Travel Guide: Places to visit, Itinerary, Tourist Spots And Wheare To Stay in Phnom Penh, Cambodia



Time really runs so fast. A night ago it seems I was waiting forever at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and now I cannot believe it is already my 2nd night here in Phnom Penh. I am staying at Mad Monkey Hostel, a really cool accommodation for twenty-something backpackers. I have actually started the blog post  about my experience here in Mad Monkey but I think I have to do it formally after my trip to summarize everything.  It is not that I am forced to say only positive thing because this is a sponsored trip but Mad Monkey is a great backpacker's place in this city. So far  no regrets whatsoever of choosing this - an international crowd, spacious, great food and very attentive staff.  Of course, really excellent wifi from the restaurant, to my dorm bed which is very wide like it can fit two persons and even inside the comfort room. For me who lives and works online, this is superb!  




To read my Mad Monkey Hostel Phnom Penh blog review, please click here

Have you ever noticed that good times happen so fast  but if it is something that sucks you up, it feels killing you softly every second of it, right? Just like this 6 days and 6 nights trip, it feels like a day is just as short as an hour.   


I just bid goodbye from my two dorm roommates, one from London(22) and one from Sweden(25) who are having a great time in Mad Monkey Hostel's rooftop bar at around 10pmish . I only finished a glass of Cambodian craft beer.  Just a few hours prior to this I had a glass of white wine and an iced coffee. If I knew we're gonna go upstairs for drinks, I should have made my tummy empty ahead of time. Well I can go back up anytime I want to so that is not a problem.  


 I made sure I left them each with a guy beside to chat with.  I wish I have known this place when I am in my twenties, you know. I am honestly not looking forward to flirt or get laid with a guy way younger than me then part ways the next day . I am 31 and I am  already over that stage.  I am also not saying that staying here is a place to find a quick hookup but what I meant is travelling anywhere  is really a great way to meet people for whatever purpose you have. 


What I am sharing right now is my personal experience of how I find Phnom Penh, Cambodia  for backpacking. Before coming here I spent weeks researching this place with the topics suggested by the contact of my trip here. Without his guidance, I cannot start and finish even a single post about Phnom Penh. I believe you don't have to see personally all of it just to become credible of what you say online. With considerable amount of time by thorough researching from different sources and weighing things up, you can write just about anything. 


To read my Mad Monkey Hostel Phnom Penh blog review, please click here


I have actually finished the top ten guides in this city about what-to-see and all that stuff in the website of Mad Monkey Hostel so once those are up, I will put here the links to readers who need the details. To summarize top places to see at Phnom Penh in the city proper are  Wat Phnom, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, National Museum, Independence Monument, the S-21 Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide School Prison. It is also best to have a sunset boat tour to end your day because it will relax you from the hustle switching back and forth to different tourist spots you have previously seen.


Wat Phnom - Legend says that in 1373AD, a woman named Penh saw a floating tree and inside she saw four statues of Buddha by the waters of Mekong River. She built a 30-m hill in memory of this and later the city was named after her. Entrance fee is $1.


Royal Palace - The home of Cambodia's royal family and where the foreign dignitaries are welcomed. They follow a strict dress code for girls should shirts should be with sleeves (scarves are not allowed) and no showing of knees. Same standards for boys. Entrance fee is $3.


National Museum - You can see here a lot of artifacts, sculptures and relics of Cambodia's rich history. I am impressed to see a great collection of Buddhism's prominent figures. I would have loved to get a palm - reading from an old man inside but unfortunately he can't speak English so I let that pass. Entrance fee is $3.


Silver Pagoda -  Just beside the Royal Palace, you will see this silver-colored architecture where national and royal ceremonies are held. This is actually the one I took more photos compared to the rest because just a few steps in front of it is a park that is a playground of  hundreds of pigeons(see the main photo above).  Entrance fee is $3.        


Independence Monument - If Paris has Eiffel Tower, Cambodia has Independence Monument. It is a lotus-shaped stupa that you will see from the country's flag to the Khmer temple at Angkor Wat. 


S-21 Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide School Prison - These ones really tore my heart for the tens of thousands killed during the Khmer period in a very brutal way led by Pol Pot .  I saw skulls, checked out the four buildings that were used to torture innocent individuals and walked at a few mass graves here.   Entrance fee each is $6.


If you wanna go farther,  please list below:


Phnom Tamao  - A wildlife sanctuary of rescued animals - gibbon, birds, bears et cetera


Mekong Islands   - Boat trip to the world's 12th-longest and the 7th-longest in Asia , the Mekong River


Oudong Mountain -  Climb to a mountain  that used to be a royal residence and Cambodia's capital for over 250 years


Tonle Bati -   A small lake and fishing spot for locals you can blend in 



Quadbiking and motorbiking are two other means of transportation very popular to reach one spot to the next one faster. There are fliers at the airport and in your accommodation so take advantage of it to learn more about anything you need.   

Phnom Penh is just about the same as Manila where I live except that they have tuktuks and motorcycles. The ones we have back home are jeepneys and tricycles. They got wats or temples, we have churches. But if you are really serious about exploring temples, you have to drop by in Siem  Reap where the world-famous Angkor Wat is located.              


If buying souvenirs is your thing, you can check out Phsar Thmei, Russian Market and Phnom Penh night market. Getting around I would suggest tuktuk still remains to be the cheapest. You can pay $1-$3 for shorter distance. From the airport to Mad Monkey Hostel I paid $9 because it is a 45-min trip.


You don't need to have comprehensive planning to before your trip here to Phnom Penh, If I were you find an accommodation that can be your extra hand for doing everything. Mad Monkey Hostel is one example. For the tours, I coordinated everything to them although I know they have a small percentage for that because this is still a business at the end of the day but it is all about convenience. They have own tuktuk drivers and can help you regarding visa matters. Remember you are here for vacation not for anything else.  Mad Monkey also has  a restaurant where the food they serve is locally produced and follows an international standard for good hygiene . Staying here also means you are helping needy locals because they got great good causes all throughout the year.         


You can get a free local SIM  card right at the airport when you arrive, all you need to is pay    $2 and you can have seven days of free Internet. Money changers are everywhere, I converted my currency at the airport too.   


Tomorrow is the third, I haven't made up mind yet what's the next plan but I am sure I need to finish some online stuff. I am pretty sure I am in front of my laptop all day unless someone tags me along to an adventure that I cannot resist. 

2 comments

  1. Hi Maria

    Thanks for your blog; looking forward to the next one. That rooftop bar sounds like fun.

    "I am pretty I am in front of my laptop all day unless someone tags me along to an adventure that I cannot resist." => Well I hope that you find an irresistible adventure tomorrow !

    Take care,

    Your #1 Fan in London

    ReplyDelete
  2. Definitely :) So have you booked your flight to Manila already? I am so excited for that.

    ReplyDelete