Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s capital city has all the beguiling sounds, smells and sights of Southeast Asia, with a little faded colonial grandeur thrown in. From the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison) to Kampot crab, check out some of the most essential things to do in Phnom Penh when you travel Indochina tours
- Visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21 Prison)
S-21 Prison – an important part of the brutal and bloody history under the Khmer Rouge of Phnom Penh, stands as a monument to the 14,000 women, men and children imprisoned or murdered here together with the only eight survivors. If you want to understand Phnom Penh and what happened here, the former school, converted to house those persecuted by the bloodthirsty regime in 1975 is an important place to visit. You can hire a tuk-tuk driver for the day to take you to both the Killing Fields and S-21.
- Cruise the Mekong
Phnom Penh, which is located at the point where the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers meet, is a stunning spot for travelers to go for a leisurely cruise along these well-known waterways. You can either take a boat from Sisowath Quay to view the National Museum and Royal Palace from the water or spend a couple of hours exploring the charming floating villages and their unique way of life. Depending on when and with whom you travel, tours will set you back £20 upwards. Phocea Mekong runs famous sunset cruises with all-inclusive refreshments – remember to check out its website for the latest deals.
- Eat Kampot pepper crab
This seafood delicacy, which originates in the small riverside town of Kampot in the south-eastern province of Cambodia, has become somewhat of a Cambodia’s national dish and if you are visiting Phnom Penh, you can find excellent versions to try. Smothered in a sweet yet spicy peppercorn sauce, a whole baked or fried crab is enough to tempt even for the most budget-conscious backpackers. While you are in Phnom Penh, tuck into its street food scene, with some of the best food stalls can be found around Russian Market (Tuol Tompoung) to the south of the center of the city. Cambodia travel tours
- Tour the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek
The Khmer Rouge turned this area, which was once a Chinese cemetery into a mass grave during their 4-year reign of terror in this country. You cannot fail to be deeply moved by the scale of death and destruction represented by the Buddhist stupa greeting you when you step into the site, filled with more than 8,000 human skulls, just a small fraction of the victims of this regime. Also, a worthwhile inclusion in your $6 entry fee is the audio guide. It is such a haunting yet powerful place to go while you are having a trip in Phnom Penh. It takes you a 40-minute tuk-tuk ride out to the site.
- Bag a bargain at the Central Market
Are you looking for some Cambodian tat to take back to friends and your lovers? One of the most fun things to do in Phnom Penh is experiencing the lively atmosphere and enthusiastic haggling at the city markets. At the Central Market, you can pick up everything from video games to bargains on designer fakes and even the weird original handicraft. The souvenirs, the impressive 1930s Art Deco architecture of this market together with plenty of opportunities to brush up on your bargaining skills are well worth visiting. A few blocks southwest of the Night Market by the riverside, this market, which gets going around 5PM, is a good, cheap place to head for not only Cambodian dishes and some great Indian bites once you get hungry.
- Spend a night at the movies
From small indie film houses to big complexes showing the latest blockbusters in 4D (expect wind-tunnel effects and moving chairs), Phnom Penh is home to a range of cinemas. Grab a large fresh popcorn bucket and head down to the Empire Movie House, which is open until 11pm every night with daily screenings of the 1984 drama, The Killing Fields (certainly one to see in Cambodia), together with many modern films. The huge bed-like seats and air-condition make a refreshing break from the hot, dusty city!
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