that have clothing which may or may not have been purloined from containers as they make their way from the factory to the port. If they havne't been 'lifted' then they're fakes. If they have, well, then decent quality clothes can be had for good prices.


Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
I would say, go ahead and do the "Grand" Palace tour and see the Silver Pagoda. The grounds are nice. It's certainly nowhere near as Grand as the one in Bangkok but I think it's worth a visit.
If you have time to do things, yes, that is well said.


Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
There's also the Wat up on the top of the hill....Wat Phnom (I think). But that is also a rather quick visit. You get a nice view though from being up on the hill.
It's right across from the US embassy and a few years ago was not a very safe area. The embassy's presence has seemed to clean things up a bit. There are usually a troop of monkeys there. Don't trust them. There's also the ubiquitous scam artists et al. It's a quick stop.


Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
The National Museum I didn't care for but I know other people like it.
I actually do enjoy the museum. It's not well signed, but the lintels and statues are interesting. There's also a very nice courtyard inside with some places to sit. The architecture is the biggest pull for me.

Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
3 days is probably about one day too many with respect to tourist sites in town. But you may want to take a boat trip.
Can I buy you a drink for saying that? Yes!!!! 3 days is too many.


Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
I suppose if you like gambling you could go to a casino, I seem to recall that there are a couple in town.
All of the gambling establishments (other than the unsigned places) have been closed. In their place is the ginormous Naga casino, owned by, you guessed it, Hun Sen et al. They don't want competition. It's down on the river at the eastern end of Sihanouk Road.


Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
I never felt unsafe on the river promenade thing. But I was there mainly during the day with a local guide. You have the same sorts of scams and pickpockets that exist in other cities. If you take the usual precautions you will be fine. Violent crime is not an issue.
Violent crime can be an issue in other places, but not there. Don't walk on dark streets alone. Don't carry bags that can be snatched by passing motos. Along the riverfront is indeed the pickpockets and non-violent crime.

Originally Posted by glennaa11 View Post
There are lots of restaurants along the road facing the river. Lots of traffic though so dining al fresco isn't the greatest experience there.
And dining outside invites all walks of life to solicit money while you eat. Pretty much all the restaurants along the river have the same food. If they are serving Italian, Mexican, western, Khmer, Thai etc on the same menu then it likely sucks. The river is best for drinks, if you must.
dsquared37 is offline  
Old Jul 1, 10, 5:44 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Shanghai and Bavaria
Programs: Spire RA, Bonvoy Titanium, FB LP, LH SEN, Ctrip Diamond VIP.
Posts: 3,009
Thank you all again for the elaborate replies.

I was aware that 3 days might be too much for just sightseeing - my plans include a good amount of time at the hotel pool as well (and yes, I know there are nicer places for pool/ beach holidays )

River cruise and museum sound nice, I might give the markets a miss - I'm currently working in Asia and I guess Phnom Penh markets won't be much different to others in regards to fakes, offers, hawkers, and invasive sellers...

Travelling alone, I don't think I'll eat out anyway, but rely on hawkers and, oh well, the club lounge.

Maybe I'll head to Oudong for half a day or so.

Thank you again!
Chinatrvl is online now  
Old Jul 5, 10, 5:52 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Currently living in BOG
Programs: *G and whatever else I can match to....
Posts: 908
I left Phnom Penh about a year ago, but I assume it hasn't changed too much, and so IMO it still has very worthwhile shopping, including some great values at the high and low ends. You just need to know where to go.

Some random thoughts, in no particular order:

Aside from the garment factory product (much of which is actually over-runs and seconds/irregulars, not necessarily clothes that have been stolen from containers; and if it says Made in Cambodia, then it's not fake), the Russian market is great for silk and other handicrafts...just stay away from the stalls that are in the front rows, and make your way to the fabric stalls that are deeper in. You can get great deals on ikat dyed silk from Takeo province. There are some other good handicrafts available too. It's not all tourist t-shirts and DVDs, you just need to hunt a bit...but yes, get there early, as it gets very hot after mid-morning.

The best silk in the country is probably available from Mekong Blue, who now have a store in PP (I forget the street - check their website or the Canby guide).

For upscale women's clothes, Ambre on St 178 (I think?) is Romyda Keth's flagship store. Not cheap, but beautiful stuff at very reasonable prices (and much cheaper than the store selling her designs at Le Royal).

There is also some good values in jewelry - check out Khmer Bokor Wat, the store run by Hou Sareth (Mr Sit Down) on Sihanouk Blvd, a few doors down from the big Nokia store. You have to go to the small room in the back to see the good stuff.

For a taste of PP life, go for a late afternoon/sunset stroll in the park that runs east from the Independence Monument, and then north to the Palace.

Enjoy your trip!
Michael is offline  
Old Jul 5, 10, 7:19 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: body: A stone's throw from SFO, mind: SE Asia
Programs: Some of this 'n some of that
Posts: 16,670
Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I left Phnom Penh about a year ago.....

For a taste of PP life, go for a late afternoon/sunset stroll in the park that runs east from the Independence Monument, and then north to the Palace.
You haven't seen what was done on the riverfront. The corregated metal has been removed. Palm trees and grass planted in rectangular sections and stone tiles places otherwise. They actually have done a decent job and it extends from the palace area up toward the port.

This has also become an area popular for eating and badminton, but I have yet to see any dancing/aerobics.
dsquared37 is offline  
Old Jul 7, 10, 6:43 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Currently living in BOG
Programs: *G and whatever else I can match to....
Posts: 908
You haven't seen what was done on the riverfront.
That's right - I didn't hang out at the riverfront much, so I forgot that the area was being worked on. Nice to know that it has emerged in good shape, and well used. (One of the things that I dislike about Dar es Salaam, my current home, is the lack of public space. PP was pretty good in that respect, especially since around 2005.)
Michael is offline  
Old Jul 10, 10, 1:57 am
  #14  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Programs: AA PLT,AS,UA PP,J6,FB,EY,LH,SQ,HH Dmd,Hyatt Expl,Marriott Plat,IHG Plat,Accor Gold
Posts: 10,512
Already good advice from folks here. Don't worry about the riverfront promenade in terms of violent crime. As others have mentioned, be aware of pickpockets, but otherwise it's fine.

One place I'd suggest for a bit of atmosphere over lunch or dinner or simply for a beer is the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) in the middle of the riverfront area. Food is ok and mostly Western (and hygienic, is are most decent restaurants in PP), but the nice aspect is that it's an open air establishment up one or two floors up from the street with a good view of the action below and the river. Nice spot to sit and have a drink. Hang-out spot for lots of journalists and development types.

Last edited by Thunderroad; Jul 10, 10 at 11:25 am
Thunderroad is offline  
Old Jul 10, 10, 3:33 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Snooky
Posts: 2,508
Go to the FCC for 'Happy Hour'. They make a mean mojito. wj
whackyjacky is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: